Bishop : The Last X-Man #8

Issue Date: 
May 2000
Story Title: 
Hello, Old Friend

Joseph Harris (writer), Georges Jeanty (pencils), Art Thibert & Allen Martinez (inks), Jason Wright (colors), Jon Babcock (letters), Mike Marts (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Bishop reveals to his friends the final story of the last X-Men of this universe. A war between humans and mutants had broken lose and out of control and only Wolverine and Storm were left to do something about it. They escaped an army of Sentinels, and hid in a cave. There, Storm explained to Logan that she had sent Gambit to Shaw for another part of her plan, and had also convinced Forge to reprogram... a Sentinel. Naming the Sentinel Gol-19, Storm entrusted Gol-19 with the X-Men’s secrets. She also handed him over her tiara and a key, which she hoped future mutants would find someday and find a way to stop the war. While Logan and Storm fought against an army of Sentinels and were killed in battle, Gol-19 was allowed by the two to escape to fulfill his mission. Today, Bishop and the others travel through a forest where Bishop hopes to find the cave Wolverine and Storm hid in. As they have to cross a rotting tree to make it over a small river, it’s revealed that Scorch has a fear of water due to an incident he had when he was a kid. They make it over the river, though, and Bishop later succeeds in finding the cave. He and the others enter it, where Bishop uses the key Gol-19 gave him earlier to find... the Cerebro helmet! Bishop attaches the power cells he also got from Gol-19, and asks Link to use her telepathic powers to help him use the helmet. The plan works and, after a while, Cerebro detects a dark castle, and in it... the Chronomancer!

Full Summary: 

The past of this alternate timeline...
- The sky looked downwards, as though in judgement. The heavens had opened, though not for admittance of any sort. There was much at stake in the woods that day. And much unseen beneath the angry sky. The rains continued to fall like they had all day – heavily. And as though commanded.

Two people are running for their lives. One of them, a woman, trips and can’t run anymore. Her companion, a man, asks what she means. She mentions that the ground is too slick and her legs feel like they’re on fire. She wants to be left behind. The man reminds the woman that they’ve got no choice. The air is charged, which means their pursuers can’t smell them too well. So now is the best time for them to try to make it back. The man offers his help. The woman exclaims that just because she said she can’t run anymore... doesn’t mean they have to stop!

The woman flies herself and the man up in the air, just as a hooded man appeared behind them. The two fly inside a cave. There, the woman holds a familiar looking, black tiara and states that, though it is difficult, she will attempt to keep the air changed for as long as she can. Lightning appears, which the woman explains should protect them from the scans, as well by them a little time. Wolverine, standing behind Storm, lights up a cigar and asks Ororo not to tell him that, but their new companion!

Storm gets up, only to find... a Sentinel! The Sentinel identifies Storm and Wolverine and indicates that they’re affiliated with the X-Men!

The present...
Bishop and his friends have been walking through the woods for hours now, though it feels more like years. Bishop notices that the others hang on his words like he were a campfire storyteller. Bishop tells his friends to look at the trees around them and how they scrape the sky. He suspects things haven’t changed much since the X-Men once walked into this very forest. He wants the others to respect that. Bishop reminds himself that they came there searching for a secret buried beneath the weight of age and hidden in the darkness of these woods. He learned that X-Men died there, once upon a time. Bishop learned about this recently and, now, as duty dictates, he has to tell that story to his friends. But as he does, deep down, Bishop wonders if the others care about it as much as he does.

Scorch asks to stop walking for a moment, as his feet are killing him. He says that, if this truly is where the X-Men met their fates, he jokes they certainly had a flair for the dramatic. Jinx tells Bishop that she’s enjoying his story, but she has to ask where they are. Bishop explains they’re in the Redwood Forest of the Pacific Northwest in what once was, he assumes, the state of California. Bishop suggests they better make use of the daylight while they can, and tells Scorch they’ll rest later. Following the others in the back of the row, Scorch whispers quietly to Nom he doesn’t like this at all: “Cali-for-nia”?

