The Puzzle Box
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Brandon Peterson (penciler), Dan Panosian (inker), Bill Oakley (letterer), Joe Rosas (colorist)
The Caucasian Betsy Braddock, now calling herself Revanche, accuses Psylocke of secretly being an agent of the Japanese crimelord Nyoirin. Wolverine’s enhanced senses cannot determine if Psylocke or Revanche is the real Betsy Braddock, and Psylocke refuses an extensive telepathic scan from Professor X. The X-Men decide to travel to Nyoirin’s home in Japan, where Revanche claims she was held captive. In Japan, Nyoirin makes a deal with Shinobi Shaw to kill the X-Men if Shaw supports his efforts to control Clan Yashida. Later, Matsuo tells Shaw that the Gamemaster has declared Psylocke off-limits to him so that Matsuo can continue his plans for her. The X-Men fight through Nyoirin’s defenses and discover a suggestive painting of Psylocke called “Kwannon in Repose”. The Silver Samurai appears, claiming that he must kill the X-Men to restore his family’s honor. Meanwhile, the Dark Riders continue to eliminate weak mutants by apparently killing Mesmero and fellow member Psynapse.
I Love the ‘90s
Seattle is referred to as the “grunge-metal capital of the world”.
The Kwannon/Revanche storyline continues, and is complicated even more by throwing in the Upstarts competition and Clan Yashida politics. There’s a lot of continuity here, and things are only going to get more confusing before the story’s over. Some of the characters, like Matsuo, aren’t clearly introduced at all. Bringing back Matsuo and referencing the Upstarts competition also reminds me that Matsuo and Fenris were members of the Upstarts during an early storyline in this title, but were soon dropped without explanation. To make things more confusing, Peterson’s art makes it almost impossible to tell Matsuo and Shinobi Shaw apart.
Just like Gambit's X-traitor storyline, this is a story that would only last a few pages if Xavier or Jean Grey would just use their mutant powers. Nicieza tries to cover for this, but I find it hard to believe that Xavier would refuse to psi-scan Psylocke just because she told him she didn’t want to be “violated”. Someone in her original body just appeared accusing her of being a traitor to the team. Wouldn’t the safety of the X-Men be more important than her momentary discomfort? Would this truly "violate" her? And why is another traitor storyline being introduced when the first one still hasn’t gone anywhere?