Bishop #4

Issue Date: 
March 1996
Story Title: 
Final Reckonings

John Ostrander (writer), Carlos Pacheco (pencils), Cam Smith (inks), Starkings/Comicraft (letters), Joe Rosas (colors), Suzanne Gaffney (editor), Bob Harras (group editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Mountjoy, having possessed Bishop’s body, enters Xavier’s school where he attacks the present X-Men. He successfully absorbs Gambit, Psylocke and, later, a visiting Archangel. However, Bishop manages to break himself free and faces Mountjoy in combat, though Mountjoy defeats him and next wants to absorb Professor Xavier. Bishop makes a plan, for which he needs Shard’s help. She lures Mountjoy to the Danger Room, where Bishop simulates a battleground of their future timeline. He attacks a distracted Mountjoy and eventually takes him down, but can’t bring it in his heart to kill him, as Shard wants him to do. However, Mountjoy then recovers and attacks Shard, wanting to kill her. Shard orders Bishop to fire one last blast to take them both down, but Bishop is worried it will ruin Shard’s holographic matrix, meaning she’ll be lost again, this time forever. Shard doesn’t mind and Bishop does as told. The absorbed X-Men are freed from Mountjoy’s body, and the villain himself is down as well. Unfortunately, Shard’s holographic image is too badly damaged due to the blast and, after the two siblings say they love each other one final time, she fades away. Having witnessed everything from the Danger Room’s control room, Professor X explains to Beast that Bishop has truly grown and changed since becoming an X-Man, and believes that he embodies what his dream is all about. Also, Charles believes that by not killing Mountjoy, Bishop has finally truly become one of them.

Full Summary: 

On the grounds outside Xavier’s...

Mountjoy is still in possession of Bishop’s body and, as Bishop, he walks over entrance of Xavier’s school. He claims that the strongest must die first: Storm will go out first with a gut shot. Cyclops and Psylocke will get headshots. He mocks that perhaps they’ll play with Rogue and use her to help them kill the others. He adds that Professor X, of course, must be eliminated quickly. And Jean Grey... she needs to go last. After all, that’s how the scenario goes.

He finds the school, and jokes that this is where the X-Men will get killed and betrayed by one of their own. Bishop tries to free himself, but Mountjoy holds him in his grip. He reminds Bishop that this is his own fault, as Mountjoy himself would have been just as happy not to have their encounter, but it was Bishop who sought him out. And he also didn’t really like the fact that Bishop tried to kill him earlier. And now, he has to kill the X-Men, because he can’t have them knowing he’s there, and then he’ll go after Bantam again. Mountjoy will take pleasure in killing the X-Men, simply because it will hurt Bishop.

Inside the mansion, Psylocke’s telekinetic powers “see”’ that Bishop is on the front lawn, but they indicate that there’s something weird with him. She thinks she should check it out, but Gambit asks her not to, as he has a message for Bishop from the Professor. The Professor said he wanted to talk with Bishop if – and when – he came home, and Gambit suspects the Professor himself should arrive back home soon.

Outside, Xavier is being chauffeured in a limo. He found the seminar he just attended interesting, but still wonders about Bishop. He wonders how Bishop is doing and if he’s going to come back to them. Xavier realizes he could easily find Bishop if he wanted to, but that would be prying. He can only pray Bishop will turn up in good time.

Inside the school, Mountjoy is struggling with Bishop, who keeps trying to hide his memories and thoughts from him. Mountjoy wonders what it is Bishop is trying to keep concealed. Gambit enters the hallways and sees “Bishop” and asks how he’s doing. Mountjoy punches Gambit into his face, mocking that this isn’t how he planned it, but believes one of them should be enough to make an inspiration. Mountjoy still struggles, and Bishop tries to point his gun towards his head, wanting to kill himself! However, Mountjoy manages to regain control and goes to the next room, where Psylocke is polishing her sword. She detects Bishop’s mind, but immediately senses something’s wrong with it, as it’s so hard to read than otherwise. Mountjoy pushes the door open and tells Psylocke to look into his eyes. She does, and “contact” is made.

Mountjoy releases Bishop and wants to absorb Psylocke next, informing her that, if it weren’t for his basilisk field, she would be able to stop him. Betsy is combat ready, but Mountjoy is too fast for her and goes right into her body! He has his head and hair take over Psylocke’s body, while the rest remains the same. Jokingly, Mountjoy says, “That’s one.” Bishop tries to gather his strength and reminds himself that he swore to defend the X-Men. Bishop attacks Mountjoy, but he kicks him down and runs outside and let’s Psylocke’s body take over. She is welcomed by Gambit, who thinks he’s talking to the real deal and that she managed to stop Bishop. However Mountjoy attacks Gambit and absorbs him as well. Gambit and Psylocke both struggle to get themselves free, but Mountjoy won’t let them. And, from the memories he absorbed from Bishop earlier, he knows that Gambit will survive into their future timeline. Mountjoy thinks about just killing the other X-Men and letting Gambit live, so he can ride Remy into the future!

He also wants to save Bishop for last, as a sarcastic final pleasure. Now, Mountjoy thinks all he has to do next is wait for the renowned Professor X to return. Inside his limo, Xavier is still thinking about whether Bishop will return to him. He wants to contact Psylocke asking for information, but since he’s almost at the school, Charles doesn’t see the point of it.

