BISHOP (Lucas Bishop)
John Byrne, Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio
The Uncanny X-Men #282 (Nov. 1991)
The '90s Bad-Ass Anti-Hero, Team Cop, The Unfunny Guy
The X-Men, Xavier's Security Enforcers, O*N*E*, Interpol
PL 10 (181)
Close Combat (Unarmed) 4 (+12)
Deception 5 (+6)
Expertise (History) 8 (+11)
Expertise (Police Officer) 7 (+10)
Perception 4 (+7)
Insight 4 (+7)
Intimidation 7 (+8)
Investigation 7 (+10)
Ranged Combat (Firearms) 3 (+13)
Technology 4 (+7)
Vehicles 6 (+8)
All-Out Attack, Equipment 4 (Communications, Armour +1, Guns +6- Multiattack), Improved Aim, Improved Critical (Gun), Improved Critical (Blast), Interpose, Power Attack, Quick Draw, Ranged Combat 5, Tracking
"Mutant Powers: Absorption & Redirection of Energy"
Blast 10 (Feats: Variable 2- Any Energy) (Flaws: Source- Energy Damage) 
Enhanced Strength 3 (Flaws: Source- Energy Damage) 
Immunity 40 (Energy Attacks & Effects) (Flaws: Limited to Three-Quarters-Effect) 
Immunity 2 (Time Effects) 
Super-Senses 2 (Time Sense, Location Sense) 
Unarmed +12 (+4 Damage, DC 19)
Enhanced From Energy +12 (+7 Damage, DC 22)
Energy Blasts +10 (+10 Ranged Damage, DC 20)
Guns +13 (+6 Ranged Damage, DC 21)
Dodge +11 (DC 21), Parry +11 (DC 21), Toughness +5 (+6 Armour), Fortitude +9, Will +8
Responsibility (Man Out of Time)- Bishop comes from seventy years in the future, and is often befuddled by modern sensibilities and morse. He's also not much of a joker.
Motivation (Justice, Extreme Style)- Bishop is a good cop for his own time, and has a "kill or be killed" mentality.
Motivation (Undoing His Future)- Bishop first attempts to prevent the murder of the X-Men by a traitor, and then the birth of a Mutant Messiah that will kill thousands and set the stage for an era of Mutants in internment camps.
Power Loss (Absorption)- Bishop can possibly be overloaded.
Rivalry (Gambit)- Bishop believed for a long time that Gambit was responsible for the betrayal of the X-Men, leading to their deaths in the future. Turns out it was Xavier-as-Onslaught.
Relationship (Shard)- Bishop is devoted to protecting his younger sister, even though she's just a sentient hologram.
Abilities: 64 / Skills: 56--28 / Advantages: 17 / Powers: 62 / Defenses: 20 (181)
Bishop- The Shittiest X-Man:
"You know, I only like the old X-Men! I don't like any of the new ones, like BISHOP."- me to a friend, shortly before realizing that Bishop was TWENTY YEARS OLD when I made that statement. Bishop's since become more notable for his early Jheri Curl haircut and failure since then.
-So Bishop was created as the first new X-Man of the Post-Claremont Era of the X-Books. Whilce Portacio was the big-name artist in charge of Uncanny X-Men
, and the art team had been given the keys to the kingdom after drumming Chris Claremont out, and while Jim Lee got all the "cool" X-Men on HIS book, Whilce was stuck with the ones Jim DIDN'T want to draw... but was given the opportunity to make a new guy. A new, SUPER-NINETIES guy. While many of the X-Men had been given fashions and powers very iconic to the era (Gambit's longcoat, Wolverine's claws), none of them had GUNS, like Cable had over in X-Force
, nor "Mutant Powers as an Afterthought", like Cable, Shatterstar, Domino and others... over in X-Force
. And so after some dumb story involving time-traveling goof Trevor Fitzroy (which KILLS OFF ALL THE HELLIONS... but no, I'm not bitter), in walks this huge, muscular black dude with laser weapons and a killer instinct, and a Mutant Power basically tossed in (Energy Redirection, basically).
-Sean Howe, who wrote the excellent Marvel: The Untold Story
, has stated that Bishop is his least-favorite book character ever- "They created a guy JUST to have a black guy on the team", he said. Though I never felt that as a kid- I just figured they wanted a Gun Guy, and came up with one. As Fitzroy came from the future, so did Bishop- he was a future police officer on Fitzroy's trail, coming in with a pair of disposable buddies who only lasted a handful of issues. And he proved his '90s-ness immediately, by gunning down dozens of evil mutant criminals and firing energy blasts at the remainder, frying guys left and right.
Bishop- Mistrustful Newbie:
-Bishop was recruited onto the X-Men after a conversation with Charles Xavier. Orphaned of his old group (The X.S.E.), he needed a place to stay, and Charles basically just told the X-Men he was on the team, and that was that. They put him on Storm's team (where he was an odd fit, to say the least), but he immediately got into it with Gambit, whom he recognized from his own future- see, in Bishop's timeline, the X-Men were dead- having been killed by a mysterious traitor. LeBeau, the future Gambit, was the "last man to see the X-Men alive", and Bishop openly suspected Gambit of doing the deed, leading to a large ongoing feud between the two men, as Bishop essentially hero-worshipped the fabled X-Men of legend. The "Who Killed The X-Men?" mystery was played up for YEARS, finally culminating with the "Onslaught" story.
