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Ultimate X-Men #91

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X-Men (2nd series) # 31

Issue Date: April 1994

Story Title: Soul Possessions - part 1: The Butterfly and the Hawk

Staff: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Andy Kubert (penciler), Matt Ryan (inkers), Lovern/ Digital Chameleon (colorist), Bill Oakley (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description:
Spiral sits in her lair and watches the video monitors flash across the screen about the life of a young woman named Kwannon and the love of her life, Matsuo, seeing also their chance encounters and brief flirtations of love. Inside the mansion, of Xavier’s the young mutant named Revanche leaves a note for the Professor and then leaves the mansion as mysteriously as she came. Moments later, Xavier approaches Betsy and the two of them talk about Revanche’s note and her reason in leaving their team. Waiting for him to leave, she pulls out a present left to her by Revanche, her very own bionic eyes. Inside Spiral’s lair, her transmission is lost and she curses Revanche for removing the implants. Near the town of Chosin on Japan’s Pacific Coast, Matsuo looks over a picture of his love, Kwannon, and remembers a happier time between them. Interrupting his memories, Spiral appears and warns him that Revanche is coming after him. Back at the mansion, Warren offers to take Betsy for a drive, which she graciously accepts. While they go out to eat, Revanche appears to Matsuo and, after probing his mind for answers, he tells her that he was just trying to save their love. Revanche tells him that he failed; showing her Legacy-ridden body to him, she tells him that he placed her in a body fated to die! Feeling like he betrayed her, he honors her last request and that is to kill her before the Legacy Virus does. Back in Westchester, Warren crashes his car, due to Betsy’s panicked convulsions. After freeing themselves of the wreckage, the two X-Men are met by Spiral, who answers Betsy’s question on who has messed with both Kwannon and Betsy’s minds.

Full Synopsis:
Spiral and Mojo are watching a display screen that plays a scenario that occurred a couple of years ago. It is an assassin by the name of Kwannon and she is practicing her skills high above the Tokyo streets. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop seems easy for a woman of her skill, till a slight misstep causes her to fall to the ground below. Luckily for her, the love of her life, Matsuo Tsurayaba, was nearby and he saves her life at the last second.

Matsuo grasps her hand and pulls her back to the top of the building. He calls her his Butterfly and she chides him for his arrogance at calling her such a disgraceful name. She tells him that a woman of her skills should be a bird of prey and not a delegate animal. Matsuo asks her why if she chooses to fly like a Hawk is she so scarred of falling. Kwannon stands to her feet and tells him that she doesn’t fear the fall; it’s the flight she fears. She goes on to say the reasoning behind her fear is because she does not know how high she will fly.

Below the video screen, Spiral sits in the shadows with her many arms working for her advantage, as she plays the past memories of Kwannon. Spiral talks aloud about her feelings and she wonders why she tried to bring the love of Matsuo’s life back. She answers her on question by saying that it might be out of jealousy for her lost loves that she chose, instead of helping, to hinder. Spiral decides to switch to Revanche’s eyes, so she can see what is transpiring at the home of Charles Xavier. On the video screen Spiral and Mojo now witness a great sight to them. Revanche stands above the sleeping Charles Xavier and is only seconds away from delivering a fatal blow with her katana. Suddenly, the video screen goes blurry and Spiral knows there is only one way the video could have been lost.

Xavier sits in his hover-chair, still in his robe; he is in Psylocke’s bedroom. Psylocke holds Revanche’s Katana in her hands as Xavier explains that he found her weapon beside his bed with the note attached. Psylocke reads the note aloud and it states that Revanche feels that the team of X-Men deserve not to be held back by her disease, so she has decided to go far away where she can never hinder them again. Psylocke explains that her letter doesn’t explain where she went and, without Revanche with them, any more she may never find out what truly happened to her after the Siege Perilous released the body of Elizabeth Braddock.

Xavier tells Betsy that the entire team knows that she is the true Betsy Braddock, maybe not in body but she truly is in her soul. With that said, Xavier leaves Betsy’s room and, minutes later, Psylocke pulls a package from under her bed and wonders if she should tell the others about the package Revanche left for her. Psylocke ponders of who she can trust with the knowledge that she was used by an evil woman to spy on the X-Men with her bionic eyes?

