The X-Men Just Made a ‘90s Reject an Official Team Leader
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Inferno #1, on sale now from Marvel.
For many mutants, the Krakoan era has been a time of change. Villains like Apocalypse have been given some very humanizing stories, while heroes like Beast have gone down a darker path than ever before. In the pages of Inferno #1, by Jonathan Hickman, Valerio Schiti, David Curiel and VC’s Joe Sabino, Psylocke, a longtime outsider in the X-Men’s world, was just elected as one of Krakoa’s captains.
Psylocke’s surprising promotion came in the midst of a major meeting between the Quiet Council and the captains of Krakoa. Cyclops had just announced that he was stepping down as Captain Commander, turning the position over to Bishop. This surprised the Quiet Council, since their input wasn’t taken into consideration.
Krakoa’s captains went even further, however, when they announced that Psylocke was being drafted into their ranks, taking Gorgon’s old spot. The transition of power went over smoothly, giving Psylocke a major role as one of Krakoa’s chief defenders. Moreover, this is the first time in which Kwannon has received a central spot among Krakoa’s more heroic mutants.
At the end of their big announcements, Krakoa’s captains left to get drinks together, showing a sense of camaraderie. Past and present X-Men such as Cyclops, Bishop and Magik all count Psylocke among their ranks now, which is new for someone with Kwannon’s history. Psylocke’s promotion is a major turning point in the character’s long journey.
Kwannon’s journey officially began in 1993’s X-Men #17, by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, Mark Pennington, Joe Rosas and Chris Eliopoulos. At this time, Kwannon was seen hunting for the X-Men, beginning her story in a much different place than she eventually ended up.
It was later revealed that Kwannon had swapped bodies with Betsy Braddock, the original Psylocke. Kwannon’s arrival among the X-Men caused much confusion since she inhabited Betsy’s original body. Although Kwannon shared Betsy’s likeness, she was largely an outsider and a stranger to the X-Men. While she briefly joined the Children of the Atom, Kwannon was never really one of them.
In 1994’s X-Men #31, by Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, Matt Ryan, Lovern Kindzierski, Digital Chameleon and Bill Oakley, Kwannon died, ending her short time among the X-Men. Even after Kwannon was resurrected in her original body, she was a very obscure figure, frequently confused for Betsy.
As recently as 2019’s Uncanny X-Men #16, by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, Guru-eFX and VC’s Joe Caramagna, Kwannon was still a stranger to the X-Men. Depending on the circumstances, Kwannon fought against or alongside Marvel’s Mutants but she never shared a true connection with them.
Psylocke’s recent promotion to Krakoan captain indicates a growing relationship with her fellow mutants. It would appear that Kwannon has earned some serious respect from the Krakoan captains, considering her leadership of the Hellions. Leading any team is a challenge, but Psylocke was tasked with watching over some of the most volatile mutants on Krakoa.
Moreover, Mister Sinister was at the helm of this dangerous group. Considering all of these circumstances, it’s amazing that Kwannon led the team as well as she did. The Hellions succeeded on several missions, all under Psylocke’s leadership. On more than one occasion, Psylocke ended up rescuing the whole team herself.
Most importantly, Psylocke reached out to several members of the Hellions, bringing out the best in these troubled mutants. This is a far cry from the obscure assassin whose only tie to the X-Men was being constantly mistaken for Betsy Braddock. Now, it seems that after a few decades of history, Kwannon has finally found her place among Krakoa’s most heroic warriors.
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