BISHOP: Page 7 of 9

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


In 2043, he found some discarded baby formula and picked up the trail, using time travel to zero in on Cable’s exact location and set an ambush for him in East Orange, New Jersey. The area’s corrupt militia, the Turnpike Authority, intervened before Lucas could eliminate Nathan and the baby for good. Worse yet, an aged Cannonball, the last mutant alive in the future, caught wind of their battle and showed up to assist Cable. Bishop pleaded with Sam to listen to him, trying to make him understand what the baby’s future really was, but it was no use. Reluctantly, Bishop used the retractable tentacles in his new arm to rip Cannonball’s heart from his chest. All the distractions were enough, however, allowing Cable to escape into the future and leaving Bishop empty-handed. [Cable (2nd series) #1-5]

Bishop continued his search for Cable and the girl, using all of time as his hunting grounds. He adopted a strategy of jumping far into the future, looking for rumors or legends of Cable’s activities in the past so that he could jump back and surprise him. Cable was just as skilled in tactics and strategy as Bishop, though, and he set up “traps” in time for his adversary – false rumors of his presence, allies who vowed to keep watch for Bishop for generations, and so on. Even more, Cable’s old friend Irene Merryweather deliberately seeded history with fake stories of Cable sightings, creating an entire cult of followers determined to spread misinformation and stop Bishop from locating Nathan. In four years of time-jumps, Bishop only encountered Cable and the child in person once more after East Orange. Bishop did uncover one advantage, however… he learned that Cable’s time-jump mechanism was broken, allowing him to move forward in time only, not backwards. [King-Size Cable Spectacular #1]

Armed with the knowledge of Cable’s weakness, Lucas devised a new strategy. His obsession with killing the child had evolved into a cold, clinical madness. Bishop recognized that the future he was chasing Cable through no longer resembled his timeline, or Cable’s, but was a new sequence of events altogether. He convinced himself that the people he encountered on his hunt were therefore not real – once he found the child and killed her, a new future would arise in its place and those people would never have existed. Bishop thus dedicated himself to a haunting mantra: Destroy the world, destroy the baby, save the world.

Returning to the present, Bishop began harvesting doomsday weapons from various secret installations. His plan was to control Cable’s movements through time by eliminating the places he could possibly hide. To that end, Bishop wiped out entire continents to render them unfit for human survival. He unleashed a tactical nuclear strike on Australia (eerily mirroring the events which led his parents to flee to America in his timeline). Europe’s water supply was poisoned, releasing a plague that wiped out the population. An ultra-advanced form of napalm consumed all of South America. In Asia and Africa, a combination of bio-weapons and toxic chemical warfare decimated the people and farmland, with civil war destroying the rest. With these atrocities, Lucas ensured Cable could not hide the girl anywhere but the future of North America… because there was nothing else left. [Cable (2nd series) #9]

[NOTE: The timetable for Bishop’s devastation is contradictory in some places. Cable (2nd series) #10 refers to the disasters occurring one on top of another, all predating 2276 and Cable’s stay in New Liberty. In X-Force/Cable: Messiah War #1, however, Bishop was shown carrying out his genocide over several centuries, beginning in 2276 with Australia and extending to 2753 in South America.]

During his “scavenger hunt” for WMDs, Bishop was captured in the present by X-Force, and brought before Cyclops in San Francisco to answer for his crimes. Separated from his bionic arm, Lucas made a half-hearted attempt to convince Scott of his mission, but he knew the effort was hopeless. The X-Men would never accept that the child needed to die. He managed to trick Scott into unleashing a short-lived nanite virus stored in his cybernetic arm, which temporarily disabled the X-Men. Bishop successfully reconnected his arm and escaped into the immediate past to retrieve the last of his weapons: a chrono-manipulator mutant named Kiden Nixon. [Cable (2nd series) #7-10]

Bishop needed to set a trap for Cable and, in order to do that properly, he needed an ally. Surfing the timestream, he located a version of Stryfe, Cable’s evil twin. They made a deal – Bishop would help Stryfe fulfill his lifelong dream of killing Apocalypse, and in exchange Stryfe would help him eliminate Cable, who Bishop claimed had “gone rogue” from the X-Men. Bishop wisely chose to keep his true purpose, and the existence of the mutant child, a secret from Stryfe. In the late 30th century, Bishop had located a version of Apocalypse who created a thriving empire, but had grown weak over time. Together, Bishop and Stryfe destroyed Apocalypse and claimed his empire for themselves, setting up base at the New Celestial City in what used to be Westchester County, New York. Bishop believed Cable would eventually return to the X-Mansion at some point in his travels, and hooked his captive Kiden Nixon into equipment that turned her mutant powers into a “chronal net” that blocked time travel through the era where she was active. Now, Bishop’s trap was complete: his weapons had isolated Cable’s movement through space, and now the chronal net would keep him from moving beyond a certain point in time as well. For twelve years, Bishop oversaw the New Celestial City with Stryfe, patiently waiting for any signs of Cable and the child. Through self-hypnosis and a psi-buffer, he managed to hide his true intentions from Stryfe during their alliance.

Finally in 2973, Cable was spotted in the ruins outside New Celestial City. Cyclops’s X-Force team had tracked him into the future as well, but they provided little resistance for Stryfe. He captured the child, now called Hope, and Warpath of X-Force before Cable could lift a finger to stop him. Back at the Celestial Palace, Bishop finally made his move, unleashing the nanite virus in his arm to disable Stryfe, and moving in to kill Hope at long last. Unfortunately for Lucas, he wasn’t quick enough. Stryfe recovered from the nanites faster than he expected, freezing his bullets and disassembling his gun before Hope was killed. His actions alerted Stryfe to Hope’s importance, and the Chaos-Bringer refused to allow Bishop to kill her until he determined if she could be of use to him. Bishop had concealed a power source in his bionic arm to feed his mutant abilities if necessary, but Stryfe simply stripped apart his cybernetics, leaving him broken and powerless.

