Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #287

Issue Date: 
April 1992
Story Title: 
Bishop to King’s Five!

Jim Lee (Plot), Scott Lobdell (Script), John Romita Jr. (Pencils), Scott Williams with assistance from Ivy, Sienkiewicz, Panosian and Wiacek (Inks), Tom Orzechowski (Letters), Going/Rosas (Colors), Bob Harras (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Bishop, Malcolm and Randall attack the last group of criminals in a New York City nightclub, where they kill most of them. The tide of the battle shifts and the criminals kill Malcolm and Randall in an explosion that also kills almost all of the surviving bad guys, except for two. Bishop is about to avenge Malcolm and Randall’s death, when the X-Men arrive. Bishop shoots at Storm but is actually aiming for the killer behind her. The team mistakes Bishop’s shots as hostility and attack him, which leads to Bishop being impaled. While the X-Men discover the truth, Bishop runs after the last criminal, Styglut, only to pass out in an alley. While unconscious, Bishop dreams about the events preceding this in his own time, when he and the others captured Fitzroy in the sewers. They discovered a recording by Jean Grey in the sewers, proving that the X-Men were killed by one of their own. Bishop contacted the Witness, who reportedly was the last to see the X-Men alive, but the man refused to help. Fitzroy escaped from prison and took an army of criminals to the past. Bishop, Malcolm and Randall followed. Bishop wakes up in the infirmary, convinced that these are the real X-Men. Xavier speaks with Bishop and, moments later, surprises the team by making Bishop the newest X-Man.

Full Summary: 

In the future in which Bishop was raised, there was no thing such as the Danger Room. From the moment he joined the X.S.E., he has been in on-the-job training. Clearly, right now, seven decades before he is born, he is doing fine. In a crowded nightclub, Bishop, Malcolm and Randall fight against a large group of former criminals from the future, who escaped to this time thanks to the villain Fitzroy. With no other options, the three X.S.E. officers set out to kill any criminal who refuses to turn themselves over to the police. So far, none of the criminals are willing to, which means only death for them.

As civilians scream and run in terror on both the ground and the second floor, Bishop tells Randall to watch out for them, as they are only out for the mutant outlaws. Quoting Beast, Randall tells Bishop that they have come to help these humans, not to bury them. Malcolm tells Randall that it is enough that they are about to die in a Twentieth century nightclub, but does he really have to start quoting from “The Wit and Wisdom of Henry McCoy?” Bishop tells his men to stop chatting. Fitzroy may have stranded them nearly a hundred years in the past but they still have a duty. He swears in the name of Cyclops that the criminals will be brought to justice.

Outside, hundreds of humans run away from the large nightclub as a portion of the roof is blown out and the windows are shattered. A CNN van pulls up and, inside, a cameraman tells a reporter that they got to love New York. Where else can they get a good pastrami sandwich and a mutant massacre on the same block? If the X-Men keep things up, they are going to rate their own cable network.

At that moment, the Blackbird streaks across the sky towards the nightclub. Inside, Iceman tells Colossus that it is too bad “Mikey” isn’t off his sickbed. They could have used his help. Colossus tells Iceman that he could use a doctor if Mikhail ever heard him refer to him as “Mikey.” Using Cerebro, Jean tells the X-Men that they may all need medical attention. According to Cerebro, all the mutant imprints are brand new. Storm looks at a monitor and realizes that the number of mutants is decreasing. Colossus tells Storm that the readings indicate only one thing. Jean follows Colossus’ line of thought and tells Storm that someone is slaughtering mutants again. Storm turns on a television to the CNN report, where the reporter tells her audience that she is live from the latest sighting of a “genetic gang war.” Three unidentified X-Men seem to be killing dozens of mutants in a nightclub. An image of a man appears on the screen and Storm recognizes him as Bishop. The reporter continues on and says that a different kind of dance is occurring on the dance floor, a dance of death.

The signal is lost as the cameraman’s camera is destroyed. Colossus tells his friends that Bishop has much to answer for. Forge tells him that they are just the people to ask the questions. Through a chatterbox, Xavier tells his students that they are there to investigate and should avoid confrontation.