The past...
Wolverine tells Storm he doesn’t trust this. They’ve been running from the Sentinels too long for him to believe one of them could ever do any good for them. Ororo knows Logan doesn’t trust this. She knows his superior instincts have always made him a superior X-Man, as well as her most trusted friend. But, she reveals, this Sentinel’s reprogramming is complete. Forge and the others made the ultimate sacrifice in bringing this unit to them. So, they must trust the others’ judgment, just as they honor their memory. She tells Logan they have no choice.

The Sentinel introduces itself as Gol-19, and is aware of his objective. Wolverine mocks that the Sentinels always are aware of that. He still doesn’t trust the robot, and never will. He asks Storm how much time they have. Ororo is certain they don’t have much. At the exact moment they know where the attack is coming from, she will once again charge the air. And with or without them... Gol-19 will fly. They will trust Gol-19 with their secrets, and with him they trust their future. Storm goes back inside the cave, thinking they have at least another day before Magnus has his way with the machines.

The present...
Back at the camp, Bishop and his friends are saving their search for the morning light, and Bishop’s story for the falling covers the darkness. But Bishop himself can’t sit still. He can’t sleep nor can he stop. He wonders if the place they are sitting on is where the X-Men died. Link telepathically reaches out to Bishop, saying she never read his thoughts without permission, and it’s not like she needs her powers to see something is troubling him. She explains that Scorch used his powers to set up a campfire, and they are waiting for Bishop to join them.

Bishop apologizes, defending he was thinking and taking a moment to collect himself. He looks at the stars above, admitting that he never considered him as a good storyteller. But he knows that this story... won’t end well. They are going so far into the unknown. And nobody has turned back... yet. And Bishop doesn’t need to read everybody’s minds to feel fear. And he knows Link fears as well. Link states that the team is strong, and Bishop should know that much by now. And he can’t really fault them for being afraid. Bishop knows that, but he’s simply... concerned... because the team should be afraid.

Link starts walking away, reminding Bishop that he started this journey and the telling of this tale with a purpose, because there is something to be learned. Link jokes that she’s hardly a storyteller herself, but she has a feeling there’s something to be learned in telling this tale, as well as listening to it. Link again enters Bishop’s mind, telepathically telling him she doesn’t need to read his mind to know that, as well.

At the campfire, Scorch senses something’s wrong. Jinx asks Scorch if he has been listening to the story at all, which he defends he has. And he believes Bishop’s story as well, but since the sun is going down now, he worries that they still don’t know where they are! He quietly mocks that even the X-Men stopped to rest once in a while. Michael asks Scorch if he doesn’t want to hear the rest of the story. Of course Scorch does, he’s just questioning the point. He knows that they’re listening to it, but wonders if the are really listening. He wonders at how Bishop pauses to consider what comes next. How he always chooses a word that won’t come off too bad. Scorch doesn’t believe in “happy endings.”

Jinx knows that Scorch never has been one to easily admit he’s afraid. She understands his concerns, but thinks they should want to hear Bishop’s story. They need to, no matter how the ending might play. Bishop and Link rejoin the group, with Bishop stating that the group will hear his story. He explains that he brought them all here so they could hear about it. It’s what the X-Men should have wanted. So, he wants the team to listen again and to forgive him if he pauses along the way.

Bishop continues to reveal that another day had passed in the lives of the last X-Men, and Wolverine and Storm didn’t feel safe. As X-Men, the two had faced death countless times, so they knew better than to think the danger had passed.

The past...
Wolverine finds Storm meditating and asks how she’s doing. Storm replies she isn’t okay. She can’t be inside this cave anymore. She reminds Logan she knows how she is in tight places, and feels tired and weak. Logan suggests that Ororo take a rest. He tells her that the Sentinels have been chasing them for so long now, he thinks they’re probably still trying to figure out where they are. But he’s worried about the others because they haven’t heard from them in a while. Logan even thinks they’re the last of the X-Men. And he thinks that, if Magneto is really going to fly with an electromagnetic pulse tomorrow, and if the Sentinel really is their only way out, they’ll have to leave soon.

