X-Men (2nd series) #22

Issue Date: 
July 1993
Story Title: 
The Mask Behind The Facade

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Andy Kubert (penciler), Mark Pennington (inker), Joe Rosas (colorist), Bill Oakley (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

In the state of Lord Nyoirin, the X-Men do battle with the Silver Samurai, whom they manage to defeat. After the fight, Gambit finds a scroll behind the torn painting of Psylocke/Kwannon they noticed earlier. It is Nyoirin's diary. Meanwhile in Tokyo, Japan Shinobi Shaw attends a meeting at a lounge with three of the top crimelord’s of the Jigoku crime underworld. After the meeting, the Gamesmaster appears before Shinobi and Matsu'o and explains to Shaw why he is giving the chance to kill Psylocke to Matsu'o and not to him. Back at Nyoirin's estate, the X-Men study Nyoirin's diary. Written in Japanese, Psylocke says that she cannot read it. Angered, the British Betsy uses her Psi-blade on Psylocke to explain what the scroll said and to mind probe Psylocke to see what she recalls. Through Psylocke's memories, the X-Men see Kwannon on a shipping dock where she finds Betsy Braddock unconscious just after she emerged from the Siege Perilous. Kwannon tries to help Betsy but when they touch both their minds merge and the two people become one mind in two bodies. With the memory finished, Psylocke, who feels angry about what she considers lies from Betsy, attacks her, forcing Gambit to step in and break up the fight. Suddenly, Lord Nyoirin arrives and explains to the two female X-Men that both of them are Kwannon and both of them are Betsy Braddock. While all this goes on, in Alaska Cyclops explains to his Grandparents about having to send his son to the future to save him and of his return as Stryfe. Their conversation is shortened when Mr. Milbury, one of Cyclops' Grandparent's neighbors comes over and asks for help with a fallen tree. Cyclops goes to help him, but when he arrives at Milbury's home he finds the neighbor transformed into Mr. Sinister.

Full Summary: 

Gambit, Psylocke, and Betsy prepare to fight the Silver Samurai who has already taken out the Beast. Gambit informs the Silver Samurai that they were not there to fight, just to look, listen, and learn. Stoically, the Silver Samurai tells Gambit that he has never known him to battle, when running would serve him equally. Adding further, the Samurai tells Gambit that his fight, and that of his lord's, is with the females. With these words, the battle begins as Gambit, Psylocke and Betsy rush to the sword drawn Samurai.

Gambit taunts the Silver Samurai, jumping over his head. After landing, Gambit narrowly avoids a dagger, thrown by the Samurai. Originally intended for Gambit's head, it winds up hitting the right breast of the picture of Kwannon/Psylocke. Gambit notes how ironic it is that the Silver Samurai's blade would do what a lot of people would like to do to Psylocke now. Insulted, but not deterred, Psylocke attacks the Samurai, along with Betsy, both fighting in tandem. The two females simultaneously sink their psi-weapons into the Samurai incapacitating him. The Beast, who is just returning to consciousness, hits the Samurai in the head, shattering his helmet and knocking him unconscious. Taking stock of the situation, Beast apologizes to the other X-Men for missing out on the frolic and fun. As Gambit pulls the Silver Samurai's knife from the painting of Kwannon, he finds a scroll hidden behind it. Shocked, Betsy immediately recognizes it as Lord Nyoirin's diary.

In the Ginza district of Tokyo, Japan a limousine pulls up to a building called the "Cocktail Lounge". Shinobi Shaw phases through the door of the limo and does so again through the front door of the club. After walking through a room full of patrons, he phases through another door and enters a private dining room, where three members of the Jigoku criminal underworld sit and eat. Sitted cross-legged on floor cushions are Matsu'o Tsurayaba, Lord Tatsu'o, and Lord Nyoirin. Shinobi apologizes for being late, but Matsu'o dismisses the apology, telling him that they expect no less from an irresponsible, fledgling industrialist like himself. Dismissing the insult, Shinobi notices that there is no representative from the Hong Kong district. Nyoirin tells him that should the Mandarin be alive, he will claim it as his own. As it stands, the territory is best left unallocated.

