Bishop : The Last X-Man #15

Issue Date: 
December 2000
Story Title: 
…Been a Long Lonely, Lonely, Lonely, Lonely, Lonely Time!

Joseph Harris (Writer), Georges Jeanty (Penciler), Nathan Massengill (Inker), Jon Babcock (Letterer), Jason Wright (Color Guy), Mike Marts (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Professor Xavier and Cadre K board a Shi’ar outpost on the fringes of the Shi’ar Empire, only to find the entire crew dead at the hands of Deathbird. A temporal portal opens and Bishop, who is somehow anchored to Deathbird, crash-lands in the ship. Deathbird finds him just as Xavier finds Deathbird. She uses him as a shield against Cadre K. Deathbird escapes into the lower parts of the ship, leaving the unconscious Bishop with the very shocked Xavier. Bishop wakes up and is also surprised to find Xavier. Xavier telepathically learns of Bishop’s whereabouts during the last year and informs Bishop of a dire threat on Earth. The galactic powers, including the Shi’ar Empire, have transformed Earth into a penal colony for the most dangerous criminals in the universe. Z’cann, a member of Cadre K, has been taken prisoner and Xavier needs a key to get an agent past the barrier and on to Earth to aid the X-Men and Earth’s other heroes. Deathbird has that key. Bishop and Xavier search for Deathbird and find her. Bishop finds himself in a position where he must kill Deathbird. Deathbird hands over the key to her one-time love and opens an air lock, which sucks her out to an unknown fate. Bishop closes the airlock, retrieves the key and agrees to be Xavier’s agent to be sent to Earth.

Full Summary: 

On the outskirts of Shi’ar space, a small ship approaches a large Shi’ar outpost at the edges of the Shi’ar Empire. Onboard the smaller ship, the crew tells their commander that they are approaching the starstation and life support is nil, as well as the shields. Another crewmember tells their commander that there are no signs of communication or life-readings. The starstation is dead in space and they are now in range.

The commander has the helmsman beam down him and five others into the station. Six men materialize inside the starstation, all wearing the same yellow spacesuit with a black visor covering their entire face. The commander tells his troops to stay together and to keep their eyes open. He surveys the area, which is a trashed room with obvious signs of fighting. The commander tells the others that the walls have eyes of their own, so don’t trust their back against them. He informs all that the ship’s scanners detect nothing, which means their target must be using dampers to mask her location. She is certainly on the station, explains the commander, and she cannot dampen him forever. Surrounded by nothing but space, she cannot hide from them.

Miles from the starstation, there is nothing except the peaceful empty void of space. Suddenly, a purple flash of energy forms, as if there is a rip in space, and a ball of purple energy emerges from it. The rip closes and the ball shoots towards the starstation at a dangerously high speed.

Inside the station, the troops investigate the room. One person finds another body of a Shi’ar crewmember. Apparently, he bled to death from his face. The commander tells him that the body count is now forty-seven. They have not even checked the lower levels yet. The commander tells his troops to take a good look around to see what they are dealing with.

The troop that found the man who bled to death through his face notices that it appears that their target killed him with her fingernails. The commander gets a message from his ship that the sensors are picking up something strange. The commander tells the troop to continue to scan for heat, motion and anything else. He is monitoring through other means of detection. The other man tells the commander that the thing is coming from the outside. The commander tells him that, as soon as there is detection of a living being other than the people in his group, he wants to know.

The commander is cut off as the purple energy ball breaches the hull of the starstation and sends the six troops to the ground. After the shockwave from the impact subsides, the commander asks for a report. One troop tells him that it came from the other side of the station. Source of impact and collateral damage are unknown. The commander asks what sort of collateral damage there is. The other man tells him that there is an impact crater from thirteen decks up through sixteen down. The reparative systems are on-line, though, and are working to seal the breach. The commander tells his troops that they are going to check it out.

Down sixteen flights of holes lays Bishop at the bottom, who can neither see nor hear anything. The weary, yet uninjured, man begins to mutter the name of Michael. Someone who he cannot see tells him to shush. The mystery person tells Bishop that she knew he would be back for her. She lifts up his head to make him face her as Bishop says Michael’s name once again. The woman in the silver space suit takes off her helmet so Bishop can see her. Bishop’s eyes open wide and he is about to utter the woman’s name, but Deathbird knocks him out with her helmet.