Storm is sad that so many of the X-Men have already been taken: Charles... Kurt... and Jean... and still, she cannot let go of Xavier’s dream. She speeches that the Sentinels may kill all of the mutants, but they can’t let the dream die. Logan goes to sit next to Ororo, and suggests that they watch the sunrise together, and enjoy what they’ve got left of today.

A night passes...
Storm wakes up shocked, as Wolverine let her sleep all night long. She asks him what’s going on. Logan puts his jacket on, and explains that the Sentinel thinks he smelled something out in the woods. Storm panics and goes to Gol-19, who explains he’s sensing activity in the woods. They are certainly not alone. Storm realizes that Sentinels are approaching them. She opens a rock in the ground and says that, if they are to be lost, they must be certain that others like them might one day be found. Storm is confident that, in times like these, they have to be honest with themselves. She reminisces she was worshipped as a goddess once. Her name, “Ororo,” means “beauty” and, like a princess, she wore that name like she wore a tiara upon her head. She takes her old, black tiara out of the storage place hidden beneath the stone.

Today, Storm realizes that all she really ever was… was a thief. A thief who is deft with her hands and has a way with locks. She hands the tiara over to Gol-19, telling him to give it to the future others as a key, along with his tale. She concludes that, one way or the other, Gol-19 is leaving this place today. Wolverine, holding a backpack in his hands, shouts impatiently at Ororo that, if they are going to go, they’ll have to go now! Storm hugs Wolverine, and he hugs her back. She tells Logan that they have to make sure Gol-19 escapes, and Logan agrees with that. He tries to cheer Ororo up by saying things are going to be all right.

The present...
Scorch doesn’t think everything’s going to be alright. The team has to cross a rotting tree to pass a small river, and Scorch is hesitant to do it. Michael cuts in, reminding Scorch he said he isn’t afraid of anything. At the back of the row, Bishop asks Jinx what the deal is. Jinx reveals that when Scorch was a little boy, he had an... incident with water. Bishop wants to know if Scorch will cross the river. Jinx sighs that Scorch is nothing if not prideful. Bishop sighs as well, realizing this situation is going to be ugly. Jinx can only agree. Scorch decides to go over the tree anyway, but shakes and is almost too scared to move.

Suddenly, the mist gets thicker and Scorch has to use his flame powers to be able to see something. But, he still trips and falls in the water. He notices that everyone’s staring quietly at him, and mocks that they can laugh and giggle if they want to. But then, Scorch notices that everyone’s not looking at him... but at something behind him. THE HEAD OF A SENTINEL?!

Bishop takes a look around, and finds more broken body parts of several Sentinels lying in the river. It looks like the X-Men didn’t go out without a fight. Link asks Bishop what this place is, and doesn’t even know what the Sentinels are. Bishop tells Link to stay there with the others, while he goes to check something out.

The past...
Storm explains to Gol-19 they don’t know the state the world is in today, but she thinks that, if Gambit has reached Shaw and the others, the robot will surely see them both to the place they’ll send him. And, Storm adds, if the Hellfire Club has fallen as well like so many of them already have, then she wants Gol-19 to hold his secrets and wait for the right moment. She tells Logan she’s certain there will be others like them. She’s confident not all mutants can be killed, and that the humans can try if they want to anyway. Wolverine doesn’t doubt that. He snikts out his claws, ready to do their job. A noise is heard from behind the two last X-Men, and they find an army of Sentinels waiting for them outside the cave.

The present...
Bishop has learned that the Sentinels were too late. Wolverine had popped his claws, and was at that moment the most dangerous thing on the planet. But, though mutants, both Logan and Storm were still mortals and the last of the X-Men were found.