In Spiral’s chamber, she smashes a nearby console and wonders aloud where Revanche could go without the use of her bionic eyes?

While Spiral ponders her travesty, in Tokyo, near the city of Chosin, Matsuo Tsurayaba remembers his Kwannon and a date hey once shared. Matsuo holds a picture of his butterfly and thinks back to the time when he had taken the picture of her.

Matsuo’s Flashback:
At the top of a penthouse somewhere in Tokyo, Matsuo tries his hardest to take a picture of the woman he calls his Butterfly. He does just as he tried and he receives a quick-tempered reply for his troubles. After taking the picture, Matsuo (Matta, as Kwannon calls him) is told to stop taking pictures. He poetically asks her if it is because her spirit and body are so elusive that she does not want herself to be captured in any form? She replies that he is too poetic and the only reason she asks for him to stop is due to her hatred of having her picture taken. He tells her that he likes art in any form, because, unlike the lives they live, art is permanent and it can stand the tests of time.

Changing the subject somewhat, Matsuo asks if Kwannon knows anything about her master, Lord Nyoirn’s, future plans. She tells him that sadly his next maneuver will put him in opposition to the Hand. Matsuo exclaims that his master is the Hand and she replies that it means the two of them (Matsuo and Kwannon) will have to fight one another. He tells her that the two of them don’t have to face one another in a battle to the death, they can easily fall from their penthouse balcony to the ground below and die in each others arms. She tells him that their deaths would have no honor in suicide for love and she requests that, if they ever meet in battle, she honors him by giving her a fight to the death. He tells her that, because he loves her, he will do as she asks and the two lovers kiss.

Back in the present:
Matsuo crumples up the picture in his hand and exclaims how his word and honor brought him only pain. Suddenly, a female’s voice is heard from behind him and a feminine hand draws an apple from a nearby basket. She tells him, as he realizes to whom the voice belongs, that she knows something of a lost love’s pain.

The woman begins to cut the apple with a knife, revealing that she has more than two arms. The woman is Spiral and she continues to talk about her promise to fix the damage that Matsuo had done to Kwannon’s body, but she said nothing about her mind. Spiral tells Matsuo that she walked out of the Eugenics Chamber, but it is not her fault that his Butterfly’s mind did not. Matsuo exclaims that even the Braddock woman did not come to him. She explains that she has to plead guilty in that circumstance, because Nyoirin loved his master’s assassin and paid a higher price to get her back.

A whirl of green smoke begins to surround Spiral as she dances her teleportation dance and she continues to tell him that she meant to rupture their love. Finishing their conversation, she tells him that natural events are changing her plan and she wants Matsuo to know that he should not make the same mistake in trying to save his lover again.

The morning at Xavier’s Institute, Psylocke is in the Danger Room, working out a few of her frustrations on the room’s combatants. The Danger Room’s settings are on lethal, meaning her opponents can kill her, but Psylocke seems to be more at ease when the danger is real. Suddenly, the holograms disappear and the man named Warren Worthington the third appears. Strangely, his appearance is white and he is dressed in his old outfit worn when his wings were real and he was among the original X-Men. He asks her if she would cut down an Angel, just to prove she is a hawk?

She draws back her Katana and lashes out at the hologram that Warren created, telling him that he shouldn’t be the pot calling the kettle black. She turns to the monitoring section of the Danger Room and asks him why he chose to send a hologram instead of being a man and asking her himself? He says over the speaker that she looks like she could use an ear and he would like some breakfast. He asks her if she wants to go to Muncey’s for brunch. She tells him that she appreciates how much he cares and she’ll be ready to leave, once she showers and changes.

