Issue(s): Bishop #1, Bishop #2, Bishop #3, Bishop #4
The theme of these issues is whether or not Bishop has accepted his role as an X-Men, with the non-lethal approach to combat which that entails, or whether he's still an XSE operative at heart. We learn that whenever he has free time, Bishop re-runs the scenario in which his XSE comrades Malcom and Randall were killed.
We also learn that one of the evil mutants from that fight, Mountjoy (who was never seen or named on panel before) survived. Mountjoy approaches Trevor Fitroy's toadie, Bantam, with the intention of killing him (since Bantam is the only one who knows he's alive; Bantam helped him escape).
But Bantam is saved by that most ruthless of Central Park gangs, the Crash Test Dummies fan club.
In the subsequent fight, we learn that Mountjoy's power is to, er, mount his consciousness in another body.
Bantam escapes and runs to Bishop for help. Bishop is out shopping with Storm, and when Mountjoy catches up with them, he targets Storm.
Bishop gets Mountjoy to unpossess Storm by threatening to kill both of them. But Bishop was badly wounded during the fight thanks to Mountjoy using regular crossbow darts against him (since Bishop can't absorb their energy). Storm prevents Mountjoy from killing Bishop, but he's able to escape.
When Bishop wakes up in the X-Infirmary, he finds that Forge has enhanced Bishop's hologram of his sister, Shard (seen previously in Uncanny X-Men #314), making her now fully interactive.
The question is now whether or not Bishop should kill Mountjoy when he finds him again. Shard, representing Bishop's XSE side, says that he should kill him. Professor X, of course, says otherwise. Bishop sides with Shard and resigns from the X-Men.
Professor X lets Bishop go. Shard accompanies him.
Bishop finds Mountjoy again. During the fight, Bishop has delusions that he's back in his future-past whenever he takes a hit. And during one of those delusions, he's attacked by a more serious fan club gang than the ones that fought Mountjoy (Bill Riccio is a real life white supremacist).
Despite all of this, Bishop finds himself unable to pull the trigger when he has a chance to kill Mountjoy.
So Mountjoy is able to possess Bishop. He takes his body back to the X-Mansion and possesses various X-Men and forces them to fight Bishop.
Mountjoy is kind of like a classic Mimic or Super-Adaptoid.
Mountjoy tries to possess Shard, but since she's only a hologram it doesn't work right and instead she's able to trap Mountjoy for a while. The effort of doing so will could cause her holographic matrix to burn out. She urges Bishop to kill Mountjoy.
Professor X and the Beast watch all of this from the Danger Room observatory. Professor X says that he could stop Bishop from killing at any time, but he wants to wait and see what Bishop will do.
And in the end, Bishop declines to kill Mountjoy, despite Shard's urgings and even though it means losing her.
Mountjoy is punched out and we don't see what happens to him after that. It's said that Shard's matrix could potentially be repaired, though.
This was a competently done and coherent miniseries, which is kind of a miracle for 1994. I feel like it covers ground for Bishop already done in the regular X-books, but Ostrander comes up with a good reason for delving into them again. And Mountjoy provides some interesting visual opportunities for Pacheco.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Jubilee is still hanging around the X-Mansion and a footnote says that this story takes place "before Generation X".
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAngel, Bantam (XSE), Beast, Bishop, Forge, Gambit, Jubilee, Mountjoy, Professor X, Psylocke, Shard (XSE), Storm
I'm surprised it took until 1997 for Pacheco to get an X-Men gig. This is very good art for 1994 Marvel. It's pretty good, period.
Posted by: bigvis497 | February 6, 2018 4:17 PM
He actually does some Excalibur stuff between here and then.
Posted by: AF | February 6, 2018 4:21 PM
He did a few things for the X-Office in between. I'm just surprised it took him that long to get one of the top books.
Posted by: bigvis497 | February 6, 2018 4:35 PM
Professor X allowed the X-Men to be possessed to test Bishop?
Posted by: Lecen | February 6, 2018 4:47 PM
That's not the craziest thing he's done to the X-Men. He let them think he was dead for a while, back in the day.
Posted by: clyde | February 6, 2018 6:09 PM
Ostrander was a great writer. By 1994, not only had I dropped Marvel to only one title (PAD's Hulk), I was committing the ultimate heresy by actually reading several DC titles at the time. I knew Ostrander from the excellent run on The Spectre was doing at the time with Tom Mandrake. Good stuff. I'm not surprised he's put in a good story despite its title character being terrible.
Hard to believe Marvel willingly continued to use so many mediocrities to write their books when they could have used talent like Ostrander.
Posted by: Chris | February 6, 2018 9:01 PM
Xavier didn't allow the X-Men to be possessed- he just didn't telepathically interfere with Bishop's decision to kill Mountjoy.
Posted by: Michael | February 6, 2018 9:42 PM
I've been a fan of John Ostrander's writing for a long time, but even he couldn't get me to buy a Bishop miniseries.
Reading this, honestly, it doesn't sound like I missed much. I long ago got tired of the false drama generated by the "Should heroes kill?" debates in Marvel and DC books. And, honestly, the X-Men telling Bishop that they don't kill their enemies is ridiculous, considering how often they've turned a blind eye to Wolverine going off on his own to slice up bad guys, as well as all of the other glaring exceptions to that supposed rule over the years.
In addition to all that, I refuse to take seriously any villain who has a name that sounds like a candy bar :p
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 7, 2018 7:53 PM
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