Later, Mountjoy has left the defeated Bishop alone. Shard appears in front of him and warns Bishop to get up, as their enemy is off to eat the X-Men and she’s only a hologram, so she can’t be of any use. Bishop thinks he can’t kill Mountjoy now that he’s absorbed his teammates. but Shard thinks he can. He has to, and should have done it when Mountjoy had absorbed just one of his teammates. Bishop angrily tells Shard that’s exactly what her problem always was: she always wanted to risk lives during missions, even those of her comrades. Bishop leaves and enters an elevator, which goes down. Shard phases through it and defends that those actions always got the job done, no matter the cost, physically or emotionally, to herself or others. That’s why she got promoted and he didn’t. Bishop reminds Shard she wanted to get promoted, and he was comfortable at where he was. Which gives him an idea on how to beat Mountjoy. He has a plan. Shard sighs, as she hates Bishop’s plans.

Bishop thinks Shard will love this one. He explains Forge made some improvements in her hologram programming. He can tap Shard into the security system and she can appear everywhere she wants in the mansion. If he routes her through the Danger Room, the Shi’ar technology can make her substantial... solid, when necessary. While Bihsop tends to the technical part of his plan, he wants Shard to lure Mountjoy to the Danger Room, and he’ll also prepare some surprises for him. And he wants Shard to hurry up, as Archangel is landing up in the aerie.

Meanwhile, in the aerie...

Archangel lands inside a room, where Mountjoy was waiting for him. Warren doesn’t know who it is. Mountjoy jokes that he’s a man of many faces. He shows Warren that he absorbed the bodies of Psylocke and Gambit, which shocks him. Mountjoy has made contact. He notices that Warren’s wings rise up when in defense mode which gives him an idea. He uses Gambit’s powers to charge up a playcard, joking it’s time for him to use a defense mode now. The card hits Warren and he falls out of the window. Mountjoy jumps after Warren and touches his face, absorbing him. Mountjoy’s new metallic wings come out of his back immediately, and he’s glad he has these new, strange weapons. Mountjoy says they have room for one more now, and that will be Professor X. And thanks to Psylocke’s psychic powers he knows Xavier will be arriving soon, so he’ll just shield his thoughts to keep up the surprise.

Shard approaches Mountjoy and mocks “mountebank” that he’s clever but not really smart. Mountjoy is glad to see her again, and shoots knives out Warren’s wings at her. However, Shard is not frightened by them, and the blades move right through her, instead blowing up a wall of the mansion. Mountjoy doesn’t understand how Shard could have dodged that attack, and wants to finish her off with a psychic knife now. However, he still goes through and falls through the hole in the wall, and ends up following Shard into the Danger Room.

Once there, Shard moves away and a simulation of their future timeline appears. Mountjoy is shocked, as this is the time he came from, and wonders if Bishop found a way back... a portal, maybe. But then, Mountjoy discovers from his absorbed rides where he is. Bishop overhears it from the control room, and quickly orders the Danger Room to close and seal itself down. Bishop faces Mountjoy himself, holding his guns ready, and warns Mountjoy to give up or he’ll kill him. Mountjoy disagrees, as he still occupies three of Bishop’s teammates, and doesn’t think he’ll kill him now. While he himself will!

Bishop still opens fire on Montjoy and hits him, but not badly. Mountjoy thinks Bishop deliberately missed him, and wants to test something out. He charges up one of Gambit’s cards again, thinking it’s electrical energy and throws it at Bishop, wanting to see how he reacts to it these days. Bishop corrects Mountjoy that Gambit charges kinetic energy, which he can absorb and redirect. Bishop fires the energy at Mountjoy, which releases a powerful blast across the room. Moutnjoy falls down on the ground, but the Danger Room is also partly destroyed. Bishop grabs Mountjoy by his throat, threatening him to release the X-Men or he’ll kill him regardless because, if the X-Men stay inside him, they’ll be doomed anyway and he wants to be the instrument of their deaths before they suffer any more.

A Danger Room cable has come lose during the attack, and sparks come from it. Bishop thinks he’d better hurry up before it hits them both. Mountjoy sees the cable as well. He pulls some more lose and traps Bishop in them, not allowing him to release himself. He thinks that, if Bishop can’t immediately rechannel the energy, he’ll explode. Shard appears and warns Mountjoy to let her brother go, or else she’ll put him away again, just like last time. Or perhaps she’ll just kill him. But Mountjoy states that this isn’t like “last time. He’s much stronger now than Shard ever was. Shard mocks Mountjoy that he always was a better talker than a fighter, and wants him to prove himself.

Mountjoy attacks Shard, wanting to absorb her for her insults, and then kill the other X-Men and Xavier. And when he has done that, he’ll absorb her. However, Shard corrects Mountjoy that she’s already dead and simply a hologram now. She warns Bishop to fire one of his blasts at her, but he’s afraid he’ll destroy her holographic matrix if he does that, meaning he can lose her again. And this time, it will be forever. Shard orders him to do it, and Bishop reluctantly does. Gambit, Psylocke and Archangel are freed, and a damaged Shard tells Bishop to finish the job, and execute their prisoner. Mountjoy also declines Bishop to kill him because, if he won’t, he’ll kill him.

Above in the control room, Xavier and Beast are taking note of everything, and want to see if Bishop will kill or not. He can easily intervene telepathically, preventing Bishop from doing it, but he wants to see if Bishop is an X-Man or not.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Beast, Bishop, Gambit, Professor X, Psylocke (all X-Men)



Story Notes: 

Mountjoy continues to rampage in the pages of Excalibur (1st series) #96. This issue also adds to the fact that Mountjoy can only absorb four people at once into him.

Shard recovers in Uncanny X-Men Annual 1996.

Apparently, a curse word in Bishop & Shard’s future will be “Nuke it,” as both Shard and Bishop say it a few times in this issue.

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