5 Ronin

5 Days of 5 Ronin: Psylocke

Peter Milligan crafts the transformation of a butterfly into a warrior

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By Ben Morse

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the 5 RONIN series—go out and buy the book before you read it!

For the past five weeks, we’ve been witness to a unique and remarkable new take on familiar Marvel icons in 5 RONIN, conceived and executed by writer Peter Milligan, editor Sebastian Girner and a quintet of tremendously talented artists.

5 Ronin Psylocke sketch by Goran Parlov

With the release of the fifth and final issue today, Wednesday, March 30, as well as the coming hardcover collection on May 25, we spoke at length with Milligan and Girner about each installment of this epic tale and will be presenting these exclusive commentaries all week long. Additionally, each artist to work on 5 RONIN has provided a wealth of sketch materials to illustrate how they created this vivid world set in 17th century Japan.

Monday we talked Wolverine, Tuesday we discussed The Hulk, and yesterday we covered The Punisher, but today we get to Psylocke, a very different kind of Ronin in many ways.

Marvel.com: As the only female character, did Psylocke necessitate a different approach from the other Ronin?

Peter Milligan: Different in that a woman would have different roles in that society, and so offered an interesting opportunity for a different take. 

Marvel.com: How did having Psylocke as an Oiran change the tone of the story? Do you still consider a Ronin in spirit?

Peter Milligan: Having Psylocke as an Oiran is the story. What’s interesting is that she has no choice in whether she becomes this type of woman or not. But now that she is an Oiran she uses it to her advantage and she never loses sight of her objective—so in this way she is a Ronin in spirit. A person who is loyal and is giving her life to avenging her “master”.

5 Ronin Psylocke sketch by Goran Parlov

Marvel.com: Again, you cleverly replicate Psylocke's powers in an appropriate way here; how did you come up with that?

Peter Milligan: I have to say here that I think that Psylocke is probably my favorite of the five chapters. And once again her “powers” come quite naturally, stemming from her situation.

Marvel.com: Wolverine has a pretty significant guest appearance here, whereas the other chapters up until now have not featured other Ronin aside from the recurring Deadpool cameos; why bring him in?

Peter Milligan: Partly because we are getting close to the end. Psylocke lives and works close to the object of the Ronins’ revenge so as the story reaches its climax the characters will begin to converge. Partly also because the idea of Logan and Psylocke meeting in this way was so irresistible. He also reveals to her something about herself that changes the course of her life; that changes everything.

Marvel.com: What lesson does Psylocke ultimately learn that makes her conclude she's been "hating the wrong person"?

Peter Milligan: I feel that that’s such an important point the reader should read the comic to discover it for themselves. In broad terms Psylocke discovers that everything she has been working towards is the result of an error, an error in the way she understood an act that changed her life many years before.

Marvel.com: Why was Goran Parlov uniquely suited to illustrate this chapter?

Peter Milligan: From the butterflies, to the images of Psylocke as a small girl, to the perfumed boudoir where the mature Psylocke plied her trade, Goran brought beauty. I adored the art in this chapter. So sensuous. And when it had to be, so erotic.  And then gritty when Wolverine and the beautiful girl fought. For me, this was perfect.

Tomorrow, we’re back with Peter and Sebastian to take a look at the fifth and final Ronin: Deadpool!

Remember to pick up 5 RONIN #5, on sale now, and get your retailer to pre-order the hardcover collection!

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