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Psylocke & Archangel Crimson Dawn # 1

Issue Date: August 1997

Story Title: Before The Break Of Dawn

Staff: Ben Raab (writer), Salvador Larroca (pencils), Thibert, Martinez, Parsons & Hack Shack (inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft/HF & AD (letters), Lichtner/Liquid Colors (colors & separations), Matt Idelson (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description:
Tar lands on Earth, heavily wounded and chased by Kuragari. Kuragari throws Tar off his throne and off his duties as custodian of the ancient mysteries of the Crimson Dawn. He then manages to take control over all of Tar’s magical helpers and keeps attacking him. Tar just barely escapes and makes it to Gomurr the Ancient, warning the old guy to get some help. But after the warning, Tar dies. Gomurr hopes that Psylocke and Archangel will be enough to do the trick. Meanwhile, Betsy and Warren have problems of their own due to her changes after being rescued by the Crimson Dawn blood. They end up with Warren angrily leaving the apartment. Warren however gets a pep talk from Wolverine, and hopes that his support will be enough for Betsy, even though she chooses to heal alone. Betsy finds herself being haunted by shadows. She decides to train to find out if there’s still a little humanity left inside her, and to find out what’s going on inside her body. She fights computer simulations of the Slaymaster, Spiral and Matsu’o Tsurayaba, and ends up confronting and nearly killing a simulation of deceased New Mutants member Doug Ramsey, a boy she had strong feelings for. Kuragari sends out his Undercloak warriors to retrieve Betsy. They do as told, and at the end of the confrontation with Doug they inform Betsy that she has turned into one of them.

Full Synopsis:
Chinatown, New York City. Midnight. The witching hour:
Tar sits alone in a dark alley. He panics and mumbles things about someone who can’t get him, and he can’t fail, or all will be lost. He uses his magic skills to summon his servants, as he requires their help, and asks them to search the entire city for Gomurr the Ancient, and warn him about the upcoming danger. But Tar’s servants turn on him, and attack.

Tar’s servants now work for another master, an evil person named Kuragari. Tar seems to know him and apparently isn’t glad to see him. Kuragari tells Tar that his days as custodian of the ancient mysteries of the Crimson Dawn are over - a new dawn will break of this day, and he shall be its master! Tar’s servants keep attacking him, and he screams.

Meanwhile, high above the horrors, Archangel soars the night sky and scouts the area. He finds the town to be so peaceful. Warren can’t remember the last time he felt so happy, since he recently got his feathered wings back. He stops by a Soho loft and is there to see Betsy again, whom Warren hasn’t seen all week because he was so busy with his company. He enters the apartment, but Psylocke is nowhere to be found. Warren finds that suspicious because Betsy is usually at home at this hour. Warren doesn’t notice that a familiar-looking woman is sneaking up to him.

Psylocke attacks Warren, but was just playing and kicks him on the floor. They start kissing. Warren says hi to her, and shows her two tickets to the current hottest Broadway show there is. Betsy doesn’t want to go, since she doesn’t feel that she’s ready to face the world yet after what happened. Warren tries to make her understand that the “accident” wasn’t her fault, but he wants to help her out. Betsy gets angry at him, shouting at Warren that if he wants to help her, he should leave her alone. Warren gets left behind and thinks that, for a moment, Betsy’s former self seemed to have returned, and he wishes she remained that way.

Chinatown, later that night:
Gomurr uses his intangible powers to prevent the rain from touching him. He jokes about the people passing by, getting wet, and laughs. Suddenly, he hears a noise and goes to check it out. The noise came from his house. Gomurr can’t believe it when he finds the horribly wounded Tar bleeding on his carpet. Tar warns Gomurr about the breaking dawn, and that Kuragari did this to him. Then he dies. Gomurr wonders if Kuragari could have returned from the shadows. And if so, Gomurr pounds, will the troubled couple be enough to stop him?

Meanwhile, Warren thinks about how much Betsy has changed since he rescued her, and how distant she reacts to him. In the apartment, Psylocke thinks about the hard times she endures as a telepath, and trying to hold back whatever’s inside her makes it even worse. Suddenly, a large shadows appears behind her. It asks Betsy why she even bothers to try then, if she has a hard time to do it. After all, her time has come. Psylocke turns around and sees the shadows, and melts into the darkness of it. But only to emerge into another.

Betsy knows that something strange is happening to her. Her thoughts are unfocused and her vision blurry. But she senses another presence in the room she’s in, and that person is also in her mind. Betsy focuses her “psychic knife” and prepares to strike out on her follower. She turns around, only to be grabbed by a scared Archangel! He tries to calm her down and asks what’s wrong. Betsy apologizes, and explains that she couldn’t feel that it was Warren. None of her telepathic skills could pick up a single thought in the building. She felt an all-consuming rage penetrating to the depths of her soul, and there was nothing she could do about it. Betsy thinks that it’s best that Warren stays away for a while, before he gets really hurt.

