Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #283

Issue Date: 
December 1991
Story Title: 
Bishop’s Crossing

Whilce Portacio (Plotter and Penciler), Art Thibert (Inker), John Byrne (Scripter), Joe Rosas (Colorist), Tom Orzechowski (Letters), Bob Harras (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Bishop, Malcolm and Randall battle the criminals from the future, who desperately try to save Fitzroy. While Bishop kills the criminals, Fitzroy escapes, only to be captured by Shinobi Shaw, who tells him that the Gamesmaster deemed Fitzroy a cheater and takes his ring back. The X-Men try to stop Bishop, who seems to be an X-Man from the future, but the man believes that Fitzroy is trying to trick him with imposter X-Men. The X-Men battle Bishop and the others until Storm defeats the three. Meanwhile, Xavier and Forge help restore Jean back to her body, but Xavier senses another presence. Fitzroy’s complex detonates and the X-Men are separated from Bishop. Bishop and his men escape to track the rest of the criminals and the real X-Men. The X-Men regroup and Storm is more determined than ever to discover the truth about Bishop. Meanwhile, Gamesmaster and Selene watch the events unfold and laugh at what they have in store for the Upstarts.

Full Summary: 

It has only been a few seconds since Bishop and his two men crossed through the dimensional portal, yet the tide of the battle has changed tremendously for the evil forces, who thought they had already won the day. Bishop and his men battle the future criminals with everything they have, including lasers and explosives. Malcolm and Randall restrain the two criminals, while Bishop forces Fitzroy to the ground. Malcolm comments that the criminals must still be disoriented from the time jump, because they lost too easily. Bishop tells him to consider them lucky and orders the two to throw their prisoners back through the portal before the other criminals join the battle.

Bishop lifts Fitzroy up and tells him that he will be the first one to go through. Terrified, Fitzroy begs Bishop not to let him go first. Bishop calls Fitzroy a coward, because he wants to delay the inevitable by a few seconds. Fitzroy tells Bishop that it may be cowardice, but what would it cost him if he didn’t send him through first. Randall agrees and sends his captive through first. Just as it occurs, though, the captive man is ripped to shreds by the temporal portal, much to everyone’s surprise. Angered, Bishop realizes that Fitzroy tricked him. Fitzroy laughs and hopes Bishop likes the twentieth century, because his portals are only one way. He and his men are here to stay. That means Bishop can watch, as Fitzroy kills Bishop’s precious dream. Horrified, Bishop tells Fitzroy that this is not how it was supposed to happen and that he means to correct his mistake; Bishop and his men must spill much blood.

Bishop takes charge and orders Malcolm and Randall to stand by for termination sweep. The criminals all run away in terror, much to the surprise of Colossus, who points out that there are only three of them. Iceman has no clue who they are and also notes that no one seems interested in formal introductions either. Storm tells the others that they have seen what Fitzroy’s men have done so far and it is enough for the X-Men to know that they fear Bishop and his men. She then orders the X-Men to fan out, because she does not want the X-Men to be easy targets if Bishop intends to kill everyone like his words imply.

Three criminals suddenly leap at Bishop and all three set off image inducers, turning them all into Fitzroy look-alikes to protect their leader. Bishop puts his hand up and stops one, appearing un-reactive to the optic blasts of the one called Eye-Beam. Bishop orders Malcolm and Randall to kill everyone who looks like Fitzroy, just as the real one runs away. Eye-Beam tells Fitzroy to run away, so he can bring back more troops from the future.

Horrified, Storm wonders if this is really true and also wonders if these men and women are from the future that the X-Men have been trying to avert for years. They know little of that time, yet this man named Bishop wears a uniform similar to the X-Men’s. He also seems unaffected by the optic blasts. Bishop hears Storm and tells her that he is not unaffected. In truth, he has absorbed Eye-Beam’s power. Bishop then unleashes an optic blast of his own and kills Eye-Beam.

Colossus is surprised that Bishop killed Eye-Beam. Bishop replies that it is no more than what Eye-Beam has done to others and no more than what he will do to Colossus himself, if he stands in his way. Colossus punches Bishop and tells him that he may be an enemy of their enemy, but the X-Men will not stand by while lives are carelessly obliterated. Bishop hits a wall, but is more focused on what Colossus said and asks if Colossus really said “X-Men.” The man looks at the X-Men and wonders if it is a trick, but realizes that it may be true. Does he dare dream that he is face to face with the X-Men?

While the X-Men battle Bishop’s men, Fitzroy absconds from the battlefield, but he is not safe. Three men jump him, all attached to cords. They shackle and gag Fitzroy, with the addition of power dampeners. One of the men tells Fitzroy not to struggle, because with the dampeners he probably couldn’t even hurt a housefly. The three men then are pulled back up and out of the base by their cords, taking Fitzroy with them to Master Shinobi!