With the meeting officially begun, the three crimelord’s listen to Shaw as he rambles on about how he would rather be left alone and not have to come to these silly meetings. Lord Tatsu'o becomes angry and grabs Shaw, telling him not to tell them that matters of clan honor mean nothing. Throwing Shaw across the table, he tells him how his own daughter tried to poison him and failed due to the intervention of loyal kin. He adds that ensuring their mutual well being is vital if they are to carry their tradition down to their descendants. On the floor and rubbing his jaw, Shinobi tells Lord Tatsu'o that he did not seek to disparage his family name. Offering his sincerest apologies, Shinobi asks if they can't continue.

At the home of Cyclops' grandparents Cyclops' Grandmother Deborah is shocked to learn that Cyclops let his own son be taken away to the future. As Philip Summers' tries to calm his wife down, he decides he needs a smoke from his pipe, despite not having smoked in ten years. Cyclops apologizes for burdening them both, but tells them he needed to tell them what happened. Deborah tells Cyclops how rough it must be for him not to know whether his decision was the right one or not. Cyclops then tells them how his son returned as a madman; a demagogue from the future named Stryfe. Stoking the fire, Cyclops tells them that because of his choice, his son became everything that he has fought his entire life to stop. As he about to tell them about Cable, Mike Milbury, one of Philip's neighbors, knocks on the door. Telling them that a tree has fallen on his shed, he asks to borrow Philip's chainsaw. Philip says okay and introduces him to Cyclops. Mr. Milbury says that they have met before, but Cyclops doesn't seem to remember. Pulling off his hat and revealing a diamond shaped mark, Milbury tells Cyclops that he was young... very, very young.

Back at Nyoirin's estate the X-Men are surprised to find that Psylocke cannot read the scroll because it is Japanese. The British Betsy, however, can. Feeling anxious, Gambit decides that it would be better to read the scroll in the Blackbird saying that a good thief never hangs around to count his purses. Psylocke agrees and turns her back to leave. Betsy seizes the opportunity to sink her psi-blade into Psylocke's back, saying that the answers lie here; in the mansion written on the scroll and in her mind. She tells the group that they will not leave until the situation has been settled. As Gambit asks Betsy to stop, she informs him that the only reason it hurts Psylocke is that she is resisting her psychic link. As Psylocke whispers no, Betsy asks why? Is she unwilling to discover the truth?

(flashback) Betsy tells Psylocke to listen to what the Nyoirin's scroll says. Nyoirin writes that Kwannon has not returned. She was sent on a routine assignment in Osaka days ago. Sources have informed him that she was seen in Hong Kong. Why would she go there? Was she there of her own free will or was she abducted?

Through the words on the scroll, and through Psylocke's telepathically broadcasted thoughts, the X-Men see the past. They see Kwannon's past. On the docks of Osaka, where she was sent by Lord Nyoirin to end the life of a shipping clerk, Kwannon stalks with her sword drawn. Instead of finding her prey she finds Betsy Braddock's body, unconscious from having just emerged from the Siege Perilous. Although still wrapped in her armor, her mind is fractured and her body battered raw. For once in Kwannon's life, instead of reaching out to kill, she reaches out to save and she touches Betsy. However, the touch was not merely physical, but spiritual as well. In Betsy's chaotic state, Kwannon's mind and Betsy's minds merge. Having lost all sense of self, Kwannon runs off blindly and unstable. Later she was found by Matsu'o, who used the Mandarin and the resources of the Hand to piece together the two fractured minds into a unified whole.

Going back to the text, Betsy reads Nyoirin's thoughts. He writes his disbelief that it is his Kwannon who is in the employ of the Hand. Yet, he notes the rumors of a British woman found at the docks the night Kwannon disappeared. Nyoirin's last thoughts in his diary are of visiting the sanitarium where the British woman lies and start finding out what truly happened that night.


