Sunday, November 17, 2013

BIRD IS THE WORD: Psylocke Appreciation

   We continue on in our next big event in Betsy's life. This event came in the 1986 relaunched Captain Britain series, where Betsy Braddock stood in for her brother as Captain Britain, and was rendered blind by the supervillain Slaymaster (Captain Britain, vol. 2 #12–13).

   When the crimelord Vixen secretly usurped S.T.R.I.K.E., she hired Slaymaster to eliminate the Psi-Division before they could expose this. The telepaths fled, but Slaymaster continued to pick them off. Only a handful were left when Betsy sensed Brian's return and called on his help. He defeated Slaymaster and the three surviving psi's, Betsy, Tom and Alison Double, moved into the holographically hidden Braddock Manor. In short succession, this hideout was found by the Special Executive, Captain U.K. and the Fury. As the last of these battled Brian and the Executive, Betsy foresaw a future where superhumans were imprisoned in concentration camps.

   Soon the U.K. became a fascist state ruled by the insane reality warper Sir James Jaspers, with S.T.R.I.K.E. "Beetle" squads rounding up those with powers. While Brian confronted Jaspers, the Beetles found the others' hideout. Tom died trying to buy his friends time to escape. Betsy was in Tom's mind when he died, and was captured. After being freed, she was nursed back to health by fellow camp inmate Victoria Bentley, who taught her to use her experiences to strengthen her powers.

   When Kaptain Briton, Brian's Earth-794 counterpart, tried to rape her, Betsy fried his mind, killing him. The same night, Mastermind informed the twins of their father's non-terrestrial origins, and the Resources Control Executive (R.C.X.) asked them to billet Warpies, children transformed by Jaspers' warp, at the Manor.

   One of the R.C.X. agents was Matthew, now codenamed Gabriel. Betsy overruled Brian and let R.C.X. and the Warpies move in. When Brian went overseas, Gabriel convinced Betsy to become the new Captain Britain, wearing Kaptain Briton's modified costume. Working with Captain U.K. (Linda McQuillan), the duo became public sensations, but after several months Betsy went solo. Vixen lured her into a showdown with Slaymaster, who brutally beat her, then gouged her eyes out. Brian felt her pain, flew to her rescue and killed Slaymaster. Betsy refused R.C.X.'s offer of cybernetic eyes, preferring to rely on her psychic abilities. She and Gabriel got engaged, and went to Switzerland for Betsy to recuperate.


Stay tuned in two weeks for Betsy, New Mutants, and Mojo!

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