Bishop War College 1 Featured Reviews 

“Bishop: War College” #1

By | February 9th, 2023
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Lucas Bishop is a fascinating mutant that has had a couple of great moments since the X-Men made their way back to Krakoa. Bishop has been known as an X-Men for his time affiliated with Marvel’s Marauders during modern X-Men comics. However, Marvel is looking to spin Bishop in a brand new direction with their most recent mini-series that sees Bishop take control of an entire X-Men College? What wild and mysterious machinations led to Bishop’s War College and what kind of stories can Marvel tell with this new team of X-Men? Find out in our review of “Bishop: War College” #1!

Cover by Ken Lashley

Written by J. Holtham
Penciled by Sean Damien Hill
Inked by Victor Nava and Roberto Poggi
Colored by Espen Grundetjern
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham

THE ALL-NEW, ALL-GREAT X-MEN DEBUT! Krakoa is an island paradise, and it’s a vulnerable one…but not with Lucas Bishop on the case! Armor, Surge, Cam Long, Aura Charles, Amass – these are his students. Their course objective: Get strong. Defend the island. Keep mutantkind safe. What does any of that have to do with an all-Black X-Men team? Find out here! Celebrated TV writer J. Holtham (Cloak and Dagger, Jessica Jones) joins forces with artist Sean Damien Hill for a blockbuster brawl with the fate of all Krakoa at stake!

One of the most engaging parts about “Bishop: War College” #1 is how the issue opens. We immediately see Bishop’s J.K. Simmons impression as he tries to work a group of mutants to the bone with training exercises. This ridiculous scene emphasizes the humor and tongue in cheek nature of the title incredibly well. Another incredibly strong aspect of “Bishop: War College” #1 is the dialogue from J. Holtham. Holtham catches characters in some really vulnerable moments throughout the issue where they can’t help but blurt out the first thing in their head and hope that it feels clever. The naturalistic dialogue in a scene with Tempo and Bishop is an engaging scene that fleshes out both characters vividly.

While the writing from author J. Holtham feels incredibly candid in “Bishop: War College” #1, the art doesn’t quite give off that impression. Artist Sean Damien Hill lends a loose anatomy towards some characters that distract from the fascinating nature of the story in some instances. However, Hill manages to capture some great expressions from characters in the issue. Not all of the characters emote quite as well as Bishop does sadly. When the issue starts to converge with more action-oriented scenes the art comes alive. The facial expressions get even more vivid and Hill takes significantly more changes with the page layouts. The absurd anatomy on the final page teases a different element of Hill’s art that I would love to see explored in future issues.

The first issue of “Bishop: War College” is largely devoted to fleshing out the college and pupils of Bishop. Future issued of the series tease a fascinating plot point that is only hinted at on the final couple of pages. I really appreciate that writer J. Holtham didn’t shove the premise of the entire series in one issue as “Bishop: War College” is filled with absurdist elements that have the potential to confuse or delight readers depending on how they are used in the issue. Holtham did a great job ratcheting up the tension throughout the series. The stakes seem low towards the beginning of “Bishop: War College” #1 but there are pretty huge ramifications towards the end of the issue.

Another interesting aspect of “Bishop: War College” #1 is seeing some of the new X-Men characters represented in a different context than we have seen before. Bishop has been named the Captain Commander of Krakoa’s military defenses and was tasked with putting together a training program. The characters making up the program include fascinating mutants like Hisako Ichiki who also goes by Armor that has a few great moments in the title. There are also a couple links to Krakoa with the island and inclusion of settings like The Green Lagoon.

Towards middle of the issue, there’s a two-page dream sequence that is one of the most visually fascinating moments of the issue. We get a look at some past costumes from Bishop and a strong element of horror here that really changed the tone of the issue from that scene going forward. This haunting dream sequence also foreshadowed certain moments towards the end of the issue that makes the sequence feel even more poignant with a second read. The villains of the issue have just the right animosity towards Bishop and appear over and over again throughout “Bishop: War College” #1.

With “Bishop: War College” #1 barely approaching the premise by the end of the final page, it seems clear that some of the best moments of the series may take place in future issues. However, the debut chapter of “Bishop: War College” #1 really carries an interesting sense of identity with so many negative scenes with Bishop and his students. The negative energy among Bishop’s students makes “Bishop: War College” #1 even stand apart from other titles in the line of Krakoa comics. The expressive energy from Sean Damien Hill was great in some scenes but the imprecise anatomy seems to detract from other moments. The elements of Krakoka that blend in with the absurdist plot and direction in “Bishop: War College” #1 make the series really engaging. Lots of people are interested in X-Men characters and fleshing them out with new concepts that border on the absurd like “Bishop: War College” #1 is a fascinating proposition.

Final Verdict: 8.0 – “Bishop: War College” #1 utilizes remixed elements of mutant continuity to tell a thrilling new X-Men tale.

Alexander Jones