In the club, Malcolm tells Bishop that his power to sense normal humans indicates that the club is clear of normal people. Randall attacks a criminal and asks the others if they remember in the old days, which haven’t even occurred yet, when all they had to do was call for a Cerebro for back-up? “Ah, memories,” says Bishop, “Now shut up and fire!” A man strikes Bishop from behind with an energy blast and tells the man that he caught him napping. Bishop tells him that he appreciates the wake up call and the recharge. Was the man in jail for so long that he forgot that he channels energy through him and back to his enemy? With that said he sends a blast at the men, who barely avoid it. One of the criminals grabs the one who hit Bishop and tells him that he might as well as handed Bishop his weapon. Their only chance to win is to use bullets. The attacker apologizes to the man, Styglut, and says that he attacked in the heat of the battle.

Soon, the tide of the battle turns. In seventy years, these criminals will be hunted like dogs. This is their only chance to change things. Six criminals shoot straight at the three X.S.E. officers with energy guns. Bishop orders Malcolm and Randall to take cover. The two men don’t listen and step in front of Bishop. “Sorry sir,” begins Malcolm, “You’re too…” Malcolm was going to say ‘important.’ Randall didn’t even have a chance to scream.

The blasts that the two sides shoot at each other collide in an explosive way, destroying many lives in the process. All present are caught in the blast as a massive fire erupts in the club. Bishop gets up and realizes that his body armor protected him from the worst. He goes to Malcolm, not even noticing the still Randall. Bishop goes to Malcolm’s side and the young man tells him that they were just doing their job, before he passes away. Bishop tells Malcolm and Randall to rest easy and then gets up, telling the surviving criminals that the yare going to die now.

Suddenly, Colossus burst through the ceiling and tells Bishop that too many have died today already. The other X-Men enter through Colossus’ entrance point. Storm tells Bishop that they mourn Bishop’s loss, but they cannot condone retribution by murder. Angry, Bishop tells him that their response proves that they are not the real X-Men, for the ones of legend were never afraid to make tough decisions. Whether if they are the real ones or not, they won’t stop him from fulfilling his sacred duties. Bishop shoots and energy blast at Storm, who easily avoids it. Storm realizes that Archangel won’t listen to reason and beckons toward Archangel. Archangel sends several paralysis flechettes, which hit Bishop straight in the chest.

Bishop sees Styglut running away and starts to pull out his gun, weakly mumbling about the criminal. Jean tells the others that, though Bishop is babbling, his intent is clear: he wishes to kill, no matter what. Colossus charges at Bishop, angry that one minute Bishop speaks about the X-Men with reverence, while the next moment he is willing to kill them. Bishop cannot have it both ways. He will either stand with them or against them. Colossus punches Bishop squarely in the face and sends him flying through a wall. Colossus calms down and rushes over to the still Bishop, worried that he may have hurt the man in his rage.

When Colossus nears, he sees the Bishop is conscious but has been impaled by a metal rod. The other X-Men catch up and Jean telepathically tells them that Bishop is tough and he also may not be the enemy they think he is. Confused, Storm questions Jean, who tells Storm that Bishop’s blast was not intended for her but rather the criminal sniper on the second floor. Storm turns around to see a dead man with a gun on the second floor, right behind where she was hovering moments ago. Storm realizes that Bishop saved her life. Jean agrees and then thinks of how they just repaid him. The team looks back at Bishop but he is gone and all that is left is a bloody metal rod and a trail of blood.

Outside in the rain, Bishop walks while he covers his wound with his hand, trying to contain the blood. He keeps on mumbling about stopping Styglut, who now is the last fugitive alive. Bishop owes Malcolm and Randall that much at least. Besides, he still ahs to find Fitzroy. Bishop mumbles Fitzroy’s name as he loses consciousness.

Nearly one Hundred Years in the Future:

Bishop, Malcolm and Randall run through the sewers after Fitzroy, who they have sent themselves to apprehend. Randall calls up to Bishop and tells him that it does not matter how many gene-blanding dens Fitzroy runs, his father has given strict orders that they should keep their hands off Fitzroy. Bishop tells Randall that he does not care about politics. The X.S.E. was formed after the Emancipation for the purpose of allowing mutants to police themselves. He will be bamfed if he is going to let Fitzroy jeopardize thirty years of peace. The three run past a sign saying “Danger-Radioactive.” Malcolm questions Bishop’s judgment to continue, as Randall is the only one immune to radiation. Bishop tells Malcolm that someone is just trying to scare them away. That is not going to happen.

