X-Men (2nd series) #21

Issue Date: 
June 1993
Story Title: 
The Puzzle Box

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Brandon Peterson (penciler), Dan Panosian (inker), Bill Oakley (letterer), Joe Rosas (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

As the X-Men question her loyalty, Psylocke tries to remind her teammates that when it comes to trust she should have earned it by now. Enraged, the British Betsy attacks Psylocke, saying that Psylocke is lying about who she is. Xavier stops them and is then taken aside by Wolverine. Wolverine explains to Xavier that his senses tell him that both women are Betsy Braddock, and both are not. They both agree that the only way to answer their questions is to go to Lord Nyoirin's house for the answers. Meanwhile, Cyclops arrives at his grandparent's house in Alaska. There he prepares them for the truth of the recent events in his life surrounding his wife Madelyne and his son Nathan. In a penthouse in Tokyo, Lord Nyoirin meets with Shinobi to discuss how he can get Clan Yashida's honor back. The X-Men use Nyoirin's absence to their advantage and sneak into his house, only to discover a picture of Psylocke, labelled Kwannon, in Lord Nyoirin's study. Back at Shinobi's penthouse Nyoirin has left, but receives Matsu'o as a new guest. Matsu'o explains to Shinobi that the Gamesmaster has given him permission to kill Psylocke, and Shinobi cannot touch her. As the X-Men digest the revelation of the painting they are surprised by the Silver Samurai, who slices the Beast's back with his sword. Brandishing his sword at the rest of the X-Men, he tells them that in order to accomplish his goal of returning honor to the Clan Yashida, he will have to kill them all.

Full Summary: 

With tears welling in her eyes, Psylocke is held immobile against the wall of the Danger Room, her neck trapped between two of Wolverine's claws. With gritted teeth, Wolverine asks Psylocke who she really is. Psylocke says that there is no need to answer that question. After sharing each other's deepest, darkest thoughts and deeds, they know who she is. Storm then asks Xavier if he could do a probe of both their minds to see who is telling the truth. The British Betsy tells Xavier that she would yield to a mind probe but Psylocke refuses, recalling too many violations of her psyche. Jean then asks Psylocke if it was because of all the people who have tampered with her mind, that she has adopted such an aggressive use of her telepathic powers. Psylocke points out to the X-Men that they all have accepted her not being the same woman she once was.

Yelling that neither is she the woman she claims to be, the British Betsy regenerates her psychic katana blade and attacks Psylocke. As both prepare to finish their battle, Xavier stops them from fighting and tells them they will not fight in his house. Wolverine then asks Xavier to step outside to talk to him for a moment and Xavier tells the two not to fight while he is away. In the hallway outside the Danger Room, Wolverine tells Xavier that neither woman is lying, but neither is telling the truth. When Xavier asks how his senses can tell when his mind probes cannot, Wolverine tells his that they both smell like the Betsy that went through the Siege Perilous, but fight with Ninjitsu styles that the original Betsy should not have known. After taking a long draw from a cigar, Wolverine tells Xavier the only way they will find out any answers is to visit the home of the Jigoku crimelord Nyoirin in Japan.

In Anchorage, Alaska Cyclops' plane lands and he walks off into the terminal where his Grandparents, Philip and Deborah Summers, are waiting for him. Both look happy to see him but Scott thinks to himself of how his mind has been tampered with so much that he cannot remember the happy times he once shared with them. He thinks to himself that they are all of the only family members he has and he has family matters to discuss with them. Deborah tells Scott that she is worried because he sounded so tense on the phone. Scott apologizes to his parents and tells them that he has had a rough couple of months. His Grandparents tell him if they are good at one thing it is spoiling grandkids and they want to make him feel spoiled. Scott and his grandparents hop in their jeep and head to their home. After arriving, Deborah points out to Scott that he hasn't been there since Madelyne and the baby passed away. Feeling that this is as good a time as any, Scott tells them he wants them to know the truth about Madelyne and his son Nathan; How they lived, how they died... and how they lived again.

In Seattle, Washington Mesmero flies through the glass of his apartment window and falls to the street far below. As he falls, he is able to grab hold of a window ledge a couple of stories down from his window. Looking down from the balcony above, Foxbat explains to Mesmero that he has been tested by the Dark Riders and has been found lacking. Tusk, Psynapse, Foxbat, Barrage, and Gauntlet stand on the window ledge taunting Mesmero, who unknown to the other Dark Riders, is trying to take control of Psynapse's. Suddenly, Psynapse attacks the other Dark Riders with his psi-flashes. Immune from Psynapses attack, Gauntlet shoots the hanging Mesmero, who falls helplessly to the street below. Turning to Psynapse, Gauntlet raises his gun to the quivering mutant. With an evil grin, Guantlet tells Psynapse that he has been tested and he is not fit to survive. No more words needed, he fires his weapon.

