Friday, May 31, 2013

Equal Opportunity Mind Control part II: Encore Ensemble Enslavement

When we last left the X-men... Oy, what a story.

Uncanny X-men # 257 saw Wolverine and Jubilee getting kidnapped by Lady Mandarin, who was actually their former teammate Psylocke, mind controlled by the Mandarin and the Hand to serve as their latest master assassin. The Mandarin took Jubilee under his wing, while the Hand tried to brainwash Wolverine.

Alas, the villains didn't have much luck with either of them...

But not for lack of trying, though. Psylocke actively kept trying to breach Wolverine's impressive mental resistance. She even tried to seduce him by taking on the form of his former lovers. Mariko Yashida, Yukio, even his old teammate Jean. Let's see how Logan responded to that...

"Seduction was but one... pathway to your soul!"

So, if the sweet and subtle way fails, you can always fall back on a bit of primal violence. After all, this is the Wolverine you're facing. You'd better fight fire with fire, right? Or as Psylocke herself puts it...

"My psychic knife... the ultimate focus of my psi-powers... is as deadly a weapon as your claws! With it... I make you forever MINE!"

Yeah, just like in the previous issue, Psylocke jams her psychic knife in his head... But this time, it doesn't subdue Wolverine. No, it actually forms a mental bond between the two combatants, which causes Psylocke considerable pain...

"Too late, bub!"

The reason for Psylocke's screaming is rather simple. Thanks to their mental rapport, she instantly experienced everything Logan had ever been through. From the Hand's recent, tortuous mental reconditioning to the abuse suffered at the hands of the Reavers... And let's not forget almost a century of anger, pain and frustration... It's a miracle she didn't turn completely insane.

Well, she did a little... Psylocke also got a taste of Logan's psychosis. Wolverine's healing factor had been failing, which resulted in unattended physical ánd mental ailments. And when it came to the brain department, it was a doozy: Logan had developed a major psychosis in which he envisioned being in the company of Nick Fury and Carol Danvers... Guess who came to visit Betsy.

"Summon lord Matsuo! ... He's returned to his island!"

Turns out lord Matsuo made the right call by leaving, because things were about to go from bad to worse fo the Hand. Their master assassin was fighting ghosts and now their main quarry was starting to wake up. And we all know what adamantium claws do best: go *snikt* and break stuff. Like glass sensory deprivation tanks...

"Any objections, shorty... to my shortening the odds?"

Wait, how come figment Fury is cutting those Hand ninjas to ribbons? Madness, you say? Well, yes... Psylocke's, as a matter of fact. After getting a taste of Wolverine's psychotic worldview, she considers  Fury and Carol real people whose actions have an actual impact on the world. So... if their bullets hit somebody, Psylocke uses her mental powers to convince the victims they have been shot.

Mind control to make a psychotic persona feel validated... that's a new one.

However, Psylocke eventually overcame the effects of the psychosis and tore Wolverine a new one. In fact... his last one.

"Dispose of the remains, if you please"

Seeing Wolverine's corpse was such a shock that Jubilee was able to shake off the dominating effect of the Mandarin's 'mento-intensifier' ring. Overcome with emotion, she lashed out with her mutant powers... Usually, that resulted in some blinding but hardly harmful fireworks, this time her pyrokinetics caused an explosion that tore apart the Mandarin's massive villa.

Psylocke took advantage of the Mandarin's initial shock to attack the master villain. Turns out she was no longer under his control either. But defeating Iron Man's arch nemesis is far easier said than done, as both X-women were about to find out.

"Eh?!? My arm... it will not move!"

Oh, sweet, sweet mind control... you never disappoint, do you?

"You forget, Mandarin... I have worn your rings... and touched your mind!"

But just as the Mandarin was about to overcome her mental domination... Wolverine turned out to be too dead after all. And with a third adamantium claw about to pop his head off, the Mandarin was suddenly rather open to discuss a truce.

Americans achieving peace with honor after a stalemated conflict in Asia...and they didn't even need doctor Henry Kissinger. Truly, these are more modern times...

"Gimme a break! She's a telepath, she could be playing with your head!"

Leave it to Jubilee to point out what the readers might be thinking... And it's not even that big a stretch. Who would trust this 'new' Psylocke, after all she's done? Well, Wolverine does...

But hey, hé's nuts...

No comments: