Betsy Braddock

Real Name: Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock

Identity/Class: Human mutant, cyborg.

Occupation: Pilot, later fashion model and government agent

Affiliations: Captain Britain, RCX, X-Men, Excalibur; Captain U.K., Gabriel, Tom Lennox

Enemies: Slaymaster; Sabretooth, Hellfire Club, Mad Jim Jaspers, Sat-Yr-9, Jamie Braddock, Vixen, the Fury

Known Relatives: Brian Braddock (twin brother, Captain Britain); Jamie Braddock (elder brother)

Aliases: Psylocke, Captain Britain

Base of Operations: U.S.A.;  formerly U.K., Australia

First Appearance: Captain Britain Weekly #8 (December 1st, 1976)

Powers/Abilities: Betsy originally started out as a telepath, with no other abilities. She could sense thoughts and communicate with others over great distances. After Tom Lennox was killed, she was taught to harness the trauma and use it to strengthen her abilities; she could now render people unconscious by causing psychic trauma to their minds - in one case she even killed an assailant who tried to rape her.

While wearing her copy of the Captain Britain costume she could fly and all her physical attributes were strengthened to superhuman levels - strength, speed, etc.

After being blinded, Betsy used her telepathic powers to replace her sight, seeing through the eyes of others around her. Her eyes were replaced by bionic ones by Mojo, which as well as restoring her sight, were also capable of automatically adjusting light levels for her, allowing her to look at bright lights without being affected. When she was gained Kwannon's body, she also gained training in several martial arts and the ability to project a "psychic knife," the focused totality of her psychic powers which she usually plunged into the heads of her victims, rendering them incapacitated. Merging with the energies of the Crimson Dawn allowed her to travel through shadows, and after losing her telepathic powers when she bound the Shadow King, she developed telepathic ones to compensate. (God knows what the writers would have done with her powers next if they hadn't decided to kill her!)

History: Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock is the twin sister of Brian Braddock, a.k.a. Captain Britain. Her father was, unknown to her, a scientist from Otherworld, an alternate Earth where both science and magic have been harnessed to levels beyond those that our reality can comprehend. Both her parents died shortly after the twins left school. While Brian went to university, Betsy made a living as a charter pilot. Not long after Brian gained his powers Betsy witnessed their elder brother Jamie have a suspicious car accident. Fearing for his safety, she turned to Brian for help. Collecting him from university, she flew him back to Braddock Manor, but on the way there she was the victim of a psychic assault from the supervillain Dr Synne, which caused her to crash the plane only a short distance away from their intended destination. After a brief confrontation between Synne and Captain Britain, Brian and Betsy were found by Jamie and taken back to the house. While Jamie explained about Synne's vendetta against the family, Betsy was again taken over by the evil mesmerist. She attacked her brothers, but was overpowered, and taken to hospital to recover. There both she and Jamie were taken hostage by minions of the Red Skull, and it was when her twin and his newest ally, Captain America, rescued them both that she came to discover the Brian was also Captain Britain.

The mental assaults may well have been what began to unlock Betsy's hidden psychic powers. Some time later, when Brian's body was on the verge of death, and his spirit was in Otherworld, Betsy had a nightmare about his predicament. Meanwhile, her plane having been destroyed in the crash back at Braddock Manor, Betsy decided to pursue a new career, modeling.

Brian departed for America, and then went missing for a few years (actually first amnesiac after a psychic attack, then adventuring in Otherworld and on Earth-238). Meanwhile Betsy's psychic powers continued to grow, until one day she was contacted by another telepath, one who worked for STRIKE, the British equivalent of SHIELD. Betsy was recruited to their Psi division, and soon became romantically involved with colleague Tom Lennox. But when the criminal mastermind Vixen began to secretly take over STRIKE, she saw the Psi Division as a particular threat to her, so she sent the assassin Slaymaster after them. The survivors went on the run, but Slaymaster kept catching up and picking them off one by one. Betsy sensed that her brother had returned to this reality, and contacted him to gain his assistance. Captain Britain defeated Slaymaster, though only Betsy and two others survived from the telepaths who had worked for STRIKE.

They took refuge in Braddock Manor, the existence of which was shielded from the rest of the world by sophisticated holograms. But even these could not protect the inhabitants from the murderous superhero killing Fury. Fleeing the Manor in the aftermath of a terrible battle, Betsy, Brian and a handful of allies watched as the country went mad under the control of the insane, reality warping mutant known as Mad Jim Jaspers. While Brian went off to confront the villain, Betsy and the others were found by his "Beetles", armoured troops who hunted down superhumans for imprisonment in concentration camps. Betsy's was in mental contact with her lover Tom Lennox when the Beetles gunned him down, and was easily captured as she reeled from the shock. After Jaspers was defeated her mind was nursed back to sanity by Victoria Bentley, a friend of Captain Britain's old ally the Black Knight, whom she had met in the camps.

