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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #283

"Bishop's Crossing"
December 1991

In a Nutshell
Bishop battles the X-Men.

Pencils 'n' Plot: Whilce Portacio
Inks: Art Thibert
Words: John Byrne
Letters: Tom & Lois
Colors: Joe Rosas
Editing: Bob Harrass
X-asperation: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Bishop, Malcolm & Randall proceed to round up Fitzroy and his criminal cohorts, only to learn that Fitzroy's portals are one-way, preventing them from returning to their home time. With no other option, Bishop authorizes the immediate termination of all the criminals, something which Storm can't abide. The X-Men intervene to stop Bishop, and Fitzroy manages to slip away, only to be caught and taken away by agents of Shinobi Shaw. As Bishop battles the X-Men, he wonders if they really are the legends he grew up admiring, but slight variations between them and the stories he was told convince him they are just agents of Fitzroy. Meanwhile, Professor X returns Jean's consciousness to her body, while the captive Fitzroy demands the arbitration of the Gamesmaster, who finds in Shaw's favor. Back at Fitzroy's base, charges he set begin to detonate, allowing Bishop, Malcolm & Randall to escape. But as the X-Men fly home, Storm remains insistent on finding Bishop and answering the questions he's raised. Elsewhere, Gamesmaster meets with Selene, who is pleased with the progress of her Upstarts game.

Firsts and Other Notables
As part of a general ramping up/bigger tease for the Upstarts storyline, Gamesmaster makes his first appearance in this issue, and is presented as being the arbiter of the Upstarts competition. We will eventually learn he is an omnipath (which is basically a super-charged telepath who is always in mental connection with every mind on the planet) who launched the Upstart competition as a way to distract himself, but as with so much of the Upstarts plotline, that idea is never really developed and/or outright contradicted by other teases/reveals related to the plotline.


To wit, Selene returns this issue, making her first appearance in an X-book since New Mutants #75, and is suggested to be the secret power behind the Upstarts competition (and thus further tying that competition to the idea, suggested in this story, that the ultimate prize is control of the Hellfire Club, something else that will change often in the months ahead), though her role in the competition will also morph over time, and she suggests here that the true prize is something else entirely.

Jean is returned to her proper body this issue, thanks to Professor X, though Emma Frost remains unconscious (and in a coma, we'll soon learn). In the process, Byrne (scripting the issue) seems to rollback slightly the idea that Jean always had telepathic powers that were suppressed by Xavier for her own good as a child, dusting off the notion that Xavier "shared" his telepathic abilities with her when he faked his death back in the Silver Age.


Pretty lackluster cover on this one. Just two figures facing each other, with one of them mostly blocked from the viewer, with no background or additional details whatsoever.

A Work in Progress
Though the future police force to which he belongs is not named this issue, the patch on Bishop's shoulder reads "Xavier's School Enforcers", which will be confirmed as the name of the organization (and is also the name of one of my fantasy football teams, incidentally).

This issue also establishes Bishop's mutant power: the ability to absorb and redirect energy. Basically, if you shoot with him energy, it won't affect him, and he'll be able to redirect that energy back at you (usually via generic energy blasts, though this issue suggest he returns the blast in the same way he received it, ie hit him with an eye beam, he'll shoot back via an eye beam). It's a simple enough power on the surface, though it doesn't hold up well to much scrutiny (for example, he absorbs Storm's lightning bolt, but does the heat from such a thing still effect him? He can absorb the energy of Cyclop's blast, but could just a blast still knock him over, since Cyclops' blast is concussive?).


It's established quickly that Bishop views the X-Men as legends and carries a great deal of reverence for them, but finds the real ones he encounters to be lacking (which becomes a recurring theme for the character, coming to terms with the difference between legend and reality).


In a random moment, Iceman makes a snarky comparison between Storm and Cyclops' leadership abilities.



Shinobi pops up in this issue, his finger having been reattached, and wearing some kind of weird, brightly-colored uniform, attended by a group of random people wearing similar attire. Regardless, this particular look/entourage is never seen again. 


Days of Future Redux 
Storm wonders if Bishop hails from the "Days of Future Past" future; later stories will confirm his time of origin to be a few decades after the notable events of that story.


Bishop notes that Archangel looks like Angel but not quite, suggesting that in the DoFP timeline, Warren was never transformed by Apocalypse.


