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JUDITH RASSENDYLL

Real Name: Judith Rassendyll

Identity/Class: Human
   Ruritanian citizen

Occupation: Princess of Ruritania

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Excalibur (Captain Britain/Brian Braddock, Meggan, Nightcrawler/Kurt Wagner, Phoenix/Rachel Grey, Shadowcat/Kitty Pryde), Colin Lewis, Colonel Max Reiger, W.H.O. (Brigadier Alysande Stuart and others), X-Babies

Enemies: The Agent, Arcade, Mr. Chambers, Ms. Locke

Known Relatives: The British Royal Family, unidentified husband (see comments)

Aliases: "Her most serene and royal majesty", "last of the Elfburgs" (official titles)

Base of Operations: Ruritania;
                                  formerly London, United Kingdom;
                                  formerly Arcade's Murderworld, North Bronx, New York City;
                                  formerly New York City, New York

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men I#204 (April, 1986)

Powers/Abilities: Judith Rassendyll possesses no known superhuman powers. Reasonably intelligent and not easily scared, she has all the strength, stamina and durability of an average woman of her height, age and build that engages in regular moderate exercise. As the last of the Elfburgs and queen of Ruritania, she has a semblance of influence and importance.

Height: 5'7" (by approximation)
Weight: 130 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Red

History:
(Uncanny X-Men I#204 (fb) - BTS) - Judith Rassendyll was born and raised in New York City, unaware she was actually the last living descendent of the royal Elfburgs line and the sole heir to the throne of Ruritania. As a result of growing up in Manhattan, she never learned how to drive. She lived by herself in an apartment on the Upper West Side while still in college.

(Uncanny X-Men I#204 (fb) - BTS) - Through undetermined circumstances, Ruritanian officials became aware of Judith's existence and made arrangements with the US State Department to officially approach her.

(Uncanny X-Men I#204 (fb) - BTS) - Arcade was hired by unrevealed parties to assassinate Rassendyll (see comments).

(Uncanny X-Men I#204) - Judith was out jogging late one night when she was suddenly captured by a garbage truck driven by Arcade's accomplice Mr. Chambers.

(Uncanny X-Men I#204 - BTS) - As fate would have it, Nightcrawler was nearby and witnessed her abduction. The X-Man traced the truck back to Murderworld where he managed to sneak in without being detected (he quickly adjusted the security sensors so they wouldn't pick him up).

 (Uncanny X-Men I#204) - When Judith came to, she was greeted by a holographic image of Arcade who explained the rules of Murderworld: someone wanted her dead, but if she was able to find the exit she'd be free to go. Judith pleaded with Arcade that she was just a student, nobody important. Then, Arcade activated Murderworld and she found herself in a giant pinball, helplessly launched into an even larger machine. Arcade, Ms. Locke and Mr. Chambers watched her struggle, but they quickly got bored when her ball flew off the board with a very low score. When the ball crashed open, Rassendyll found herself in a forest at night, suddenly hunted by riflemen, attack dogs and even a band of 19th century European hussars. To her surprise, the cavalry was holographic and when she tried to dodge them she fell off a cliff and into the water. Figuring that might be her ticket out, she proceeded to jump over a number of slippery logs only to be attacked by a giant shark. She would have died if not for the arrival of Nightcrawler who teleported them to safety. Instinctively, Judith grabbed a branch and threatened to attack the X-Man, convinced he was part of Murderworld. Nightcrawler calmed her down long enough for the two of them to join forces.

(Uncanny X-Men I#204 - BTS) - Nightcrawler's presence renewed Arcade's interest in the game and he made appropriate changes to the scenario.

(Uncanny X-Men I#204) - Murderworld's surroundings shifted and Judith and Nightcrawler were now in a Mad Max style desert scenario, forced to ride a dune buggy to stay ahead of Arcade's band of thugs. Dodging bullets and arrows, they eventually outraced their opponents only to find themselves under attack from a squadron of vintage World War I era open cockpit biplanes. Even though she'd never learned how to drive, Judith took the wheel while Nightcrawler teleported up to the planes to take them down. After making sure they crashed into Arcade's approaching buggy gang, he commandeered one of the planes and flew off, telling a stunned Judith she should be fine if she just drove straight ahead.

(Uncanny X-Men I#204 - BTS) - Arcade was amused, watching the scared Judith get abandoned though Ms. Locke reminded her boss that Nightcrawler wasn't known for his cowardice. In reality, Kurt flew his plane to the storage facility of Arcade's robots. He quickly reprogrammed as many of them as he could, including a team of X-Men, and set them loose in the park.

(Uncanny X-Men I#204) - By the time her buggy ran out of gas, Judith found herself in an Asian city at night. Trying to lose herself in the crowd, Rassendyll was approached by one of Arcade's robots who offered her a job as a prostitute in her brothel. If she refused, the robotic madam assured her, she'd be killed on the spot. Nightcrawler showed up to save his "damsel in distress", taking care of the muggers who were getting ready to murder Judith and even mocking Arcade whose face had appeared on the madam's body by planting a kiss on him. As they walked off, conveniently throwing Arcade in a puddle, Judith worried that making Arcade angry wouldn't do them any good.

(Uncanny X-Men I#204 - BTS) - Mad and humiliated, Arcade readied himself to finish off Nightcrawler and Judith. But before he could launch a counterattack, his control room was invaded by the X-Men who made short work of Locke, Chambers and his equipment. Arcade then realized they were actually his own robots, causing him to break out laughing: Nightcrawler had beat him at his own game.