Warren gets a little angry hearing that. He knows that they haven’t spent much time together since they left the X-Men. When was the last time they went out to the movies, or on a dinner? But Warren did everything he could to help Betsy adjust to whatever the Crimson Dawn blood does to her. He hates the fact that she acts like this to him, and wants to know what’s going on with her. Betsy doesn’t answer.

Archangel recalls what happened with him when Betsy was in a coma. At that time, Warren found himself in a hell. He wanted to make Sabretooth pay for what he did to her, but the battle didn’t end well for him. Warren doesn’t know what he would have done if Psylocke had died. He suspects that the most important part of him would have died alongside her. And, now that Betsy has crossed-over to her new “dark side,” it’s like the first part that attracted Warren to her, that what he calls irresistible joie de vivre, now really did die in her.

Warren doesn’t know what’s going on between them now, but wishes that Betsy could just tell it to him. He flies out of the apartment and leaves Betsy behind. She feels sad but tells herself that if she knew what was going on, she would tell him.

Elsewhere, within a Stygian realm hidden somewhere between the shadows of our world, stands the imperial seat of arcane power that belongs to the newly self-appointed protector of the Crimson Dawn: Kuragari. Sitting on his throne, Kuragari thinks. He thinks that the cycle proceeds apache. His “dragons” have eroded enough of the barrier between this and the Earth world for his campaign of conquest to begin. Kuragari’s predecessor, Tar, is no more. His seat of power now belongs to Kuragari, and all that remains is the ninja girl, referring to Psylocke. Kuragari suspects that she yet teeters dangerously close to the precipice of insanity, which is a direct result of the mixture of her life force with the mystical essence of the Crimson Dawn. Kuragari thinks that a simple tap should be all that is necessary to push Betsy over the edge and into the abyss!

Kuragari summons the Undercloaks to him. He orders them that the time has come for Psylocke to join their ranks. He takes out a shiny little thing out of his pocket, and tells his men to give the item to Psylocke as a gift. The Undercloaks teleport away and promise not to fail. Kuragari can only hope that they keep their word.

Archangel concludes that something dangerous is happening to Psylocke. It’s like the Crimson Dawn turned her into a different person. He wishes that he knew what to do to help her. Suddenly, Wolverine approaches him, and mocks that love is great, but that it can really hurt when it turns against you. Warren’s a bit surprised to see Logan, and wants to know how he got passed their security system undetected. And why he’s there, too. Wolverine simply answers that he’s got his ways to pass so-called security systems and, seeing as how they’re practically neighbors now, he thought he just passed by to see how Betsy was doing.

Wolverine wants Warren to understand that Betsy isn’t the same girl she was before all this happened to her. She changed after their rescue, but Logan notices that Warren too has changed a bit. Warren admits that and recalls that he certainly isn’t the innocent boy he was when he first came to Xavier’s. Ever since the day he joined the X-Men, Warren’s life – both personal and professional - has been in a constant state of flux. Warren says that, whether it was X-Factor, the Champions or even the Defenders, he defined himself according the company he kept.

Warren remembers how confused about who, or even what, he was when his wings got injured he would have done anything to finally define himself as an individual. He even sold his soul to the devil named Apocalypse, so that he might become his Archangel of Death. But just when Warren was become to terms about what Apocalypse did to him, fate, or Apocalypse himself, Warren doesn’t really know the answer, dealt him yet another surprise as his organic wings melted and his original ones grew back. But Warren now realizes that, no matter what happened to him, he always had people to rely on. So why can’t Betsy do that exact same thing?

Wolverine tells Warren that is a simple question to answer: because Betsy isn’t him! She knew exactly who she was, and who she wanted to be, and that got taken away from her without her say in the matters. Betsy was raised as a gently British girl, but that wasn’t enough. Betsy wanted to do as much as her twin brother Brian did as Captain Britain. She hooked up with the X-Men, just in time to have it come crashing down when they had to step through the Siege Perilous portal. And instead of giving Betsy a fresh start at life like the portal was supposed to, it turned her into a living nightmare! Her mind got trapped in the body of a ninja assassin! So you could say that Betsy got what she wanted, only in a very twisted way.

Still, after she was set free, Betsy still played the hand she was dealt with only to have that taken away from her recently by Sabretooth. Wolverine reminds Warren that if it weren’t for the two of them, agreeing to put aside their differences and give Betsy the blood of the Crimson Dawn, she would have died. Wolverine understands if Betsy would choose to heal alone. Warren understands, and thanks Logan for the pep talk and flies him back home. Later, Warren recalls the misunderstandings he and Logan had in the past, but has to admit that he is one stand-up guy. He hopes that his support will be enough for Betsy.

