Full Name: Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock
Age: 22 (19 before being transferred into Kwannon’s body)
Occupation: Criminology student, part-time model
Mutant Abilities: High level telepathy that includes mind-control, psychic communication, and thought projection. After her mind was transferred into the body of Kwannon, she gained the ability to form blades out of psionic energy that can cause mental or psychic damage, depending on utilization.
History: From the day she was born, Elizabeth Braddock was surrounded by a world of law enforcement and criminals. The Braddock family carried a lot of weight in the European law enforcement community. And young Elizabeth was poised from an early age to continue that legacy.
Elizabeth, or Betsy as she often went by, was born in Essex, England as the younger of two children between two career law enforcement officials. Her mother was an influential lawyer that specialized in prosecuting major organized crime and her father was a high ranking officer with Interpol. Together, they were champions of law and order. As such, they made sure that Betsy and her older brother, Brian Braddock, had a healthy respect for it growing up.
Whereas her brother was more attracted to the physical aspect of being a police officer, Betsy gravitated more towards the mental. She developed an early love of puzzles, ranging from rubix cubes to word searches. She would even watch and re-watch old crime movies without watching the ending to see if she could solve the case herself. While her father encouraged her love of puzzles, this activity left Betsy somewhat isolated. It took her down a very different path compared to her brother, who entered a prominent British military academy at a young age. While he seemed to be on the fast track to joining the world of law enforcement, she became so focused on refining her puzzle-solving skills that she negated other skills. This left her with few friends and a coarse attitude.
Then shortly after she turned 11, a tragedy shook her from her isolation. After a trip to Hong Kong, her mother fell very ill with a rare strain of tropical flu. The illness quickly weakened her and despite numerous treatments, she died due to severe lung damage. Her death was ruled a tragedy, but both Betsy and her father suspected that there were more sinister forces at work. Her mother had been spearheading a campaign against organized crime in southeast Asia, especially among the Japanese Yakuza. There were rumors that they had been poisoning various officials, but nothing was ever proven and the case was closed.
This act of injustice inspired Betsy. With help from her father, she enrolled in a prominent private school. At the time her grades had been mediocre at best, but her renewed focus helped her excel in a way that put her on the fast track to joining law enforcement just like her father and brother. She did so well that at age 17, she was certified to analyze crime scenes. This effectively desensitized her to the brutality of crime while allowing her to interact with real criminals. While being a young teenage girl gave her limited insight, a fateful trip to routine interrogation changed that.
It happened during a case that Betsy’s father thought would be safe to show her. Interpol had arrested a suspected money launderer from Spain with ties to the Japanese Yakuza. There was little hard evidence to go on, but Betsy suspected that he knew something. As the interrogation unfold, she started hearing voices in her head. At first she was concerned that something was wrong with her. Then she realized the voices were actually thoughts and these thoughts revealed that the suspect was lying. She immediately called him out and used his thoughts to identify the names of banks and account numbers, which proved sufficient to put the suspect in jail.
After this incident, Betsy’s father helped her find out that she was a mutant with telepathic powers. While this concerned her at first, her father encouraged her to embrace it because it would give her an edge at solving crimes that few others had. He even went so far as to pay mutant experts to fly in and train her in the use of her powers, which turned out to be quite strong. Before long, she would be able to read minds and even sense the residual thoughts from dead or mortally wounded individuals. It put her on the fast track to becoming an influential figure in law enforcement.
But as she was gaining control over her powers, another tragedy struck her family. Her father had been hiding a serious heart condition that had been getting progressively worse for years. Shortly after Betsy’s powers manifested, he checked himself into a hospital where he then suffered a serious stroke. After lingering in a coma for three days, he passed away.
Once again, the death of a parent motivated Betsy even further. After her father’s death, her trusted godfather, Matsu’o Tsurayaba, flew over from Japan to help them in any way he could. He also happened to be a highly influential figure in law enforcement, heading up Japan’s Yakuza division for decades. He helped Betsy and her brother take control of their parent’s assets and with them, Betsy enrolled in the University of Essex to study Criminology. While her godfather could not fill the role of her father, she did grow close to him and came to trust him a great deal. However, he would end up betraying that trust.
During the Asteroid M affair, Matsu’o Tsurayaba’s beloved daughter, Kwannon, had been seriously wounded. She had been a skilled mutant operative for a private company called White Cell, which specialized in employing mutants. Her injuries had been so severe that she was left brain damaged, leaving Matsu’o with little hope. As a result, he turned to the Yashida Clan, a powerful Yakuza clan that he had spent years combating. They promised to save his daughter using stolen Weapon X technology, but for it to work they needed a telepath. And with time running out for his daughter, he lured Betsy into a trap.
Under the guise of helping him solve a string of Yakuza murders, Betsy was lured to Japan and captured. But during the experiment, complications arose and her mind was transferred into Kwannon’s body. The X-men arrived to stop the Yashida Clan’s Weapon X activities, but they were too late to save Betsy’s old body and her godfather. When she awakened from the experiment, she found that her old body had been destroyed and her godfather had been mortally wounded. That left her stuck in Kwannon’s body, complete with her mutant ability to form psonic blades and advanced ninjutsu skills.
Now confused and enduring the loss of another close family member, she accepted the X-men’s offer to join the Xavier Institute where she continues to study criminology and seeks to build a new life. Her passion for justice and newfound ability to exact that justice makes her a powerful and highly motivated addition to the X-men.
Character Breakdown: Elizabeth Braddock’s personality is split in a very literal and figurative manner. The process of her mind being transferred to Kwannon’s body effectively created a mixed mentality the likes of which is functional yet unbalanced. While she identifies as Elizabeth Braddock and thinks of herself as Elizabeth Braddock, the line between her and Kwannon is not clear. This creates a complex and conflicted dichotomy that ensures a certain of uncertainty in her sense of self.
Prior to her body switch, Betsy had a keen mind that was capable of processing the thoughts of others. This wasn’t just because of her natural telepathic talents either. Her father being a police officer and her aspirations to become a detective imply a certain level of empathy, logic, and understanding. She has keen reasoning skills that allow her to solve puzzles and an astute mind that effectively accommodates her mutant abilities. However, her focus on deviant minds requires that she be more adventurous and willing to take risks. This manifested in her willingness to be a model and read the minds of dangerous criminals. It eventually led her to the situation with the Yashida Clan, but it also laid the foundations for a personality that is very focused on confronting crimes.
In this sense, the influence of her father was very important. He didn’t set Betsy’s path for her, but he did provide the opportunities. She looked up to her father as a man who would not compromise justice. That instilled in her a very strong sense of right and wrong. She sees injustice as something that cannot be negotiated. When she sees a crimes, she is intent on resolving it. For this reason, Charles Xavier’s message resonates with her. The ideal of justice for humans and mutants alike fits perfect with her desire to confront injustice and solve crimes. And while her mentality was consistent with these goals, it wasn’t until she gained the physical ability offered by Kwannon’s body that she could put it into practice.
Being in Kwannon’s body adds a touch of firepower to go along with her already powerful mind. However, these are attributes that Betsy herself did not learn. These are skills that Kwannon has learned and because of this, Betsy will likely remain unsure of her sense of self. The ramifications of this insecurity mean that her judgment and her emotions may not be coherent. This makes her prone to a certain level of emotional volatility and confusion. It’s not yet clear whether this volatility can be resolved. Her identity will still be that of Elizabeth Braddock. However, she may never have a sense of complete identity for as long as she continues to live in someone else’s body.