Not much is known about Kwannon's life, not even her last name, She was however a mutant gifted with empathic and low level telepathic abilities. After years of ninja training, Kwannon became the top assassin for Japanese crime Lord Nyoirin, who was deeply in love with her. However she and Matsu'o Tsurayaba, assassin of rival group the Hand. Kwannon and Matsu’o feared their line of work would put them on opposing sides but, respecting each other as warriors with honor, they vowed to fight to the death should they ever be forced to directly fight each other. When the interests of Nyoirin and the Hand came into conflict, Kwannon was honor-bound to face Matsu'o in combat. During the battle, she fell off a cliff suffering severe brain damage leaving her in a coma. Seeing this, Matsu’o abandoned his mission and retrieved Kwannon, bringing her to the Hand’s labs, promising to find a way to heal her.
Kwannon first appeared in X-Men #31 (Feb 1993) and was created by Fabian Nicieza and Andy Kubert, although Chris Claremont originally came up with the initial ideas of the character.
The character of Kwannon herself wasn't established until a while after the body swap. The character was introduced believing herself to be the real Elizabeth Braddock, travelling with the X-Men and Psylocke to find out what really happened. After some truths were realized, Kwannon even went on to join the X-Men, even if it was briefly. Kwannon then contracted the mutant attacking Legacy Virus and died in her love's arms, thus finally settling the confusion behind the body swap. Although Kwannon hasn't ever returned in a personal sense, the legacy of the two bodies lives on today.
Major Story Arcs
The Body Swap
The telepathic mutant Betsy Braddock (aka Psylocke) was found washed up on the shore of the Hand's island base after passing through the Siege Perilous. Spiral convinced Matsu’o that she could use a combination of her tech and Psylocke’s mutant powers to save the life of his lover, Kwannon. Instead of using Psylocke’s telepathy to heal Kwannon’s shattered mind, Spiral betrayed Matsu’o and used her magic and alien technology to transfer Psylocke and Kwannon's minds and souls into each others body. Spiral also intermingled Kwannon and Psylocke's DNA. Possessing Betsy Braddock’s body and powers, Kwannon was led to believe she was the real Betsy Braddock and that Psylocke the was the imposter.
Kwannon took time to heal and re-trained to establish herself again as the master assassin. She took the name 'Revanche', a French term for the reclamation of lost territory, and made way to New York to visit the X-Men and reveal Psylocke as the 'true imposter'.
Revanche made her way to America and infiltrated the Xavier Mansion. The computers in the mansion detected two mutants that registered as 'Betsy Braddock'. No X-Men paid attention to this, thinking it was the systems making a mistake. This meant Revanche could infiltrate the Danger Room where Jean Grey and Psylocke were fighting. After Psylocke knocked out Jean, Revanche attacked Psylocke wearing a version of Psylocke’s armor, the last costume that Betsy wore before the body swap. The X-Men came to Psylocke's aid, but Revanche pulled off her mask revealing her face and stated that she was the the real Betsy Braddock, and that Psylocke was, and always had been, an imposter.
Since neither Wolverine’s enhanced senses nor Xavier’s telepathy could tell which one was the real Betsy, the X-Men traveled to Japan, but only got conflicting stories and half-truths. After the dust from the confusion settled, Kwannon chose to stay with Psylocke's team, the X-Men, much to her doppelgänger‘s dismay. She officially joined the X-Men, joining Psylocke on the 'blue team' and gained a new, official costume. For her short time in the team, Revanche managed to get along with Psylocke and her X-Men team-mates. She was part of the team assembled to save the kidnapped Luna, team up with the Avengers and fight Exodus, Acolytes and Fabian Cortez. A mission even Wolverine wasn't part of. The mission was a success a Revanche had proven herself to be a useful and trustworthy member of the team.
On one mission, Revanche and the X-Men discovered a clinic for mutants who suffer from the Legacy Virus. The team wanted to shut down the clinic but Revanche ordered a retreat, stating that the patients were there willingly and had to decide for themselves whether they wanted to be exploited or not. When asked why she felt so strongly about the issue, Revanche revealed that she too had contracted the Legacy virus.
Beast and Xavier attempted to help, trying to slow the process down, but nothing worked. The disease had spread too much and Revanche was terminal. Refusing to die in a lab, she choose to sort her past out once and for all. The virus caused her telepathic powers to flair up causing her to see clearly through the confusion in her mind, revealing that Psylocke was the true Betsy Braddock and that she was truly Kwannon. Before leaving the mansion, she left behind Elizabeth's bionic eyes, wanting to remove all signs of manipulation on her life.
Kwannon then set off for Japan one final time. She found the manipulative Nyoirin dead, killed by Matsu'o. He explained he did it for causing so much misery in their lives. She then made up with her old lover and asked him to kill her, not wanting to die of the Legacy virus, as she felt her end was coming. In order to spare his lover a dishonorable death, Matsu’o did as asked. He rammed a blade into her heart and, upon dying, Revanche released a wave of escalating telepathic energies, leaving him with an imprint of her.