The situation continued to unravel as Cable and X-Force stormed the palace, with a rejuvenated Apocalypse not far behind, eager to revenge himself on Stryfe. In the struggle that followed, Bishop lost an eye to Wolverine’s claws while trying to kill the girl. Crippled and maimed, with Stryfe down, Kiden’s chronal net disabled and Apocalypse himself between Lucas and the girl, Bishop chose to escape into the timestream rather than pursue his campaign further. [Messiah War crossover]

Out of allies and his trap undone, Bishop was forced to continue his pursuit alone again. He severed the lower half of his non-functional bionic arm, keeping only the top portion that contained his timejump device. He soon located Cable again in the future, but quickly realized that the girl Hope was missing. Recognizing that the girl must be alone and vulnerable somewhere else in time for Cable to be separated from her, Bishop broke off his attack on Cable and went after Hope. He jumped back two years before Cable’s current timeframe, but at a cost – damage to his arm in the battle disabled his time machine. [Cable (2nd series) #16]

Forced to search for Hope using conventional means, Lucas contacted the two cities that had risen up in the century since Stryfe and Apocalypse moved on. These cities were virtually all that remained of humanity after Bishop’s deliberate catastrophes and the wars that rose up after them. They were populated by the descendants of the Stryfe-troopers who served the Chaos-Bringer in New Celestial City a hundred years past, but were warring with each other in their desperate attempts to leave Earth before the rotting planet died around them. Bishop posed as a priest, the “Archbishop,” searching for a wayward student, and made an alliance with the Clean City. He offered them the nuclear power cell in his arm to complete their space-ark, if the city’s guardsmen helped him locate Hope.

For two years, the Archbishop dangled the prize of his power cell before the city’s rulers, until they could provide him with some signs of what happened to Hope. He prepared himself in that time for his next meeting with the girl. In addition to a bionic eye to replace the one Wolverine took from him, Bishop also incorporated a short-range thermonuclear device into his arm. Once he laid eyes on Hope, Bishop planned to commit suicide, detonating the bomb in his arm to consume them both, and complete his mission to “save the future.” He missed his opportunity, however, when Cable returned posing as Stryfe and convinced the denizens of the Clean City to blast off with him and Hope using a power cell he scavenged, leaving the Archbishop on the dying Earth. [Cable (2nd series) #15-17]

Lucas pursued them into space, using his power cell to prep the Unclean City’s escape ship. He secured the help of the Stryfe-troopers left behind on Earth and Emil, Hope’s friend from the Clean City, still using the ruse that he was Hope’s teacher looking to save her from Cable. They caught up with the other ship in deep space, and Bishop joined the boarding party. Although he knew Hope was on-board the vessel, his monomania demanded he lay eyes on her before detonating his thermonuclear device, to be absolutely certain. The situation degenerated further when an Acanti filled with hungry Brood intercepted the two ships as well. Bishop was forced into a devil’s bargain with the Brood Queen, hosting one of their younglings as he convinced the Brood to help him locate Hope…a perfect host for their embryos. While the Broodling controlled his actions, Lucas hoped he would be able to temporarily regain control of his body long enough to kill Hope when his new “allies” found her. The plot became moot as Cable killed the Brood Queen while fighting for Hope, freeing Bishop from their control. Emil and the Brood distracted Bishop long enough for Cable and Hope to be shot back towards Earth in a pair of terraforming pods. As Emil captured Bishop’s bomb and prepared to detonate it to save Hope, Bishop forced himself inside one of the Acanti space-whales. [Cable (2nd series) #18-20]

As the Acanti attempted to digest Bishop, he somehow interfaced with its brain, becoming symbiotically bonded with the creature and overriding its drive. Bishop’s obsessive quest for Hope compelled the Acanti to chase after Cable and Hope as they flew back to Earth. For the next two years, Bishop was reduced to a nearly-comatose state as his subconscious continued to drive the Acanti after his targets. As they all crashed back on Earth, the Acanti died and Bishop was let free from the creature. Lucas immediately returned to his mission, but as he prepared to kill Cable and Hope, he discovered he was too late. Hope was now in her teens, and had finally manifested her mutant abilities, turning Cable’s telekinesis and his own energy-rechanneling powers against Bishop. In her rage, flush with the chance to finally fight back against the man who had hunted her throughout her life, Hope nearly killed Bishop when she had him at her mercy. Cable stopped her from becoming a murderer, and instead they removed the time-jump components Nathan needed to repair his equipment and jump back to the present. [Cable (2nd series) #21]

Bishop would not be left behind so easily, however. Although Cable removed his primary time-jump mechanism, the recall systems in his arm allowed Lucas to tag along with Cable and Hope when they jumped, arriving a minute or so behind them. Cable’s time-sliding was also malfunctioning, causing them to skip centuries backwards and forwards through time, blinking closer and closer to the X-Men’s present with each jump. Bishop continued to dog them through the centuries, a running skirmish that popped back and forth through a millennia of Manhattan’s history. As they narrowed in on the late 20th century, the trio took the fight underground into a series of subway tunnels. As Hope temporarily got the best of Bishop in hand-to-hand, Cable slipped his old, malfunctioning time device into Bishop’s arm and triggered it. Lucas shot forward several millennia, arriving in 6700 on a dying world. The time device self-destructed moments later per Cable’s programming, leaving Bishop to die alone in the apocalyptic future he himself had created for our world. [Cable (2nd series) #22-24]