In Tokyo, Japan inside of Shinobi Shaw's penthouse apartment Lord Nyoirin has come because Shinobi has summoned to see him. Lord Nyoirin asks why this meeting could not wait till tomorrow night when the Jigoku underworld heads meet. Shinobi says that he wants Nyoirin to regain control of his assassin, Kwannon and have her kill the X-Men. In return, Shinobi says he will second a vote to reinstate the Clan Yashida, which has been very unsteady since the death of Mariko Yashida, under Nyoirin's control. Lord Nyoirin agrees and they toast one another.

Meanwhile at the home of Lord Nyoirin, four X-Men (Beast, Gambit, Psylocke, and Betsy) sneak into the grounds of the estate. Gambit notices two guards at the door and takes them out with two of his cards. When Gambit exclaims how easy this is, Betsy tells him to not get over confident; Nyoirin's estate has eyes they cannot see. Psylocke questions how Betsy knows so much about the house, to which Betsy explains that her familiarity comes from having been held prisoner there for months. Just then a cadre of Ninjas drop from the ceiling, attacking the four X-Men. During the ensuing fight, Beast and Gambit notice how twin-like Psylocke and Revanche move and fight, practically mirror images of each other. After the X-Men defeat Lord Nyoirin's defenses, Gambit uses a lock pick to bust into Lord Nyoirin's private study. Inside, the X-Men are surprised to see a painting of Psylocke on the wall holding two Katana blades. Beast is able to translate the Japanese writing on the painting as saying "Kwannon in Repose" to which Revanche then exclaims, "I told you I was telling the truth"! After noting what a pretty picture it is Gambit asks the Beast if he can leave. Beast instructs Gambit to stay and deal with the inevitable showdown like a man... unless he doesn't mind taking him with him.

Back in Tokyo, Japan, Matsu'o has arrived uninvited and apparently unwanted at Shinobi Shaw's penthouse. Matsu'o explains to Shinobi that although he is not an Upstart, he has been granted permission by the Gamesmaster to kill Psylocke. Shinobi is enraged, as he believes he should have the right to kill Psylocke. However, since the Gamesmaster has spoken, he will not go against his wishes. Matsu'o tells Shinobi that he is no artist like himself and that Psylocke's death will be a work of art.

Back in Nyoirin' study, Gambit holds two energized cards to Psylocke's face, demanding answers from her. Psylocke knocks the cards from Gambit's hands, telling him that out of all the X-men, he is the last one she should be explaining anything to. As Beast ponders aloud why they were brought to this exact place, a shadowy figure with a glowing Katana slashes his back. It is the Silver Samurai. Brandishing his sword at the rest of the X-Men, the Sumurai tells them that in order to accomplish his goal of returning honor to the Clan Yashida, he will have to kill them all.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Gambit, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Professor X, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine, (all X-Men)

Revanche (X-Men Ally)

Philip and Deborah Summers (Cyclops' Grandparents)


Barrage, Foxbat, Gauntlet, Psynapse, Tusk (all Dark Riders)

Shinobi Shaw

Lord Nyoirin

Nyoirin's elite guard

Matsu'o Tsurayaba

Silver Samurai

Story Notes: 

Madelyne Pryor-Summers died in X-Factor #38. Their son, Nathan Christopher, was taken into the future by a woman named Askani, in an attempt to save his life [X-Factor #68].
Alpha Flight (2nd series) #4 shows that Mesmero was not shot by the Dark Riders, he only used his mental powers to make them believe they had killed him. The same explanation would work for Psynapse who shows up alive and well in X-Man #46, only to get killed once more.
Previously Matsu'o's name was spelled as Matsuo. This cannot truly be considered a mistake, as either spelling is an approximated Romanized spelling for a non-Western name.

Continuity error: While in Nyoirin's palace, Beast refers to the British Betsy as Revanche, as does Psylocke a few panels later. Up until this moment the British Betsy has emphatically claimed that she is the true Betsy. Period. Where the Beast got this information is a bit of a mystery, but can easily be chalked up to Nicieza jumping the gun during a complicated story.

Issue Information: 
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