Chris Yost and Harvey Tolibao conclude their adventure into Psylocke solo fun land with issue #4, and it’s easily one of the ugliest comics of the year.
Judging by the text page, you’d think this series would have a sense of humor about itself. The “previously” recap throws around phrases like “purple-haired supermodel turned X-Man,” “telepathic ninja,” and “transplanted into the body of a Japanese assassin,” and while those words all speak the absurd truth about Betsy Braddock, they don’t speak to the gravitas with which this series unfolds. As if the ridiculous history of Psylocke can be treated as the subject for pathos worthy of great tragedy.
And maybe it is possible to give Psylocke such a treatment, but this issue doesn’t make a strong case for it. Instead, we get page after page of sinew and tangled muscle. Violence that’s about nothing more than violence, without even a justification within the story.
Here’s a quick summary: Psylocke wants to kill the guy that turned her into a Japanese lady. But Wolverine has been torturing the guy for years, because he’s the same guy that killed his beloved Mariko. So Wolverine tries to kill Psylocke to keep her from ending the bad guy’s torment? Yes, that is what happens. For nearly the entire issue. A fight between Psylocke and Wolverine about whether or not this evil guy should die or just suffer for a long, long time.
Then, the fight just stops. And the ugly issue concludes with an ugly scene, and then we get an epilogue where Psylocke brushes her hair while watching a beautiful sunset.
As a writer, Yost has failed to give believable motivations to anyone besides his protagonist, but even she lacks the depth to consider the implication of her actions (both real and possible). And Tolibao emphasizes the grisly violence and the lascivious sexuality of the characters, which, I suppose, is what you’d expect in a series about a character who was turned from a humble British gal who could make her face glow like a butterfly to a sexy psychic assassin in a Japanese body. But that doesn’t make for comics worth reading.
How about a surprise or two? Nope. Not here. Just the conveyor belt of ugliness, both aesthetic and moral, dumping graphic narrative on your doorstep.