Psylocke’s psychic knife is her most deadly weapon and the one the X-Men have often come to rely on; this is how the attack developed.
Betsy Braddock, the mutant member of the X-Men known as Psylocke, has had a very complicated past. She has faced a number of trials in her tenure as a member of the team, but has come through them stronger, with access to a wide range of powers that make her a formidable opponent. Some of these abilities he has had from the beginning, but his most famous power, the psychic knife, was only unlocked after losing his memories and being retrained by the Hand, an evil ninja clan.
Betsy didn’t end up becoming a villainous assassin by conscious choice. During a mission to the Savage Land, Psylocke received visions of the death of the X-Men. Trying to avoid this, he psychically pushed them through the Siege Perilous, a device that opened portals at great distances. Thanks to her actions, Psylocke’s friends escaped to safety, but when Psylocke passed, she ended up on the shores of an island near China with amnesia.
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Psylocke was found by the Hand, a ninja clan with mystical abilities and questionable morals. Their leader, Matsu’o Tsurayaba, who had recently lost the love of his life Kwannon, saw an opportunity in the amnesiac Betsy. With her abilities and lack of identity, she could become the perfect assassin of the Hand, while at the same time reprogramming her to become a new Kwannon. To this end, Matsu’o made a deal with the Mandarin to rebuild his lost love from scratch. Thus, Psylocke’s brainwashing began and the introduction of her best weapon soon followed.
Psylocke responded to the conditioning as Matsu’o had expected. She became a very competent assassin, gaining excellent martial arts skills and honing her psychic abilities. This aspect of herself was sharp to the edge of a razor. Her intense training allowed Psylocke to focus all of her psionic power on a single small blade. With it, he could erase the minds of anyone who came into contact with him, while absorbing their memories.
In Uncanny X-Men # 257 of Chris Clarement, Jim Lee, Tom Orzechowski and Chris Eliopoulos, Psylocke made her deadly new debut as the Hand’s personal assassin. She killed several bodyguards belonging to Japanese crime lords, but curiously did not use her new ability on them, preferring to use it in training. In his mind, the psychic knife was only to be used against worthy or important opponents, showing how much he valued the skill for its power and a symbol of all his training.
Ironically, the psychic knife ended up being the tool used to free Psylocke from her conditioning. When her teammate Wolverine and her new partner Jubilee found her, Psylocke was prepared to kill them. In his brainwashed state, he hit Logan with the psychic knife. The attack temporarily incapacitated him, but his memories of her restored his personality, prompting her to abandon the hand.
So the psychic knife is Psylocke’s greatest offense and defense. It can disable almost anyone and absorb their memories. Psylocke could easily gain valuable knowledge to act on or even martial skills if she outmatched another fighter. But the psychic knife is also a great insurance policy against memory loss. All Psylocke really needs to do is use the sword on someone who knew her to restore her memories if she ever loses them again … and hope she doesn’t cause permanent damage to the subject in the process.
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