Deathbird continued to rule over the once powerful Kree race but, when a technological species called the Phalanx appeared, she was forced into battle once more. The Phalanx were assimilating any planet they came across and had left the Shi’ar Empire crippled by their superior firepower. Deathbird was ordered to go find help but she only made it as far as a Shi’ar space station before the Phalanx struck. Of the 4000 souls on board, only she survived the massacre and was found by the X-Men, who had been sent to help. Her battered and bruised body was taken aboard their ship whilst they investigated the situation. When she woke, she found she was being cared for by Beast and a new X-man called Bishop. She was initially worried about her people but, when Bishop asked why she was the only survivor, her fury came to the front and she angrily lashed out as his questions. Bishop was saved from her wrath by the arrival of two of the X-Men who had been the station to look into the massacre. Thanks to her heightened sense of smell, she immediately knew the two were Phalanx imposters and shot them both, revealing their true nature.
Once more, Deathbird formed a temporary alliance with the X-Men as they hatched a plan to take down the Phalanx. Still, she again found herself coming to blows with Bishop after the X-Man displayed his antipathy that she was from royalty. Eventually, they made their way to Chandilar, only to find the planet overrun by the Phalanx. They were surprised to see that Lilandra and some others were being held captive until Deathbird realized in horror that the Phalanx were after the unhatched Shi’ar young. Desperate to save this next generation, Deathbird and Bishop went to save them, whilst the rest took down the Phalanx. Despite her aggressive nature, even Deathbird was in awe of the hatchery and what it represented. As the two crept into it, Deathbird’s earlier injuries resurfaced and she collapsed in pain. Nevertheless, when the Phalanx made their way into the hatchery, Deathbird adamantly stood in their way and battled them with every ounce of strength she had, earning Bishop’s respect in the process. The other group succeeded in destroying the Phalanx threat and the Shi’ar were once again saved from annihilation. After a celebration, the X-Men were astounded to hear that Deathbird would be personally escorting the group back home out of gratitude.
On the trip back to Earth, Deathbird took the time to relax and sought out Bishop, as she was beginning to feel some kind of connection to him. She also found him reading her private journal and trying to get better acquainted with who she was. Instead of being shocked at her past actions, he seemed almost in awe of her but Deathbird ordered him to stop looking into her past. Perhaps for the first time, she truly acknowledge her shameful personal history. However, before the two could get any closer, their ship was accidentally destroyed by another one. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #342-345]
As the ship had begun to break apart, Deathbird’s self-preservation instinct kicked in and she headed for the escape pod. In an uncharacteristic display, she decided to save Bishop too by knocking him out and teleporting the two of them into the escape pod, though in the process she left the other X-Men to their fates. Bishop was severely injured during the decompression and Deathbird took it upon herself to heal him. She took him to a nearby space station where his needs would be met and she watched over him constantly. Knowing that he would want to rejoin his team on Earth, Deathbird became desperate and lied to him when he regained consciousness. She told him the other X-Men had died and that he was paralyzed, when in fact she was administering a drug to simulate the effect instead. Bishop knew something was amiss but played along with Deathbird’s desires to rule the Shi’ar Empire together. Once Bishop was stable, Deathbird put him on a small shuttle and the two journeyed back to Chandilar. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #348, 353-354, 358]
During the journey, the ship was damaged and it was caught in the gravity of a nearby sun, which threatened to destroy it. Bishop managed to convince Deathbird that he loved her, despite knowing that she had drugged him. The two worked together to save the ship but were forced to crash land on a nearby planet. Bishop instinctively took the leadership role, causing tension as was seethed that he dared to order her around. Despite this, she still went along with him, as she knew he was her best hope for survival. She dared not tell him that his desires to return to Earth were futile, as he was either going to rule by her side… or serve at her feet. The duo soon became embroiled in a battle between two alien races and Bishop felt the need to help out, a notion that Deathbird couldn’t comprehend. When the option to leave the planet came along, Deathbird jumped at the chance but Bishop wanted to stay until the last moment. The two went their separate ways but, despite everything, Deathbird stayed behind at the last minute and sacrificed her chance to get off the planet so she could be with Bishop. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #357-358]
