Welcome to Chapter 11 in our 12-part series, “What’s on Ronnie’s Calendars.” Hard to believe the year is almost over. “What’s on Ronnie’s Calendars” is brought to you by the Women of Marvel calendar series and the freebie calendar that Marvel distributes to comic book shops at the end of the year.
The Fantastic Four
2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the FF and they don’t look a day older (Mr. Fantastic has always had the grey hair). It’s been a rough year for the Four. The Human Torch (that’s the guy on fire in the middle) seemingly died and has currently been replaced by Spider-Man. Because Spider-Man doesn’t have enough to do being on 2 Avengers teams and appearing in multiple solo titles. Apparently Wolverine was busy.
We should all know the Fantastic Four story: Four intrepid adventurers take a home-made rocket ship into space where they are bombarded by Cosmic Rays which give them superpowers — Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) turned elastic; Susan Storm Richards (Invisible Woman) turned invisible and was later given force field powers because invisibility isn’t that exciting in a visual medium like comics; Johnny Storm (Human Torch) caught fire; and Benjamin J. Grimm turned into a strong, orange-rock-like Thing.
The Fantastic Four were the first collaborative creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and the first Marvel superheroes. They have appeared in many cartoons and a couple of movies.
The Women of Marvel calendar goes back to the X-Men well for this month’s star but that’s OK because this time it’s my favorite X-Lady, Elizabeth Braddock, a.k.a. Psylocke.
The Psylocke story is extremely convoluted, even by comic book standards — and even by X-Men standards — so here’s the short version: Betsy Braddock was a proper English lady who developed the popular mutant gift of telepathy — or telekinesis, I can never keep them straight — actually, I think she has both.
Her brother is Captain Britain. Yes, there’s an actual Captain Britain.
Betsy joined the X-Men sometime in the ’80s and here’s where things get crazy. Long story short, Betsy’s mind winds up in the body of an Asian ninja assassin. Her old body dies before she can swap minds back, so Psylocke is the X-Men’s resident British Asian ninja assassin telepath/telekenetic. Is it any wonder I love her so?
Most X-Women wind up with an X-Man, and Betsy’s main romantic interest has been Warren Worthington III, a.k.a. The Angel, my favorite X-Man. Funny how that worked out.
Psylocke currently fights evil with the X-Men as well as serving on the secret assassination squad X-Force. She hasn’t received a lot of love in other media — she only appeared in a handful of episodes in the original X-Men cartoon and I don’t believe she appeared in any of the others. She also appears very briefly in “X-Men 3,” but you have to be a real X-nerd to know where.