Psylocke Costume History
Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock may not have the most costume changes over her history, but she has had some of the most drastic. Not only has she changed her clothing, she even switched her race. She tried a few different hair colors until coming across purple and knew she had a winner.
In December of 1976 Betsy Braddock made her first appearance in the Marvel UK comic book Captain Britain #8. Over the years her powers have slowly developed. At first she was thought to only have the power of precognition but it would evolve into telepathy. Without any explanation she acquired the power of telekinesis. Eventually she would have both telepathy and telekinesis.
Betsy Braddock is the fraternal twin sister of Captain Britain (Brian Braddock). When Brian retired she was convinced to take on his role of Captain Britain. This was a short part of her long history but helped shape her into the woman she is today. Several weeks before Betsy took on the mantle of Captain Britain, an Evil version of Captain Britain called Kaptain Britain (clever) tried to rape her. Betsy killed Kaptain Britain telepathically in self-defense. Jeeves had modified the now deceased Kaptain Britain suit in not only its appearance but also its ability to augment her powers. It was at the end of her stint as Captain Britain that the Slaymaster blinded Betsy Braddock.
Although very similar to Kaptain Britain’s costume there were very distinct differences. Her pants were still blue but had wider white stripes running down the side and into the solid white boots. This worked well in highlighting her womanly curves. She also had red strips of cloth tied around the top of her boots. This might have been to keep water out while fighting crime in a rainy England. While the costume was skin tight all the way from her legs to chest, her sleeves were baggy. She must not have had as much arm muscle to show off as her male counterpart. Being a female costume it was important to have it open up into a V neck and show a little skin as opposed to going all the way up like the old version. The British flag mask was left the same but she wore a red, white and blue wig.
Betsy was kidnapped by Mojo and made into the star of his show Wildways. She was given a cybernetic eye and called Psylocke. After a year she was rescued and brought to Xavier’s mansion. While there, Sabertooth invaded the mansion and Psylocke used herself as bait to protect the other mutants until Wolverine arrived. She then gathered information from Sabertooth’s mind on the Marauders. Wolverine was impressed with her actions and when the X-Men needed new team members to replace those injured during the Mutant Massacre he recommended her. She was now an official X-Woman.
Upon joining the X-Men she designed her own costume. This design seemed to be more influenced by her career in modeling than as a superhero. Psylocke may have been a powerful mutant but she was not a fighter. Maybe that is why her costume looked more appropriate for dancing at a ball than fighting crime. She had the standard skintight bodysuit that most heroes like to wear but she also added a lot of flowing fabric. While most heroines like to expose their abs, Psylocke had slits cut out of the hips but left her bellybutton covered. The cloth on her calves looked like little cummerbunds and the sleeves could have been used as sails. At this point she was not showing a lot of skin besides her shoulders. The pink color may not have been intimidating but it went well with her purple hair.
Realizing her lack of fighting skills could pose a serious threat in combat, Betsy switched over to an armored outfit. She stuck with the pink bodysuit but the armor was now purple. The costume seemed to be influenced by the medieval times. The armor looked like a feminine version of a Knight in shining armor. Except the legs were only thigh high and the chest plate was low cut. Her purple hooded cape (which was also armored) resembled something Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men would wear. This would be one of the few times Psylocke would have a mask for one of her X-Men costumes.
Matsu’o Tsurayaba found Betsy with amnesia on an island near China. Hoping to save his brain-dead lover Kwannon, he went to Spiral for help. Spiral put the two women’s minds into the other’s body and also merged their genetic structures. Psylocke became the Hand’s primary assassin and took the name Lady Mandarin. With the merger, Psylocke gained superior fighting skills and could focus her powers to create her now famous psychic knife. It was using this knife on Wolverine that allowed her to regain who she was and break free from the Hand’s influence. During her time as Lady Mandarin, Psylocke wore two costumes.
This form fitting armor showed off her womanly form and exuded an aura of lethal force. With her entire body covered in metal plating and only her face and purple hair exposed her opponents knew she was deadly serious. The blue mask fanning out into two triangles at the top made her look like a predator out on the hunt. The billowing blue cape and purple dress made her look much larger and more intimidating. In short, Lady Mandarin’s armor instilled terror in anyone who crossed her path.
Ninja Bathing Suit
Psylocke continued to wear the dark blue ninja outfit she wore while brainwashed into being a Hand assassin. Since she now possessed physical combat skills on top of her mutant powers she no longer felt the need to wear armor. Betsy must also have felt very confident with her new body since this new costume flaunted every part of it. The one-piece bathing suit covered up everything needed to go out in public but not much else. At times it appeared to also be giving her a super wedgie but other than that I am sure it was very comfortable. Her boots were different lengths but strips of blue fabric wrapped around her legs balanced the proportions. She also had bands wrapped around her upper arms. The only change in color came from a long piece of red fabric wrapped around her waist. Although this offered some nice flowing affects to her movement it was not the most practical accessory to have in a fight. This costume would become her most recognizable as well as be her go to option in the future.
The X-Men attempted to implement a team uniform after the X-Tinction Agenda in order to create a feeling of unity. This would be the first time Psylocke would ever wear a “team” uniform. The yellow and blue design was not going to win any fashion awards and the large championship belt with a huge X on the buckle did not help. These form fitting outfits left little to the imagination in either body shape or creative style. Psylocke did not stick with this costume for very long. When the team split into two groups, she went back to her popular ninja bathing suit.
For a short time, this costume would be worn again when Psylocke returned from the dead after being killed by Vargas.
When the team decided to change the style of their uniforms, Psylocke did as well. Most of the team put a large X on their chests but Betsy went a different route. Although a strong team member Psylocke does not feel the need to cover herself in Xs. Instead, she went for the rocker ninja look. Her tight leather pants had some stylish knee pads to help support her jumping around and falling down. Her black halter top or sports bra, it can be hard to tell which she is actually wearing at times, exposed her midriff. This would be one of the few times Betsy would fully expose her abs. Her full length gloves were more like arm guards to protect her in combat. For a little color, Psylocke added a red headband and neck bandana. Her silver belt did include a small red X belt buckle.
Psylocke joined a group of heroes from different realities called the Exiles. Their mission was to protect the Omniverse. She fought across several realities until the Captain Britain Corps was able to rebuild itself. While fighting with the Exiles, Psylocke wore a very slimmed down version on her rocker ninja outfit. This all black costume simply consisted of tight leather pants, a very small halter top, boots and long gloves.
When a group of mutants left the mansion they adopted a black and red color scheme. Psylocke embraced the black but oddly enough wore less red than her previous costume. She went back to the one piece bathing suit as her main article of clothing. Her long sleeve fingerless gloves allowed for the easy manipulation of any weapon of her choice. So that Psylocke would have some red in her costume, she had a red X button on the garter belt holding up her thigh high boots. It might not have been classy but at least it showed her team support.
Psylocke maybe a major character in the Marvel Universe but she does not make it into a lot of their crossover cartoons, video games or films. In 2006 X-Men fans were treated to a small teaser of Psylocke in the movie X-Men: The Last Stand. She was played by Mei Melancon and if you were not a fan you probably missed her completely.
Psylocke costumes are not found in your standard Halloween store. Fans must pay for expensive replicas or rely on their creative skills to assemble something on their own.
Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)