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Do you remember the X-Men animated TV series episode – an adaptation of Days of Future Past – wherein Bishop (who came from the dark future) claimed that Gambit would betray the X-Men and lead them all to darkness? You will see Bishop and Gambit in conflict in this retro review of a Jim Lee-drawn X-Men comic book from the 1990s.
To put things in perspective, back in 1991 Bishop was formally introduced in the Uncanny X-Men monthly series. By that time, Gambit was already wildly popular with X-Men fans. It made sense back then to have the two conflict each other in comic book format as it would add variety and some freshness with the X-Men franchise of the time.
With the short history lesson over, here is a look back at X-Men #8, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story done by Jim Lee and Scott Lobdell. The art was handled by Lee and Art Thibert.
The story begins at the X-Men’s headquarters with Wolverine using the computer to gain access into something until he got interrupted by Jubilee who is accompanied by Cyclops. She tells him that Charles Xavier is about to introduce Bishop to their teammates. Wolverine tells them to go away.
At the mansion, Storm welcomes Bishop in the presence of Xavier who explains to her that the newcomer is from the far future. Slowly Xavier and Storm guide Bishop around the mansion and introduce him to their members. Bishop, who still remembers the legends of the X-Men from his time in the far future, referred to Forge as Genesis. Moments later, Bishop meets Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Rogue, Psylocke, Jubilee and Gambit.
After expressing that there was little know about Gambit, Bishop then claims that a certain someone was the last person to see the X-Men alive before they got betrayed by one of their own. Bishop then tells Xavier to scan Gambit’s thoughts…
What really defines this comic book apart from having art by Jim Lee and the lack of villains are the storytelling and characterization. The good news is that the respective qualities of the plotting (by Lee) and scripting (by Lobdell) were very solid. While there is a lack of a good-versus-evil plot element, characterization alone made this an engaging comic book to read. Without spoiling the plot, the story has a lot more than the promised Bishop-Gambit conflict (I’ll describe it as a short yet sweet part of the story). I also love the big twist that happened in the 2nd half of the story.
More on characterization, I love the fact that Gambit got more developed here complete with a few threads from his past that got visualized efficiently. I also enjoyed the interactions between Gold Team leader Storm and Bishop. Bishop comes from a future filled with violence and desperation which explains why he is always on the edge often thinking of action whenever something happens. Storm meanwhile tried hard to explain to Bishop that their present day society is more peaceful and that he could take things a bit easier, be more reasonable and try to level with others as he became a new part of the X-Men.
As for Jim Lee’s art, his work here is really beautiful to look at which is not surprising at all. As expected, he made the action scenes look dynamic and managed to draw some emotions from certain characters in key scenes.
X-Men #8 (1992) is a pretty good comic book to read. At the time of its publication, the integration of Bishop into the X-Men was done months after Chris Claremont’s departure and was clearly an effort by the X-Men creators to modernize the superhero team and keep it fresh. This comic book is not exactly a landmark read but it is pretty entertaining and engaging.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #8 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $50 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $150.
Overall, X-Men #8 (1992) is recommended.
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