For Sale
There's a half page ad in this issue for the two-volume Photojournal Guide to Marvel Comics, a set of over-sized hardcovers, they contained pictures of the cover to nearly every Marvel comic at the time (so basically a print, Marvel-only version of today's GCD). While I never owned the set (they were expensive!), I checked both volumes out from the library religiously as a kid, and along with Les Daniel's coffee table book on the history of Marvel Comics from around this same time, they served a my introduction to a lot of Marvel lore in those pre-Internet, largely pre-reprint collections days. I of course found myself liking the older Silver Age covers, because they contained more text than the modern covers, enabling me to both get a better understanding of the contents of the issue, and giving me something to do with the book besides just look at it.


Austin's Analysis
Although last issue is considered the first appearance of Bishop for collecting purposes, this one serves as his proper introduction, as it's really almost entirely about him. To the credit of Portacio (and whomever else in the braintrust - Harras, possibly Byrne - involved in his creation) he emerges on page more or less fully-formed, at least in terms of his dominate characteristics going forward in the near future: his enmity towards Fitzroy, his role as a law enforcement officer from the future, his mutant power, his kewl/90s/EXTREME take-no-prisoners attitude, and his deep, abiding reverence for the X-Men (despite the fact that his 90s attitude puts him at odds with the X-Men, creating immediate conflict).

All of those elements will serve as the primary fodder for Bishop's story and characterization for the next several years (alongside the upcoming X-traitor mystery), and they're all pretty much right there on the page in his actual first appearance, making him one of the more fully formed new characters that we've seen in awhile; as much as Bishop gets lumped in with Gambit and Cable as paragons of the 90s, he doesn't fit the same "mysterious figure with mysterious origins and mysteriously mysterious motivations" mold as those two; Bishop is pretty up front about his whole deal (mutant future cop who takes no prisoners) from the get-go.

The rest of the issue is chiefly concerned with wrapping up this introductory Fitzroy story, such as it is, removing the villain from the board (a la Shinobi) for the time being, teasing the larger Upstarts storyline with the introduction of Gamesmaster and the reintroduction of Selene, and getting Jean Grey's mind back in her proper body, but all of that is really ancillary to the Bishop stuff. The point here is to introduce Bishop, and whatever comes of that character in the future (and for however else this little three part story suffers), it's hard to argue this doesn't do the job it was tasked to do rather well.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Toad sets about reforming the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Force #5. Friday. a multiple Madrox melee in X-Factor #73. Next week, the first appearance of Cyber in Marvel Comics Presents #85-92 (Wolverine story).

Collected Editions

36 comments:

  1. I chuckled a bit when Shinobi spoke to his ring as "Precious".

    It kind of would work that the "Game" is really Selene's cunning plan to have rest of the Inner Circle removed, and she's certainly sinister enough in her commenting to suggest that she as an energy vampire sorcerer will indeed have a further purpose thought out for the mutant who turns out to be the most powerful. Everyone having a somewhat different idea what the prize is supposed to be would fit to Selene having deceived everyone individually when drafting them to the game.

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  2. Is Selene ever identified in this issue? I know later issues confirm that's who it is, but I have a recollection at the time that I didn't have a clear idea, from reading #283 alone, of who she was.

    Also I think by now I was already tiring of Byrne's bland dialogue. Reading it now in the panels you posted, I find it unbearably tone deaf.

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    1. No, she isn't identified as such here. As a kid, I had no clue who she was (this might be the first comic I ever read to have Selene in it), so it's definitely ambiguous if you're not familiar with the character.

      And yeah, Byrne's dialogue is really blah. Not even tone deaf so much as just...monotone.

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    2. True, "Tone deaf" might be too harsh. I probably dislike it more just because I can really see his persona in it, and the person himself is so unsavory.

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  3. @Jason- no, Selene was never identified in this issue.
    I never got how transferring Jean's mind back into her body was supposed to help her- her body was still DEAD.
    While Jean's mind is being transferred into her body, Xavier notices another mind interfering. This is never explained. The letters page claims that it was Madelyne Pryor but this is never mentioned when she reappears in X-Man.

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    1. The whole mind/body swap thing is weird - it's never made clear if Jean's body "died", or if they just thought she was dead because her mind left it. But if her body was fine, why did her mind leave it?

      I forgot the letters page claims the second presence was Maddie. I've always assumed it was the White Queen's mind for some reason.