Hank McCoy hangs from the ceiling fan in Xavier’s study, as Charles Xavier sits below him, in his Shi’Ar crafted hover chair. Xavier pours Hank a cup of coffee and the two friends talk about how Xavier has, of late, been spread too thin with running both the mansion and his daily activities. Xavier requests Hank to not only take over leadership of the Blue team, but also to be the overseer of the mansions activities too. Hank explains, as he sips his coffee upside down, that Xavier knows he has wanted to slowly back off from the superhero side of the X-Men and focus more on the Legacy virus.

Hank suggests Banshee as the next person Charles should ask, but Xavier tells him that Sean will have his hands tied in another matter altogether. Lifting a file from his desk, Charles hands it to Hank, who drops from the ceiling to get a better look at it. “The Xavier Institute,” Hank exclaims, as he reads the header of the title. Inside the folder, he sees that Emma Frost has given control of her Massachusetts Academy to Charles, since she is incapacitated by a recent battle with the Sentinels and she is currently in a coma under the watchful eyes of the X-Men. Hank quotes Cornelia Otis Skinner and tells Xavier that, if Emma can do something useful for the X-Men, so can he. Hank accepts Xavier’s proposal as the new leader of the Blue team and caretaker of the Mansion and all its activities. Beast teasingly states that, once he turns the mansion into a smoke-free establishment, Gambit may not be happy with the changing of the guard.

Inside Rogue’s room, Gambit leans against the threshold of the doorway, smoking his trademark cigarette. He asks Rogue where she was at this morning at breakfast, because he made them a healthy mix of granola and coco krispies. She tells him that she felt like staying under the covers this morning and catch up on some of her reading. Standing to her feet to open the blinds on the snow-filled day outside, she asks him if he saved all the sugary milk for her. He tells her that he didn’t and, as smoke floods from his nostrils, he tells her that he sucked all the sugar up for himself. Gambit asks her if everything is really okay with her, because, since their return from New Orleans, she has seemed distant. Rogue tells Gambit that she wouldn’t hide anything from him but she continues looking out amongst the snow filled landscape of Xavier’s Estate.

Matsuo’s Flashback
Matsuo crouches amongst the bushes of Lord Nyoirin’s estate and thinks back to a time when his tutor, Kirichiwa, told him, after he was inducted into the Brotherhood, his life belonged to the Hand. Suddenly, his lover, Kwannon, rushes close to him and with her Katana drawn. She tells him that she cannot allow him to attack her Lord. Quickly moving into defense, he screams at her, that, if he must, he will kill her in his stead. Ironically, the battle did not end with him delivering the killing blow; instead, a muddy cliff caused her to slip and fall - and fall she did, hundreds of feet to the rocks below. Behind Matsuo, Nyoirin asks him if his honor was worth the price he paid today. Matsuo tells him that it is not.

Nyoirin tells Matsuo to take Kwannon to the Hand and tell them that, if they can save her, he will never cross them again. Matsuo lifts his lover’s body from the waters below and is sad to see that she has already swallowed a massive amount of seawater. He takes her back to the Hand, where their scientists and mystics craftily heal her body. Matsuo thinks to himself that Nyoirin must have loved Kwannon as much as he loved her to give her up to his most hated enemies. Matsuo also ponders how his butterfly will ever fly again. with her wings so badly broken?

Back in the present:
Matsuo thinks to himself of how he was finally able to mend his butterfly’s wings, but only after dealing with the devil herself, in the form of Spiral, to achieve his goal. Suddenly, the mutant named Revanche crouches behind him, with a blind fold covering her missing eyes. She tells him that she can sense his thoughts and feel his pain, but he still does not have the slightest clue what her pain feels like. Matsuo turns and stutters out, Revanche…Kwannon? Revanche exclaims that she doesn’t know either what to call herself now; because of his attempt to save her life, she has now lost her mind and her body. She ends with telling him that it has also now cost her: her life.

In Salem Center, New York, the two friends Warren and Betsy walk arm-in-arm towards their attended destination. Betsy questions Warren if he feels bad about having to use his image inducer to walk among regular humans. He tells her that it all depends on how you look at it. People like Michael Jordan would love to have the image inducer so he could go out and eat without being hounded by reporters and fans. Warren tells Betsy that he knows she is trying to change the subject of the earlier conversation over cappuccino and he wants to know more about these mysterious bionic eyes. Warren pulls a yellow cloth from his coat and looks upon the two bionic eyes that Betsy gave him. Betsy tells him about the time when she was blinded and given new eyes by Spiral. She tells him that she was ashamed of her newfound eyes and didn’t tell the X-Men, because after their trip through the Siege Perilous and her body switch she didn’t think to pull out her eyes and see if they were real.

