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J. Holtham (writer), Sean Damien Hill (penciler), Victor Nava & Roberto Poggi (inkers), Espen Grundertjern (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Ken Lashley & Juan Fernandez (cover artists), Natacha Bustos (Planet of the Apes variant cover artist), Whilce Portacio & Jason Keith (Hidden Gem variant cover artists), Chase Conley; Rob Liefeld; Whilce Portacio & Jason Keith (variant cover artists); Sarah Spadaccini (production), Anita Okoye (assistant editor), Sarah Brunstad (editor), Jordan D. White (senior editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
Bishop is training his new War College class on the shore of Krakoa, but his training methods are severe. Some of the students want a break, but Bishop is hard on them. Surge and Armor aren't particularly happy about being part of the War College, considering they have extensive field experience, but Bishop is determined to make sure these young mutants are prepared for whatever danger may come. Bishop's methods put him at odds with another guardian of the younger generation of mutants, Dani Moonstar, and the two argue. Nevertheless, Bishop is sure he is making the right decisions. While the Fenris Twins sneak into a cave system on Krakoa, two of the War College students, Cam Long and Aura Charles, discuss what they are going through as part of the War College, and Aura expresses her concern to Cam about ensuring the two of them remain solid despite what may come. At the Green Lagoon, Armor gets to know her new teammate, Amass, while Bishop visits Tempo, who he thinks may be able to help him give his War College students more time to train. Bishop has a strange nightmare about his past – or future. The next day, he assures his students that he only has their best interests in mind, and they all reconfirm their willingness to work with Bishop. Bishop takes the War College into the cave system, where they find Wrongslide waiting for them, along with Tempo. Bishop pits Wrongslide against his students, and Tempo's powers enable them to repeat the training over and over again. But the training is interrupted when the War College enters a tunnel where the Fenris Twins are working with an Orchis drill and several Orchis agents to drill into the tunnels. The drill is laced with Blightswill, and causes the War College students to lose their powers, and when Tempo and Bishop's powers collide with the Fenris Twins' it causes a temporal disruption and Bishop and Tempo disappear. The students realize they need to escape the tunnels and expose the Fenris Twins, while Bishop discovers that he is in a different reality, where he meets Cyclops and Jean Grey, who are African American.
'AGAIN!' Lucas Bishop shouts angrily. 'Got ya, Cam!' Noriko Ashida a.k.a. Surge calls out as she uses her energy powers to knock the feline-esque mutant backwards. 'Ya!' Cam calls out. 'Again!' Bishop snaps. A young woman with glorious wings called Aura Charles flies above Hisako Ichiki a.k.a. Armor and blasts her with some green energy, knocking Armor backwards. 'Again!' Bishop shouts once more. Armor regains her footing and reaches out for Aura, who tries to fly backwards and asks the Thresholder called Amass for a little help. 'Working on it!' Amass replies. 'Again' Bishop grits his teeth, when suddenly, 'Time out!' Cam exclaims. Armor, Surge, Amass and Aura all collapse to the sand on the beach where they practice. It's week six of the War College on Krakoa, and Cam tells Bishop that they all need a break – they've earned a break. Bishop folds his arms and tells Cam that they can take a break when they're done training. 'And when's that gonna be? Weve been at this all day. We're beat, man' Cam protests. Bishop ignores Cam's plea, and snaps 'Again!'
But Cam turns and announces they quit, and that they are out of here. Aura Charles walks over to Cam and leaves with them, while Surge reminds Bishop that they have been at this all day. 'You won't get break time when Orchis or anyone else comes to burn this place down, Surge' Bishop frowns. 'You have to fight as long as it takes'. Amass suggests that Bishop has a point. 'If anyone wanted to ask the newbie' he adds. 'We get it, Bishop. Me and Armor aren't exactly new around here, remember? We've lived that risk!' Surge exclaims, annoyed. She adds that Cam and Aura already died for being mutants, and Amass comes from a whole world of dead mutants. 'We're young, but no one can call us children anymore. We know this isn't a game. And we're done playing yours' Surge declares as she, Armor and Amass follow Cam and Aura away from the beach.
'Surge has a point, y'know' Dani Moonstar remarks as she steps out from the jungle onto the beach. Bishop turns to Dani and tells her that he always expects some whining, but that his students will be back. 'What if they're not? What will you do then? What will we all do then?' Dani asks. Bishop puts his hands on his hips and tells Dani that the students need to be trained, they need to be ready. But Dani points out that the students are pissed, they are annoyed, and thinking about Bishop rather than any attack, or about defending themselves. Bishop tells Dani that her feedback is appreciated, and reminds her that he is the Captain Commander of Krakoa, and that he will decide what works best to protect them. 'Yeah, you are the Captain Commander. But I checked in with the other War Captains, and -' Dani begins, to which Bishop interrupts her: 'You checked with the War Captains? Without talking to me first?'
