Monday, February 7, 2011

BISHOP: XSE #1 - January 1998

Rook Takes Pawn

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.”)


Edward said...

I always thought Shard was a great, sexy and promising character.
I wish she was back, especially after all the shitstorm Bishop caused in the mutant Universe.

Lebeau2501 said...

This was a dark time for me in regards to X-Men. I dropped off collecting comics completely around Onslaught time. I guess that's what people wanted back then, but my skirt wasn't being blown up.
What I really wanted was Grant Morrison X-Men, and to this day, I think his New X-Men run stands out.
Also, I have two major pet peeves as far as plot devices go. The first is reaity warping, and the second is time travel. Time travel just makes me mad. It causes never-ending retcons.

Master Mahan said...

I remember picking up the last issue of this miniseries in a bargain bin and being pretty confused. Back then, though, I didn't know John Ostrander from Adam, so I might need to chase down the rest of this mini.

I also recall not liking Bishop as a kid. It struck me as silly for a guy who could shoot lasers from his hands to carry around guns that also shot lasers.

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