Betsy removes her psi-blade from Psylocke's back. As Psylocke falls to the ground, Betsy tells the X-Men that Nyoirin found her took her in, and little by little helped her regain her memory. His motives, she tells them, was so that he could regain the services of Kwannon, a woman who was not only his prime assassin, but his lover as well. On the ground, Psylocke quietly whispers no.

With his head in his hands, Beast tells his comrades that the story does complicate matters, leaving quite a number of unanswered questions. Gambit chimes in with one, pointing out how British looking Betsy can read Japanese and Asian looking Betsy cannot. Betsy then says the only questions she wonders about is, why Psylocke chose to impersonate her and walk among the X-Men, impersonating her. Answering her own question, Betsy tells the X-Men that she is still employed by the Hand, and as soon as she is ordered, will betray the X-Men.

Back at the "Cocktail Lounge" in Tokyo, Matsu'o tells Shinobi that he thought for certain that Tatsu’o was dead when he manhandled him earlier. Downing a bottle of wine, Shaw tells him that it was just not his style. When Matsu'o scoffs, stating that he never knew Shinobi to have style at all, Shinobi angrily asks Matsu'o what he has done to claim the delusional title of "murdering artiste". Suddenly, the argument is interrupted when the Gamesmaster's astral form appears, telling Shinobi not to belittle Matsuo’s accomplishments. Looking up at the immense hologram that fills the room, Shinobi asks the Gamesmaster why he granted Matsu’o, who is not a member of the Upstarts, the right to kill Psylocke. The Gamesmaster tells Shinobi that when they asked him to arbitrate their ongoing competition, they never told him that he couldn't respect the carefully planned games of others. With this cryptic phrase, the Gamesmaster disappears in a flash of light.

Back at Nyoirin's estate, Psylocke, who has recovered from Betsy’s psi-probe, attacks Betsy. In full kick attack, Psylocke tells Betsy that she cannot stand for anymore of her lies. Gambit intervenes, using his staff to knock Psylocke to the ground. As Beast holds Betsy back from counter-attacking Psylocke, Lord Nyoirin and the Silver Samurai walk into the room. Nyoirin explains to the female X-Men that the answer to their little ongoing debate is as simple as it is obvious, they are really both who they claim to be. He tells them both are "Kwannon" and both are "Betsy Braddock". They essential question, he tells them is, can either of them ever truly become whole again, and more, do they desire to?

At Mr. Milbury's house in Alaska, Cyclops comes to try to help his Grandparent's neighbor remove the fallen tree. However, as he walks around the house, he finds not the elderly Mr. Milbury, but the villain, Mister Sinister. Taunting the X-Men, Sinister tells Cyclops that he has grown to such a kind man... but then he was a kind boy. Continuing, he tells Cyclops that the only tree he is interested in is Cyclops' family tree. Standing before Cyclops in all of his power and evil, Sinister he asks if Cyclops would prefer to join him, or will the Summers' family line end here and now?

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Cyclops, Gambit, Psylocke (all X-Men)

Revanche (X-Men Ally)

Philip and Deborah Summers, Cyclops' grandparents

Shinobi Shaw

Lord Nyoirin

Lord Tatsu'o

Matsu'o Tsurayaba

Silver Samurai

Mr. Sinister / Mike Milbury

Gamesmaster, in astral form

Assorted staff and patrons of the Cocktail Lounge

In flashback :

Betsy Braddock


Story Notes: 

Once again, in a confusing manner, several captions read the British Betsy as being Revanche, although no character refers to her as such. While, inexplicably, Beast and Psylocke referred to her as such in the previous issue, Revanche still believes herself to be the true Elisabeth (Betsy) Braddock.

A few years later, Milbury will be revealed to be the name of the manor in which Sinister, in his previous human identity of Nathaniel Essex, lived with his wife Rebecca. After his transformation by Apocalypse [Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix miniseries] Sinister regularly used the alias of Milbury in his many projects.
The content of the scroll did not describe the true events of how Psylocke and Kwannon got merged. The real story is much more complicated and can be found in X-Men (2nd series) #31-32.

Issue Information: 
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