Movie Reviews

Deadpool Calls Out the X-Men's Problematic Psylocke History

Psylocke with her sword drawn in X Force

Warning: contains spoilers for X-Men ’92: House of XCII #3!

Few X-Men have a more convoluted, and problematic, past than Psylocke, and Deadpool has called it out. Throughout her nearly 50-year history, Psylocke has experienced some truly wild and shocking transformations, going from Captain Britain’s sister to a ninja assassin, and Marvel’s resident Merc with a Mouth Deadpool pokes fun at this in X-Men ‘92: House of XCII #3. The mini-series, which cleverly mixes the current Krakoa era with the popular X-Men cartoon from the 1990s, is on sale now in print and digital.

Psylocke was once Betsy Braddock, who first appeared in 1976’s Captain Britain #8; it would be nearly a decade before she assumed the name Psylocke and joined the X-Men. A few years later, the character’s backstory was seemingly altered, transforming her into a ninja assassin; her ethnicity was also altered, changing her from White to Asian. It was later revealed that Betsy was not changed, and her mind was swapped out with another woman, named Kwannon. Since then, Kwannon has taken the name Psylocke and Betsy has assumed her brother’s mantle of Captain Britain. Psylocke’s history has been incredibly convoluted–not to mention problematic and now Marvel is using Deadpool to acknowledge this fact.

Related: The X-Men’s Most Powerful Mutant Isn’t Who You Think

The character’s problematic history finally gets called out in X-Men ‘92: House of XCII #3 by Steve Foxe, Salva Espin, Israel Silva, and Joe Sabino. From another dimension, Arkon has gathered a group of the X-men’s most dangerous foes, including Apocalypse’s former Horsemen, Arcade, and Lady Deathstrike, to strike at the mutants. One member of Arkon’s team is an enormous Brood and when Psylocke goes to confront it, she learns it is being controlled by Deadpool. Using his meta powers, Deadpool asks if Psylocke is “still British” in this world and wonders if the “problematic” body-swapping was going to be skipped over. Deadpool continues to debate continuity but is soon overpowered by Psylocke, who delivers a psychic knife to Deadpool.

Deadpool is correct in his assessment that Psylocke’s history is confusing and riddled with problematic elements. When Psylocke was first introduced, she was British, but was “converted” by the Siege Perilous into a Japanese woman; while this was accepted without question in 1989, it would never fly today. Marvel backpedaled from this race-swapping just a few years later, introducing Kwannon and revealing she had actually been the victim of a body-swap; however, this story also heavily implied both Betsy and Kwannon experienced degradation and trauma–another problematic element. While this introduced Betsy Braddock back to the Marvel Universe, Kwannon continued on with the Psylocke name, effectively creating two Psylockes–and a great deal of confusion over who was who.

Today, Betsy has ascended to the role of Captain Britain, and Kwannon, still going by the name Psylocke, lives on Krakoa as a member of the Marauders. The two have achieved a degree of peace over what happened to them, but the trauma remains. The X-Men’s Psylocke’s history can be daunting, and problematic, and this gets called out by Deadpool.

Next: Deadpool Turned a Beloved DC Icon Into a Twisted Marvel Monster

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