Bishop: War College #2

Issue Date: 
May 2023
Story Title: 
Most Likely to Succeed

J. Holtham (writer), Sean Damien Hill (penciler, “Bishop's World”), Victor Nava (inker, “Bishop's World”), Alberto Foche (artist, Krakoa), Espen Grundertjern (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Ken Lashley & Juan Fernandez (cover artists), Khary Randolph & Yen Nitro; Ron Lim & Yen Nitro (variant cover artists); Stacie Zucker (production), Anita Okoye (assistant editor), Sarah Brunstad (editor), Jordan D. White (senior editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Bishop has emerged in another reality, where Cyclops and Jean Grey, along with students at the Xavier Institute are all African American. Bishop's arrival causes a misunderstanding, which leads to Jean and Cyclops, along with their teammates Angel, Beast and Iceman, who are also all African American, battle Bishop, until this reality's Charles Xavier appears. The battle ends thanks to Xavier, who then introduces Bishop to this reality's version of himself. Meanwhile, in Earth-616, the Fenris Twins are in contact with Orchis, specifically Moira MacTaggert, and assure her that their assignment has not been compromised. The War College students – Armor, Surge, Cam Long, Aura Charles and Amass – know they have to get to the surface and report on the Fenris Twins, but their powers have been cancelled out thanks to the Blightswill. But as the students continue to discuss their situation and make a plan, the Fenris Twins find them and attack them. Cam Long attacks back, but when they strike Andreas von Strucker, they are smacked straight towards Amass, whose powers have returned, and Cam is absorbed into Amass, who quickly grabs Andreas and absorbs him, too, and begins to chase Andrea von Strucker, who opens fire at the merged being.

Full Summary: 

(in Bishop's World, Earth-63)
'I have travelled across time and space. More than I can count. I have watched my dearest loved ones die over and over. I have won wars. I have lost wars. I have seen empires rise and fall. I have witnessed things no other mortal has witnessed. I thought that I had seen it all... but what the hell am I looking at now?' a shocked Lucas Bishop asks himself as he has landed in a strange alternate reality – where looking down at him are Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops and Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl – only both of them have dark skin – as do all of the students who have gathered nearby. 'Hey there, man' Jean Grey calls out as she flies towards Bishop, who gets to his feet, while Cyclops tells him to be cool. 'What is this? Where am I?' Bishop asks. 'Let's just start with names' Jean Grey suggests, introducing herself. 'You are not Jean Grey!' Bishop exclaims as he reaches towards his belt. 'Gun!' Jean Grey exclaims, which causes Cyclops to rush forward and order the students to get inside.

'Be calm... think calming thoughts...' Jean Grey tells Bishop as she uses her telepathy to begin to cause Bishop's mind pain. But Bishop is determined, and he fights back, resisting Jean's psionic influence. 'Let's see if he can resist this...' Cyclops exclaims as he fires an optic blast towards Bishop, whose mutant powers enable him to absorb the energy. He thanks Cyclops for the boost. 'Aw, $#%&' Cyclops mutters as Bishop re-directs that energy towards Cyclops and Jean Grey, who narrowly dodge the powerful blast.

'Who are you? Who are you really?' Bishop demands. Jean throws a telekinetic field around herself and Cyclops to block more of the blast, as Jean points out that they are way past words now. 'What the...' Bishop begins as he sees something out of the corner of his eye, but before he can react, someone slams into him, knocking him to the ground.

That attack came courtesy of Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast, who leaps over towards Cyclops and Jean Grey. 'S’up' he calls out to Bishop. The Beast has dreadlocks and a beard. Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel and Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman join their teammates.

'I'd stay down if I were you' Jean suggests to Bishop, when suddenly, a voice calls out 'Enough!' and everyone looks over to where a dark-skinned Professor Charles Xavier has appeared, using his wheelchair to move towards Bishop, he asks everyone to stop this now. 'You are Lucas Bishop' Xavier remarks as he looks up at the stranger. 'And you are not Charles Xavier' Bishop responds. 'Not the one you know' Xavier smirks.

Bishop looks around, over at the X-Men then at the students who have returned to watch the goings on. 'This is real? This place is real?' Bishop asks. 'It is' Xavier assures him. 'You know the universe is wide, Lucas, and full of variation' Xavier smiles. 'Professor...' Cyclops begins. 'He drew first!' Jean exclaims. 'From jump!' Beast growls. Xavier tells his X-Men that he has it on good authority that Bishop means them no harm. 'I agree. After all, I think I should know' a voice calls out, and Bishop is suddenly confronted by this world's version of himself. 'Hi. I'm also Lucas Bishop' this world's Bishop remarks, extending a hand towards Bishop.

(Krakoa, Earth-616)
Meantime on Krakoa, the Fenris Twins, Andreas and Andrea von Strucker, are located in the Krakoan underground, where some Orchis soldiers are using a large drill. The Fenris Twins are in contact via a small computer screen with Dr. Moira MacTaggert, who asks the twins if the operation has been compromised or not. Andrea assures Moira that they are on track, that the drilling can continue and that nothing has been “compromised”. Moira is aboard the Bloom, the Orchis station in Earth's orbit, and reminds the Fenris Twins that Bishop caught them, so it doesn't sound like they are “on track” to her. 'He wasn't supposed to be underground!' Andrea protests, explaining that Bishop was running one of his ridiculous war games with children. 'They didn't expect to find us in the tunnels. And they're still trapped down here... somewhere' Andrea adds.

