Credits: John Ostrander (writer), Steve Epting (penciler), Mark Prudeaux (inker), Comicraft (letters), Brad Vancata (colors)
Summary: The XSE confront Fantix, a mutant terrorist group that’s targeted Jerome Knox, a businessman who wishes to unite humans and mutants. After Fantix is defeated, XSE member Randall suddenly kills Knox without explanation. He’s placed in prison, but is soon broken out by Fantix’s Shadowbox and Pulsar. At Fantix’s hideout, Randall begins to regain his true personality. He encounters the leader of Fantix, a shapechanger named the Rook.
Continuity Notes: A brief scene establishes the future Hellfire Club is led by a man named Anthony Shaw. As “Annabella Knox” (which might actually be his/her true identity), Rook is auditioning to join.
Review: There was a third Bishop miniseries? And Steve Epting drew it? Huh, who knew. Ostrander’s first Bishop mini had nice art and a thin story, while the second had more ideas but wretched artwork, so it’s not as if these limited series have a great track record behind them. Bringing in Steve Epting (who the ‘90s X-office didn’t seem to know what to do with, for some reason) gives me some confidence that the quality will be improving. There is more to the plot than “Bishop chases bad guy,” so the story’s already ahead of the first miniseries. I’m not sure if we need another story set in his future, especially when the character had been left on a cliffhanger in the current continuity at this point, but Ostrander is making an admirable attempt at world-building. The relationship between humans and mutants in Bishop’s time, following their united opposition against the Sentinels, hasn’t been explored in any of the flashback stories yet, so there’s room for Ostrander to explore. I wish Marvel itself showed some interest in the comic, though. Aside from its nonexistent promotion, the first issue also suffers from some flagrant typos any proofreader should’ve caught (the opening scene’s society dinner is apparently for a “good causel.”)