When I decided I wanted to write a character driven post, it took sometime to come up with who I wanted to write about. I had several criteria I wanted to work from. First, they had to be important to the comic book universe. They had to be someone I personally really liked. Liked to love or liked to hate. But they had to be someone that would make me stop and read a comic book if they were in it. They had to take up the page. Much in the way an actor or singer takes over a room, the character by its appearance had to take over the page.
And lastly, they had to have been delivered some type of injustice by the comic book movers and shakers. And that means movie adaptations as well. So that’s what brings me to Betsy Braddock. Psylocke.
At first I was going to go off on how Psylocke could be left out of the X-Men franchise movies when less relevant characters to the franchise made it in when I found out, through research, that she was actually in X-Men 3. Buried as part of the Morlocks. This of course is the most ridiculous action of all. But in some ways Marvel’s inability to use Psylocke is because of who and what she is.
Psylocke is a woman warrior. Aggressive and skilled as a ninja assassin who has no problem with killing. She also is a very sexually aggressive character. Having seduced several of the X-Men, not out of romance, but simply out of desire. Very much in line with Emma Frost. A strong, independent, sexually aggressive woman. Why would Marvel have trouble with putting that in one of their movies?
Pyslocke first came to being as the sister of Captain Britain in 1976. It would be ten years later, in 1986, that Pyslocke would join the X-Men. She somehow at this time developed telekinesis like Jean Grey as well as acquiring the skill and body of a Japanese ninja warrior mutant know as Kwannon. In doing so she mixed the telekinesis and her ninja ability to create the psi-blade. An energy blade that emerged from her fist that she could drive into her opponents to render them incapacitated. Or kill them. Later Kwannon would return for her body saying that she is Pyslocke and that their minds are somehow in the wrong body and their skills are somehow….kind of a pod people scenario. Eventually Pyslocke is shown to be the true X-Man but for a time you didn’t know where she was or who could trust her. And that is part of the mythos of Pyslocke. On any given day, you didn’t know who she was with. She has fought with and against Wolverine, Jean Grey, Sabretooth, Magneto, and so on and so on.
Pyslocke is the first X-Man into the battle and the last one out. An equal to Wolverine in the field of battle and that is what separated her from the rest of the female mutants. She didn’t need a man to save her. Her powers were not benign. They were battle tested and battle ready. Blood did not bother her and her lust for it only matched her lust for other actions. Again, a strong, independent, sexually aggressive woman. What is the problem with that?
Unfortunately Marvel has pretty much botched Pyslocke and her role with the X-Men. They routinely leave her bloody and dying in ways they would never subject Jean Grey or Storm to. Her past and origin are so convoluted that wiping her memory as they did to Wolverine might be the only answer.
But what Marvel cannot do is change how the fans feel about her. Men want her and woman want to be her. Don’t believe me? Check out the next Cosplay convention you pop into and see how many deep blue/purple leotards are running around on girls with purple dyed hair. In 2006, IGN rated Psylocke the 22nd top X-Men character, calling her a leader of the group whose abilities in battle make her one of the most potent fighters to ever don the X and also placed her third on the list of “X-Babes”, describing her as an Asian girl with an incredible body and a British accent.
And this is what Marvel put in X-Man 3 as Psylocke?
To conclusion is that Psylocke is not a safe Marvel character. Her aggressive nature, both in battle and bed is too much for the movie audience. But somehow is just fine for the comic book audience. That’s okay, because we love her just fine.