Bishop has now found the cave Logan and Ororo used to hide in, and enters it. Behind him, the rest of the team looks at him as he stands in the entrance quietly. Scorch wonders if they should follow Bishop inside, and Link thinks it’s the only thing they can do for now. Jinx agrees. Bishop goes deeper inside the cave, and finds more broken body parts of Sentinels lying around. He even thinks he found the final battleplace of the X-Men, and continues the story.

The past...
Wolverine stands ready to fight a Sentinel, who is ready to fire its laser as well. Storm aims her wind powers at Logan, making it look like she gives him a Fastball-Special maneuver and hurls Logan towards the Sentinel’s head. But the Sentinel slams Logan away, and the X-Man hits the ground hard. The Sentinel intends to finish off Logan, who shouts at the Sentinel to do it as he’s got some friends waiting for him on the other side. But then, a blast takes down the Sentinel! Logan saw Storm rolling into safety before the blast hit, so it had to be someone else. And it was... Gol-19! The Sentinels read that there is a traitor in their midst, and Gol-19 proudly declares he’s only a traitor to madness.

The present...
Bishop tells to the others that they have reminded him of the power of legends. They helped him show him that they must take allies wherever they find them, and that standing by your friends is the first key to victory. And so, Bishop concludes, it was his honor to share this story with them.

The past...
With the final Sentinels destroyed, Gol-19 explains to Wolverine that he’s ready to defend him and right the wrongs of his brethren. Almost without breath, Logan gets back up and compliments Gol-19 on a job well done, and admits he never saw it coming. But, he adds, this is where they part ways. He admits to Storm she put their secrets into good hands. And it’s up for them to make sure Gol-19 escapes with them. On that moment, more Sentinels can be seen approaching the cave. Storm asks Logan to stand by her one last time, which he is glad to do. He tells Gol-19 to go now, promising to hold on for as long as they both can. Gol-19 does as told, and looks back one final time to see his fellow robots take care of his allies.

The present...
Bishop finds the stone Storm hid her tiara at once. Bishop tells the others that Storm and Wolverine died like warriors, on the very ground they stood upon. They died like X-Men, like any of the team’s members would have done to preserve the dream. Those two gave their lives so that Gol-19 could escape and take the X-Men’s secrets away with him. And, when Bishop found Gol-19, the robot gave him a key. Wolverine and Storm hid something in these rocks that will be the means to find the others, hoping to locate scattered mutants after a war that, ironically, left none to search... and none to find. Bishop further adds that Gol-19 sacrificed what was left of his own life to give him the last of its power cells, so that they might find the one mutant they search for.

Nom hands Bishop over those power cells. A moment later, Bishop finds something in the stones: the Cerebro helmet! Bishop smiles to his friends that they wouldn’t believe Cerebro’s origins if he told them. The helmet has been through some changes over the years, but what it does, it does well. Cerebro finds mutans. Bishop puts on the helmet, and tells Link to use her telepathy. She has to assist his own thoughts and help him focus... for they have a mutant to find!

Link does as told, and Bishop begins his search. The helmet searches everywhere around this strange world, and somewhere, in a dark castle, Bishop sees an image of someone sitting and smiling on his throne. And that someone is... the Chronomancer!

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Jinx, Link, Michael, Nom, Scorch

broken bodyparts of various Sentinels

in the past of this alternate timeline:
Storm, Wolverine (both X-Men)
Gol-19 (a Sentinel unit)

various other Sentinels

During Bishop’s search with Cerebro
Chronomancer (Trevor Fitzroy)

Story Notes: 

Storm and Wolverine might look like their counterparts of the Days of the Future Past universe, but they aren’t the same ones.

The “Magnus” mentioned by Storm in this issue probably refers to Erik Magnus Lensherr, aka Magneto.

Storm mentions that she sent Gambit to Shaw, who was at the Hellfire Club in the past. This further indicates that the Witness really was the Gambit in an early life. At this point, it’s not clear who the Shaw is Storm is talking about though: Sebastian or Sammara.

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