If there's one Marvel series that has been consistently entertaining it's got to be Rick Remender's current X-Force book. Not only does Remender provide his readers with suspense at every turn and a peek at the Age of Apocalypse universe that long time X-Men readers will appreciate, he also writes a killer love triangle. That's right, I said it, love triangle. With love. And romance.
In a recent editorial, staff writer Corey Schroeder touched on many of the love triangles that have appeared in Marvel books (and trust us, there have been a plethora of them), but we thought that that the Psylocke/Warren/Fantomex love triangle in X-Force is so interesting, that it was worth taking a closer look.
Since the beginning of the series, Psylocke has been romantically tied to Archangel (both of whom are X-Force teammates). Throughout the series, however, (and particularly recently) we have seen Fantomex (another member of the X-Force team) demonstrate some attraction to Betsy, which, had gone seemingly unnoticed by her -- until now. The cover to the most recent issue of Uncanny X-Force #12 portrayed Psylocke and Fantomex locked in a kiss, a scene which spills into the pages of the issue. But was this kiss inevitable or unwarranted?== TEASER ==
Perhaps the scene in this issue was powerful due to the fact that it was not entirely unexpected. I think that even without the cover of that issue, that kiss had been something Fantomex could not wait to do. Remender had been building up to that moment since the beginning of the series. He had made it relatively clear that Fantomex had had some attraction toward Psylocke, but that this affection was for the most part kept secret from her. His advances became stronger around issue #10 when Fantomex went so far as to use the argument between Betsy and Warren to his advantage, thus approaching her and asking her to dinner. Needless to say, Betsy turned him down. Even if Betsy hadn't noticed or acknowledged Fantomex's advances before, the build up to the kiss had obviously been there.
It is pretty sneaky of him to spring it onto her that way, though, isn't it? Fantomex proves he's not only charming, but extremely manipulative. The only times we have seen him make overtly romantic advances at Betsy have been at her lowest point. In this scene, he intentionally psychologically breaks her down, telling her she is responsible for allowing Warren to succumb to Apocalypse.
But blaming her for Warren's decline into crazy town isn't all he does. Fantomex insists that Psylocke does not really love Warren, approaching her in her moment of weakness stating that the only reason she is with him is because she likes feeling "needed." After psychologically breaking her down, he uses that moment to strike.
True, Fantomex is manipulative and is choosing his time to strike when Betsy is at her most vulnerable, but is Psylocke's relationship with Warren all that much better? If you have been reading then you know that Psylocke and Warren (Archangel) have been in an exclusive relationship since the beginning of Remender's X-Force #1. While subtle at first, it was not long until it was reinforced that these two were most definitely an item. Obviously superheroes can't have a "normal" relationship, at least not in the way we think of "normal relationships." Yet even for "superhero standards," the romantic commitment that Psylocke and Warren have is still...weird. I don't know about you, but I have never needed my significant other to give me psychotherapy sessions. That can't be healthy for the relationship. And don't doctors have rules that prevent those types of circumstances? Aren't patient/doctor relationships generally frowned upon?
Even though the blame that Fantomex places on Betsy during that highly climactic scene is unwarranted and used to manipulate her, he does have a point. If Betsy and Warren were to have a romantic relationship, then she should not have been the one to psychologically aid Warren with those "sessions." Betsy should not have been acting as Warren's therapist and been solely responsible for ensuring that Warren's alter-ego was kept in check, and the fact that this was not checked by the rest of the team is a bit irresponsible, don't you think? No matter how you look at it, Warren became a liability when he was unable to control Archangel. If Warren falls to Apocalypse, there will be no one to blame but Betsy Braddock.
So who is better for Betsy, Warren the handsome guy with a bad case of multiple personality disorder, or Fantomex, that manipulative snake who oozes charm? As much as I love Betsy, and think she should (for the sake of her character's sanity) be single, I feel that the love triangle between these three characters is what makes them so alluring. The relationship between these three is one aspect of what makes Uncanny X-Force such an interesting read.
Why are love triangles even an important part of this story? Or of comic books in general? Superheroes are seemingly invincible creatures in peak physical condition who are modeled after the idealistic concept of "human perfection." All the men are strong, handsome and all the woman are beautiful, with never a hair out of place. So when they are not spending their time saving the world, or splitting their time between two or three teams, they are building relationships with their teammates. Who could blame these figures of perfection for developing emotional ties to one another? When you spend enough time running around in spandex on a team full of people who are more or as attractive as you are, chances are you'll fall prey to your own weakness. Sure, heroes fall in lust and in love, but when we get a love triangle, it makes things a little bit more interesting.
The questions remain, what's in store for Warren? Is Archangel completely lost to Apocalypse? Has Psylocke lost him for good? Should Psylocke stay with Warren, or should she get with Fantomex?