“Sibling rivalry was, and still is to this day, rampant in my family. We were all competing for my parents’ divided attention.” –Janine di Giovanni
I’ve been toying with this idea in my head for several weeks and now I’ve decided to run with it. I’ve been looking at triads of mutant siblings in the X-Universe and wanted to do a juxtaposition of the characters. A little background to give context (but nothing too in-depth) will be included, along with some power descriptions to determine who in this hypothetical battle will be the last man standing. Remember how on pro-wrestling they would have family stables battle each other in the ring? Same thing, except there’s super-powers and anything goes.
James Jr (Jamie), Brian, and Elisabeth (Betsy) Braddock
Known respectively in the publications as Jamie Braddock, Captain Britain, and Psylocke, the Braddock siblings are the children of a well-to-do academic couple from Malden, England. Brian and Betsy are fraternal twins, while Jamie is older by at least 10 years. Though each grew up in a privileged English household, Jamie secretly resented his two younger siblings for the close bond they shared with one another. A bond he felt excluded from. Anyway, as adults, Jamie and Betsy discovered they were mutants while Brian became his country’s champion using a mystically-powered costume as Captain Britain. Betsy joined the X-Men as Psylocke while Brian went on to become a founding member and inaugural leader of Excalibur. Jamie, on the other hand, went down a destructive path involving a serious fall from grace.
He was a famous race-car driver, incurred heavy gambling debts, got involved in the slave trade/black market and was disowned by Brian because of his amoral nature. Left in the hands of an African mystic named Doc Croc, he tried to cure Jamie of his ways. But the process rendered Jamie insane and also activated his latent mutant powers. He’s unable to discern fantasy from reality and believes he is living in a dream. As a result, he shows no restraint in the use of his powers. Betsy underwent a transformation herself. She went through a mystical portal, ended up with the Mandarin, got ninja skills, and….you know what? To make it short, she got transformed from a posh British telepath with a purple dye-job and a suit of armor into an Asian telepath with a British accent, ninja skills, and a skimpy costume.
Mikhail, Piotr (Peter), and Illyana Rasputin
The Rasputins grew up in Siberia, part of the Ust-Ordynski Collective. The children of peasant farmers, Mikhail is more than 10 older than Peter. The same age difference exists between Peter and the youngest, Illyana. When Mikhail manifested his mutant powers, the Russian government exploited him and sent him to another dimension where he remained trapped for over 10 years. The government told the Rasputin family that Mikhail had died in a space expedition. Piotr manifested his powers and joined the X-Men as Colossus. Illyana manifested hers and, long story short, she’s presently Magik, an X-Man and the Sorceress Supreme of the dimension of Limbo. Mikhail eventually returned from his exile, but was too emotionally traumatized to remain stable. Embracing insanity, he appeared to commit suicide and murder the last remaining of the underground sewer-dwelling Morlocks. He actually brought them to another dimension with a faster time-scale and became its Darwinian ruler. It’s also interesting to note that all three characters have been killed off and brought back to life several times over. As far as creative teams are now concerned, Death is a joke in comics.
So who wins?
Jamie vs. Mikhail
Both are the eldest of their respective clans with siblings young enough to be their children. They’re both also the most powerful. Mikhail’s ability is energy manipulation. He can access existing energy sources and manipulate them in a variety of ways. He can open and close portals to adjacent dimensions, impose himself on telepathic links, create teleportation beams, sample and catalog energy signatures for future reproductions. The primary use of his power was to manipulate organic and inorganic matter. He could levitate matter and transmute it from one state into another. He once manipulated Iceman’s body extensively: changing him from a human covered in ice sheathe into water, reforming him as solid ice, shattering him into pieces, and then reassembling them back into his human form.
Jamie’s mutant power is reality manipulation. He perceives the physical world around him in terms of an inter-connected web of red strings intersecting in all directions throughout his surroundings, with people and objects appearing as particularly dense masses of strands. By pulling on these strings or molding them, he can alter reality according to his whims.
Both men should be approached with extreme caution. Given their unstable mental states, they have no compunctions in the use of their powers. Though Mikhail is slightly more rational than Jaime, which should give him the edge. Whatever energy Jamie utilizes to alter reality, Mikhail’s exposure to it would allow him to cut Jamie out of the loop. Plus, Jamie’s power only works with reality as is, he can’t actually cause something from his imagination to just appear out of thin air. He’s no Franklin Richards or Wanda Maximoff. WINNER? MIKHAIL.
Brian vs. Peter
Both men represent the physical but with different inner souls. The nice British rich kid is a scientist at heart while the poor Russian farmboy is a painter with the soul of a poet. They are both their parents’ middle children and their costumes reflect their national pride. Ignoring the fact that Colossus once had the power of the Juggernaut, his power is to transform his flesh into super-strong organic steel. In that state, he can lift 100 tons and most things can’t harm him. When Brian dons his Captain Britain costume, he has the same strength level, but he can also fly and project a protective force-field.
Brian’s just as strong as Piotr, but doesn’t have the same protection from harm. But he can fly and has a scientific mind that could most likely come up with idea to harm Piotr in his armored form. Colossus can’t cancel momentum either so, the way I see it, Captain Britain takes him from by surprises and jettisons him as far away as possible. WINNER? CAPTAIN BRITAIN.
Psylocke vs. Magik
The youngest and the sole female siblings, they’ve had their share of death and resurrection. They’re both also natural blondes who carry swords, it’s like a Norse goddess battle. Psylocke can perform all of the basic feats of a telepath (mind reading, thought projection, illusion casting, astral projection, mind/body control, mental communication, memory manipulation, and firing mental energy bolts.) and focus her power as a blade or a sword. She also possesses telekinesis, which she manifests as a katana blade composed of pure telekinetic energy. The telekinetic katana blade is a molecule thick and she can use it to levitate and manipulate matter with her mind, propel herself through the air, project protective force screens, and could slice through virtually any object due to the sheer force of her will.
Illyana has two sets of powers: Mutant and mystical. She can create portals that enable her to teleport through time and space. He basically chooses either the fabric of space or time to rip holes in through which she and others can travel. It can range from short-range teleportation anywhere to actual time-travel. Her mystical training has led to her becoming the Dr. Strange of the dimension of Limbo. As its most powerful sorceress, she can manipulate mystical energy in a variety of ways.
Mystics are more knowledgeable and Illyana’s powers have a physical bent to them as well. Say she teleports Betsy someplace and then puts an inhibiting spell on her that prevents access to her abilities. Who’s your daddy? WINNER? MAGIK.
So who’s the overall winner? Mikhail Rasputin.
Why? Because between him, his sister and Brian, all of their powers are energy-based. Brian’s costume draws energy from a wellspring that’s somewhere in the British Isles, that’s how he gets his powers. Illyana can only manipulate a certain type of energy. For Mikhail, ALL energy is his to command. This is also where I think his insanity works to his advantage. In a last man standing match, he’d have no problem wiping out his younger sister and England’s Captain America. In fact, with his family being Russian pitted against an English sibling set in this hypothetical, he probably viewed this in terms of a World Cup Soccer match.
All images appear courtesy of the Marvel Entertainment Group.
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Sy L. Shackleford is a jack-of-all-trades columnist for Action A Go Go. A University of Connecticut graduate with a degree in both psychology and communication sciences, he is a walking encyclopedic repository for all things Marvel Comics, movies, hip-hop, et. al. You can follow him on Twitter @shack_house83.
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