Betsy continued to live in Braddock Manor with her brother, until the agency that replaced the now-defunct STRIKE, RCX, turned up at their door. In the wake of the Jaspers Warp a large number of children had been born deformed in numerous bizarre ways, often afflicted with superpowers they were ill-equipped to control. RCX had gathered these children, Warpies together, but now needed somewhere secure to house them. They wanted to use Braddock Manor; Brian objected; Betsy acquiesced. After a short period of time the strain of sharing his home with so many superpowered children drove Captain Britain to abandon his home and go abroad for some time to think. In his absence, RCX convinced Betsy to take on the mantle of Captain Britain.

Betsy as Captain BritainShe adventured in this role alongside Captain U.K. for a little while, and then she worked solo for a bit beyond that. But the Vixen returned, and kidnapped a group of Warpies, using them to draw Captain Britain out. Betsy arrived, only to discover a powered-up Slaymaster waiting for her. He easily defeated her, then ripped out her eyes, blinding her. Brian sensed her pain and came swiftly to her rescue, killing Slaymaster for what he had done. Betsy rejected offers from RCX to replace her lost eyes with bionic ones, feeling her mental powers more than compensated. Along with Agent Thomas, an RCX agent she had known when both had earlier worked for STRIKE, and with whom she was in love, she set off on a world tour.

While travelling she was abducted by the extra-dimensional being known as Mojo. He implanted bionic eyes into her, which would also send back signals which Mojo could televise in his entertainment obsessed home dimension. He then allowed her to be "rescued" by the New Mutants, who took her back to the X-Mansion in Westchester. After staying there for a while, she joined the X-Men as Psylocke.

Betsy as Psylocke (original costume)Psylocke was a member of the X-Men for a lengthy period, until during the events later termed the "Fall of the Mutants", she and the rest of the team appeared to sacrifice their lives to save humanity. In fact Roma, daughter of Merlin, saved them, and deposited them in Australia (and incidentally broke the signal between Betsy's eyes and Mojo). Betsy changed her costume to an armoured one around this point. Some time later she and the other X-Men were forced to use an ancient device known as the Siege Perilous in order to escape another foe. This worked, but the mystical device deposited each of them in various spots around the world, often with amnesia to boot.

Betsy was washed ashore in Japan, where she was rescued by Kwannon, an assassin working for the Hand. Kwannon also had telepathic powers, and a brief psychic contact caused the two of them to switch bodies and gain parts of each other's personalities. Betsy, now in Kwannon's body, was taken by the Hand and reconditioned to be an assassin, in preparation for her being presented as a gift to the Mandarin. She was rescued by her teammates Wolverine and Jubilee, and the three of them set about searching for the rest of the X-Men.

Once the team was reunited Betsy worked with the "Blue Team" of X-Men for a while, but problems arose as Kwannon's personality began to resurface. Then Kwannon, now calling herself Revanche and in Betsy's own body, turned up, contaminated with the mutant-killing Legacy virus. Betsy finally figured out for sure who she was just before her original body died.

Much later an encounter with a mystical dimension called the Crimson Dawn caused Betsy's powers to alter further, giving her the ability to travel through shadows. Shortly afterwards she sacrificed her telepathic abilities to imprison the non-corporeal villain known as the Shadow King, although she developed telekinetic abilities to compensate. She rejoined her brother for a while, and helped him battle forces that had decimated Otherworld, an adventure that ended with Brian becoming the ruler of Otherworld.

Soon after, Betsy left Xavier's mansion with a small strike force of fellow X-Men in search of the diaries of the blind mutant seer known as Destiny, which map out human history for the next thousand years. While in Valencia, Spain, the team was captured by the Action Force of the Guardia Civil, that country's national police. Subjected to a battery of tests, the X-Men were released into a technologically fortified maze to gauge the their fighting abilities and mutant powers. Psylocke, the blue-furred Beast and the ability-absorbing Rogue found themselves in the headquarters' control center, separated from their teammates. There, they encountered Vargas, a criminal claiming to be the first manifestation of the next authentic generation of humanity, the pure and legitimate Homo sapiens superior. Her teammates wounded, Betsy engaged her opponent in a duel to the death, which ended when Vargas speared his sword through her abdomen. Psylocke's sudden demise left her teammates, and her lover, Thunderbird III, to balance the scales and complete the quest for Destiny's missing diaries.

Comments: It's a mess, isn't it? When she was being written by Alan Moore and Alan Davis, the character was handled with respect and common sense. When it was Chris Claremont he didn't do so badly (most of the time). Everyone else just seems to have decided to play silly beggars, changing any which way took their fancy.

Seems I'm not the only person who thinks they messed things up somewhat. "Chris" wrote to say "The whole Kwannon/Revanche story was badly researched and conradicted prior continuity (Wolverine recognizing Betsy's face even after the plastic surgery that made her look Asian, the presence of the bionic eyes in the Asian body). Marvel never acknowledged this, but they tried to "fix" the story by quickly killing off Revanche/Kwannon and making some odd statements about Spiral being involved in the whole body swap situation, blending both women's minds AND bodies - whatever that means.

I prefer to regard the Lady Mandarin story as canon (Betsy being brainwashed by the Mandarin and receiving plastic surgery so she could run the underworld for him) and the whole Kwannon/Revanche bit as a deception that has never been explained."


Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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