Monday, May 05, 2008

Marvel-ous: Bishop

Peace and blessings,

In this piece, I wanted to share a few thoughts on
  • Bishop,
  • one of the few African American superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. Throughout the X-Men storyline and his appearances in the cartoons, Bishop is known as a time-traveler who, after witnessing future outcomes of past decisions, goes back in time to preserve the outcomes that are in the best interest of superheroes, and prevent the outcomes that are not. Within the X-Men storyline, Bishop stands asa constant reminder that the choices made in the present impacts how we live our lives in the future. Oh yeah, and his powers are "off the chain" as well. Below is an excerpt about his superhuman abilities from
  • Wikipedia:

  • "Bishop's mutant ability enables him to absorb all forms of radiant or conductive energy that are directed towards him and to release that energy from his hands. This power is passive, allowing Bishop to absorb energy at all times.

    When he releases the energy, he can release it as many different types of forms, usually in concussive blasts or in the same form as he had absorbed the energy although he can emit microwaves as well. He can also store energy in his personal reserves for increasing his strength, endurance, and (to an extent) his healing. He also has enhanced durability, resistance to poison and injury and is a skilled marksman and hand-to-hand fighter.

    His powers make it difficult to harm him with energy-based attacks; however, he can become overloaded from absorbing too much energy, though his upper limits are unknown, even to himself. He is however vulnerable to non-energy weapon attacks. If he were to be shot by a projectile weapon or hit with a crowbar, it could harm him. He carries guns that fire laser beams and plasma charges through which he can channel his personal energies."

    While my thoughts are only speculative, I think that there are some interesting parallels between Bishop's superhuman abilities and the experience of people of African Descent in the United States. For one, the fact that he can rechannel energy that is projected at him and use it for his benefit reminds me of how despite all of the hate, violence, and denigration my ancestors and previous generations of Affrican Americans have faced in this country, we have been able to thrive (and will continue t strive) in ways unimaginable. We have rechanneled many of the things that were originally used to keep us down in ways that enable us to stand taller. It is important to note that I am not including the use of the "N" word in this discussion, because I think that the word should be done with completely.

    On a less positive note, I think that the fact that Bishop channels his personal energies through his guns has implications for the prevalence of black-on-black violence that exists amongst black males. This male-on-male violence is by no means specific to blacks (American culture in itself is a violent culture), but I am focusing on black make youth in this piece because I think it is this demographic that Bishop's abilities most closely speaks to. It seems Bishop's use of his stored energy through his guns draws similarities to how some young black males engage in violent behaviors as a way to deal with many of the built-up anger, frustrations, and issues they face in a country where they are often devalued.

    Overall, it seems like Bishop's abilities have implications for the complex nature of the past and present experiences of people of African descent in the United States. One possible way for us to deal with the obstacles we may face as a marginalized people in the U.S. is to rechannel the negativity energies within these obstacles into positive energies that motivate us to succeed beyond measure. Now I'm not saying that we must be passive and "accept" things that happen to us; what I'm saying is that we should look at all situations, especially the negative ones, as opportunities to grow, better ourselves, and better our situation. Another possible, yet destructive way to
    deal these negative obstacles is to let them consume us to where we respond in ways that are detrimental to ourselves and to others. Unlike Bishop, we don't have the luxury of looking into the future to see how certain choices will play out, so it's important that we choose wisely.


    Ehav Ever said...

    There is also a parallel in how Bishop and his sister were able to use the military the X.S.E as their way out of their situation. Also, as much as Bishop was a part of the X-Men on some level he was initially almost not a part of them. He was also the wild card in so many cases, being a deciding factor in many of the X-Men's victories. I also liked how he was a good thinking detective.

    Unknown said...

    Yeah, I feel you. Thanks for hitting up the page!

    Anonymous said...

    Hes not african american hes a Australian with Aborigal descent