Lucas Bishop is known as to many as the very first black male addition to the X-Men roster. Though recently his race has been a slight subject of debate, whether he’s African American or Australian Aboriginal or whatever. But moving on, Bishop debuted in the 90s as a tough-as-nails and brash anti-hero from the future with the ability to absorb all types of kinetic energy and rechannel it. He was part of the XSE, a mutant police force, where he was feared by many criminals, mainly a portal creating mutant by the name of Trevor Fritzroy. Bishop had grown up 80 years in a harsh future where Sentinels reigned supreme. Bishop had grown up with his little sister, Shard, and his grand mother who told him fantastic stories of the X-Men. Even after his grandmother’s death, Bishop carried the stories of his idolized heroes with him when he joined the XSE. One day while chasing Fritzroy, Bishop came across a recording of Jean Grey warning of a traitor within the X-Men. Not too long afterwards, Bishop once again found himself tracking down an escaped Fritzroy who absorbed a large amount of energy to create a time portal to escape Bishop and his XSE. Bishop followed the evil mutant to the 20th Century where he encounter the X-Men. Not believing this was the heroes he idolized all his life, he fought a tough battle against them until finally being subdued by Storm.
When things were finally settled after his XSE teammates were killed in battle while aligning themselves to stop Fritzroy, Charles Xavier asked Bishop to join the X-Men and was put under Storm’s tutelage who grew rather close with him. Bishop entered a very rough rivalry with Gambit, who Bishop believed to possibly be the traitor Jean Grey was talking about in the recording. It wasn’t until Magneto and Xavier fused to become the evil and destructive Onslaught that Jean Grey’s message became clear. Bishop fought with his team mates to stop Onslaught and even absorbed Onslaught’s energy blast that was strong enough to kill a thousand mutants. After Onslaught’s defeat, Bishop and Gambit settled their issues and became friends. Bishop continued to fight alongside the X-Men who he grew to appreciate them as family, though he had some issues dealing with getting settled in the past. For one, his extreme use of aggressive violence was something the X-Men constantly helped him get over. Over the years he shared many great moments with the X-Men and became really close with team mate Sage when they joined Storm’s own version of the XSE.
Bishop, a man of the law from the future, joined the FBI and partnered with Officer Ismael Ortega, to watch over and police District X, a mutant ghetto in NYC. When the Decimation occurred, reducing the number of mutants to 198, followed by the Civil War between heroes fighting for and against Superhero Registration, Bishop joined the government run O.N.E. with Valerie Cooper which he believed would help mutants, even if it meant keeping them behind walls in the X-Mansion. He fought against Cyclops and many of his X-Men friends when Bishop went after some mutants who wanted freedom from the O.N.E.
During the Messiah Complex, Bishop along with the X-Men fought against various different factions for Hope, the first mutant baby born of the Decimation. In a surprising development, Bishop reveals that Hope is the cause of his harsh future and behind the X-men’s back attempts to kill the baby. The baby is saved from Bishop who continues to this day, fighting against his former team mate Cable, to kill the baby…. Now given that this is my own column, I’ve a right for my own commentary and even if it’s unprofessional, I will say Marvel has done a vast disservice and given a slap to the face of Bishop fans, me included, with the recent Bishop storylines, making him a downright murderer with no respect to his character development even if it‘s completely out of character as he’s destroyed a planet and nearly killed his X-Men “family” in hopes of killing Hope with no remorse. Bishop was the very first black hero I came across as a little kid watching the X-Men animated series and I was excited to see a hero that actually looked like me who believed in justice and was a straight bad-ass. With these recent development, I won’t even go on further with how they destroyed and crapped on this character. Thanks a bunch, X-office! If you, whoever reads this, wants to see any recent Bishop appearances where he’s treated with respect, watch him in Wolverine and the X-Men.
Bishop Adventures can be found:
The Coming of Bishop
X-Men: The Complete Age of Apocalypse
Bishop: The Last X-Man #1-15
District X: Mr. M
District X: Underground
Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon