While you can argue whether any good has ever come from war, what isn’t up for debate is that for the mutant race in the Marvel Universe it’s a way of life. First there is an internal war, where one’s own bodies betray them, and then they have to deal with the rest of the world’s mistreatment of them. It’s been that way since the beginning and things have only worsened in recent years. Showing up the establishment has never been smart. But knowledge is power, and Lucas Bishop knows what’s coming. In Bishop War College #1, the Last X-Man sets out to teach the Next (to Last) X-Men.
Bishop War College starts with a formal correspondence from Dani to Illyana. Dani’s letter starts off stating how she is against Bishop and his “war college”, but then she backtracks. And then she does it again; Mirage is a fitting name. Dani’s letter goes on to state that she has nothing but respect for any of the war captains including Bishop. Except, Bishop is different, ruthless and aggressive. He isn’t like you Yana, the Sorcerer Supreme of Limbo, or like your brother Piotr. How’s that other brother, are he and Colossus getting along these days? And Lucas isn’t like Scott or Logan? No Bishop is a commander who comes from the future, a future full of crap we create. She hopes her reservations about him are wrong.
First class and already Bishop: War College feels like it is grading on a curve. In focusing only on Bishop, writer J. Holtham shows how the other X-Men view Bishop. Forever the mutant who attempted to kill their “messiah”. You’re forgetting the reason he’s here at all, jumping to this timeline to successfully stop several escaped mutant inmates who could have easily prevented this paradise you now enjoy. How did you do Nathan?
During a session one of Bishop’s students makes the first of many references that this is all some sort of game or play. Unlike his fellow X-Men, Bishop’s time with the X-Men has never been about fun nor games. And time is important when examining the character Lucas Bishop. Traveling through it and racing against it. His students, however, lack his patience and tire of what seems like repetitive exercises. It’s after this session readers get a rare emotional moment, seeing Bishop in a new light as he stares out into the sea. A world that hates and fears you today, try knowing that it will never change. Then try teaching those who know nothing of true suffering, despite their claims.
It’s hard to not view Dani in this issue as someone just trying to get Bishop fired from his job. If the aforementioned letter wasn’t bad enough, she later spies on and confronts him on his methods in Bishop: War College. How many times did CPS show up on Charles’ doorstep? The fact that Dani forgets what she went through and could have been more prepared for is bad enough. Please remember that a little over 2 years ago it took Armor, one of two young mutants specifically chosen by Bishop for Bishop: War College, to get you and the rest of the New Mutants to remember you still have a purpose.
Dani’s concern is as questionable as Emma’s claims of everything being all for the children.
Which brings up another group that is as critical as Dani about the curriculum. They may call themselves the Quiet Council, however, there is something to be said anytime they involve themselves in “student” affairs. Not only does Holtham have them “remind” Bishop of his role, they have a few additions to the roster. It may be the House of X, but apparently 5’s the magic number. Along with Bishop’s other selection, which is Surge, Bishop: War College features young mutant lovers Cam Long and Aura Charles. They along with Amass, recently bought from the past by Bishop, are admitted to Bishop: War College after the Quiet Council’s insistence.
The Council’s addition does lead to an odd set of circumstances worth noting. Bishop’s M, the branding all mutants from his timeline receive, fluctuates throughout the issue similar to how it has over the years. The detail and depth of the mark are a reminder of how mutants were treated. Bishop’s scarification is similar to Rachel Summers; her scars too are not as severe as when she first arrived. For those who don’t know, Rachel is the daughter of Jean Grey. Didn’t Cam and Aura originally appear in a timeline where Bishop and Jean, nevermind.
Maybe this couple isn’t right, at least Prisoner X felt that way, but Bishop War College continues to prove Lucas was right about one thing. So far the X-Men are still on course for the future Bishop came from, nothing that has occurred has eliminated that timeline. The only difference is now it would be more of Hope’s fault than when she was a baby. Humans can recreate mutant gifts, but now mutants have a gift unlike any other – immortality. Awful when they hate you cause they ain’t you. Especially since they are Orchis. Will Bishop’s students fare any better than other new mutants like Cypher, Skin and Icarus? If not, then what teacher should get the blame for their loss? Rahne lashed out at Storm, furious she did not do enough to prevent Doug’s death, but did she ever do that to Moira?
Those who closely follow the X-Men titles are aware that Krakoa is currently dealing with the Sins of Sinister. The fallout appears to usher in the Fall of X. Much of Bishop War College points to Lucas being an enemy of the X. From memo’s passed referencing his school, to the near confrontation with Dani on the beach, how is Bishop supposed to feel at home? Has he ever felt at home with the X-Men? X-Men Legends #5 is still on comic book store shelves if you need a reminder of how things started for Lucas Bishop upon his arrival to this century. This timeline.
The major takeaway lesson from this issue of Bishop War College may be the real reason why Krakoa, the X-Men or the mutant race has never known peace. Despite being outsiders yourselves, there is still a just (for some of) us mentality among you.
What about the comics creators? Check out a review of Bishop War College #1 at Geek’d Out.
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