Day 12 of 28 Days of Black Super Heroes, today’s hero is the Marvel Comics’ character Bishop.
I must admit that I never truly “got” this character. I did have respect for him at times, but I never bought a comic just because he was in it.
Considering the way he ended up I’m glad I didn’t get too invested in him.
WHO IS HE?
Side note: The X-Men have tried for about 30 years now to keep this future from happening, and they just can’t do it.
The basics of this future are that all mutants are imprisoned, branded and essentially tortured in a manner very similar to the concentration camp torment WWII era Jews endured in the camps at Auschwitz and the like.
The reason for this always changes. The X-Men are usually successful at stopping one “trigger event” but another event soon pops up. In any case, in Bishop’s future timeline, the X-Men failed and this reality has occurred. As a result, Bishop and his sister Shard were branded with the Mutant “M” brand on their faces and condemned to the mutant concentration camps.
Bishop grew up alwyas hearing about the “legendary” (but dead) Professor Charles Xavier and his mutant freedom fighters, the X-Men. The person telling him about the X-Men was a man name LeBeau. For those of you not up on X-Men Lebeau is the last name of the X-Man Gambit
Anyway, hilarity ensues and Bishop ends up traveling back in time, where he actually meets his heroes, the X-Men.
At first he doesn’t believe it’s them, so him and his team of enforcers battle the X-Men, then in true comic book fashion, they join them to face a larger threat.
I don’t remember too much about it now, because that was a period in time when the stories really started to slide and become one power blast-fest after another.
If I recall correctly, this is the period in time when acclaimed X-Men writer Chris Claremont decided to leave the book after almost twenty years.
For the first time, someone else was in control of the X-Characters, and it really showed.
I think Bishop was the first X-Man that wasn’t created or added to the team by Claremont in all that time.
I’ll tell you, I didn’t care for the character. There were some extremely off-putting characteristics of Bishop that prevented me from co-signing on him.
- Days of Future Past: Man I was so tired of that storyline by the time Bishop showed up. And that was way back then. I didn’t want to see another fugitive from a dystopian future.We’d already had Rachel Grey forced on us. Even though I actually liked her, enough was enough.
- Lame Power Alert: So what is Bishop’s mutant power anyway? Well, he can absorb energy and then re-blast it out. It’s kind of generic and not really very cool.I mean, he’s not a pushover by any means. He’s actually very tough, but it’s just not a “cool” power.
- JHERI! CURL!:Let me just spell this out for you guys. Bishop came back from the FUTURE. It doesn’t matter that the future was a post-apocalyptic nightmare, what matters is that there were still JHERI CURLS in the future!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
That’s the kind of future that must be wiped out at all costs.
The thing about Bishop, is, say what you want, the guy is definitely a bad-ass.
He’s one of those characters that you don’t worry about, because you know he’s tough enough to get through whatever’s going down.
I remember one scene in the 90’s X-Men crossover X-Cutioner’s Song, where Bishop and Wolverine track down fellow mutant Cable, believing him to be responsible for shooting Professor X and critically wounding him.
It was pretty tense as Cable realizes that between both Wolverine and Bishop he’s in serious trouble
I can’t really remember the specifics, but I think they proceeded to beat up Cable at that point. He wasn’t responsible for shooting Xavier, but as far as I’m concerned, Cable is always due for an good old fashioned hippie ass-whompin’.
ALL AROUND THE MARVEL U
Bishop wasn’t a character I kept tabs on, but I could see that he kept in print on a regular basis.
He hooked up with Storm and her X-Men splinter-group X-Treme X-Men, when they clashed with Xavier over the direction of the team.
He also followed her back into the fold when Storm tried to legitimize the X-Men (or at least her own team), by having them become actual federal agents that dealt with mutant affairs (I believe much of this stuff was written by Chris Claremont, who had returned to Marvel by this point).
I wasn’t buying too many of these comics, because X-Men had seriously lost its luster to me, but if I had some spare cash I might pick up an issue here or there.
Oh yeah, when not facing down world-threatening mutant villains, Bishop was actually an FBI agent based in New York City, where he was mainly concerned with a mutant-filled neighborhood of the city known as District X.
I read not one issue of this, but I knew a lot of forum posters who were not happy when it was cancelled.
M-DAY AND CIVIL WAR
Here’s where things start going left for Bishop.
M-Day was the unfortunate end result of the Marvel House of M crossover event, in which Magneto’s mentally unstable daughter, the Scarlet Witch, is convinced by her brother Quicksilver, to create a reality in which mutants are in control of the world and Magneto is the king.
At the end of the series, when the Avengers and X-Men arrive to set things right, the Scarlet Witch goes even more nuts and uses her reality-altering powers to remove the powers of the vast majority of the world’s mutants in one quick moment.