Back at the institute, Psylocke felt Kwannon dying and travelled to Japan to sought out Matsu’o, who then used this telepathic imprint in the way Revanche had asked of him. Matsu’o released the energy on Betsy and her mental peace was restored too, as all fragments of Kwannon were taken from her soul, restoring her true sense of identity.
On her grave, Matsu'o and Psylocke chose to engrave as a tribute the epitaph "Kwannon, love that transcended body and soul". She was buried in Wolverine's private cemetery in Japan.
Life After Death
Spiral continued to meddle with Kwannon even after her death.
Years after her demise at the hands of the Legacy Virus, Spiral and the Sisterhood dug up Kwannon's body under the orders of the mysterious and powerful Red Queen. The Red Queen, using the combined powers of the Sisterhood, reanimated the dead body and transferred the mind of Psylocke back into her original body. This has put Elisabeth back in her original form. However during the battle Psylocke’s original body was horribly disfigured and she transferred her mind once again into the Asian body. Kwannon still remains dead.
After this ordeal, Psylocke decided to bury her former body again. She travelled to Japan where she was attacked by ninjas. During the fight the ninjas used a spell to make the body disintegrate, all under the orders of Kwannon's former lover Matsu'o's orders. Matsu'o arranged this so Psylocke would kill him. Psylocke grants his request and eases his passing with the illusion of Kwannon giving him one final kiss before sending him plummeting off a cliff, ironically not unlike the fateful day when Kwannon plummeted and started the chain of events that led to the body swap.
After Psylocke's soul was ripped out of Kwannon's body and eaten by Sapphire Styx, Psylocke was able to uses the stolen soul energies inside the vampiric villain to create a new body that was nearly identical to her original British body. With Elizabeth's soul no longer inside Kwannon's physical form, Kwannon came back to life, with her soul once again in her true body.
Kwannon resurfaced when Joseph (posing as Magneto) reformed the Brotherhood of Mutants. She decapitated him.
When the new Fallen Angels team was formed, she finally became Psylocke (now that Betsy is Captain Britain again).
Powers and abilities
Kwannon was a superior assassin and skilled in many martial arts styles. Before the body swap she possessed a low-level empathic ability that allowed her to sense the emotions of others.
She had gained the power of telepathy from Psylocke after inhabiting her body, this meant she could read, control and confuse minds, read thoughts, communicate via thoughts, broadcast the thoughts of others and create illusions by altering perceptions. However, Revanche was extremely untrained in these psychic abilities, so she rarely used them.
Unlike Psylocke, Revanche manifested her psychic abilities by creating a psychic sword, not a dagger. She could also create a samurai sword made up of pure psionic energy. The blade was capable of causing physical and mental damage, something Betsy inherited after her death. Revanche could also use her psychic katana to force her way into an opponent's mind and reveal any thoughts that were originally shielded from her telepathic powers, including those of other telepaths.
- Original Asian Body:
- Height: Unknown
- Weight: Unknown
- Hair: Black
- Eyes: Brown
- Weight: 155 lbs
- Hair: Naturally blonde, dyed purple
- Eyes: Naturally blue,replaced with purple bionic ones
- Citizenship: Japanese, American
- Place Of Birth: Japan
- Education: Unknown
- Marital Status: Unknown
- Affiliations: X-Men, Sisterhood Of Mutants
- Occupations: Assassin
- Known Relatives: Unkown
Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610)
In the Ultimate Universe, Kwannon never made an appearance as herself. However, after the apparent death of Elisabeth Braddock, Psylocke made a return in Kwannon's body. She explained that as her astral form wandered between our world and the next, she encountered the mind of a girl trapped in a coma. After helping Kwannon to move on and find peace, Psylocke was granted the use of her body.
Ultimate Kwannon was still a minor at the time of her death, which proves a challenge for the much more mature mind of Psylocke who was chucked out of STRIKE for those reasons.
Kwannon had several facial and ear piercings, which were later removed by the more sophisticated Betsy. Also, unusually, Kwannon had black eyes, yellow iris' and black pupils, it is unknown if she was a mutant but it was probably likely due to her being able to meet Psylocke's on the astral plane.
During Ultimatum, Psylocke was killed. Meaning both women's minds and bodies are no more.
House of M (Earth-58163)
In the House of M universe, Kwannon was a member of Lord Magnus' Royal Guard. She took place in the fight with the royal guard and the Heroes that remembered their real identities.
Appearances In Other Media
X-Men: Next Dimension (2002)
The character of Psylocke was split into two playable characters in the fighting game. 'Betsy' was the Asian Psylocke with the psychic knife, while 'Psylocke' was shown to be Revanche. 'Psylocke' appears in the game in Revanche's costume with her trademark, rose coloured, psychic katana. She was also in the Caucasian body. Although it's not specifically stated if this character is Kwannon.