Betsy tells Warren that she likes talking to him, because she knows that he realizes how she feels. She says that, when Apocalypse turned him into Death, he woke up to a different face, just as she did after the Siege Perilous. Warren tells Betsy that the two of them have learned that, even though their bodies have changed, their friends have always stayed the same. Betsy says that she understands and she is grateful that her friends realize she is the true Betsy in Kwannon’s body. Holding up Revanche’s bionic eyes, she tells Warren that she hopefully will find all her answers through these eyes.

Revanche stands behind Matsuo and she tells him that it is odd how, no matter what she does, Matsuo’s minds eye sees her in Kwannon’s body, even though she is in Betsy’s body and standing behind him. Seeing through Matsuo’s mind, Kwannon has her psi-knife inches from Matsuo’s head, preparing to slice it through his mind. She does so and, by slicing through his mind, she makes him see her for who she truly is. Matsuo explains to Revanche that he was fooled into thinking that Kwannon’s body also contained her mind but, apparently, he was double-crossed by Spiral, who also was working for Lord Nyoirin. He tells her that, even after he found out, he hoped that her body would be enough to reshape their love.

Revanche tells Matsuo that she thinks his words are shallow, because he considered a body to be enough for their love. She tells him that Lord Nyoirin carried a fake diary that she used to piece together her past with but, as of late, her memories have returned and the knowledge of their love has returned with them. She asks him why he didn’t say anything to her when their path crossed only a few weeks ago. He tells her that he considered it penance for his sins.

Matsuo asks if the two of them can now truly know the love they had for one another, once again. Ripping apart her shirt, she shows him the Legacy Virus’ damage and explains that the only reason her memories have come back is due to the Virus’ amplification of her powers. She tells him that fate has destined this body to die! Matsuo exclaims that he has failed her once more. Pulling a short blade from her side, she tells Matsuo that the greatest gift he could give to her now is to let her die by the sword and not by the Legacy Virus. He stutters that he cannot kill her again. She tells him that he isn’t; he is setting her free.

In the distance, a purple cloud is seen rising in an explosion from the direction of Matsuo’s house. Matsuo thinks to himself that Revanche was a private person and would not want to feel other minds pressing in on her as she dies, but would rather the world feel her death instead.

Suddenly, on the roads of Westchester, New York, a car swerves into a nearby tree, as a purple psi-signature is seen coming from the inside. A woman screams the name of Warren and Betsy Braddock emerges from the wreckage, holding her head and telling Warren that Revanche is gone. Warren races to her side but he allows her to talk. She tells him that she will never know what happened to them and who could have caused both of their lives so much pain. In the midst of one of the nearby trees, Spiral remains unseen and tells Betsy that the answer to her question is always happy to extend a helping hand, or six!

Characters:
Archangel, Beast, Charles Xavier, Gambit, Psylocke, Revanche, Rogue, (all X-Men)
Salem Center Residents

Mojo (only his voice is heard)
Spiral

Matsuo’s Memories
Kwannon
Lord Nyoirin
Matsuo Tsurayaba
Mandarin
The Hand’s mystics and scientist

Spiral’s computer screen
Charles Xavier and Revanche (X-Men)
Kwannon
Matsuo Tsurayaba

Notes:
The book doesn’t state that it is Mojo’s voice we hear, but common sense tells you that it is.

The recent Gambit limited series is where Rogue and Remy visited New Orleans

Nyoirin is a symbol to the Japanese Buddhist, here is a brief explanation: From a respectful distance, Buddhists beseech the Nyoirin Kannon for blessings through the power of the “wish-granting gem” held in the innermost right hand of its six arms.

Issue Summary written by: Iceman (Trevor Cates)


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