Fitzroy continues down the sewers and curses at Bishop, for he cannot afford another public trial. His father was quite graphic when he detailed what would happen if he brought any more shame to his family. Fitzroy suddenly trips over a handle on the ground and falls in the sewage. Fitzroy wonders if he has not suffered enough humiliation for one day but then looks back and notices the handle. He pulls the handle to reveal a trap door. He can either stay to face Bishop’s wrath or venture into the unknown. Fitzroy goes down the ladder beneath the trap door, realizing that he doesn’t have much of a chance.

Bishop and the others find the door, which Fitzroy left wide open. Bishop tells Malcolm and Randall that he has no clue where the sub-tunnels lead, so they should stay behind. Malcolm and Randall decline the offer, because they are in this together. Bishop climbs down the ladder and turns on his flashlight, wondering what these tunnels lead to. As far as he can tell, the tunnels lead from under New York City to a town called Salem Center. The two towns seem to be connected by a sub-chamber that, if the dust is any indication, it hasn’t been occupied in years. Their motion sensors confirm that Fitzroy is as lost as they are, unless of course he is purposely bumping into walls. Bishop asks Malcolm if he would like to do the honors.

Gladly, says Malcolm, as he releases a neuro-collar from his gear. There is no mutant alive capable of escaping the Forge-3000. Once it locks onto a DNA code, their prey becomes a prisoner. Just like that, the Forge-3000 catches up to Fitzroy and attaches itself to Fitzroy’s neck, immobilizing him.

Before the men can continue, a giant monitor turns on in front of what they thought was a wall. On the screen is a beautiful red head woman who clearly has been through a battle. “Alex?!...Cable…anyone?” asks the woman in terror. “Don’t even know…transmission being received?...taken total….taken totally unaware! Both teams…and…decimated! Mansion security was deactivated…activated….activated…deactivated from within!...--Betrayed by one of our own!...”

Bishop mutters the name ‘Jean Grey’ in disbelief. Malcolm asks if it is possible. Randall asks if they really just stumbled into the War Room of the X-Men. “Professor Xavier–,“ continues Jean, “—was the first to die. Only one left…power’s negated…Our own fault…really—should never have trusted…We knew so little about…” Suddenly, a large booming sound is heard and Jean turns to her unseen attacker. “YOU?!” screams Jean, “—may have killed the X-Men…but the dream will…never…!” Jean is enveloped in pure energy and killed. “…die?” asks the unseen attacker.

Bishop yells in horror and tells the other tow that scholars assumed that the hidden sanctum of the X-Men held the secrets of the past. However, this tape only poses more questions than answers. The first among them is who killed Professor Charles Xavier?

Later, Bishop and the others travel to a maximum-security prison known as the Pool, built on the graveyard known as Manhattan. Some believe that Pool is short for gene pool, due to its large mutant population. Others think that it is short for cesspool, referring to the walking garbage in the halls. Either phrase is appropriate. The three men get out of their vehicle. Malcolm and Randall take Fitzroy to get booked, while Bishop tells that that he has some business to attend to. Bishop gets onto a hovercraft and thinks to himself that Malcolm and Randall know exactly where he is going. He is going to see the one man rumored to have last seen the X-Men alive.

Bishop enters a building where two guards ask him if he is taking advantage of their employer’s open door policy. Bishop tells them that he is impulsive. The other guard tells him that he is also dangerous, armed or not. Bishop enters the next room and meets a woman, who tells him that he is not bright for coming back. Bishop tells the woman that he seeks an audience with the Witness, once known as LeBeau. As always, he seeks the truth. The woman puts a shackle on his wrist and tells him that there is no such thing as the truth or else they would have stolen it by now. Bishop asks Shackle why she serves the Witness. Shackle leads Bishop to another room and tells him that she does so for the same reasons Bishop abandoned him. The Witness is a constant reminder of all the best and worst that is in all mutants.

Bishop enters a completely white room. In the center is a staircase with an old shriveled man sitting up top, wrapped in a blanket. Two women sit to his side and energy crackles all around them. The Witness sees Bishop and wonders if he has come to kill him, judge him or set him free. Bishop is about to explain why he came but the Witness cuts him off and says that Bishop has discovered the War Room of Xavier. There are no secrets to the Witness. He is the king of secrets. Bishop is about to ask a question but, again, the Witness cuts him off and tells him that Bishop has evidence that the X-Men were murdered by another X-Man. The Witness knew it and saw it. How do they know that the traitor was caught and brought to justice? Bishop will never know. Sneering, Bishop tells the Witness that he may not know but the shriveled man does. “Witness,” asks Bishop, “Who betrayed the X-Men?” The Witness says nothing. Shackle puts a knife to Bishop’s throat and tells him to leave or die. Frustrated, Bishop leaves the facility, thinking that he will come back. That will never happen.

