For most of the Acts of Vengeance crossovers, the heroes face villains who are tricked into fighting them—instead of their “regular” foes—by Loki and/or Doctor Doom. In this case, the X-Men fight The Hand—who are clearly not their regular foes—but I didn’t see where Loki’s machinations had anything to do with it.
The Hand attack Mandarin, who is now a business leader in Hong Kong, on the ground that he’s an embarrassment to Asians because he keeps losing to Iron Man. At least I think that’s what it’s about. The dialogue is typically dense (per Chris Claremont’s style) and a bit obtuse. They then offer to support him in his efforts to resist the Chinese government and become a business superpower.
The Hand capture Psylocke and intend to use her as a weapon to get information about The Hand/Mandarin alliance’s enemies. So there’s a lot of “inside Psylocke’s head” stuff involving the brainwashing before her mind is able to be controlled by a newly introduced Hand assassin named Revanche. Psylocke also undergoes a physical transformation to look like an Asian woman…
…She’s walking through her history, including the battle that blinded her (after which she got robot eyes), her connections to Mojo, etc.
It’s all very weird and I can’t tell how much of it is psychic “visions” and how much is supposed to be actually happening. But clearly Mojo works on her in his “body shop” so that, when it’s over, she’s Asian and is calling herself Lady Mandarin.
And she’s got Mandarin’s rings!
Then Wolverine and Jubilee show up in Hong Kong (what a coincidence) looking for help after their conflict with the new Reavers in the last arc.
Of course, they end up fighting Lady Mandarin, then helping her shake off the Hand’s mental control and freeing her.
The upshot of this arc is that Psylocke now is Japanese and has ninja training so she’s more of a badass. There’s a vague suggestion she still may be under mind control.
We will learn in a few years that this is NOT Psylocke. It’s an imposter named Revanche. Psylocke’s story will be picked up 200 issues from now. So, I suspect, this IS intended to be Psylocke when Chris Claremont was writing it.
Anyway, I’m probably going to be tagging both of them until this all gets fixed.
Also, Jubilee has several changes to show her power levels so she’s proving herself as a warrior. And both characters are bonding with Logan. Because from here on out, the X-verse becomes increasingly Wolverine-centric.