BISHOP: Page 4 of 9

Publication Date: 3rd Feb 2022
Written By: Peter Luzifer and Monolith.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.


By this time, Forge had fully repaired and further improved the holo-projector containing Shard’s matrix and she had joined his team, X-Factor. The team kept her existence secret, fearing that the government would exploit the future data and technology stored within the holo-device. When her teammate, Wild Child, arranged a meeting with Bishop, he acted very cold towards Shard. To him, the holographic projection was just a mockery of his late sister. The meeting was disturbed by operatives of Operation: Zero Tolerance, who knew of Shard by the precognitive visions of the Preacher. They managed to steal the projector and attempted to download the data, destroying Shard’s matrix in the process. Bishop, Storm and Wild Child found them, though it seemed too late to save Shard, as the projector was destroyed beyond repair. However, strangely, she reformed herself, now completely independent, as a photon based life-form. Bishop was happy to have her back and no longer questioned himself whether this was really his sister or just a copy of her. [Uncanny X-Men Annual ‘96]

Shortly afterwards, Bishop invited Shard to the mansion and demanded from her to join the X-Men. Shard was against it, as she knew that again everyone would have perceived her as Bishop’s little sister, just like when they were growing up in the X.S.E. They remembered their childhood and Bishop finally admitted that he was feeling guilty of not having being able to stick to the promise he had made to their grandma, as he had failed to protect Shard. Once Shard learned of the compromises Bishop made to the Witness to ensure her survival within the holo-matrix, she was willing to follow his wish and stay among the X-Men but her earlier argument had already convinced Bishop that she needed to build a life on her own, among X-Factor. [X.S.E. #1-4]

The following Christmas, Bishop was teleported deep into Shi'ar space by Gladiator alongside some of his fellow X-Men. The Shi’ar asked for the X-Men’s help against the invading Phalanx, who had already reached their throneworld Chandilar. Joining forces with Deathbird, the X-Men managed to fend off a Phalanx assault on the Shi'ar Empire. During this conflict, Bishop and the prodigal daughter of the Aerie forged a warrior's respect for each other. Deathbird was amazed by the Earth mutant who showed no fear and stood up to her and they also seemed physically attracted to each other. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #341-345]

As a gesture of honor, Deathbird escorted the mutants back to Earth but their ship was inexplicably destroyed in transit. Deathbird escaped annihilation, with the injured Bishop, using a private ship. She initially convinced Bishop that he was paralyzed due to his injuries and that, of all the X-Men, only he survived. However, it did not take long before Bishop realized that he was not really injured but that Deathbird was using the lab equipment to hold him in stasis. Right when he accused her of his suspicions, the craft was attacked and Bishop convinced her to release him, so that they could deal with the matter together. Eventually, they became partners and even romantically involved, alternately trying to get Bishop back to Earth and just trying to stay alive. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #348, 353-354, 357-358]

During their journeys, the odd couple was once accidentally transported to an alternate future Earth that was ruled by an evil daughter of Shi’ar Empress Lilandra and Charles Xavier. Bishop and Deathbird helped the rebels to oppose her and, in the end, Deathbird defeated her niece in a duel. She could have slain her and in fact every instinct told her to do so but she let her live – Bishop’s influence was showing its effects. The heroes of the liberated Earth helped Bishop and Deathbird to return to their own time and they continued their quest to get home. [Team X 2000 #1]

Eventually, they returned to the Sol System and encountered the inert planetary mass of the Living Monolith on their way to Terra Firma. Curious, Bishop and Deathbird landed their craft and investigated the manshaped planet. Bishop was blindsided when Deathbird betrayed him to a cadre of Skrulls and he was returned to Earth in order to implement the ultimate plans of the Skrulls' ally, Apocalypse. Once he awoke, Deathbird was no longer with him and he wondered why he was suddenly back on Earth, in the desert of Nevada. Bishop returned to the mansion only to discover that the X-Men were no more: the group had disbanded in his absence and only Xavier and Storm remained in residence. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #372, X-Men (2nd series) #92]