-Pretty much everything with Bishop in this era was "I think Gambit is a traitor", "I want to kill the bad guys- why won't you let me kill all of them with my guns?" and "I thought the X-Men were SO AWESOME, but you guys are kind of soft". I found the character a bit boring and tiresome, and didn't think much of him. The X-Editors stuck him in a lot of crossovers in prominent roles (getting teamed with the '90s-style Wolverine & Cable in The X-Cutioner's Song
, for example).
Bishop's Rise and Fall:
-Bishop had proven successful enough to get a "spin-off" character (his sister Shard, who lives on as a hologram in our time, having died in the future), his own book, and more. He was even central to the famous Age Of Apocalypse
crossover, in which he was the only man to remember how time SHOULD have gone, waking up in a world without Xavier, and ruled by Apocalypse. Bishop eventaully saved the world, resetting the timeline. In the most inexplicable solo book of ALL TIME, we soon got a Bishop
series. FRIGGING BISHOP GOT HIS OWN SOLO BOOK!! If that doesn't explain the near-death of comics in the 1990s, I don't know what does. The book only lasted a couple of years, which still seems like too long.
-The character having faltered and being set aside, he was nonetheless picked up by Claremont in his return, and he joined X-Treme X-Men
(Claremont, for all his faults, was at least good about not discarding anything he himself did not create). He wasn't there long, however, and moved on to District X
, a "Cop Book" featuring him as a detective in charge of "Mutant Town", a high-density mutant enclave in New York. This book failed very quickly. This led pretty much directly to a villainous turn for the character- he joined the Pro-Registration forces during Civil War
, and then all of a sudden goes COMPLETELY EVIL, as it turns out that Hope Summers (the modern-day Mutant Messiah) is the mutant responsible for "Mutant Registration" and internment camps of Bishop's dark future- she killed millions in the "Six-Minute War", and all Mutants suffered because of it. So of course he decides to exterminate her as a baby. Bishop loses an arm to Predator X, engages in a feud with Cable (who is Hope's protector and adoptive father), and tries repeatedly to KILL A BABY, essentially going "Full Evil". This long, arduous story arc eventually leads to him being trapped in the future, but he returns under the control of the Demon Bear before being cleansed, and is now treated as a remorseful hero who protects Hope.
Bishop = Bleh:
-So after this insane final turn in the story of Bishop, I think we have one of those characters who's been sufficiently destroyed by insane story twists to the point where they should basically be untouchable. Like, when a guy's DEBUT is basically a mess of confusing stuff, you know you have a problem, but then they JUST KEPT GOING. Honestly, I usually just associate the character with failure- failed runs in an ill-advised solo book, that awful District X
, and a short run in X-Treme X-Men
. His one-note nature in Uncanny X-Men
, where he spends all his time either being EXTREEEEEEEEEEEME or hating on Gambit. Being central to The Age of Apocalypse
despite being the single least-memorable aspect OF it. Bishop is simply terrible, and the "Hope Summers/Baby-Killer" arc just cemented him as a dope, to the point where I wonder if the writer didn't specifically hate him as a character, and want to destroy him forever. I mean, if I hated a character, I don't think I could wreck them or their future success any better- Keith Giffen WISHES he could discredit Karate Kid as much as the Messiah Complex
writers discredited Bishop.
-So ultimately, he's a '90s character. He wears a military uniform instead of a costume. Guns that supersede his actual Mutant Powers as a weapon. A distinctively-dated haircut (THAT JHERI CURL MULLET). A willingness to kill. Eyes that almost never seemed to have pupils or irises. Powers that are a mere add-on that rarely gets used (only if he gets shot by energy, though many scenes feature him indiscriminately firing "Pink Kirby Dots", as if he'd been struck by an attack from a mook). His personality was generally "ultra-serious military guy" but then they'd throw in random slang and jokes that seem incongruous to the character (stuff like "hoo-boy, would I be in trouble" when attacked by Morlocks and bluffing them into hitting him with a specific kind of energy). Honestly, he was just a mess, and I still carry a grudge that FRIGGIN' BISHOP got a solo book run in the late '90s, when there were so many other characters potentially deserving of one.
-I don't like the standard "Absorption" rules anymore, so I'm going with a different thing that has a slightly different Flaw to it- you can use the power, but it Fades and requires you to be attacked first (making it worse than a regular Blast). Most others have statted his Absorption much higher in another edition, but in my opinion he used guns almost as often, so it's clearly not a SUPER-powerful attack. At best he tended to eat a shot or two and fire them back repeatedly, and it wasn't anywhere near as powerful as Cyclops's or someone else's in most cases. There are moments when he absorbs something as full-on as Onslaught's psionic burst and stuff like that, but those are rare occurences that often injured him; best portrayed by Hero Points and Extra Effort. After all, he's got a nigh-Immunity (15 points' worth) against all Energy Attacks (they only do 25% of their total damage), which means that all but the very best are gonna have trouble even scratching him. For a more powerful Blast, he's best off using Power Attack (total of +15 Damage, not bad)- he can probably also mimic the properties (like Area Effects- I've seen him do that at least once).
-Bishop's a tough, pricey dude, even without his Powers, but he's still below Skillmonkey types like Gambit & Daredevil. Despite this, he's tough enough to wander around town with a hole in his body from falling into a broken pipe, take gunshots and not bleed out entirely, and hold his own against Wolverine or Cable in a battle to the death (as a big part of the X-Men in the Iron Age, he was often paired up with the other two).