As a '90s superhero, Bishop is one of those few characters who was introduced after I got into comics. As such, I got to watch his story grow and unfold before my very eyes. Thus, the character has always been somewhat special to me. I didn't get to see too much of Bishop, since I drifted away from comics not long after his intro, but judging from the recently released Bishop figure in ML12, not a lot has changed: still a big ol' X-Man from one of many possible futures who carries around a bunch of guns and acts totally bad ass. Yep, that's Bishop, all right.
Bishop was one of those figures many had been clamoring for since the early days of Marvel Legends. And I was one of those clamorers. Now that he's finally arrived, what is there to be said? Well, first, there are three things worth noting.
Number one, the production Bishop differs slightly from the prototype (shown on the back of the package) mainly in regards to the placement of his gun holsters. The prototype featured the smaller holster on the left thigh and the larger holster on the right thigh. Since ToyBiz must have realized how ridiculous this looked, they have moved the smaller holster to the right side and repositioned the larger holster on Bishop's back.
Number Two, there is a variant Bishop floating around (like every figure in ML12 save for Maestro, Bishop has a variant). The variant Bishop is bald, and features a few different paint apps, including normal eyes instead of the standard shiny red ones. Bishop changes his style pretty frequently in the comics, so there's no telling when he'll look like which version of the toy.
Number Three, Bishop is big. Bigger than I expected. Think "almost as tall as ML10's Mister Sinister," but much bulkier. Bishop was always a big guy in the comics, but my resource (Impel's 1992 X-Men trading cards, Series 1) tell me Bishop is only 6' tall. This same resource lists the same height for Deadpool, but DP's ML figure is substantially shorter than Bishop. If it helps, most other sources say Bishop's 6'6", but that's still shorter than this figure would be.
Scale issues aside, Bishop features a great sculpt. His long flowing hair looks particularly nice, and his face is appropriately grumpy. He looks like he stepped right out of the page of X-Men except for two things: the off-center "X" symbol on his belt is way oversized, and his boots have a lot of added techno-details not seen in the comics.
His trademark red scarf is present, as a separate but non-removable piece, and he's got all the straps, pouches and pads that you'd expect of a '90s extreme superhero who doesn't play by all the rules. The cloth of his costume is done pretty well, especially in the areas where it appears to be painfully stretched across his bulging musculature. The costumed areas are also sculpted with a different texture than the smoother, exposed skin. When you compare this guy to ML figures of yore, there's a world of difference.
ML often takes some hits from critics for having spotty paint apps, but Bishop doesn't really have a single screw-up on him, and there are lots of different colors and patterns to screw up. Bishop actually uses two different reds on his costume. While they're about the same in tone, some of the red areas
His straps are yellow, (his eyes and the two "X" symbols on his costume) are given a very shiny metallic treatment, while other areas (his scarf and the thin line of mouth visible between his teeth) are more drab and flat. but most of the gizmos, doo-dads and buckles on them are a subtly different gold color. Bishop's trademark "M" tattoo over his right eye is a painted design rather than a sculpted element, and while that makes sense as a tattoo, the fuzzy gray used on the tattoo causes it to almost get lost in all the detail of the figure. Still, they managed to make it look like a tattoo and not like paint, which is to their credit.
As an ML figure Bishop is obviously going to be highly articulated,
but his bulk hinders him in some areas, particularly the lack of double-hinged elbows. Still, with a balljointed neck, balljointed shoulders, peg biceps, hinged elbows, pegged and hinged wrists, individually hinged fingers, a balljointed chest, a peg waist, balljointed hips, peg thighs, double-hinged knees, peg boot tops, hinged ankles, and hinged mid-foot joint, Bishop hardly comes up short. The combined peg and hinge wrist joints are the nicest surprise, and I'm glad most of the newer ToyBiz figures are getting this design. Also, it's worth noting that many of the key joints are ratcheted, which is another Toy Biz trend I'm grateful for. While it makes the joints a bit harder to position, it ensures that they won't get loose nearly as soon as non-ratcheted joints would.
For accessories, Bishop gets - surprise, surpise - two guns:
a sawed-off shotgun and a big-honkin' futuristic mega-cannon. They fit in the aforementioned holsters (always a plus) and pegs in Bishop's palms connect with holes in the handles of the guns. While this feature assures that the figure will never suffer from ML4 Punisher syndrome, it also means that each gun can only be held in one hand: shotgun in the right, BFG in the left. Still, at least this way he can hold his guns.
In addition to the weapons, Bishop gets a comicbook with a forgettable story about him being tragically trapped in the past (what else is new?), and a piece of this series' "Build-A-Figure" character, which is a 13" tall Apocalypse. Bishop features the lower torso and groin, if you want to know. While the amazing ML10 Sentinel BAF compelled me to buy enough figures to get all the parts, I'm not sure Apocalypse will have the same draw. Still, the BAFs are a great idea.
In the end, Bishop is a great version of a character fans have been waiting for a long time. Although his towering bulk may be an issue for some, that's no reason to pass up this great version of a memorable X-Man.
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