Bishop is awestruck from being in the presence of the X-Men. He looks at Storm and tells her that she is just as powerful and beautiful as she is in the legends. He tells Iceman that he is always the “hot-headed ice-warrior.” However, when Bishop sees Archangel, he realizes that the man looks totally different than from what the legends told about him. Bishop then believes that Fitzroy has sent these imposters to trick him, but he won’t let his love for the X-Men legends stop him from destroying those who work for Fitzroy.

Colossus lunges at Bishop and tells him that there will be no more destruction, because the X-Men have sworn to protect all. Bishop evades Colossus’ blow and tells him that he mimics the real Colossus’ power and voice pattern well, but he is not the true Colossus. Malcolm throws Bishop some restraining cuffs, which only affect mutants, and challenges Colossus to a battle on his terms. Colossus tells him that it is not a game and the X-Men do not fight for sport. Colossus tries to punch Bishop, but the man catches his fist and quickly applies the cuffs. Colossus’ powers are negated and he returns to his flesh form. Bishop tells Colossus that every schoolboy knows that Colossus was as swift as the wind. Colossus tries to tell Bishop that they are really the X-Men, but Bishop tells him to be quiet and to end his charade, because it is borderline blasphemy.

While battling Malcolm and Randall, Storm notices that Bishop is about to kill Colossus and orders Archangel and Iceman to ignore the other two and concentrate on Bishop. Iceman agrees but, under his breath, mentions that, if Cyclops were leader, he would have realized that a long time ago. Storm orders Bishop to stand back. Whether he believes they are X-Men or not is of no consequence. However, they refuse to allow him to hurt one of their own. Bishop tells her that she speaks well, but it is sad that she is not truly who she claims she is. However, she is everything he wished Ororo to be.

Storm strikes Bishop with lightning, but finds that it does not hurt him. Bishop is about to retaliate, but finds himself surrounded by ice. Iceman attacks Bishop with ice. Bishop is unable to contain the conflicting energy he is absorbing, but overcomes it and laughs. He tells the X-Men that it was a good try, but his power is to match theirs. Iceman passes by on his ice slide and taunts Bishop, but finds that Malcolm shatters the slide from beneath him with his gun. Archangel catches Iceman and attacks Bishop and his men with his blades.

Malcolm tells Archangel not to bet that his blades will get them as he and the others blast the projectiles out of the sky. Bishop tells the X-Men that Archangel was never recorded to have possessed such a power and, in any case, they do not stand up to the power he gained from Storm. Randall tells Bishop to be careful. If he starts calling that “witch” Storm, he might start believing it.

Storm tells Randall that there is a small chance in that. If Bishop does not believe that she is truly who she is by her lightning, then her hurricane will do little more to convince him. Storm unleashes her hurricane winds on the three men, who are caught off balance and thrown into a wall. Storm grabs Bishop’s gun and holds it to his chest. She tells him that she has enough of the madness. Due to his actions, the room is full of corpses and Fitzroy has escaped, the same man who had a part in the apparent death of her friend, Jean Grey. Bishop repeats Jean’s name, but Storm tells him to shut up. The X-Men pursued Fitzroy to this place to save Jean and she swears that, if he has done anything to jeopardize that mission, she will see that he pays for it by testing the extent of his absorption power with bullets.

In the Blackbird, Forge asks Xavier, who is by the bodies of Jean Grey and Emma Frost, if his guess was right. Xavier tells him that it was not guess. He is telepathically linked to all his X-Men and he knew Jean was not truly dead. The mind in Emma Frost is truly Jean, of this he is certain. Forge then asks him why he is hesitating to restore Jean. Xavier explains that there is a mystery here and needs to probe Jean’s entire psyche. When Jean first came to the Institute, she was only telekinetic. He taught her to control and channel those powers, but her telepathy remained dormant. There then came a situation in which he had to share his own telepathy with Jean, thus awakening her latent powers. She then became a telepath of intricate complexity, which led to the Phoenix using Jean’s mind and body as its own matrix. However, now Jean has transferred her mind into another human. This is something Jean was never able to do before.

Forge reminds Xavier that Jean was in a life and death situation, which probably motivated her more than usual. Xavier prays that Forge is correct. Xavier probes Jean’s mind again and tells Forge to monitor for local psychic manifestations and to block the least indication of such energy. If he is to successfully draw Jean out of the White Queen, then there must be no external stimuli to distract him. There will be a moment when their psyches will be linked as a single entity. The procedure then will be delicate and more than what any telepath has ever attempted. There is no way to prevent it from being painful for Jean.

Forge’s damper circuits explode in front of him, because he did not count of the combining of two minds to have such an effect. If another psi were to try and interfere, there would be no way of anyone to know! Xavier finishes and Forge rushes to him. Xavier is out of breath and tells Forge that he was successful, but for a moment it seemed like there was another. Jean opens her eyes and calls out to the Professor.

