Psi-Force
Issue #1 Cover
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
ScheduleMonthly
FormatOngoing series
Publication date1986 to 1989
No. of issues32, plus one Annual
Creative team
Created byArchie Goodwin
Walt Simonson
Written byStephen Perry
Danny Fingeroth
Fabian Nicieza
Artist(s)Mark Texeira
Bob Hall
Ron Lim

Psi-Force was a comic book series created by Archie Goodwin[1] and Walt Simonson and published by Marvel Comics under their New Universe imprint from 1986 to 1989. It ran for 32 issues and an Annual (October 1987).

It concerned a group of adolescents who had developed psionic powers following the "White Event" which had created most of the paranormals in the New Universe. These teens, along with federal agent Emmett Proudhawk, could pool their powers into a psychic construct called the "Psi-Hawk".

The title includes some of the first comics work of writer Fabian Nicieza (#9, 13, 16-32) and artist Ron Lim (#16-22).

Publication history

Almost from the beginning, Psi-Force was one of the New Universe's most popular series. Danny Fingeroth, the regular writer from issue #3 through to #15, remarked that

The characters were well-conceived and designed. As individuals and as a team, they worked very well in an X-Men-ish kind of way. Like an X-Men series, Psi-Force was about a team of 'hunted and hounded' superpowered young people who didn't always get along, but when push came to shove were always there for each other. Those qualities may have been what readers found most familiar and relatable about them. Of course, Mark Texeira's and Bob Hall's art was exciting and set a powerful tone for the look and feel of the book [...][2]

Fictional team biography

Psi-Force was brought together by a paranormal named Emmett Proudhawk. Before the White Event, he worked for the CIA on a project investigating children with higher than usual ESP scores. After the White Event, he gained telepathic powers, including the ability to control others and project bolts of force.[3] At the same time he began to have prophetic dreams. The dreams led him to gather those children who had higher ESP scores and had, after the White Event, developed new abilities. He compiled a list of names, which included all of the original members of the team, as well as Thomas Boyd. Of those, he was only able to find Tucker, Crawley, Jessup, Ling, and Inyushin. He visited the hometown of each teen and mentally compelled them to run away to San Francisco. Then he personally rescued Inyushin from a Russian project investigating paranormals and brought her to the United States. He was killed by a KGB agent code-named 'Mindwolf' (who was working for the Siberian Project, and also possessed psionic powers similar to Proudhawk's) shortly after gathering the Sanctuary kids together. When Mindwolf used his powers and attacked the teens, Tucker felt a mental compulsion to take Proudhawks's medallion. He had the others concentrate upon the medallion with him, and thus discovered they had a new ability - the creation of a gestalt entity known as the "Psi-Hawk".

Psi-Hawk possesses the powers of all of those who combine their mental energy to make it, but magnified to a far greater degree than any of them could manage separately. Originally, it was thought that only the original five members could create it, but it was later discovered that Thomas Boyd could also contribute to it. Still later, Lindsey Falmon helped create it (who was neither on Proudhawk's list, nor did she have any memories of Proudhawk or Psi-Hawk). It has been created by as few as two and as many as six; however, on the one occasion more than five members participated, Psi-Hawk became dangerously unstable and began attacking those who created it until one of them fell unconscious.

Any time a member wanted to leave the group and strike out on their own, they soon felt an irresistible mental urge to return (or, if they were able to withstand it, for the rest of the group to follow). This bound the group together, unwillingly, until Sanctuary was destroyed and they fled in several directions (although Crawley was able to leave earlier, so long as he was replaced by another member on Proudhawk's list), and never seemed to feel the compulsion.

At the end of issue #24, Tucker, Jessup, Boyd, Ling, and Lindsey Falmon created the Psi-Hawk for the last time. This time, whether due to the group's relative experience, or because of the addition of Falmon's powers to the link, the five paranormals lost consciousness and actually controlled Psi-Hawk directly. In the fight with Rodstvow that ensued, Psi-Hawk was destroyed (although those creating it survived, falling into a coma).

The series was noted for the characters more confrontational interactions with others, particularly authority figures. They came into conflict with many different groups which wanted to capture them including both the Soviet and American governments. Early issues of the book stressed the nature of the team as one of runaways. When Fabian Nicieza took over writing chores the stories began to focus more on the groups interactions with various paramilitary organizations. At one point, one of their number, Thomas Boyd, was drafted into the US military and the remaining members staged a raid on a US Army base to rescue him. Nicieza also introduced the shadowy Medusa Web organization, a group of mercenaries/terrorists who were occasional opponents and occasional allies of the group. Towards the end of the book's run Psi-Force spent some time at a Siberian training facility for Russian paranormals. When the Russian paranormal Rodstvow, who had been a repeated enemy of the group, showed up the teens teamed up with the Medusa Web and the Russians to combat him. After this the remaining members became operatives of the Medusa Web.