Dani gets annoyed: 'Yes. Because someone had to. And they agree with me. This has gone on long enough. You've been at it for weeks. You've got one more day with this group. Just one. And then move on' Dani informs Bishop, looking up at him without averting her eyes. Bishop tells Dani that she has no right to do this, none at all, and energy begins glowing around his hands, while Dani starts waving a finger in Bishop's face and warning him that she won't be bullied by him. Bishop suddenly pulls backwards. 'I'm not really a bully, am I?' he asks, shocked. Dani puts a hand on Bishop's shoulder and tells him that she doesn't think he is, but that she thinks he needs to ask himself if this is really about the students, or about himself. Dani then turns and walks away.
Bishop drops down onto a tree stump and looks out over the ocean that laps at Krakoa's shore. 'Three just isn't enough...time' he utters. He runs his hand through the sand, and lets the sand fall from his hand back onto the beach. 'Hmmm...' he tells himself, before he gets to his feet and walks away from the beach.
'I thought he was never going to leave' Andreas von Strucker remarks as he steps out of the jungle and onto the sand. 'His little brats, too' Andreas' twin sister, Andrea, adds as she follows her brother. They are both heavily armed and wearing gray costumes. 'Poor little babies' Andreas jokes. They are the Fenris Twins, the children of Baron von Strucker. The swastika-shaped apple didn't even leave the branch. 'Bishop loves his little war games. Getting to act all tough' Andrea grins. 'All to protect this silly little place' Andreas adds. 'For all the good it will do them...' Andrea points out, before Andreas leads her towards a cave, suggesting that they don't keep their guests waiting.
Elsewhere on Krakoa, Cam rushes across a field, 'I'm done with it. I'm done with him' Cam shouts, while Aura flies after them, telling them to wait. 'I don't need anyone to treat me like that' Cam exclaims. 'No, but Bishop -' Aura begins, while Cam exclaims that they have been through enough crap. 'I signed up for this dumb thing!' Cam adds. '“Go to the War College” they said. “Help protect Krakoa” they said' Cam mocks. 'It's not a bad -' Aura begins, while Cam declares that they will not be treated like that. 'Like you're treating me right now?' Aura asks. Cam looks horrified: 'Oh. Yeah. I'm sorry. I really am' Cam tells their partner. Aura and Cam hug, and Cam tells Aura that they are hungry, and a jerk. 'You don't have to be. You could not be a jerk' Aura responds. 'But Bishop is -' Cam begins, so Aura pulls away from them and points out that Bishop is doing what he thinks is right, that he isn't going about it the best way, but equally isn't trying to hurt anyone. Aura tells Cam that they have to be ready to protect themselves, to protect this special place and each other – and that takes work. 'You know that someone will come. Sooner or later. They will always turn on us' Aura declares. 'And we cannot let them. We can't let them take this from us' she adds. 'We cannot let them take us'. Cam hangs their head, before Aura pulls their head up and kisses them.
Meanwhile, at the Green Lagoon bar on Krakoa. Several Madrox dupes can be seen sitting at tables or at the bar. Dazzler is at the bar talking to one of the dupes while the Blob stands behind the bar. A newly resurrected Rusty Collins walks past the table where Armor sits opposite Amass. Armor tells Amass that it will blow over, that it always does. 'Is that...good?' Amass asks. Armor points out that this is an island full of mutants, that they are not always the most emotionally stable types, and that there are typically flare-ups, dust-ups and crack-ups – it's inevitable. 'Of course it's inevitable. But is it good? For us? For anyone?' Amass asks, to which Armor enquires whether everything was all hunky-dory all the time in Threshold. 'Oh, no. Never. So much gossip. So many little fights and arguments' Amass responds, to which Armor tells him that nothing has really changed. Amass tells Armor that how Krakoa settles disputes is not how Threshold settled them, to which Armor smiles and asks him how Threshold mutants settled disputes. 'With ritual combat to the death' Amass responds matter-of-factly. Armor looks shocked, and is left speechless, before Amass tells her that he is kidding, and that they had the silent treatment on Threshold, too.