Jean gets up and hugs the Professor for getting her out and tells him that she shouldn’t have ever doubted him. Xavier tells her that she took a great risk, but one that was worth it. Forge then spots something on the radar and Jean asks if it is another aircraft. Forge is unsure, but tells the two that it did not just approach. Either it was here before them or Fitzroy is trying to escape. Forge asks Xavier if they should pursue, but Xavier disinclines, because the X-Men are still in battle and must remain in place to make sure everyone is safe and secure.

On board the aircraft, Shinobi looks at his ring and asks his “precious” if it missed him. Shinobi asks Fitzroy if he really thought that he would allow him to keep the ring, which is a symbol of his rank and power. Fitzroy reminds him that he won Shinobi’s rank and power, fair and square. Shinobi tells him that the nature of the game is that the rules are constantly changing. Fitzroy cheated when he cut off Shinobi’s finger to get the ring. He would have bled to death if his Sentinels hadn’t reacted to reattach the finger. They did a good job, though he still feels stiffness.

Fitzroy tells Shinobi to spare him the stories and demands to speak to the Gamesmaster. Shinobi displays a message from the Gamesmaster, saying that he rules in Shinobi’s favor. He took the liberty of contacting the Gamesmaster earlier and, as Fitzroy can see, the decision was not in his favor. However, there is still more to do. His men placed explosives around Fitzroy’s base and now they will detonate them. A worker tells Shinobi that detonation will occur in twenty seconds.

Shinobi and his men toast to the end of the threat of Lord Fitzroy, as well as a major sect of the X-Men, especially Professor Xavier. Now, the menace to the Upstarts and the Hellfire Club will evaporate. Fitzroy tells Shinobi that his greatest weakness is in his arrogance. Shinobi doesn’t dare kill him until they talk to the Gamesmaster and, as long as he lives, his throne is not secure. As long as he lives, he will use everything in his power to bring Shinobi down and the Hellfire Club will be his.

In the base, Storm tells Bishop that Xavier has telepathically informed her that Jean is alive and well. Bishop asks Storm why she is still pretending to be the real Storm, since the base is damaged and exposed. Fitzroy is as good as gone. What does she hope by continuing her charade? Storm tells him that the questions are for her to ask. She demands to know who he is in detail and why he wears the emblem of the X-Men. Bishop tells her that he earned it in a lifetime of battle to preserve the dream of Charles Xavier. Storm tells him that she wants more than that but, suddenly, the base explodes around everyone.

Bishop thinks that Fitzroy must have left charges behind to clean up after him. However, they now have the chance to escape. The X-Men huddle around Storm, who uses her powers to create a pressure dome around them. Bishop, Malcolm and Randall shoot down the ceiling above to separate them from the X-Men. Bishop is frustrated to leave with no clear answers, but Randall tells him that, if they really are in the twentieth century, then they have plenty of time to contact the real X-Men. There is always tomorrow; no one knows that better than them.

Storm notices that Bishop is gone and is frustrated that she knows no more than what Bishop told her. Iceman tells her that they will have to wait, because the cuff on Colossus has knocked the wind out of him. Colossus tells him that he will be fine, but Iceman disagrees and says the Professor will need to make that call. Storm agrees, but refuses to let this be the end of the matter. She uses her winds to lift Colossus and Iceman and tells them that Bishop wore a symbol of the X-Men. If there is an answer to be found, then they must find it. She fears that their future may depend on it.

The X-Men escape the base as the Blackbird comes around to pick them up. Storm sends Archangel to search the area for Bishop. Forge tends to Colossus and tells Xavier that the effects on him won’t be permanent. In a few hours, he will be as good as new. Storm wonders if they will have enough time, however, because there are many questions. Xavier is also disturbed about the situation, since Bishop is a deadly new adversary. His appearance couldn’t have come at a worse time. Storm agrees and knows that decisions in his absence have come back to haunt them, but Bishop struck a nerve. He is formidable and she will not rest until all answers are found.

Elsewhere, Gamesmaster asks Selene if the game has not been invigorating. Selene agrees and wonders how much more it will become when her Upstarts learn the true nature of their game and the actual prize for which they strive fore. “Then, Gamesmaster!” says Selene sinisterly, “Then the game will truly become interesting!”

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Colossus, Jean Grey, Iceman, Professor Xavier, Storm (all X-Men)
Forge (X-Men ally)

Fitzroy, Gamesmaster, Selene, Shinobi Shaw (all Upstarts)
Eye-Beam, Various other criminals from the future

Bishop, Malcolm, Randall

Emma Frost

Story Notes: 

The future Storm refers to was seen in Uncanny X-Men #141-142.

Jean was apparently killed in Uncanny X-Men #281.

Fitzroy took Shinobi’s ring in Uncanny X-Men #282.

Xavier left the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #200 and returned in Uncanny X-Men #277.

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