#2213: Bishop

BISHOP

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Accidentally wrenched back through several decades by the time-twisting evil mutant named Fitzroy, Bishop arrived in our era from one of Earth’s many possible futures. Bishop survived the battle that followed, thanks to his mutant ability to absorb the energy attacks of others and turn that power back against his foes. Stranded in our time, Bishop has added his might to that of the present-day X-Men by joining their Gold Team!”

The X-Men really just became a haven for displaced time-travelers, didn’t they?  Also guys with vague, unrelated “cool” names that were just common place words, and whose abilities translated to “has a gun”.  All of these things nicely describe Bishop, an uber ’90s character, who could only be more ’90s if he wore a leather jacket and had shoulder pads.  I suppose he got off easy in that regard.  Bishop was prominent enough in the ’90s to feature on X-Men: The Animated Series, and by extension find his way into Toy Biz’s line of X-Men figures from the same period, getting what would be his very first action figure.  I’ll be taking a look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bishop was initially released as part of Series 4 of the X-Men line, and would see subsequent re-release in the Marvel Universe line and as part of a multi-pack with Wolverine and Gambit.  All three releases of the figure are functionally identical, but it’s worth noting that mine is a Series 4 release.  Bishop is sporting his primary look from the ’90s, which was the only one he had at the time of the figure’s release.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Though he’s rocking a waist swivel, he loses movement in his neck, presumably due to his hair.  Curiously, though, the Deluxe 10-inch figure and 2 1/2-inch Steel Mutants figure that are both patterned on the same sculpt both had a neck joint, so why it was missing from this guy is anyone’s guess.  Beyond that, the sculpt is fairly typical for the time.  He’s super bulky, but that’s just Bishop.  I will say that they were starting to run into the limits of this slightly simpler style of elbow joint they used, since it’s a little small for such a large arm.  It works overall, though.  The detailing on the hair is pretty nice, and definitely does his very dated hair cut proud.  Bishop’s paintwork is fairly basic, and a little bit messy on my figure.  There’s a lot of fuzzy edges, and the yellow sections are definitely prone to some serious bleedover.  In 1996, Bishop was also re-issued as part of the “Flashback” assortment, which was all repaints.  For that release, his blue was swapped for grey and black, and his yellow for gold, and his skintone was made somewhat lighter.  There was a second, predominantly red deco also shown, but it never hit shelves.  Whatever the case, the paint is a little cleaner on that release, but of course the trade off is that he’s not in his classic colors any more.  Whichever release you get, Bishop included two large blaster rifles in black, and features a “Quick-Draw Weapon Release” action feature.  Press the button on his back and his right arm swings upward.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have Bishop as a kid, largely because his episodes of the cartoon were some of my least favorite, so I never formed much of an enjoyment of the character.  That said, I really dig the ’90s X-Men line and I’m slowly working through building a complete collection, which meant getting this guy at some point, right?  I found both versions of Bishop at a toy show a while back, allowing me to close off that corner of the X-Mythos in one fell swoop, I suppose.  He’s not really one of the better Toy Biz X-Men, but then he’s far from the worst.  He fills in the roster pretty nicely.

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#1799: Bishop

BISHOP

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“On the advice of his grandmother, Alpha-mutant Bishop seeks out the X-Men and uses energy conversion and concussive blasts to join the ranks of his heroes of legend.”

There was this recurring trend amongst the newly introduced X-characters of the ‘90s, where they’d take the powerset of a previous character from the franchise, slap a nonsensical name on them, and add “carries a large gun” to their description and bam, new character.  Don’t believe me?  Let’s look at today’s focus, Bishop.  Power set similar to ‘80s X-baddie Sebastian Shaw, but channeled largely through having a gun, and his name is a common place word that has nothing to do with anything about him.  Oh, and he was also from the future, just to throw more fuel on that ‘90s fire.  Of course, he does at the very least predate some of the ‘90s worst X-characters, so that means a good chunk of people out there are still pretty nostalgic about the guy, so hey, toys!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bishop is figure 6 in the Sauron Series of Marvel Legends, a series that is supposedly Deadpool-themed.  Bishop’s really stretching that connection, and largely gets his spot here thanks to his connection to Cable, rather than Deadpool himself.  But who am I to complain about that?  This is Bishop’s second time as a Legend; the last was during the Toy Biz days.  I think it’s been long enough for a re-do.  Like that figure, Bishop is seen here in his garb from the ‘90s.  Sure, it’s dated as heck, and he’s had other, more reserved looks, but honestly, if you’re gonna do Bishop, you might as well do him right.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Bishop is built on the Hyperion body.  It’s not a terrible choice for him; Bishop’s frequently depicted as around the same size as Cable, who was also on this body.  He’s also got that swanky neckerchief piece, which covers up the slightly odd shape of the upper torso, thereby removing my only real issue with this base.  In addition to the neckerchief, he also gets a brand new head, shoulder harness, belt, rolled up sleeves, and glove cuffs.  The head is definitely my favorite piece.  It’s spot-on for the character, horribly dated ‘90s hair and all.  The face is definitely giving me a Terry Crews vibe, which makes me a little sad he ended up playing Bedlam instead.  Of course, this could all be stemming from the Brooklyn 99 binge-watch I’m currently going through, so who knows.  The various add-on pieces make Bishop suitably different from the rest of the figures built on this body.  I will say, I’m really starting to wish Hasbro would actually glue some of these add-ons down.  His sleeves in particular pop out of place constantly.  It’s ultimately a minor complaint, though.  Bishop’s paintwork is bright, colorful, and clean, which are all my favorite things in a Legends paint job.  He definitely has some presence on the shelf.  Bishop is packed with a large shotgun and the right arm of the Build-A-Figure Sauron.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bishop’s a character I run hot and cold with.  The character was a prominent feature in some of my least favorite episodes of The Animated Series, so I have sort of this lingering dislike of him in that respect.  That being said, he’s also in some episodes I didn’t hate, and I’ve got this whole ‘90s X-Men display going, so I didn’t really want to miss him, especially after getting that awesome Cable from the last series.  Once in-hand shots started appearing, I knew I’d be tracking him down.  He’s quite a good figure, and I think he’s a marked improvement over the old Toy Biz one.  There’s definitely a nice polish to this guy, and he looks fantastic alongside the rest of the team.

