Welcome to the latest edition of The Spread! Today’s topic will strike upon that glorious competitive spirit that dwells within us all. We are jumping into the world of fighting games, and what better way to do that than with the wildly-polarizing, crossover versus series that is Marvel vs Capcom. Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is out now. So, pick that up if you are interested in hyper-kinetic brawlers.
However, we are not here to focus on that debate. We are here to have fun. MvC is the pioneer gaming series for “what if” scenarios. Marvel’s droves of popular comic characters and Capcom’s wide catalog of interesting titles has usually delivered some entertaining team-ups over the years. For the next few iterations of this series of articles, we will delve into some of the more interesting possibilities for ability combinations and borrowed powers. Certain criteria will be utilized from the get-go.
- The acquired power/ability/item must make thematic sense for the character.
- The backstory for the character must be able to be utilized to some degree.
- The combination should be entertaining and fun.
Psylocke Reforms the Hand Into Striders
Who is Psylocke?
Elizabeth Braddock is the daughter of a prominent family in the UK. She is also a mutant with powerful telekinetic and telepathic abilities. Born of a father from another dimension (Otherworld) and a human mother, Ms. Braddock was destined for greatness. However, her life has been rife with tragedy and terror from its outset. Both of her parents were killed at a young age. During that incident, Elizabeth was mind-controlled into fighting her brothers. Immediately after subduing her, the siblings were captured and held hostage by a Hydra agent disguised as a doctor. Her psychic powers manifested after this new trauma and from there her life only got worse. She eventually adopted the moniker of Psylocke after joining up with the X-Men. This was after her capture by the the villain Mojo. To top it all off, the majority of her friends were killed and she was body-swapped with the wife, Kwannon, of a crazy crime lord. Since that day, Betsy has been an on-again, off-again member of various strong groups: X-Men, Exiles, X-Force, and the Hand. Through this last organization, she gained incredible martial arts prowess and has become one of the most devastating combatants in the Marvel Universe. Psylocke’s predilection for melee is even displayed in her ability to manifest telekinetic weaponry and her psionic knife, a blade of focused psychic power that can incapacitate foes. She can also increase her physical abilities by empowering her body with the same psionic energy.
What is the Hand?
There are multiple origin stories for this particular group of shinobi assassin. The oldest tale predates most civilizations by a couple of billion years and mentions a group of worshipers, known as “founding fathers”. They gave praise to a creature called the Beast who’s goal was to “Dishonor god by destroying what he’s made”. What is most widely-accepted as the true foundation of the cadre of ninjas dates back to feudal times, over 800 years ago. Their original goal was the fight the oppressive regime of the lords of the land. However, they fell to corruption and darkness. Most likely, this was the work of the founding fathers. Since that day, the Hand has worked to further their own goals of spreading their influence across the world. They have kidnapped, murdered, and manipulated their way into positions of power. Fewer times have they actually aligned themselves with other groups. However, when they do, Hydra is usually the organization who offers a helping hand. This assassin sect has interacted with many super-powered individuals over the years. Wolverine, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Kingpin, and Sabertooth have all had encounters with this group. Some have even ended up leading the Hand when their commanders have been destroyed. Most notably, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen reformed the ninjas for a stint. However, the shinobi have interacted with two individuals more than any other and they are Elektra and Psylocke.
What are Striders?
The Striders are a group of freelance mercenaries that operate in the far off future. The have no allegiances to any country and work purely for pay. The group of ninja follow a series of rules that ensure total secrecy to their employers. Each member is expected to sacrifice his or her life in order to accomplish the task that is set out for them. All shinobi within this organization have abilities that far surpass normal human limitations and wield advanced technology that helps them complete their objectives. Their agents vary in skill and function. However, the lowest ranked members, C Class, can still function as well as a whole team of special forces and/or an armored vehicle. Whereas the upper echelon agents, Special-A Class, can take down entire countries in a single night. The most famous Strider, Hiryu, took down an alien warlord and his moon base by himself. With their impressive armaments, it is no wonder these ninjas can accomplish such feats. They utilize robots, high-tech gliders, plasma weapons, laser rifles, and much more during missions.
Why it Works?
The Hand and Striders are very similar. Both organizations are world-wide and will take on jobs when hired by an external source. Each group of ninjas utilize the best tools at their disposal to infiltrate and accomplish a goal. The Hand has been destabilizing governments and murdering important targets for hundreds of years. They exist in the past and modern times. Likewise, Striders have been performing the same tasks in the future for at least 2,000 years. Having just recently been revealed that Zeku might have started forming this group during the present, it would be easy to create a scenario where he is somehow involved in training the Hand to become Striders. However, why would the group of evil ninjas change their ways? This is where Psylocke comes into play.
Betsy Braddock is always on the path to redemption. The character frequently makes mistakes due to her much darker nature. She has went against the established behavioral procedures of the X-Men and killed villains; as opposed to simply capturing and imprisoning them. However, she still strives to be better. Here is her chance. The Hand already has a standing relationship with Psylocke and she is a powerful telepath with flexible morality. Elizabeth could defeat the current leader, Gorgon, and attempt to reform the group with the help of Zeku. Her psychic abilities could “influence” the minds of the stragglers or would-be saboteurs. This part is easy to see. If we look closer though, we can tie this story together even easier.
First, Psylocke is most often portrayed wearing her trademark tight blue spandex accompanied by a red sash. What do Striders wear? They are adorned with a blue shinobi suit, red mask, and red scarf. Second, let us talk about the primary weapon of the most elite agents: Special-A Class. They traditionally wield a weapon known as the Cypher. During the original titles, the bladed-tonfa had technology that enabled the user to project plasma energy from the weapon to increase its cutting power. Strider (2014), however, introduced a version of this armament that functioned by allowing the blade to channel built up psychic energy and unleash it in the form of plasma energy. That seems especially similar to Psylocke’s ability to summon and wield her Psiblade. Wait a minute. Cypher is spelled another way in the games, Sipher. Sipher? Psi-pher? Could this bladed tonfa been designed for Ms. Braddock? Additonally, only one character could use this weapon in a way that made others fear him. That man was the “reborn” version of Hiryu. His ability to channel psychic energy was unmatched. Could he be the descendant of Elizabeth Braddock? Let’s take it further. What if he is the son of Psylocke and Zeku? What if he was born with a mutation that enables him to efficiently channel psionic energy for enhanced physical characteristics and agelessness? This would be a pretty neat retcon.
That is it for today! Join us for the next edition of the Spread when we go back over to the Capcom side of things!