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  4. The first page’s layout is really bad. I get that the events are being juxtaposed, but with the narration in the middle one’s attention is diverted between reading that vertically and taking in the vertical progressions of each tier of panels. And there’s no sense of how the characters relate to one another, which is its own problem — not to mention there’s a caption box covering the face of the creature in the last right-hand panel when you have plenty of white space available just to the left.

    // Archangel looks like Angel but not quite //

    Knowing Warren’s face well enough to remark that Archangel looks like him is pretty specific given that Bishop’s dialogue contains stuff like “the legends say...” (emphasis mine).

    // get a better understanding of the contents of the issue //

    That’s very much along the lines of how I used the Overstreet guides as a kid, following when characters and features began, ended, crossed over, and such. We had so little to go on versus what the ‘Net affords today; it’s crazy.

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    1. Knowing Warren’s face well enough to remark that Archangel looks like him is pretty specific given that Bishop’s dialogue contains stuff like “the legends say...” (emphasis mine).

      He was the one of the X-Men whose identity was publicly known and as a corporation-owning playboy heavily exposed in the media. Some of the late 1970's gossip magazines must have made it to the 2080's even with all the Sentinel shenanigans. As they let on in DoFP, the folks of 2010's remember that in upper 1970's things were much more swanky. There must've been a bunch of nostalgicists who went through the trouble of collecting and saving stuff from the better era, and maybe gathered weekly to share their thoughts and glassy-eyes recollections over it.

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    2. We had so little to go on versus what the ‘Net affords today; it’s crazy.

      Right? Like, it's easy to think of how the ready availability of media (via streaming, digital downloads, comprehensive reprint programs, etc.) is so much better/different than years ago, but sometimes I forget just how much more pure INFORMATION is readily available nowadays compared to when I was a kid. I can find out just about anything I want to know via a device I casually carry around in my pocket (and "finding stuff out for me" isn't even the primary purpose of that device). It's wild when you stop and think about it.

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    3. @Michael: // I feel like Iceman has a bit of a history of disrespecting non-original X-Men characters //

      I couldn’t point to exactly when/where, but I feel the same, and I think it has at least something to do with him being the youngest member of the original group in combination with the newer X-Men taking up residence on his old home turf so successfully while he was knocking around as a sometime college student and member of decidedly less memorable superteams.

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  5. "As part of a general ramping up/bigger tease for the Upstarts storyline"

    I always wondered what Lee and Portacio had in mind for this story. Granted, Portacio doesn't revisit it before he departs, and I think Lee just has the Fenris twins as being members. But I do wonder if they had an actual endgame, or more likely, they just thought it would be cool to have Selene sponsoring some game among their new pet characters and a bunch of new randoms and make it up as they went along.

    "Byrne (scripting the issue) seems to rollback slightly the idea that Jean always had telepathic powers that were suppressed by Xavier for her own good as a child, dusting off the notion that Xavier "shared" his telepathic abilities with her"

    He seems to be suggesting Jean's powers were dormant and Charles "sharing" his powers with hers triggered them and made Jean's unique. So...her powers always existed, he just didn't keep them suppressed. A retcon of a retcon of sorts, but I think this statement is the only time it's suggested things played out this way. After this, we're back to suppressing her powers, I believe.

    I guess it isn't just Magneto that Bryne fantasizes about resetting back to his silver age status quo.

    "Pretty lackluster cover on this one. Just two figures facing each other"

    And Storm looks like she is lecturing Bishop.

    "In a random moment, Iceman makes a snarky comparison between Storm and Cyclops' leadership abilities."

    Iceman, or Byrne? ;)

    "Shinobi pops up in this issue, his finger having been reattached"

    As others before me have pointed out, we missed a golden scene of giant robot Sentinels surgically reattaching a tiny finger on a human. I guess it would be like one of us reattaching a finger on a Barbie sized doll or something. Which makes the idea of it even more unintentionally hilarious.

    "attended by a group of random people wearing similar attire. Regardless, this particular look/entourage is never seen again."

    I do wonder if Portacio actually had any backstory thought out for these people, or if he just felt Kewl drawing them. I will say, the woman in the group does have a White Queen-esque outfit, so who knows?

    "Bishop notes that Archangel looks like Angel but not quite, suggesting that in the DoFP timeline, Warren was never transformed by Apocalypse."

    The funny part is, Warren for a while does go back to his original Caucasian skinned, feathered wing look in the 2000s, and Bishop was still around for that...ah, change and it's illusion.