Bishop was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in purchasing other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#0727: Gambit & Bishop

GAMBIT & BISHOP

X-MEN: STEEL MUTANTS

BishopGambit1

The 90s were a fantastic time for toy collecting. Admittedly, I’m a little biased, having begun my collection during that decade, but even without the bias, it was a pretty good time to get into things. Star Wars toys came back, virtually every cartoon got at least some sort of tie-in, and super heroes found themselves with a consistent presence on toy shelves. Toy Biz had the Marvel license (it was still just a license then. They hadn’t yet become a sub-division of Marvel), and they were offering the Marvel characters in just about every scale imaginable, with lots of different mediums, presumably to see what stuck. One of their more short-lived experiments were smaller scale, metal figures. They offered figures from several Marvel properties, but the X-Men definitely got the main focus, with their line of Steel Mutants. Now, let’s take a look at Gambit and Bishop, two characters who are very, very 90s.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Gambit and Bishop were part of the second series of X-Men: Steel Mutants. While they function fine as figures from the comics of the time, they were definitely meant to be based on the cartoon of the time.

GAMBIT

BishopGambit3Hey! It’s everyone’s favorite sleezy, disreputable mutant, Gambit! Or is it Channing Tatum? Well, turns out they’re kind of the same thing now. Yay. Gambit is presented here in his 80s/90s costume, which is definitely his most Gambit-y costume to date. Also the only one he’d had at the time this figure was made, so not a shock. It’s a totally hideous design, but I love it so much. The figure stands 2 ½ inches tall and has 4-ish points of articulation. I say “ish” because the waist and neck are both fairly limited by the design of the costume. It should be noted that Gambit, like all of the Steel Mutants, is not totally metal. His torso and legs are diecast, but the arms and head are plastic. Metal isn’t the easiest thing to get fine detailing into, especially at a smaller scale, so the torso and legs are a little more simplified in terms of sculpt, really only getting the most basic details. He doesn’t even have the rippling chest muscles that were a signature of all the other X-Men of the time. Guy really needs to get back to his bowflex! Gambit is posed in a mid-step sort of thing (prevalent to this line) which looks like it should make him impossible to stand, but he actually is incredibly well-balanced, so kudos to Toy Biz there. The plastic parts have a bit more detailing, though not so much as to make them look out of place with the metal parts. He’s sculpted holding a charged card, which is permanently affixed to his hand. The paint work on Gambit is thickly applied, in pretty basic colors. There’s a fair bit of bleed over, but that’s more forgivable at this scale. The colors are, at the very least, nice and vibrant, which is a definite plus.

BISHOP

BishopGambit2Bishop. Because the X-Men just weren’t content with only one overly muscled, big gun toting, anti-hero from the future. We totally needed more of those. Bishop is also presented here in his 90s costume. Once again, not a huge surprise. It’s a less hideous design than Gambit’s I suppose, but I have less of a nostalgic tie to it. Bishop is roughly the same height as Gambit and has the same articulation. He’s got a bit more movement in the waist, but the neck is even more limited, due to the hair. The metal to plastic ratio is the same here as well. The metal parts seem a little more detailed here, though, and he definitely makes up for those rippling muscles Gambit lacked. He’s in an even deeper stance than Gambit, with looks a little dopey, but he’s still well-balanced, so I can’t really complain. The details on the head and arms are definitely a lot more involved on this guy, which certainly fits how the character was always portrayed. Paint-wise, he does seem to get better application that Gambit, overall. There’s noticeably less bleed over this time around. The colors are still nice and vibrant, as well. While Gambit had no extras, Bishop actually does get an accessory: a big gun. He’d hardly be complete without it, so it’s a good inclusion. As an added plus, he can even hold in either hand. Yay for ambidextrousness!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set’s actually been on the review docket for a while, just waiting for a good spot. I got it back in May, while at Balticon. I had spotted it at the table of a dealer whom I bought quite a few other things from, but decided to pass at the moment. Super Awesome Girlfriend (who could just as easily be called Super Attentive Girlfriend) took note of this and while I was doing a performance on stage she ran up and bought the set for me to present me with after the show.

Growing up, I only actually had a few of the Toy Biz Metal figures, mostly from the non-X-Men lines. My dad, however, had a nearly complete set of the X-Men ones, which he let me play with. Gambit was always one of my favorites, so I’m happy to have one of my own! Bishop’s not a bad figure, but I’m just not much of a fan of the character. Anyway, these are definitely a weird little item, but they possess a lot of charm.