In issue #32, the forward is that of a Playboy interview with Tucker (who is stated as being in hiding), which is dated 1998 - roughly ten years after the events of the issue. He reveals that Psi-Force has remained together as a team, and that Crowley has returned to the team. He is also asked about the condition of Johnny Do, after a well-publicized "incident at Los Alamos", and replies that he's injured, but still alive.

Main characters

Original members

Later members

The Medusa Web

The Medusa Web is a covert organization of mercenaries established well before the White Event. Its purpose at one point was said to be to save the world from itself by providing them an enemy for them to unite against. At the end of Psi-Force, the remaining members join the Medusa Web as an independent subgroup.

Crasniye Solleetsi

Crasniye Solleetsi is a fictional team of Soviet paranormals run by the KGB. The name Crasniye Solleetsi is Red Sun in corrupted Russian (The correct Russian term is Krasnoye Solntse/Красное Солнце). Characters names are in transcribed/corrupted Russian as well.

At some point before the White Event, the Soviet Union established the Siberian Project in the Yamal Peninsula of Siberia. The goal of the project was to investigate people with reputed paranormal abilities, such as ESP, or unusual talents in other areas, including those with an exceptional green thumb.[4]

When the White Event struck, at least one of their subjects, Anastasia Inyushin, developed a full-fledged, provable paranormal ability, the ability to heal with a touch. Unfortunately for the Soviet government, CIA agent Emmett Proudhawk abducted the girl shortly afterwards.[5]

Despite this, the Siberian Project had proved the existence of Paranormals and within two years had begun assembling a team of paranormals, under control of the KGB, to serve the country's interests. They weren't too picky about the members of this team, either, and included several people with psychological problems ranging from severe autism to complete insanity.

One of the team's first missions was to assist the Soviet military in Afghanistan against the Mujahideen where they were able to push the rebels out of their stronghold.[6]

Later, the members of Psi-Force were taken to the Siberian Project and Red Sun was among the forces to ensure they were kept in line. When Justice and the Medusa Web arrived to break Psi-Force free, Red Sun initially fought them, but they were forced to join forces against the threat of Rodstvow, who had gone completely mad and was destroying people indiscriminately.[7]

Other notable nonparanormals

Writers

Art

Alternative versions

newuniversal - Dr. Emmett Proudhawk

Dr.Emmett Proudhawk. newuniversal #3 Writer Warren Ellis, Artist Salvador Larroca
Dr.Emmett Proudhawk. newuniversal #3 Writer Warren Ellis, Artist Salvador Larroca

An alternative version of Dr. Emmett Proudhawk is introduced in issue #2 of Warren Ellis's re-imagining of the New Universe, newuniversal. Dr. Emmett Proudhawk is a CIA consultant and Native American Wicasa Wakan, which loosely translated means "Medicine Man" but is more accurately translated as Doctor of Mystery (where mystery here refers to the mystery and power of the spirit, of magic, of visions, and of divinity).[9] Proudhawk undertook a vision quest in order to understand what the White Event is and why it occurred, and was surprised to find himself in the superflow, and even further surprised when his spirit guide, a hawk, spoke clearly when answering his questions (usually any answers given in a vision quest are metaphorical). When Proudhawk asked what the White Event was, his spirit guide answered that "It is the invitation to live with God and walk in the world with his powers".[10]

The superflow was further explained to Proudhawk as the "wakan condition", and is the source of all wakan (mystery), dreams, and visions come from.[10] While Proudhawk had been able to partially see the superflow while on a normal vision quest (it was never fully visible to him), he had now been "touched" by it, directly implying that he, like four others, had gained superhuman powers. While it may be unclear if Proudhawk has any powers, his spirit guide told him that four others had been touched by wakan before him, and that the many others to follow after him would all need a "doctor who understands mystery".[10]

Proudawk sees the earth as water, but with a small island upon which he began his vision quest, complete with campfire.[10][11][12] It is unclear if the hawk represents the alien device, another superhuman, or if the hawk is a function of any paranormal powers he may have, since it has yet to be concretely revealed if Proudhawk is a superhuman.

Notes

  1. ^ Zimmerman, Dwight Jon (July 1986). "Archie Goodwin". Comics Interview (36). Fictioneer Books. p. 29.
  2. ^ Johnson, Dan (June 2009). "Sparks in a Bottle: The Saga of the New Universe". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (34): 29.
  3. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 229. ISBN 978-1465455505.
  4. ^ Psi-Force Annual #1
  5. ^ Psi-Force #1
  6. ^ Psi-Force #20
  7. ^ Justice #29, Psi-Force #30
  8. ^ Psi-Force #26
  9. ^ Warren Ellis (w), Salvador Larroca (a). "Mystery" newuniversal #3 (2007), Marvel Comics
  10. ^ a b c d Warren Ellis (w), Salvador Larroca (a). "Mystery" newuniversal #5 (2007), Marvel Comics
  11. ^ Warren Ellis (w), Salvador Larroca (a). "Mathematics" newuniversal #3 (2007), Marvel Comics
  12. ^ Simon Spurrier (w), Eric Nguyen (a). newuniversal: conqueror (2008), Marvel Comics