What a BITCH.
This resulted in yet another X-Event called Decimation, in which the surviving X-Men scramble and struggle to survive now that they’re a vastly outnumbered and outpowered minority.
The government takes immediate action and essentially moves to place the X-Men under round-the-clock armed guard, restricting their movements and violating their rights and privacy at every turn.
Oh yeah, as I mentioned before in my War Machine write-up, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four stand by and allow the X-Men to be rounded up and essentially imprisoned on their own grounds by giant government robots. Some heroes.
So what I’m getting to here is that all of these events made a situation for the X-Men where all hands on deck were needed, there’s no room here for someone going off-script or going rogue.
Then the Civil War happened.
Luckily, the X-Men (with the exception of Wolverine), were too smart to get involved in all that crap, especially since neither Captain America nor Iron-Man came flying to the rescue to help them against the giant robots that were imprisoning them.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t remain completely neutral.
Of the few mutants left, many are confined to virtual tent cities on the Xavier estate. They called themselves The 198 (the approximate number of mutants left in the world).
When The 198 break out of the Xavier prison camp, Bishop has some kind of a psychotic break or something and decides to team up with his jailers, the government agency O*N*E,and go after the 198 to arrest them.
Huh?!?!? You just…you…WHAT?!??
Uh, anyway…this puts him in direct opposition to the X-Men, who go out after the 198 to stop Bishop from getting to them and possible escalating things until The 198 are destroyed.
The fallout from Bishop’s little misadventure here is that he leaves the X-Men to take a job with the O*N*E.
And that’s just the start of his slide…
Ok, try to follow me on this one…
The next X-Men event was called Messiah Complex, and just when you thought Bishop couldn’t do anything more stupid than the Civil War debacle, well, you thought WRONG.
Messiah Complex was essentially about a mutant baby. After M-day, there had been no more mutant births, so the X-Men now considered themselves an endangered species. Without new births, they weren’t even a viable race, since it would take a hell of a lot more than 200 people to sustain them.
Anyway, that all changed when a mutant birth registered. Normally mutants wouldn’t manifest until puberty, so a mutant baby was extremely rare, and in this case believed to be impossible.
When the baby was discovered, a small scale war erupted between 5 factions -chief among them the evil and extremely deadly Mr. Sinister, his mutant Marauders (responsible for doing serious damage to the X-Men in the past), the mutant hating Purifiers, and of course, the X-Men, to get to the child first.
With the stakes as high as they are, Bishop is welcomed back into the fold by the X-Men, and they join forces to track down the child, who they soon discover has been taken by none other than X-Men ally Cable.
Along the way we discover that this baby is the event that triggers Bishops mutant holocaust timeline. Now in a position to prevent that terrible future from occurring, Bishop decides to do the only thing he can do: kill the baby.
The X-men are unaware of Bishop’s motives for most of the series, but eventually it all boils down to a final battle, when Bishop attempts to kill Cable, and not only fails, but instead mortally wounds Professor Xavier. At which point he’s blasted at pretty much point blank range by Cyclops.
Oh yeah, his arm was bitten off by some ridiculous creature somewhere in there, too.
IT’S STILL NOT OVER
So not only does Bishop now fully and completely turn on the X-Men, heroes he’s idolized since his youth, he goes even further now.
Cable has been given custody of the mutant child, and he escapes into the timestream to keep her from harm.
Well, Bishop, this big dummy, he actually follows Cable from time to time trying to kill them both!! GEEZ!! COME ON, MAN.
So Bishop goes from a pseudo-hero, to full-fledged X-Man, then slowly turns into a minor traitor, then full-out psycho.
I’ll repeat, I never liked the character that much, but I sure though he deserved better than that.
I didn’t buy too much of the Cable series where Bishop chased after him and the girl (who grows up to be Hope Summers) for 16 years as they traveled through time, but I caught the end, and after a massive battle, Bishop is left stranded far, far in the future on a barren, burned-out Earth with a dying sun with no way to get back to any other time.
Yeah, that’s some great ending there. Of course, it’s never the end for these guys but still. Damn.
THE WRAP UP
So that’s a huge waste of a character. I just don’t see how Bishop can ever be redeemed after all this.
Barring a major re-write of reality (which could actually happen), he’s always going to be the guy who tried to kill the baby and shot Professor X in the head.
As far as I’m concerned, just don’t bring him back, unless he really does kill Hope, because I can’t stand that chick.
If he comes back with a Jheri Curl, then I’ll really be pissed.
Anyway that’s all I can stands of Bishop, so I’ll leave you guys with the pencil art I drew up. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s hero!