The following contains spoilers for Children of the Vault #2, now on sale from Marvel Comics.
The X-Men are some of Marvel’s most powerful characters, counting genuine world breakers among their number. The right collection of powerful mutants could destroy or remake entire planets on their own within a matter of hours.
Omega-Level Mutants are considered the most powerful mutants. Even though he isn’t currently counted among their number, Bishop’s potential, as showcased in Children of the Vault #2 (by Deniz Camp, Luca Maresca, Carlos Lopez, and VC’s Cory Petit), highlights why he might just be as adaptable and powerful. With the ability to absorb any energy and rechannel it in a variety of different ways, Bishop makes a solid case for being one of the X-Men’s most powerful members.
Omega-Level Mutants, Explained
Omega-Level Mutants is the classification for Marvel’s most powerful mutant characters. These are people who theoretically have no limits to their abilities. In the Krakoa Era, this concept was codified with a group of specific characters being given the distinction. This included powerhouse mutants like Storm and Iceman, limitless psychics like Jean Grey and Quentin Quire, and reality-warpers like Legion and Mister M. However, there are some mutants who didn’t gain that designation that could arguably be said to qualify as such. Synch noted that Forge’s adaptability and inventive nature makes him potentially more useful than any Omega-Level Mutant, and Polaris has showcased abilities that may eventually allow her to overcome the feats her father Magneto accomplished. Bishop may also fall into this category as well, given the sheer scale of his abilities.
Bishop is one of the few mutant heroes still on Earth after Orchis staged a massive assault on the Hellfire Gala. While other heroes are focused on combating Orchis directly or protecting the world at large, Bishop has teamed up with his old enemy Cable to contend with the Children of the Vault. The super advanced beings have taken the opening caused by Krakoa’s downfall to rally the world behind them. While Cable psychically interrogates one of them in Children of the Vault #2, Bishop heads to the ruins of the Xavier Institute to recover a weapons cache that Cable left behind. It’s here though that Bishop (who usually just uses his ability to absorb and rechannel energy to simply create laser blasts) showcases just how adaptable his abilities really are.
The Stealth Potential of Bishop’s Powers
Bishop’s abilities allow him to absorb any energy source and rechannel it. He can either store it within himself to increase his physical attributes (such as his endurance, strength, speed, or healing) or refocus it outward — typically in the form of concussive force blasts. It’s a power set that’s made him very useful in a crisis, as he can counter the attacks thrown at him by enemies and literally turn them against his foes. But there are other uses of his powers, with theoretically far more expansive uses. Arriving at the Institute in Children of the Vault #2, Bishop observes the various Orchis soldiers and security measures meant to detect mutants on the grounds.
Each of the high-tech systems fundamentally operates on the same principle: they send out energy fields that are sensitive to movement or mass. If someone disrupts them, an alarm is set off. But since Bishop can absorb all forms of energy, he’s able to simply take in the security systems’ energy fields and reflect the correct ones. Having refined his abilities to such a degree that he can absorb, metabolize, and rechannel that energy with a thought, Bishop is functionally invisible to all Orchis’ advanced technologies. In effect, Bishop can become a counter to any and all advanced security measures. Although he still has to be precise with stealth to avoid regular human contact, his abilities allow him to turn billions of dollars worth of advanced security measures into a blind system. This refinement of his abilities speaks to his capabilities, but his history also suggests it’s more than just security measures he can counter.
Bishop May Be An Omega-Level Mutant
Over the years, Bishop has been shown to absorb all forms of energy — from kinetic force to psionic, psychic, and even magical energy. The fact that he absorbs any and all energy as a pure concept means there’s theoretically no limit to what he can absorb. He can theoretically become stronger from sunlight like Superman, or drain the life energy of people like Selene. His training has made him capable of adapting that energy into all sorts of different uses, making him a perpetually adaptable figure within the X-Men. In theory, Bishop could be the ultimate battery, someone capable of reworking any energy into any form. This could arguably make him an Omega-Level Mutant, as his true potential to absorb energy is limitless.
The only flaw in this argument is that Bishop has been shown having a physical limit in how much energy he can store at one time. There have been instances, such as during Civil War, where he was forced to discharge some of the energy he’d absorbed from a mind-controlled Cyclops in order to avoid overloading and killing everyone nearby. But that limit is a wildly liberal one, as he’s absorbed attacks from figures like Onslaught and Mister M in the past. There’s also the possibility that if Bishop continues to refine his abilities, he could learn to master these limitations. Bishop’s skill set has always made him dangerous, with his abilities and experience allowing him to be a key leader of the X-Men. But the true scope of his powers might make him far stronger than anyone (including himself) realizes.
A veteran member of the X-Men has such impressive adaptability and skill with his powers that he could easily qualify as an Omega-Level Mutant. Read More