Friday, January 21, 2011

Kirkman's X-Men Part 3: The End Of The World Revisited

Throughout the first three weeks of January, Tim Callahan from CBR has been reading, and thinking, and writing about Robert Kirkman’s multi-year run on “Ultimate X-Men.” Here's an excerpt that mentions Ultimate Psylocke and her relationship with Bishop.

No matter how many times Bishop has starred in a series (with his name on it or otherwise), he still hasn’t gotten a personality that has stuck. Kirkman’s Ultimate Bishop is almost immediately recognizable as a character, though. As more than a costume and an attitude. Kirkman gives him a history – he married Psylocke in the future, and she died in a catastrophe, and when he meets the teenage Psylocke in the present day, he’s protective of her, which she, in her teenage way, sees as particularly creepy – and a voice. He’s the patient mentor from the future. Militant, stern, but supportive. And he works with the young mutants to speed up the development of their powers, not through artificial enhancements, but through coaching. Through building confidence in his pupils.

The X-Men have historically been based in a school, but Bishop, in Kirkman’s run, is one of the few characters who has been shown to do much effective teaching.

The school concept is central to Kirkman’s run, though, at least, it seemed to be in the moments after Xavier “died.” Kirkman plays the old “the X-Men are now disbanded” card, but his version of that sequence of events leads to some interesting explorations of the facets of mutantdom.

Basically, after the “Cable” arc – after Xavier is missing but assumed dead – Scott Summers focuses on the school and disbands the superhero team. Bishop reforms the X-Men, slowly (but in Kirkman’s accelerated “Ultimate X-Men” pace slowly to him is still a few issues faster than what you’re likely to see in most superhero comics today), with members like Storm, Wolverine, Dazzler (Kirkman’s Ultimate Dazzler is pretty effective, actually, as a character in the comic, and as a member of the team), Psylocke, Angel, and Pyro (and Ultimate Pyro is even more interesting than Dazzler, with his lightweight intellect and severe burns and good intentions). Meanwhile, we have Nightcrawler as new leader of the mostly-hideous and socially-outcast Morlocks, and we have a long-haired Stryfe, stirring up trouble with the Mutant Liberation Front.

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