Moira looks annoyed and remarks that if Bishop discovers what they are doing, if he alerts the X-Men, then she would have wasted men, material and time. 'I hired you, the infamous Fenris Twins, for your knowledge -' Moira begins, to which Andreas assures her that she hired them because they know what they are doing. 'The drill will reach your objective soon. Your plans will be fine' Andrea adds. 'See that they are' Moira snaps, before instructing the Fenris Twins to contact her when the objective has been reached. She then ends the communication. 'They're paying us a lot for this, yes? A lot?' Andrea asks. 'They're paying us enough...' Andreas tells his sister, before turning to one of the Orchis soldiers and orders them to get the drill back on track, and turns to another soldier, informing them that they are to join him and hunt for some children.

Elsewhere in the cave system, Hisako Ichiki a.k.a. Armor tells her teammates in Bishop's War College that they have to keep moving, that they have to find their way to the surface. Cam Long turns to their girlfriend, Aura Charles, and asks her if she can fly yet, but Aura tells Cam that she can't, and rubs her head. Armor looks down a series of tunnels and tells the others that she thinks that this is the way to go. 'You think? Terrific...' Cam mutters. 'I don't see you leading the way!' Armor snaps, moving closer towards Cam, before Noriko Ashida a.k.a. Surge steps between them and tells them to cool it, noting that they are all freaked out. Amass of Threshold tells the others that it is the Blightswill, and that he has studied its properties – it can have a powerful effect. He supposes that Fenris must have altered it, as it has dampened some of their powers and made others, like Tempo's, erratic. 'Who knows where she and Bishop ended up...' he adds.

'So that's why I didn't change. Why Aura didn't lose her wings. But why is it hitting her so much harder?' Cam remarks as Aura still clutches her head. Amass assumes that it is Aura's psionic abilities, the Blightswill is turning them against her like it did Tempo and Bishop. Amass adds that Orchis didn't expect to find them down here, which means they brought the Blightswill for something else – but the question is, what? Surge points out that they have no idea how long the effects will last, while Cam assures Aura that they will make sure she is okay. Armor tells everyone that they have to keep moving, get topside and tell people what is going on. But Cam declares that they can't just run away. 'We're supposed to protect Krakoa!' he tells Armor. Annoyed, Armor tells Cam that they don't have their powers, or at least can't count on them, and that they are in no shape to fight anyone.

'What if they pull off whatever they came here to do? What if they get away before anyone else can stop them?' Cam asks as they stare at Armor, the two standing only an inch from each other. 'I've tried going to alone before, and it was a bad idea. We need backup' Armor responds. 'They could be too late. We're here now!' Cam points out. Armor tells Cam that it is cute they want to save the day here, but that she has been doing this whole hero thing a lot longer than them. Suddenly, Surge interrupts, telling Armor that she thinks Cam has a point. Surge remarks that Armor said it herself – she – both of them – have been doing this for a while. 'And isn't this exactly what Bishop was training us for?'

Annoyed, Armor grimaces and turns to Surge: 'And what are you going to fight with, Surge? Sarcasm?' she asks. But Surge reminds Armor that she can fight, even without her powers – both of them can, and that they have seen worse odds. Cam grins and announces that they can hunt, they can hunt Fenris down in the dark, as the Blightswill didn't take that away from them. 'And if it goes wrong? Then we're all stuck down here. And I can't protect you' Armor remarks, before announcing once again that they are going back to the surface. Amass remarks that the Blightswill is affecting all of them. 'We have to -' Amass begins, before the Fenris Twins arrive in the cavern. 'Got you' Andrea exclaims. The twins clasp hands and bright energy fills the chamber, which the twins direct at the young mutants. 'Get down!' Armor calls out as she pushes Surge to the ground, while Cam ducks, taking Aura down with them.

The explosion causes some of the cavern to collapse inwards and Surge, Armor and Aura all become trapped under rubble. 'Well,that was easy. Still no Bishop though -' Andreas remarks, when suddenly, 'AURA!' Cam shouts, leaping towards Andreas, claws at the ready, Cam prepares to strike – but Andreas strikes first, punching Cam and knocking them backwards, straight into Amass. 'Watch -' Cam begins, but too late. 'Oh no...' Amass utters, as both he and Cam shout 'I – I can't control my powers!' and Cam is absorbed into Amass, who becomes a large monstrous cat-like creature. 'TRAITORS!' Amass exclaims, turning to Fenris, Amass grabs Andreas and pulls him into his form, too. 'Do something' Andreas calls out to his sister, but it's too late. 'Andreas!' Andrea screams. She raises a weapon and warns Amass to release her brother. 'NO!' Amass responds as he begins to run towards Andrea, who suddenly opens fire!

Characters Involved: 

Amass, Armor, Aura Charles, Cam Long, Surge IV (all War College)

Andreas & Andrea von Strucker
Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Orchis soldiers

(in Bishop's World)
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman (all X-Men)
Professor X
Lucas Bishop
Unnamed students

Story Notes: 

Although she appears prominently on the regular cover to this issue, Tempo does not appear in the issue itself.

This issue includes a Cerebro data file chronicling the psychic communication between Earth-63's Professor X and Bishop. During the communication it is determined that that world's Bishop is not an X-Man but a member of the teaching faculty, and that the HLF (Human Liberation Front) are their enemies.

Amass incorrectly refers to Tempo as Tempus when discussing the effects of the Blightswill on their powers.

This issue includes an email from Killian Devo to Feilong and Moira MacTaggert discussing the Blightswill.

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