The duo finally got hold of a small shuttle and began the long journey back to Earth. On the way, they encountered a Shi’ar stargate that they hoped would take them to Earth. They were right, although it was an Earth in their future and it had been taken over by the Shi’ar. The shuttle was captured by a Shi’ar spaceship and Deathbird discovered the ruler of Earth was her niece, Alanna, the daughter of Lilandra and Charles Xavier. She was surprised at this revelation, because Lilandra had yet to have a child in her timeline. Alanna welcomed Deathbird and explained that she had read her aunt’s war journals and said she was an inspiration to her rule. Deathbird admired the young girl’s attitude and was flattered by her words, although she remained unaware of how truly alike her niece was to her. A rebellion had formed with the intention of ridding the world of Alanna and they struck during a ceremony that was designed to officially celebrate Deathbird’s return. Deathbird had begun to suspect Alanna wasn’t the honorable ruler she made out to be and thus declined a place by her side. Things soon turned bad between the two and, after Alanna ordered Deathbird’s execution, the two fought, with Allana surprising her aunt with just how closely she studied her. It was thanks to some previous training by Bishop that Deathbird overpowered her niece. Deathbird was prepared to kill her niece but, before she could deal the killing blow, she stopped as she realized nothing good would come of her death. Instead, Alanna was apprehended and the Earth was freed of her tyranny. Deathbird and Bishop were allowed to travel back to their own time, where they continued the long journey home. [Team X 2000]
As they slowly made their way towards Earth, Deathbird was beginning to realize that Bishop would never willingly rule alongside her. At some point, she came into contact with the ancient mutant Apocalypse and struck a deal with him. If she worked for him, then he would grant her enhanced abilities that she could use to reclaim the Shi’ar throne. Deathbird was tasked with retrieving a key component to Apocalypse’s master plan and so she slyly directed their spaceship to its location. The duo came across a planet in the shape of a person and Deathbird urged Bishop to investigate out of scientific curiosity. When the two landed, Deathbird revealed her betrayal and shot Bishop before he could react. Deathbird collected her bounty, the essence of a mutant called the Living Monolith, and made her way to Earth.
She arrived in Egypt to find Apocalypse’s forces were in full preparation for his endgame. With her part of the bargain fulfilled, she expected Apocalypse to reward her but instead she was knocked out and converted into one of his new Horseman, enhancing her natural abilities. It was only fitting, given her ruthlessness and lack of morality, that she would take the mantle of War.
Apocalypse needed twelve mutants to complete his plan and so he tasked his new Horsemen with collecting the chosen few. Deathbird managed to bring him both Cable and Iceman with relative ease but, soon enough, the X-Men were on the warpath as they sought their missing teammates. When they arrived in Egypt, they were set upon by Apocalypse’s forces and Deathbird was surprised to see Bishop had made it back to Earth. She personally captured him and delivered him to Apocalypse, completing the line-up that the ancient mutant desired. The X-Men still didn’t give up, though, and stormed Apocalypse’s base, causing the Horsemen to attack them once more. Before Deathbird could act, though, she was teleported to another dimension by Mikhail Rasputin, effectively taking her out of the fight altogether. With his Horsemen gone, Apocalypse’s plan soon failed and Deathbird was presumed missing. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #372-374, X-Men (2nd series) #92, Cable (2nd series) #74, Apocalypse: the Twelve crossover]
Deathbird somehow made it back to her own dimension, where she was soon captured by Shi’ar forces and sent to prison. When the various galactic councils voted to turn Earth into a maximum security prison for their unwanted criminals, a force field was erected around the planet. Though Lilandra had sentenced her to live there, Deathbird not only somehow managed to get a key to the force field but went on the run with it. Deathbird ended up travelling to a Shi’ar space station for refuge but, instead of laying low, she murdered everyone on board, many of them her own people. One of the groups who were looking for her was led by Professor Xavier, who sought to use the key to end the prison state on Earth. He tracked Deathbird down to the space station and was shocked to see the carnage she had created. Deathbird was using every trick she could think of to hide from Xavier but, when Bishop suddenly crash landed on the station, she couldn’t resist exposing herself. In a state of delirium, thanks to the cold and oxygen deprivation, she saw him as some kind of angel sent to save her. Her true nature quickly took over when she ended up using him as a human shield when Xavier shot at them. Bishop and Xavier teamed up to track Deathbird down and her former lover cornered her near an airlock. Though she was forced to hand him the key, Deathbird knew that if Xavier possessed it then he would be on the other side of the argument as her sister and it would cause them both pain. Not content with this small victory, she began to goad Bishop into shooting her and, when that didn’t work, opened the airlock. Bishop managed to hold on but the decompression blasted Deathbird into space, seemingly to her death. [Bishop: The Last X-Man #15]