Deathbird drags the unconscious Bishop with her. She tells him that they have been apart for so long that she thought she had seen the last of him. She does not know what he has been through, but she knows that he has come back to her. This pleases her, because he is an exceptional man. Bishop begins to moan, but Deathbird tells him to hush again as he is injured. She tells him to lean on her and be brave, because they are not alone.

Deathbird turns and whips out a gun at the six men behind her. The commander tells Deathbird to drop her weapon in the name of the Shi’ar Imperium. He reaches his hand out and tells her that they will be taking the key now. Deathbird laughs when she hears that they are here in the name of the Shi’ar Imperium. She tells them that she knows that they are not here to investigate or arrest her. They want what is hers. Deathbird begins to shoot at them as she pushes Bishop down. She taunts them and tells them to try to take the key from her.

The troops quickly destroy Deathbird’s gun, much to her surprise. Deathbird tells Bishop that the niceties she spoke of earlier are true. Of all the men of Earth, he is the only one worthy enough to serve her. Now, he must serve her as best as she can, as her shield! As the troops fire at her again, Deathbird puts Bishop in front of her and lets him take the energy blasts.

The commander, for the first time, notices who the man with her is and is shocked to see that it is Bishop. Bishop regains consciousness and begins to glow purple with the energy he just absorbed. Deathbird leaps at the troops and tells Bishop that she enjoys seeing a man who knows how to serve the woman he loves. She kicks one troop in the head and disarms another. She jumps behind them and escapes as they fire after her.

Deathbird escapes to the lower decks, but the troops realize that they have a bigger problem. The commander explains that Bishop has absorbed their entire laser fire and God knows what else. He is overloading and may explode. Bishop explodes with energy and blacks out.

Bishop knows he is alive, but does not know where he is. Time passes by as usual and he wakes up on a medical table. A voice in Bishop’s head asks him if he is ok. Bishop gets up and weakly asks where he is. The voice in his head tells him that they are in a Shi’ar starstation at the edge of their sphere of influence. He is among friends.

Bishop looks up to see the smiling face of the commander, who is Professor Charles Xavier. Bishop is surprised to see him, but more surprised to see the five Skrulls with Xavier. Bishop says he does not know what is going on, but it is probably complicated. Xavier tells him that he has no idea.

Bishop sits on the table while Xavier explains that the Skrulls are Cadre K, a team of mutant Skrulls, whom he is teaching the use of their powers. They have come to this starstation on the most urgent of missions. Bishop realizes that Xavier is standing and asks about his legs. Xavier tells him not to be fooled. The suit he is wearing is a gift from the Shi’ar, which allows him to stand. However, there is another gift they seek that was owned by the Shi’ar, but stolen by Deathbird.

Bishop takes in the information about Deathbird and the Skrulls and begins to talk about seeing his sister Shard die in a future war of his making and how he left a child behind in a strange world he brought him to. Bishop asks the Professor what has happened to him. Xavier tells him that he has been through too much to speak and asks him to open his mind to him.

Telepathically, Xavier learns everything in a second. He learns about Fitzroy and the fight against the Chronomancer. He also knows about the friends Bishop made along the way and the boy, Michael, he left behind. Fitzroy was killed in a temporal distortion, which ripped Bishop fro that time period. What he wants to know is why he is in space with Xavier and Deathbird.

Xavier tells Bishop that he can only guess that Deathbird is some sort of temporal anchor for him. He reminds Bishop that during Apocalypse’s quest to harness the power of the Twelve, he used Deathbird to bring Bishop back to this time, if it only was temporarily. Xavier rubs his head and tells Bishop that he has a knack for dramatic entrances into a timeline.

Bishop rubs his head too and tells Xavier that he does not remember coming back to fight Apocalypse but, of course, he is not feeling right at the moment anyway. Xavier thinks about his and tells Bishop that at the time of the battle against Apocalypse, the Bishop that was brought back could have been him, but pulled from farther down the timeline than they originally presumed. This warrants some investigation later on.

