Who Is He?
He’s the black X-men character who isn’t Storm, that’s who Bishop is. He’s another of the X-Men characters who first appeared through the medium of time-travel – the premise of children growing up to become mutants is not one which allows for the easy introduction of new adult characters. Bishop first managed to arrive sometime in the 1990’s, complete with dreadlocks and a sassy black attitude. Did someone just say ‘blaxsploitation’? How dare you. But you’re right. Originally he lived in a dystopian prison-camp future, one of many dystopic futures which have existed in X-Men stories past. He arrived in the present time from the future with the intention of killing several criminals who had gone back in time beforehand, before they changed the future and thus wrote him out of existence like Back To The Future says would happen. Once he’d dealt with those criminals he found himself trapped in the past which is out future because we haven’t yet developed time travel technology that would let him go back to his present which is our future. In the 1990’s the X-Men writers really did have some fun with convoluted stories, which is probably why you’d don’t hear much about Bishop in mainstream TV or film about the characters. For the purpose of recognition, Bishop looks like this:
So to cut a confusing story short, Lucas Bishop joined the X-Men and then later became a detective. Did you just say ‘Shaft’? How dare you make that comparison. But you’re right. He kept in with various different X-Men teams at the same time, but he annoyingly allied with the Government during the events of the Marvel ‘Civil War’ (mate, don’t even get me started on it). This meant that where Bishop once originally existed to protect the X-Men from dystopian futures, he now artificially recreated one in order to keep them protected from outside forces. It was annoying. In a further twist of the knife for fans – and black people worldwide – Bishop has now discovered that the person who made his time into a dystopia has just been born, and is presently attempting to kill the baby. Yay Bishop!
Why Is He Important?
Well he’s a black X-Man, which of itself is unusual. The franchise is very concerned with showing people from all sides of life, but for all intents and purposes has only given us two prominent black characters. In and of itself, that makes Bishop kinda important. The other factor is that Bishop – himself a massive fan of the X-Men, which is his best trait – maintained a crucial aspect of the status quo for the characters. Recently giant man-operated robots were stationed outside the X-Men mansion, in order to protect the mutants inside from outside attacks. This plan was masterminded by Bishop, in order to help his friends. But isn’t that breaching the rights of the mutants, who weren’t allowed to leave? It was all leading to a fascinating confrontation, until the recent story ‘Messiah Complex’ turned Bishop on the X-Men, and he is now chasing through time trying to catch up with that child I mentioned earlier who caused him so much trouble as a kid. Bishop is important because he has always provided a moral grey-spot for the X-Men, and when you have characters who are literally called ‘Angel’ and ‘Colossus’, it’s nice to have some moral uncertainty once in a while.