Psylocke herself decides to train. She makes the computer run the Braddock solid light projector simulation called “Delta Omicron Epsilon Gamma,” which she sees as the ultimate test to find out if there’s a little humanity left in her.

A projection of the Slaymaster appears, the man who blinded her all those many years ago. Slaymaster mocks her, but Betsy takes out her sword and slashes through the simulation. The next hologram is formed, and it turns out to be Spiral. Betsy still holds her responsible for ruining most of her life, and if it were the real Spiral she would be confronting, she would stake her the same way she does with the simulation! A simulation of Matsu’o Tsurayaba appears, and mocks Betsy that he was the one pulling all the strings. Betsy has enough of the man and slashes him as well.

Betsy’s a little tired and wants to rest. But she knows she can’t do that and won’t give up. Suddenly, a voice asks Betsy if it’s really her, and if she won’t kill him. Betsy angrily answers she will. She grabs the person by his throat, but pulls back when she sees… Doug! Betsy can’t believe she would actually kill the boy who once loved her. She can’t believe what she has become.

Another person appears in the shadows, and explains to Psylocke, calling her shadow sister, that she doesn’t have to fear, as she has now become one of them!

Characters:
Archangel, Psylocke, Wolverine

Gomurr the Ancient
Tar

Kuragari

The Undercloaks (Kuragari’s shadow warriors)

Through-out the two flash-backs on Warren and Betsy’s lives:
Angel/Death I/Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl I/Jean Grey (all original X-Men and X-Factor)
Psylocke
Captain Britain I (Brian Braddock)
Meltdown (all X-Force)
Blockbuster I, Harpoon, Sabretooth (all Marauders standing in shadows)
Apocalypse

As Computer simulations:
Slaymaster
Spiral
Matsu’o Tsurayaba
Cypher I (Doug Ramsey)

Notes:
First appearance of Kuragari and the Undercloak servants.

Warren originally joined the X-Men just prior to X-Men (1st series) #1. [X-Men (1st series) #56] He left when the second team was formed in Giant-Sized X-Men #1 and later helped form the Champions in Champions #1, leaving when the group disbanded. When Jean Grey was found alive after being believed killed as Dark Phoenix, Warren agreed to rejoin the once original X-Men and they formed X-Factor together in X-Factor (1st series) #1. His wings were amputated after being mangled by Harpoon and Blockbuster during an attempt to help the massacred Morlocks in X-Factor (1st series) #14. He was later transformed into Death and joined Apocalypse in X-Factor (1st series) #24, as it was Apocalypse who gave Warren the metal wings. Luckily, X-Factor was able to bring Warren out of Apocalypse’s influence.

He left X-Factor in X-Factor (1st series) #70, when all the original members agreed to rejoin the X-Men in X-Men (2nd series) #1. He got his feathered wings back in Uncanny X-Men #338, and left the team after he and Wolverine had to rescue Psylocke from near death. They met Gomurr and Tar when searching for the Crimson Dawn blood in Uncanny X-Men #329-331. Warren fought Sabretooth in Sabretooth: In The Red Zone #1 in an order to avenge his brutal act upon Psylocke, but the outcome of the battle didn’t end so well for him as he got badly injured, but now he is recovered.

Slaymaster temporary blinded Psylocke way back in Captain Britain (2nd series) #13. Betsy later on used her telepathy to “see” but Spiral actually restored her eyes, making them bionic in New Mutants (1st series) Annual #2. Cypher was beginning to form feelings for Betsy when she lived at the mansion, but Betsy doubted about her emotions because of the age difference. Eventually, they never were allowed to explore their feelings, as Doug was killed in a successful attempt to save Wolfsbane’s life. [New Mutants (1st series) #60] Psylocke was allowed to join the X-Men after successfully defending herself against Sabretooth in Uncanny X-Men #213. When Betsy sensed an attack coming from the Reavers, she convinced the X-Men to disband and step through the Siege Perilous and start a new life, as seen in Uncanny X-Men #250-251.

After Betsy stepped through the portal, she was found by the leader of the Hand, Matsu’o Tsurayaba, who manipulated her and transformed Psylocke into his personal assassin. She was found by Wolverine and Jubilee, who brought her back to normal. [Uncanny X-Men #255-257] She fought Sabretooth in an attempt to rescue Meltdown, which nearly cost her her own life, but she was eventually restored by the Crimson Dawn blood. [Uncanny X-Men #328-330]

Wolverine has left the X-Men to recover from his wounds, and has bought a house in Soho in the Tokio District to be able to do that, as from Wolverine (2nd series) #107.

Issue Summary written by: Homer Jay


Next Issue - Psylocke & Archangel Crimson Dawn # 2

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