In his cell, Fitzroy offers money and women to the man who releases me. A guard walking by tells Fitzroy to shut up. Fitzroy wonders what choice he has. Without a life force for siphon to fuel his portals, he is helpless as a rat. Suddenly, Fitzroy hears a squeaking sound and looks to the corner of his cell to see none other than a rat.

Bishop returns to the main facility of the Pool, only to hear alarms going off. Bishop asks Claxon to report, who tells Bishop that security has been breached in the Pit. On a monitor, Bishop is able to see Fitzroy lose and absorbing the life forces of two guards. Bishop realizes that somehow he got a hold of a life force and teleported to the main chamber. He then sees Fitzroy opening a portal into time and jumping though it. Bishop asks how that is possible, as Fitzroy would have needed an anchor. Malcolm explains that that is the doing of Bantam, the first prisoner Fitzroy released. Randall looks at the sensors and tells the others that Fitzroy has released many prisoners, who outnumber guards ten to one.

Bishop tells Randall and Malcolm that he cannot order them to come but can ask for volunteers. Malcolm asks if they are going to take on an army of homicidal mutants. That could take all afternoon, says Randall. Bishop opens the doors to the Pit and takes their comments as a “yes.” As soon as the doors open, the three are met with the sight of over a hundred criminals traversing a giant portal through time. Randall realizes that the criminals could be going anywhere and to anytime. Bishop and the others know that they don’t have much time and must follow them, which is exactly what they do.


Bishop wakes up in the mansion infirmary and is welcomed back to the land of the living by Archangel. Storm tells Bishop not to move, as he is injured, and Iceman adds that he is also surrounded. Bishop leans up and tells the X-Men that they could have killed him. Storm tells him that, if that were their desire, then yes they could have. Storm is about to lecture Bishop about how the X-Men do not kill but Professor Xavier enters and tells the team that Bishop is overwhelmed by them all and asks if they can leave the room for a moment. Storm tells Charles that Bishop is dangerous. Smiling, Xavier tells Storm that they both have something in common then. Again, he asks the X-Men to excuse themselves.

The X-Men leave and Bishop tells Xavier that he did not want to believe that they were the X-Men. That would mean that this was not a dream and that Malcolm and Randall were not dead. Xavier adds on that it would also mean that he would not be trapped in the past, seven decades before he would be born. Bishop sits up and tells Xavier that he has a thousand questions for him. Telepathically, Xavier tells him that he is weak, so why doesn’t he open up his mind, so he can ask them all at once?

Twenty minutes later outside, Storm tells the others that they know nothing about Bishop. Iceman points out that he has dedicated his whole life to Xavier’s dream. His methods are a little extreme but, if the Professor trusts him, then it is fine for him too. The doors to the infirmary open to reveal Xavier and Bishop. Xavier tells Iceman that he is glad to hear that. He hopes that Iceman’s confidence is well founded, because he is proud to formally introduce Bishop, the newest X-Man!

Characters Involved: 

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

Forge (X-Men ally)

Bishop, Malcolm, Randall (X.S.E.)

Styglut and various other criminals



various civilians

In future:

Bishop, Malcolm, Randall, various officers (all X.S.E.)


The Witness, Shackle

On monitor:

Jean Grey

Voice of mysterious attacker

Story Notes: 

Bishop, Malcolm and Randall arrived in this time period in Uncanny X-Men #282-283.

Mikhail Rasputin is Colossus’ long lost brother, who returned in Uncanny X-Men #284-286.

The traitor who killed the X-Men will not be revealed until X-Men: Onslaught, during the Onslaught company wide crossover. The traitor is revealed to be Charles Xavier, whose mind was corrupted by the evil of Magneto, after he turned off the man’s mind in the Fatal Attractions crossover. For more information regarding the “traitor tape,” visit this page of the Bishop Timeline.

Though it is made to look as if the Witness is Gambit, it won’t be revealed until many years later in Gambit and Bishop #1-6, that the present day Gambit is not the Witness.

Bishop’s training with the X.S.E. can be found in X.S.E. #1-4.

Issue Information: 

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