Plagued by dreams of his arch-nemesis, Trevor Fitzroy, Bishop soon quit the mansion and ventured into the city, where he tracked down Shard, who was in an almost catatonic state. Following the disbanding of X-Factor, she too had decided to hunt down Fitzroy. Through force and trickery, the villain then managed to bring Bishop into the distant future timeline that he now ruled, along with Shard and a innocent child named Michael, who was in the area at the time. Bishop and Michael were found by a nomadic group of people who chaffed under Fitzroy's tyrannical rule. This ad hoc tribe was watched over by the mysterious Witness and protected by the speedster, Jinx, the psychic, Link, the pyrotechnic, Scorch, and his friend, Nom, a taciturn giant. Bishop managed to rally the people into a spirit of revolution and his inner circle of mutant allies took to painting the 'X' over an eye as a symbol of their "dream," instead of the “M” they had been wearing before, inspired by childhood stories of the legendary Bishop and other X-Men. [Bishop: The Last X-Man #1-4]

Shard, meanwhile, had been taken prisoner by Fitzroy, who now called himself the Chronomancer and had gained a significant boost to his powers. As time went on, he even managed to reverse Shard's personal chronology, reverting her from a photonic lifeform back into flesh and blood. Bishop continued to gather his forces and eventually launched a final assault on the Chronomancer's keep with help from a band of new Morlocks, gargoyle-like creatures, and Nom's lost race of powerful giants. The Chronomancer tried to seduce Shard but, when she resisted, he had her chained to a wall and continued his feud with Bishop. Fitzroy planned to sustain his power by merging with the timestream itself and, when a huge chrono-portal opened in front of him, it seemed that he would finally be triumphant. However, Shard had cut off her own arm to free herself and, knowing that the madman had to be stopped, she transformed into photonic energy for Bishop to absorb and rechannel, ending her own life.

Her sacrifice seemed in vain when the Chronomancer easily avoid the powerful blast that Bishop released at him. Still, Bishop found another way to defeat him, when Fitzroy stepped into the portal, Bishop grabbed his leg, stopping him from fully passing through. When the portal closed down, Fitzroy was still stuck midway inside it and was apparently ripped apart by the powerful forces. Bishop was in the center of the resulting explosion. The sudden release of that much chrono-energy plunged Bishop back through the timestream. [Bishop: The Last X-Man #12-14]

Bishop rematerialized just in time for the crisis known as Maximum Security, during which aliens had decided to turn Earth into an intergalactic prison colony. Meeting up with Xavier and his Cadre K, Bishop encountered the now-insane Deathbird in Shi'ar space and his former partner-turned-betrayer ended up apparently dead, lost in the void of space. [Bishop: The Last X-Man #15] Nobody could get on or off Earth without being processed by alien authorities. Professor Xavier and his mutant Skrulls Cadre K worked together with Bishop, who, posing as a villain, was deported to earth and could rejoin the X-Men. Working from both sides of the barrier, the X-Men and almost every other hero of Earth banded together to take it down and restore their home. [X-Men (2nd series) #107, X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #29]

[Note: Apocalypse arranged for Bishop to be sent into the future as part of his millennia long scheme involving the Gathering of the Twelve. These dozen Alpha-class mutants were meant to be part of a mutant machine triggering Apocalypse's evolution to a more powerful state. Representing Space and Time were Mikhail Rasputin and Bishop, charged with chronal energy by his travels through time. In Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #377 and X-Men (2nd series) #97, Bishop returned from the Chronomancer's future to be used during the Gathering, only to return when Apocalypse's scheme failed. However, when Bishop returned from the future permanently, he wasn't familiar with the Gathering events, raising questions of WHEN the Twelve's Bishop was actually summoned from.]

Unbeknownst to Bishop, he had been infused with the power of Le Bete Noir in his return to the present. This entity had power that rivaled the Phoenix Force itself and threatened to consume Bishop's body and unleash its evil upon the universe. Stryfe tried to hunt down Bishop for that power and Gambit, the only X-Man not under the villain’s thrall, took Bishop to his native New Orleans to meet his mysterious benefactor - once more the Witness. Bishop was puzzled to see the two men at the same time, as he still believed that the Witness was Gambit‘s future self. The ancient man called LeBeau recognized Bishop, and neither denied nor confirmed that suspicion.

At first, they tried to contain the energy with a modified version of Havok’s old costume but it was too late as the entity was about to break out. Eventually, Bishop could no longer contain the energies. He was saved at the last possible moment by an uncharacteristic self-sacrifice by the chaos-bringer, Stryfe, who freed Bishop and the world from the threat of Le Bete Noir. [Gambit & Bishop: Sons of the Atom Alpha, #1-6]