'We need more time. That's what I keep thinking. We need more time – they need more time' Bishop tells his teammate Heather Tucker a.k.a. Tempo as he sits opposite her, both holding a hot beverage. 'And here I thought you actually came over just for tea' Heather replies. 'Can you do it?' Bishop asks. 'Still the silver-tongued charmer, huh?' Tempo remarks. Bishop ignores her comment and asks her again whether she can do it. Heather tells Lucas that she should throw his ass out on the street, but admits that she is interested. 'It's not how it normally works. It might be hard. I don't know how long I could do it for' she explains. Bishop smiles at Tempo and tells her that if she can do it, if she can figure it out and hold it, then it could be a very useful trick. 'I take it back. You do know how to charm a woman' Tempo smirks.
(in Bishop's nightmare)
A young child with an “M” branded across his face looks lost as he walks through a corridor lined with mirrors. He sees himself, watching someone be killed, seeing someone's hand sticking up through the ground. He sees himself as an adult, wearing different costumes at different stages of his life. A door is at the end of the corridor, and the child opens it – only to be confronted by an avalanche of skulls which fall from the open door and bury the screaming child.
Bishop sits up in bed, shirtless and panting for breath.
Later, Bishop stands on the shore of Krakoa and watches the sun rise. His back is turned as he tells some others on the beach that he came from a future where mutants were hunted. They were murdered. They were exterminated. Being alive was a constant fight, and so he came here to keep that future from happening. 'But I never could. Because being a mutant is a constant fight to stay alive. No one wants to hear that'. Bishop then announces that it is true, if he is harsh, if he pushes too hard, if he drives them crazy, it is because he wants them to live. That he is making sure that when it happens, they are ready. 'Okay?' Bishop asks, glancing over his shoulder. 'We got you, boss' Armor smiles. 'Okay' Amass agrees. 'Sure' Cam replies. 'Yes, sir' Surge declares. 'Of course' Aura adds. Bishop smiles back at his charges and tells them 'Now that that's out of the way...let's get a move on. Daylight's burning'.
Bishop leads his War College into a cave, explaining to them that Krakoa's roots go very deep, but that at a certain point they merge with the sea floor, and below that there is just rock, earth and magma. He tells the students that he has brought this up with the Quiet Council several times, but that it remains on their list to address. 'For now...there's a flaw in our protection' Bishop reveals. 'Like an exhaust port on the Death Star' Surge suggests. 'Death star?' Amass asks. 'So we're on the lookout for Luke Skywalker?' Surge suggests. 'Skywalker?' Amass queries. Surge tells him that she will explain later, while Cam remarks that they were going to say “D&D”. 'Total dungeon crawl' they add, 'Something like that' Bishop mutters, when suddenly, there is a cracking noise, and a rock formation suddenly breaks – or, rather, transforms, revealed to be Wrongslide. Cam cries out, surprised, and leaps backwards.
Bishop leans against the cave wall and tells his students that they must all know Wrongslide. 'Hi, everyone' Wrongslide calls out. 'No fair, man. Sneak attacks' Cam exclaims. 'You're not gonna get warned. Get used to it' Bishop replies. 'Let me guess. Again?' Surge asks. 'Yes' Bishop tells her, before pointing out that since he only has one more day, they are going to do something different. 'Tempo?' Bishop calls out, and Tempo emerges from the shadows. 'Hey, kids' she smiles, before announcing that they are going to make the most of the time they have together. 'Here goes nothing...' Tempo utters as she holds out her hands and energy crackles around her and begins to extend outwards towards thev students. 'Wh-what is this?' Cam asks, nervously. Bishop reveals that Tempo has created a time bubble for them, and that these few seconds will loop and fold in on themselves. 'In other words... they'll repeat' Bishop clarifies, as Wrongslide extends a fist, and knocks Cam back once more. 'So, yes. Again' Bishop smiles.
'Again' Bishop calls out as Wrongslide lunges towards Amass and Cam, who scream again as they are knocked backwards. 'Yikes!' Amass utters as he narrowly misses the attack, while Surge breaks through Wrongslide's arm with a charge of energy. 'Again' Bishop yells. 'Again!' he tells his students. Wrongslide increases his mass and reaches out to Cam again, this time Cam dodges the attack, while Aura floats nearby. Tempo moans as she continues to maintain the time bubble. Armor stumbles, while a light suddenly appears further into the cave, 'What the...?' Bishop wonders, while Armor alerts him to the fact that there's something going on – and then an explosion rips through the cave.