Bishop asks about Deathbird. Xavier wonders what Deathbird was thinking when she found Bishop below deck. She is mad, cold and oxygen-deprived, so she probably thought he was an angel sent to save her through his grace. She is out there, hunted and alone. She killed her entire crew in the starstation and they cannot stop her madness until they capture her.

Spunje tells the Professor that they may not have a choice. The stress readings on the station are negative and life support is shaky. The hull’s integrity has been breached and Bishop’s crashing did not help either. Xavier explains to Cadre K that without the key, all is lost. They need to infiltrate the central processing facility around Earth and that key is the only way in.

As the Professor explains the situation, Bishop looks around. He knows there is a reason they are out here in space. However, all he can hear is Deathbird’s name and the word “killing.” He looks to the side to see several Shi’ar men impaled and that is all he needs to know.

Fiz tells the Professor that, if the readings are correct, the station could go at any moment. They would follow him to oblivion, but they don’t know if they should stay. Xavier tells Fiz to take the team and Bishop back to the ship. The risk is his. Bishop tells the Professor that Deathbird has a funny way of treating angels. “I’m coming with you,” says Bishop.

Xavier fills Bishop in on what he does not know. He explains Maximum Security to him and about the barrier around the system, so no one can leave. The Professor has a Skrull student named Z’cann trapped down there, whom he must reach. Deathbird has the key that would let her transverse the barrier and Xavier now needs it. Professor Xavier explains that, if they can reach the X-Men by sneaking someone to the Earth’s surface through the central processing station, then they have a chance at destroying the barrier. First they must find Deathbird.

Xavier and Bishop, who now wears a suit similar to Xavier’s, emerge in the Waste Disposal deck of the ship, which probability models have suggested Deathbird has gone to. Bitterly, Bishop says that it is appropriate. Xavier tells him that he knows there is aggression in Bishop’s voice and asks if there is anything he should be concerned about. Bishop tells Xavier that he has spent a year of his life hunting Fitzroy, which is something he should have done a long time ago. Now, before he took Fitzroy out, the madman took more lives. If he is indeed drawn to Deathbird, then he has her to thank for bringing him here.

Bishop continues and explains that he left a child in the future. He lost his sister and good friends. He can blame Fitzroy all day, but he knows where the blame really lies. Xavier tells Bishop that he defeated Fitzroy and he may have defeated him earlier if he had not joined the X-Men, but Xavier reminds him of the other countless threats he helped stop that were just as deadly .

The two walk down a corridor while Deathbird watches them, her helmet back on. Bishop tells Xavier that he can almost hear Deathbird in the walls. Xavier does not understand but, before he can question any further, he is shot by Deathbird. Bishop shoots back, but Deathbird is gone. Bishop goes over to Xavier, who explains that the blast shorted out his suit. The suit needs more time to reboot. Bishop will need to go after her alone. Bishop interjects, but Xavier tells him that he hasn’t survived this long on luck alone. He reminds Bishop of what Deathbird did to the crew. She needs to be stopped. Bishop agrees and tells Xavier that, as an X-Man, it is his job to bring her in.

Bishop continues without the Professor. He searches for Deathbird and thinks about how he went from lost in space to being lost in time, which is enough to weigh his down, if he lets it. However, there is one thing that keeps him coming back: Deathbird. Bishop calls out to Deathbird to come out before he has to drag her out.

Deathbird kicks a broken girder at Bishop, who drops his gun. Deathbird takes a pipe and lunges at Bishop, who seems different to her. She whacks him in the face and kicks him in the chest. She asks him to tell her all about his adventures he has had; provided that she leaves his tongue intact. Bishop tells her that she knows she can’t shoot him, but she shoots him anyway in the hand as he reaches for his gun. Bishop reminds her that he can channel all her blast all day, but that does not mean it feels good. He then blasts Deathbird in the face, which shatters the glass covering to her helmet.

Bishop gets up and aims his gun at her and tells her that her blaster is useless. Deathbird tells him that she can slit his throat and kill him before he even realizes it. Bishop tells her that she is sick from the lack of oxygen. She is cold, lost and apparently more off her hinges than usual. Deathbird chuckles and asks Bishop if they told him that they want to sentence her to Earth for her crimes. She says let them. Again, she tells Bishop that he seems different and changed.