    Yes, this issue does introduce Bishop, but that's really all you can say that it does do competently. The rest of it is a mess. Though I do appreciate there is a character called Eye-beam. If Cyclops ever come back and can control his powers, he can change his name to that, no?

    But the rest of it...still a mess. It doesn't help that we get quite a bit of focus on the Upstarts, and we all know how that turns out.

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    1. I always wondered what Lee and Portacio had in mind for this story.

      Me too. They definitely had something in mind, but all we get from them are setup and teases.

      A retcon of a retcon of sorts, but I think this statement is the only time it's suggested things played out this way. After this, we're back to suppressing her powers, I believe.

      Yeah, I don't think it ever gets brought up again. It just stuck out to me as another example of curmudgeonly Byrne trying to bring everything back to the 60s status quo.

      Iceman, or Byrne? ;)

      Oh yeah, definitely Byrne. Though you'd think he'd be a little more forgiving of Storm, a character he had at least had a significant role in shaping (as opposed to if, I dunno, Gambit was the leader).

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  6. In a random moment, Iceman makes a snarky comparison between Storm and Cyclops' leadership abilities.

    I feel like Iceman has a bit of a history of disrespecting non-original X-Men characters, but I can't think of any other specific examples right now. Either way, this whole issue makes me Claremont's Storm. No other writer has ever known how to write her.

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    1. Good point about Iceman - he's dismissive of them (particularly Wolverine) in Claremont's CLASSIC X-MEN #1 backup story, and I think maybe again during the Doom/Arcade story and "Inferno"?

      Either way, this whole issue makes me Claremont's Storm. No other writer has ever known how to write her.

      At this point, Storm's glory days are definitely behind her.

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    2. Yeah, Iceman is a jerk in that backup. It's great. Although Angel is the one who is more derisive of Wolverine. Iceman disses Peter and Kurt.

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    3. There are probably other examples, but a period that particularly stands out about Iceman's dismissive attitude toward NON "original" members was the 2000s era, particularly the Austen and Milligan years.

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  7. I always have mixed feelings about Bishop. First of all, while this wouldn't matter to many people, I've always appriciated that Bishop has been given distinctive "black" features (full lips, a broad nose, etc.) Usually comic characters of color tend to suffer from "Black Barbie" syndrome. Shame about the mullet though.

    The irony, of course, is that Bishop was often accused of being a "Poochie-fied" derivative of the increasingly popular Cable ("They even 'rasta-fied' him by 35 percent!") And at the time it was hard not to see him as such. Over the years, though, the two became more diversified from each other (Bishop's the "Cowboy Cop" while Cable's the "vigilante mercenary"), so much so that they ended up becoming enemies in the end.

    Also Bishop apparently doesn't trust his own powers either, since, like almost every new character at this time he relies on BFGs more than anything else.

    DID Bishop come from the same timeline as DOFP? Later stories (particularly "Messiah Complex") seem to contradict that story with a divergent catalyst for tbe mutant interment camps. Incidentally the later crossover kinda contradicts THIS story too, since younger Bishop seemed a LOT less enamored with the X-Men than this adult version.

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    1. I think (and I could be totally wrong on this, because I've only read "Messiah Complex" once) the idea is that Bishop is from the DoFP timeline (albeit further in the future of that timeline than the time in which Kate Pryde first left), but after Scarlet Witch does the whole "No More Mutants" thing, it also obliterates all those future timelines (because they had mutants in them, and her spell prevents any more mutants from being born).

      Then, when Hope is born, her birth creates two (maybe more?) alternate timelines in which mutants exist once again, one of which is now the timeline Bishop is from, having grown up in concentration camps triggered by Hope's apparent killing of millions of humans years earlier.

      Of course, all that get complicated by the fact that Hope has kind of fizzled out as a character, and then the whole "no more mutants" thing was undone, then done again via the Terrigen Mists being released on Earth (aka "Marvel Can't Make X-Men movies so no more mutants again!"), and then the recent Secret Wars did whatever it did to the concept of the multiverses and alternate timelines (I haven't read it yet, so I don't much about the specifics).

      TL;DR - *shrug*

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    2. Of course, none of that takes into account how the SPOILER ALERT! the DOFP timeline was somewhat resolved during Davis' last story on Excalibur.

      Of course, given that other things, like the Phoenix explanation, are ignored, I'm not surprised the DOFP resolution was ignored as well.

      At this point, just say Bishop comes from an alternate timeline that may or may not be the exact same one as DOFP, and leave it at that.