(Uncanny X-Men I#204) - Nightcrawler made sure Judith got out of Murderworld safely and escorted her back to her Upper West Side apartment. On the way there, Rassendyll got angry when she realized Nightcrawler had actually loved their "adventure" while she was scared for her life the whole time. She even compared Kurt to Arcade, calling them both little more than thrill junkies. Slightly annoyed, Nightcrawler nevertheless told her to stay back when he sensed someone was in her apartment. He kicked open the door and stood ready to defend her, only to find Colonel Max Reiger from the Ruritanian National Guard and Colin Lewis of the US State Department waiting for Judith. Reiger bowed for Rassendyll, telling the shocked teen she was actually the queen of Ruritania.

 (Uncanny X-Men I#206) - Several days later, Rassendyll was getting ready to leave for Ruritania. Kurt Wagner saw her off at the airport, teasing Judith by calling her "your highness". She admitted it still felt too much like a fairytale, to which Kurt replied he hoped so too, because they always had a happy ending. They then said their goodbyes, with Judith trying to remind the cavalier Nightcrawler that life isn't a game, adding: "I'm the one who could be murdered at any moment, yet you're the one I feel sorry for". As he watched her plane take off, Nightcrawler dismissed that notion, claiming he couldn't be happier.

(Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem#1 (fb) - BTS) - Once installed as Ruritania's ruler, it was deemed appropriate for Judith to get married. Officials determined an influential, older prince would be best suited to become her husband. Though there was no real love between her and the aged aristocrat, she decided to go through with the union for reasons of state policy. The ceremony took place in St. Paul's Cathedral in London (because Rassendyll was related to the British Royal Family). The event was shown live on television by the BBC.

 (Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem#1) - The wedding ceremony was interrupted by Kitty Pryde who shifted in through the floor of the church, holding up a sign to get the attention of Excalibur (she and the X-Babies were on the run from the Agent). Moments later, the cardinal leading the wedding revealed himself to be the grotesque looking Agent. Judith's husband-to-be fainted on the spot while a fight broke out. The X-Babies joined in, leading Judith to tell "that brute" to leave those kids alone. The Agent tried to attack her, but she was rescued by Lil' Longshot. A little while later, Excalibur and the W.H.O. arrived to join the fight. The Agent was defeated when Kitty Pryde used her phasing powers to remove the signatures from the contracts he had the X-Babies sign, binding them to Mojo. In the aftermath, Rassendyll looked at Nightcrawler from a distance, thinking he was still as handsome as ever. While her handlers hurried her away, Judith lamented there wasn't even a chance to say goodbye this time.

Comments: Created by Chris Claremont (writer), June Brigman (pencils), Whilce Portacio (inks)

Ah, Judith... Even after 30+  years, such an unexplored character. Her handful of appearances read as if Chris Claremont had big plans for her. Maybe that's why he never got around to revealing why she was unaware of her royal roots or who was trying to get her killed in Uncanny X-Men I#204. It's fairly easy to piece together what was going on, though. Some higher up in the Ruritanian government most likely wanted to prevent Judith from becoming queen, but the exact who and why is probably a mystery for the ages.

Chris Claremont borrowed the names "Rassendyll" and "Ruritania" from Anthony Hope's 1894 novel The Prisoner of Zenda . In that tale about the misadventures of Rudolf Rassendyll, the country of Ruritania is located east of Poland and covers about half of both Belarus and Ukraine.

Is she married or not? Her husband-to-be fainted before the marriage ceremony was concluded (and the cardinal turned out to be the Agent, so it wouldn't have been very legal anyway). Chances are they were married at a later date, unless her considerably older partner didn't survive the shock.

In a throwaway line in Mojo Mayhem, Chris Claremont linked Judith to the British Royal Family. Which isn't too unthinkable after all their ancestors were basically Middle-European aristocrats and Ruritania is allegedly in Middle Europe as well. Heck, the British royals' original name was "Saxe-Coburg & Gotha". It got changed to Windsor in 1917 because, essentially, they figured having a king with a very German sounding name wasn't the best possible PR when you're right in the middle of fighting a World War against that country.

Profile by Norvo.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Judith Rassendyll should not be confused with:


Judith's unidentified husband

An influential, older prince deemed a suitable partner of Judith Rassendyll, sole surviving heir to the throne of Ruritania. For reasons of state policy, it was decided they were to wed. The ceremony took place in St. Paul's Cathedral in London (because Rassendyll was related to the British Royal Family). The event was shown live on television by the BBC and interrupted by Kitty Pryde who wanted to use the opportunity to contact Excalibur (she and the X-Babies were on the run from the Agent). Moments later, the cardinal leading the wedding revealed himself to be the grotesque looking Agent. Judith's husband-to-be fainted on the spot while a fight broke out.

-- Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem#1










images: (without ads)
Uncanny X-Men I#204, p11, pan3 (main image)
Uncanny X-Men I#204, p7, pans1&2 (welcomed to Murderworld)
Uncanny X-Men I#204, p11, pans2&3 (in Arcade's Mad Max remake)
Uncanny X-Men I#206, p17, pan3 (saying goodbye to Nightcrawler)
Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem#1, p40, pan1 (saved by Lil Longshot)
Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem#1, p39, pan2 (Judith's husband)


Appearances:
Uncanny X-Men I#204 (April, 1986) - Chris Claremont (writer), June Brigman (pencils), Whilce Portacio (inks), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Uncanny X-Men I#206 (June, 1986) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem#1 (December, 1989) - Chris Claremont (writer), Art Adams (pencils), Bob Wiacek & Terry Austin (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)


Last updated: 05/02/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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