Wednesday, December 19, 2007

X-MEN #22 – July 1993

The Mask behind the Façade
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Andy Kubert (penciler), Mark Pennington (inker), Bill Oakley (letterer), Joe Rosas (colorist)

The X-Men defeat the Silver Samurai and discover Nyoirin’s diary behind the painting of Psylocke. According to the diary (and Psylocke’s memories unlocked by Revanche) after Betsy Braddock emerged from the Siege Perilous, Nyoirin’s assassin and lover Kwannon discovered her comatose body and reached out to her. When they touched, their consciousnesses switched. Revanche claims that Kwannon assumed Psylocke’s identity and joined the X-Men as a sleeper agent for the Hand. Nyoirin recovered Braddock from a sanitarium and helped her regain her memory while training her to become his new assassin, Revanche. Silver Samurai re-appears with Nyoirin, who says that both Revanche and Psylocke are actually who they claim to be. Meanwhile, Cyclops discovers that his grandparents’ neighbor is actually Mr. Sinister.

Continuity Notes
Gambit and Silver Samurai already know each other, so Silver Samurai joins the “Established X-character that already knows Gambit” list with Frenzy, Sabretooth, Yukio, the Maruaders, and Mr. Sinister. It’s slightly ridiculous.

For the first time, it’s outright stated (by Cyclops) that Nathan Summers is Stryfe. This was very heavily implied throughout the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover, but for some reason never explicitly stated. At this point, Stryfe was supposed to be Cyclops’ child and Cable was the clone, which is probably why Cable is barely mentioned in this conversation.

This is the first time Mr. Sinister is seen using his “Milbury” alias.

The flashback of Psylocke emerging from the Siege Perilous directly contradicts all of the issues actually involving the Siege Perilous. Like all of the other X-Men, she emerged naked, physically healthy but with amnesia. This story has her coming out in her body armor, “her mind fractured, her body battered raw”. Later stories establish that Nyoirin’s diary lied, and that Kwannon used her psychic powers to confuse the X-Men.

Commercial Break
There’s a sixteen-page insert promoting the X-Men/Avengers 30th anniversary specials. Lots of projects are hyped, and I don’t think some of them were actually released (including one-shots devoted to Sauron and the Technet, for some reason). Generation X is announced, complete with its final logo, over a year before the series debuts. The insert repeatedly states that Magneto is returning, even in a section listing the contest rules for a Sega Genesis promotion. This is typical of comics from this era, as comic companies were obviously more interesting in pumping up pre-orders than in surprising readers.

This is the quintessential confusing, nonsensical, continuity-heavy X-Men story. Just to make things more confusing, a lot of the continuity in this issue isn’t even right, so a follow-up arc appears a year later to try and clear things up again. Aside from that, concepts like the Siege Perilous are given no explanation at all, making this even more of a mess for casual readers to figure out. As if the Psylocke/Kwannon/Revanche material isn’t confusing enough, there are also more cryptic scenes with Shinobi Shaw, Matsuo, and the Japanese underworld. Then the Gamesmaster shows up to clutter things up even more. I really wanted to like these issues as a kid, mainly because I thought that my favorite version of Psylocke would be coming back, but I remember just being disappointed by the whole thing.


Teebore said...

This really was the beginning of the end for Psylocke, wasn't it?

I mean, after the whole post-Siege Perilous body swap, there was some potential for interesting stories.

Then there was this story, and the whole Revanche/Kwannon thing, followed by Crimson Dawn and power switches and death and resurrection and life as Claremont's Mary Sue...

Yeesh, poor Psylocke. I miss her purple armor.

Luke said...

I remember that insert! If I am thinking of the right one, it had a little scratch off game piece in it, right? Man, I remember all that hype and everything, and really being excited for it. Amazingly enough, though I remember these X-Men covers, I have absolutely no recollection of the stories, even after reading your posts. Man, were they that immemorable, or am I just that bad of a reader? Yeesh!

G. Kendall said...

The game pieces show up in the next issue. I remember debating whether or not to scratch them off for fear of my comic being less than mint.

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