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    3. Yeah, I know that Davis does some work with DoFP, but having not read the issues, I've never known what, exactly, he does.

      Given that I've never felt like I was missing something from having not read those issues, I'm not surprised that whatever he does seemingly gets ignored by the rest of the line.

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    4. // TL;DR - *shrug* //

      Quote of the day, there.

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  8. I know I've read a quote from Byrne -- probably on his forum -- where he says Marketing decided there should be a new X-Man, Portacio wanted him to be Filipino but someone else (Harras) decided he should be black. I think Lee and Portacio wanted him to be from the future. Byrne says his sole contribution to the character is that he came from the DoFP timeline and not some random new one.

    I've always wondered if Portacio drew this cover with the intention of some old-fashioned Silver/Bronze Age dialogue balloons for Storm, but they didn't make the cut. As was pointed out above, it does look like she's yelling at Bishop, and that blank white space next to her head would fit a short bit of dialogue nicely.

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    1. Oops, that should say "...someone else (Harras?) decided he should be black." I'm not sure if it was him or not.

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    2. I've seen the discussions of Portacio wanting Bishop to be Filipino and marketing stepping in, but I didn't know Byrne contributed the DoFP element. Good to know (and nice touch, Byrne!).

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    3. Here's the comic book legend detailing the history of Bishop's ethnicity:
      http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2015/09/25/comic-book-legends-revealed-542/

      The short of it is, Portacio wanted the character to be Filipino, marketing wanted the character to be black.

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  9. For the non-Bishop stuff:

    Note that this storyline is pretty much the last time Emma Frost is a "villian" (not that future writters will remember as they constantly write her as if "Generation X" never happened andthat she's been a hero LONGER than she's been a villian)

    Selene's inclusion in the upstarts kinda makes sense, since it's suggested in the Jim Lee books that the "prize" is immortality (which would also tie it into upcoming issues of X-Force with tbe "External" stuff. Typing it up like this one might almost be fooled into thinking these people had a plan of some sort.)

    Severed fingers notwithstanding, did anyone else find something a bit..."suggestive"...about the interaction between Shinobi and Fitzroy? They would be having these "Upstart" conversations with each other while sitting in hot tubs together or wearing unclosed robes.

    This might be a reaction to having Claremont off the bokks, but it does seem like there are more asides around this time praising the original X-Men at the expense of people like Storm. (Outside of Claremont, there seems to be a weird fetishization of the original X-Men in general, which I never got, since that was a time so unremarkable, the book was low-rated enough to resort to reprints. Who'd want to relive the days when the book was almost cancelled?)

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    1. In the earlier issue Shinobi and Fitzroy were throwing taunts at each other suggesting a certain amount of depravity in their respective characters, and Shinobi certainly was at the time in his place and surrounded by scantily clad people, both women and men, who were having their hands all over him.

      It's good to be the king.

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    2. Selene being involved in the Upstarts isn't inherently a problem - the problem is just that she's another element that gets switched up/changed as the plot meanders along to a conclusion that doesn't quite fit all the various hints and teases. She's definitely a victim of that, though, not the perpetrator.

      Outside of Claremont, there seems to be a weird fetishization of the original X-Men in general, which I never got, since that was a time so unremarkable, the book was low-rated enough to resort to reprints. Who'd want to relive the days when the book was almost cancelled?

      My appreciation for the original X-Men comes entirely from Simonson's X-FACTOR. In some cases, I didn't even read some of the original Silver Age issues starring them until I started this project, but reading those X-FACTOR back issues as a kid gave me an appreciation for them as a unit. Definitely a case of telling, not showing - lots of cases of being told how effective they are as a group, without ever really seeing it - but it worked to make me a fan of the group as a whole as a kid.

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    3. It's kind of interesting to think about the phenomenon, as it strikes me as possibly being unique to the X-Men. The first part isn't ... the original characters aren't doing it for people, so a brand new roster is brought in. The next part ... in which the 2nd generation really catches fires and breathes new life into the franchise ... is fairly rare, but not unheard of. But the third part ... where the franchise becomes SO hot that it kind of retroactively makes people excited about the original, failed group, strikes me as incredibly unlikely.

      I can't say I'm immune myself. I've come to really like the original team, and it's entirely a result of Claremont making me a fan of his X-Men, particularly the Australian group, which was at least two iterations removed from the Silver Age, and then some.

