Bishop has had a complicated and convoluted history with the X-Men, but his reasons for joining the Marauders are very clear.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for King in Black: Marauders #1, by Gerry Duggan, Luke Ross, Carlos Lopez, VC’s Cory Petit, and Tom Muller, available now.

Time-traveler Lucas Bishop has served as an X-Man for a long time but at heart, he’s always been a mix between a cop and a soldier. In King in Black: Marauders #1, Bishop’s own thoughts reveal that he believes it’s that perspective that led Kate Pryde to choose him as a member of the Marauders and her subordinate in the Hellfire Trading Company. But the issue also highlights the problems that Bishop’s soldier mentality causes, as he prepares to possibly betray his team and employ lethal action against two other X-Men.

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The Marauders are sent to rescue Cyclops and Storm, who have been possessed by Knull’s symbiotes as part of the King in Black crossover. Kate declares that once they arrive on the ground in New York, Bishop will temporarily assume command of the team because of his tactical prowess and his status as one of Krakoa’s war captains. Bishop begins to think about why he was selected for both his current positions. He notes that he was chosen as a war captain because “I’ve seen enough of it to last multiple lifetimes.” He believes Kate chose him to be her Red Bishop because “I was an asymmetrical choice. Sebastian Shaw had nothing on me and she needed me to watch her back.”

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This contrasts somewhat with the reasons the main Marauders series gave for why Bishop took the position. In Marauders #4 by Duggan, Lucas Werneck, Federico Blee, and Cory Petit, Kate accompanies Bishop on a rescue mission to retrieve a kidnapping victim, who turns out to be a member of a pro-mutant cult. Along the way, Kate attempts to convince Bishop to take the position as Red Bishop. Kate does say she needs someone in the Hellfire Trading Company she can trust and Bishop seems close to reluctantly accepting the position by the end of the adventure, but the issue also implies that he has additional reasons for doing so. A data page shows a text message exchange between Bishop and X-Force leader Beast, in which they discuss the offer. Beast encourages Bishop to accept the offer, pointing out that joining the Marauders and the Company would make Bishop ideally placed to gather intelligence on possible threats to Krakoa from both abroad and suspicious Krakoans like Shaw and other Hellfire members. Clearly, Bishop is still acting according to his soldier-like impulses.

King in Black: Marauders simplifies Bishop’s motivations for joining Hellfire, making it seem like loyalty to Kate was the only reason he did so, but the issue also shows that he is prioritizing his duties as a member of the Krakoan military over his duties to his fellow Marauders. A flashback scene reveals that Beast ordered Bishop to kill Cyclops and Storm if the Marauders are unable to free them another way, citing the danger of having an Omega-level member of the Quiet Council and Krakoa’s Captain Commander under the control of an “alien entity.” Bishop is displeased with the assignment, and particularly the callous manner in which Beast gives it, but his thoughts suggest that he does plan to carry it out.

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The Marauders haven’t even reached New York by the end of the issue, so it’s unclear whether Bishop will really have to consider killing Cyclops and Storm. Even if he does they can presumably be brought back by the Resurrection Protocols, but the fact that he intends to do so if he deems it necessary shows that he is still more ruthless than most other X-Men.

That ruthlessness has cost him his place on the team before, including when he tried to kill Hope Summers starting when she was an infant, and if he is not careful it may just cost him his place as a Marauder, especially with Pyro already almost certain of what his real mission is.

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