When the smoke and dust clears, Bishop has fallen to the ground, and looks up to see Andreas and Andrea von Strucker standing over him. Some large drill can be seen behind them, along with several Orchis soldiers. 'Well, you're not supposed to be here' Andreas smirks as he looks down at Bishop. Bishop leaps to his feet, energy swirling around his fists, he grits his teeth: 'The Fenris Twins. Of course you're working with our worst enemies' he exclaims, before alerting the War College students that Orchis is here, that Fenris has brought Orchis to their door. 'Run! Run!' Bishop calls out. Amass helps Cam out of the cave while calling back to Bishop; 'But Bishop, we can -' Amass begins, but Bishop just shouts 'Go!' once again. 'Hit them! Hit them now!' Andrea snarls, and the drill suddenly begins shooting a green substance into the cave. 'No. The drill! It's laced with Blightswill!' Armor shouts.
Bishop runs towards the drill, dodging the Blightswill, and tells the students to get back to the surface and find help. Tempo suddenly appears next to Bishop and tells him that she isn't leaving him. 'You take the drill, I got the twins' she declares. 'Brother, shall we?' Andrea asks as she slides up next to her brother. 'With pleasure' Andreas responds as they embrace, which activates their powers, and they blast energy towards Bishop and Tempo. Bishop fires his own energy back at the Fenris twins and asks Tempo if she is ready 'Now!' Tempo exclaims, but suddenly, within the cave, some sort of vortex forms, and swirls around in front of Tempo. 'What the...' Tempo begins, before informing Bishop that she isn't in control, that she doesn't know what this is. 'Go! Get help! Get -' Bishop shouts, before the vortex begins to wrap around Tempo and himself. 'Noooo!' Bishop exclaims. 'Bishop!' Surge shouts, when, an instant later, the vortex closes and Bishop and Tempo are gone, leaving a shocked Surge, Armor, Amass, Cam, Aura and Wrongslide behind.
'Go! Go! Go!' Armor urges the others, as Cam and Aura lead the way down the cave. But Andreas orders the Orchis soldiers to go after the students. 'I don't think they're going to get very far' Andrea smiles as she clings to her brother. Indeed, further down the cave, Surge clutches her head and announces that something is wrong. 'My powers...they're gone!' she gasps. Armor explains that it is the Blightswilll, a power-dampening fluid from Otherworld. She reveals that she heard about Captain Britain's dealings with it, but that somehow it has been modified, its reach has been extended. 'The long and short of it? We're powerless' Armor declares, while the other young mutants look at each other in horror. 'This is bad!' Cam exclaims. Armor agrees, but tells them that they have to find a way to let people know what is happening, that they have to find their way back. 'Somehow...' Armor utters as she looks down the dark cave while Surge asks 'But what happened to Bishop? And Tempo?'
There is whiteness all around, before leaves blow through it, and Bishop wakes to find leaves scattering across his body. 'What the hell? Where the hell?' he wondeers, looking ar his surroundings, he decides that something isn't right, as he seems to be in front of Xavier's School for Gifted youngsters. 'What the...?' a wide-eyed Bishop exclaims as he looks up and sees Cyclops and Jean Grey standing over him. 'What do we have here?' Cyclops asks.
BishopTempoDani MoonstarAmass, Armor, Aura Charles, Cam Long, Surge IV (all War College)WrongslideBlob, Rusty Collins, Dazzler, Madrox
Andreas & Andrea von StruckerOrchis soldiers
(in Bishop's nightmare)Bishop
(in Bishop's reality)Cyclops, Jean Grey (both X-Men)
This issue includes an email from Dani Moonstar to Magik, expressing her concern on the record for the methods that Bishop uses in his “war college”.
First appearance of Aura Charles.
Amass is one of the ancient mutants known as the Thresholders, recently resurrected in the present day by the Marauders in Marauders (2nd series) #10.
Cam Long, a non-binary mutant, has previously appeared in New Mutants (4th series) #15, 21, 24, Legion of X #1 and New Mutants (4th series) #31.
Versions of Cam Long and Aura Charles had previously appeared during the “Age of X-Man” before their 616 versions were identified.
New Mutants (4th series) #15 established that Cam Long and Aura Charles were originally on Genosha but killed during Cassandra Nova's Sentinel attack.
The Fenris Twins, Andreas and Andrea, most recently caused trouble on Krakoa in X-Corp #1-5.
Rusty Collins can be seen in the background at the Green Lagoon. One of the most notable mutants yet to be resurrected in the Krakoan Age, he was finally returned to life in X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #62.
This issue includes a memo from the Quiet Council and the War Captains to Bishop, giving him permission to proceed with his War College, but giving specific instructions to train the students. The memo also specifically requests he include Aura Charles, Cam Long and Amass on his roster.