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    4. The fact that Bobby, Hank, and Warren were called in on occasion to help the All-New, All-Different (Plus Cyclops) team or just to bond, schmooze, or mourn always struck me as neat and something that gave the series depth. I was no longer a regular reader by the era Teebore’s covering now, when the founding five were reintegrated as X-Men proper, and Hank will always be a wisecracking Avenger to me, but even though Xavier’s was no longer primarily a school at that point the fact that the originals had graduated imparted a certain wow factor to their guest appearances. They were cooler as emeriti, just because they were emeriti.

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    5. I don’t think the phenomenon is quite unique to the X-Men, by the way. The New Teen Titans paralleled Marvel’s mutants in this regard as in others. It’s true that a full one-half of the new team consisted of original members (Robin, Kid, Flash, Wonder Girl, and renamed latter-day addition Changeling, formerly Beast Boy), and there was some choice Titans stuff published in the ’60s, but no question the runaway-hit new series, which over time incorporated more of the team’s previous membership, retroactively pumped up what was long the subject of ridicule.

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  10. "In a Nutshell

    Pencils 'n' Plot: Whilce Portacio"

    What with everyone saying the issue was in all regards all over the place, this bit is kind of hilarious in its harshness.

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    1. Ha! Yeah, not intentional, just forgot to fill that in. Maybe some subconscious commentary, though. :)

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  13. Out of the three X-Men to come out of the immediate transition of the X-Books out of Claremont's hands, Gambit is still my favorite, but Bishop is -- or was -- a very close second.

    His 90s attitude was far, FAR more grating in the Fox animated series, where they took away the stiff formality and erudition of his dialogue -- one of the things I felt worked remarkably well against his cliched "Angry Black Man With A Mullet" look -- and turned him into a generic 90s tough guy. Eventually, his character in the comics would settle for some combination of the two, and weirdly, both sides of his personality would be best reconciled by Chris Claremont in X-Treme X-Men, in a surprising move for a man who supposedly rarely cares about anyone or anything he didn't create himself.

    Of course then House of M and Messiah Complex would happen, and he'd end up betraying the team and turning into a raging asshole...but all of that is irrelevant to this.

    Aside from his intelligence and stilted diction, both of which feel less like character missteps and more like intentional traits, Bishop's reverence for the X-Men is a really, REALLY nice touch. It makes him reonate more with fans than, say, Marrow or Cecilia Reyes when they joined the team in '97; neither of them really took off with fans the way Bishop did, and I feel its largely because they're contemptuous of the team and nearly everyone on it, for their own varying reasons.

    See, we'll snark and make commentary, but fans keep coming back to the X-Books because they love the X-Men. Bishop represents that love personified -- he tries to seem cool and put on a tough front, like most teenagers in the 90s (I know, I was there), but in the end he's fanboying about meeting the X-Men just as much as any of us would, and when he sees 'continuity errors', he reacts like any fanboy, with rage and denial (search your feelings,, you know it to be true).

    It's actually a shame that the books chose this moment to take a "back to basics" approach that basically ignored the entire time Professor X was not heading the team, as I feel Bishop would have worked extremely well with the more proactive, post-Mutant Massacre incarnation of the X-Men, especially the Outback-era roster during Inferno. Only problem there is, he doesn't fulfill any particularly unqiue niche; Havok and Dazzler (and Storm, post-Fall of the Mutants) are the long-range blasters, and Rogue, Colossus, and Wolverine are the tanks. Still, character-wise I feel he'd have made a much better fit with them than with Storm's post-Claremont "kinder, gentler" Gold Team.

    Bobby Drake in these issues is kind of a jerk to the woman who's been more responsible for the X-Men at this point than Scott Summers could have ever hoped to be. But then, that's fitting for his character.

    As we saw in the very first Classic X-Men side story, and would see again in a particularly crigneworthy exchange between him and Nightcrawler in the 00s -- Iceman, deep down (and sometimes not so deep down), believes that the only X-Men of note are the original five: him, Beast, Angel, Marvel Girl, and Cyclops. You can tell by the way he's almost aggressively dismissive of everyone else on the team who's not a hot chick he wants to bang (see: his interactions with Rogue, Psylocke, Emma Frost). Little throwaway moments like this go a long way towards fueling my dislike of the character, but at least they're tonally consistent with his whole "MY X-Men were better!" schtick.

    (Side note: Why, oh why, could Beast not have been the secretly-gay member of the O5? Why did it have to be the painfully obvious Iceman?)

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