She rips the key off her neck and holds it. She tells him to give the key to Xavier. He and her sister are on opposite sides this time. It is her government that is supporting the effort to make Earth a penal colony. He is seeking a way to thwart her efforts. Deathbird hopes that this disparity buries them both. Bishop frowns, but Deathbird throws the key to him.

Deathbird holds up her broken gun at Bishop, who asks her if she would not come back. Deathbird is firm in her belief that Bishop has changed, but tells him not to be hasty. An open airlock will most likely kill them both. Deathbird tells him that it is he who is cold and hardened. However, he is not strong enough to shoot her and kill her. Righteousness is weakness.

Bitterly, Bishop puts his finger on the trigger and tells Deathbird that people like her always think that they know him. He is tired of it. Deathbird tells Bishop to reach into his heart, find nothing and to show her how much he has changed. Bishop tightens his finger on the trigger and Deathbird tells him to feel his hatred and, later on, in his private moments, he should remember what he was once capable of feeling.

Deathbird grabs the lever to the airlock and opens the door. The vacuum of space sucks her out and, for a moment, Bishop thinks that he can hear her scream. Using his powers hurt in a different way before. He is confused now and does not even know if he fired or not. The deck is ripped apart around him. Deathbird pushed him to the edge and he hates her for that. Bishop grabs onto the lever of the airlock and holds it for dear life. Bishop thinks to himself that Fitzroy slipped away from him and innocents dies before he hunted him down and him out for good. He then swears that he will never let that happen again. Bishop uses his strength to turn the lever and the airlock closes. He falls to the floor and Xavier comes to him.

Xavier tells Bishop that he would never read his mind without permission, but he did indeed hear a shot fired. Bishop explains that she went for the airlock. The vacuum pulled the blaster from him. He does not know what happened next. He goes on to say that a chapter in his life is closed and he is now concerned with what he has become. Bishop then asks where they go from here. Xavier tells Bishop what he already knows. The future is a shifting and frightening place, but the Bishop he knows will know what to do to get by in the present. The future is that until they get there. Life goes on, and Bishop exceeds even Xavier’s expectations.

Xavier holds up the key and explains that it is the only hope they have to traverse the barrier and to reach Earth. Whoever takes the mission will face more danger and responsibility that even Xavier would ask. Xavier asks Bishop if he is up to it. Bishop tells the Professor to count him in.

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Xavier (former X-Men)

Fiz, Nuro, R’tee, Spunje, unnamed Skrull (all Cadre K)


Story Notes: 

This story is part of the company-wide Maximum Security storyline. It continues from Iron Man (3rd Series) #35 and continues into Maximum Security #2.

"Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time!" comes from the song 'Rock and Roll' by Led Zeppelin from their fourth album.

Earth was made into a penal colony in Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet. Z’cann was captured in Maximum Security #1. Xavier learned of Deathbird’s rampage in Uncanny X-Men #387.

Bishop’s rocky relationship with Deathbird first began after they were separated from the X-Men in space in Uncanny X-Men #345. That is also when Bishop would last see the X-Men, except for a brief return in Uncanny X-Men #372, after which he was transported to an alternate future in Bishop: The Last X-Man #1. He then briefly was reunited with the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #377 and X-Men (2nd Series) #97, during Apocalypse: The Twelve.

Professor Xavier became the teacher for the Skrulls in Uncanny X-Men #379.

Bishop’s war with Fitzroy started in Uncanny X-Men #282. His latest adventure in an alternate future can be found in Bishop: The Last X-Man #1-14.

Bishop not remembering about Apocalypse and The Twelve incident is interesting. Xavier’s theory also brings up an interesting point. If the Bishop that came back during The Twelve saga was from farther down the timeline than the Bishop that returned this issue, then Fitzroy may not be dead at all. When Bishop returned in Uncanny X-Men #377, his dialogue confirms that he was in a fight with the Chronomancer. If he was from further down the timeline and the Bishop that returned thinks that Fitzroy is dead; then he is wrong, because his future self apparently fights Fitzroy again.

Issue Information: