The Phantom Visage
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|The Master Mage (1969-2012)|
|The Phantom Visage|
|Real Name:||Dr. John Bishop|
|Occupation:||Deceased (Former member of the Old Guard, Former arcane advisor to The Challengers, Former member of The Defenders of Paragon, Former Member of the Justice Force)|
|Place of Birth:||Paragon City|
|Base of Operations:||Old Guard HQ|
|Known Relatives:||Andrea Bishop (Wife, Deceased), Anthony Bishop (Son, Deceased)|
| Arcane Knowledge
|No additional information available.|
The Phantom Visage drew his powers from the mythical 'Gauntlets of Tielekku'; a pair of magical armoured gloves that provide the wearer with near infinite power subject only to his or her imagination. The gauntlets are a legacy item, with many heroes and villains having worn them over the thousands of years since their creation by the goddess Tielekku. The penultimate bearer of the gauntlets was one Andrew Netts, a legendary historian who discovered the gauntlets in ancient Egypt. While Andrew had used the gauntlets in a variety of magical ways, his successor Dr. John Bishop, the final Phantom Visage, used them for one thing only: to shoot things with magical fire.
Mild mannered Crey Scientist Dr. John Bishop never wanted to be a hero. But all of that changed the day he found the fabled 'Gauntlets of Tielekku' in a run-down shanty house in Kings Row. Granting Dr. Bishop the powers of an arcane sorcerer, the gauntlets transformed him into a powerful magical superhero known only as "The Phantom Visage!" A master magician tasked with guarding the LIBRARIUM ARCANUS - an ancient library acting as a repository for all manner of magical tome, grimoire, and necronomicon.
The Phantom Visage had always been a powerful arcane hero, preferring to battle the likes of the Circle of Thorns & The Carnival of Shadows rather than more traditional costumed super villains. Despite this, he fought against numerous powerful supervillains. Such as Sovereign, Emperor Xanatos, and various members of the Rogues Gallery.
- Doctor John Bishop Discovers the Gauntlets of Tielekku. In doing so he becomes granted with the arcane powers of The Phantom Visage.
- The Phantom Visage becomes a superhero in Paragon City. Fighting alongside numerous superheroes such as Xanatos, Poison, Charon, and many more.
- Impressed with his fortitude as a super-hero and doubly impressed with his powers as an agent of the arcane, The Justice Force invite The Phantom Visage to join their team. It is an offer he gratiously accepts. Eager to prove himself to the legendary team of heroes.
- The Phantom Visage assists The Defenders of Paragon in their battle against their super-psychic foe; Lady Alexia. Minutes away from defeat at the hands of the powerful heroes, Lady Alexia, the madame of disaster, manages to create a portal into space. With only seconds to follow her, The Phantom Visage chases after her, taking many members of The Defenders with him as he does so.
- The Phantom Visage, and the small team of heroes he assembled find themselves lost in a strange new world, a planet known as "Gorgon" - many millions of light years away from Earth. With no means of communication to the heroes back home, the heroes found a new group: "The Defenders of The Galaxy". Their numbers consist of: The Phantom Visage, The Infernus Avenger, Godlyman, Valiant, Legionnaire, Supercracker, Crimson-Flame, and Jumping Jack.
- The newly formed team chase after Lady Alexia, exploring the new planet, and fighting many strangely dressed aliens as they do so. They discover that she has been captured by a far greater foe: The World Conquering menace known only as Galacton. Galacton rules over the planet Gorgon with an iron fist, enslaving any super powered beings that dare to show their face in public. He then fights these metahumans in honest combat, stealing their powers after he defeats them. The heroes attack Galacton, hoping to free Lady Alexia so that they may take her back to Paragon City and make her pay for her crimes. But even with the magical aid of The Phantom Visage, Galacton swiftly beats the new heroes into submission. The Defenders of The Galaxy become enslaved on Gorgon. This stint into slavery does not last long however, for The Defenders of the Galaxy team up with their cell-mate Lady Alexia and manage to break free from their captors. Once freed from Galacton, Lady Alexia promises to teleport herself and The Defenders of the Galaxy back to Earth.
- After being tricked by Lady Alexia, The Defenders of The Galaxy are teleported to Praetorian Earth where they come face-to-face with their Praetorian doubles, as well as the praetorian supervillain Emperor Xanatos. The two teams fight a battle of epic proportions, with many casualties on each side. (Including The Phantom Visage's evil praetorian double - The Phantom Menace.) As the battle rages on, it clearly becomes apparent that the heroes are fighting a losing battle. Emperor Xanatos systematically kills each of the heroes except The Phantom Visage and Jumping Jack. Who only survive due to being teleported to safety by Portal Corp.
- With all members of The Defenders of the Galaxy now dead except for himself and Jumping Jack, The Phantom Visage disbands the team and joins The Defenders of Paragon.
- During 2005 The Phantom Visage fights crime alongside The Defenders of Paragon. Fighting alongside such superheroic luminaries as Xanatos, Bayne, Exodus, and many others. He also encounters a supervillain known as Orphean - a mad necromancer with magical powers of darkness. The two soon become sworn enemies, clashing often.
- The Phantom Visage befriends two new members of The Heroic Order - Champion and Confuse when the three of them answer a distress call from Talos Island. The nazi supervillain Vandal had released a small army of mek-men and had claimed Talos Island for himself, intent to use it to spread the message of the Fifth Column. The three heroes wasted no time in dismantling the army of mek-mek, before confronting Vandal head on. Despite his impressive suit of armour and years of experience against superheroes, the combined might of the three heroes was too much for the nazi to bear, and he was subsequently brought to justice.
- During the events of "The Emperor Strikes back", Emperor Xanatos returns to Paragon and begins killing off members of The Defenders of Paragon. The Phantom Visage (and a small team of heroes) trace the villain to the Paragon City sewers. Considerably outmatched by the Praetorian villain, the team is wiped out and The Phantom Visage is killed in action.
- After his death, the gauntlets of The Phantom Visage are placed in the trophy room of The Defenders of Paragon.
- Despite being dead, The Phantom Visage's body is preserved and held at the headquarters of The Defenders. His close friend and ally, the superpowered supergenius Coronae experiments on him in numerous attempts to bring him back to life. He is eventually successful, and The Phantom Visage soon returns to active hero duty.
- A chance encounter with Xanatos led to a two-year journey throughout the cosmos with him. The purpose? To find information on the coming storm - an intergalactic threat which could be the end of all life on earth. Throughout their travels, the two heroes travel to many different solar systems and planets. Most notably; Gorgon, The Shadow Planet, and The Homeworld of the K'Tar. They encounter the scientist-turned-supervillain Painiac, as well as the shadow-controlling nega-Xanatos Sotanax. They discover that the coming storm is many centuries off, and return to Earth in later 2009, content that they have time to prepare for it.
- Xanatos, together with The Phantom Visage and Xanatos's wife (now operating under the name 'Xanatess'), form a new team of heroes in Paragon City. The group is called The Old Guard, and their headquarters are located in an orbital space station Xanatos had commissioned in the 1980s. The Old Guard live by a simple principle - they are the veteran heroes of Paragon City, it is their duty to train the next generation of heroes how to fight the good fight.
- The Phantom Visage encounters another member of The Cosmic Crew as Springfist reappears suddenly in downtown Talos Island. His disappearance in 1962 apparently due to him being accidentally teleported to the future during a battle with the maniacal supervillain "The Grand Duke". Overjoyed to see an old ally of his still alive, Xanatos invites Springfist into the ranks of the Old Guard. Springfist becomes the second in command of The Old Guard due to his extensive combat experience.
- The Old Guard's membership continues to grow at a steady pace. Sotanax appears on earth, cast out from the shadow realm by forces unknown, and is inducted into the team. Sandpit and The Bearded Archer, two old allies of The Phantom Visage, join the group after helping them fight off a Rikti Invasion. Fledgling hero "The Brit" also joins the group; the first rookie hero to come under the wing of the Old Guard. The upsurge of new recruits forces Xanatos to open The Old Guard Academy in Steel Canyon: a large fortress-like building designed as a school for younger heroes.
- During this time, The Phantom Visage establishes himself as the head trainer for magical powered heroes in the Old Guard academy.
- The Phantom Visage was one of the few heroes who managed to survive Baron Blitzman's assault on the Old Guard Academy. Harrowed at having seen so many of his pupils die, The Phantom Visage retired from active duty, becoming a magical consultant to The Challengers, but no longer a superhero.
- On November 30th, Rularuu invaded earth in an event that has become known as "The Battle for the Multiverse". While thousands of combatants combined their efforts to distract Rularuu before he could absorb their world, The Phantom Visage was tasked with locating the Book of Rularuu and, with the assistance of hundreds of magical heroes and mystics aligned to the Midnight Squad, used it to banish the demi-god back to his prison in the Shadow Shard. As he did so, the hero Xanatos and the rogue Mr. Mud, guided by the master tactician Nimrod, organised a last-ditch assault against the Ravager within the grounds of Ziggursky Correctional Facility, where the villain Baron Blitzman gave his life to free the many superhumans incarcerated inside so that they might join the battle. Ultimately, while Rularuu was subdued long enough for The Phantom Visage to finish his ritual, the immense power required to do so destroyed the hero.
- On November 5th, as a city lay in mourning. One of the mindless metal golems tasked with the upkeep of the Phantom Visage's headquarters - THE LIBRARIUM ARCANUS - began to act differently to the others. The various magical circles in the superhuman community are still not sure what caused this. Some wonder if it was just a backup spell cominginto play, a contingency plan of The Phantom Visage's, should he ever fall in battle, to allow another, albeit automated, to continue protecting the city in his stead. (Given how often The Phantom Visage died, and given that there were large gaps in the hero's history where nobody wore the gauntlets of Tielekku, such a premise seems likely.) Some believe that as he was destroyed, The Phantom Visage protected a small part of his consciousness, projecting it into one of the golems, in the hope he may return one day. Others believe it to be nothing more than cosmic coincidence, something Paragon City, and its endless superpower-inducing chemical spills is prone to. Whatever the cause, in the months following his master's death, the mindless golem became a hero in his own right. Eventually achieving enough public recognition to be dubbed "Metal Mage" by one of the city's newspapers.
- In the years that followed, Metal Mage continued the legacy of The Phantom Visage. Becoming the new custodian of THE LIBRARIUM ARCANUS, and a member of the supergroup The T.E.A.M..
- In mid 2020, Metal Mage, along with Android and Brickyard, descended into the Shadow Shard to stop Lunaruu the Mad. As the three heroes closed in on the mad supervillain, Metal Mage found himself briefly displaced into the timestream, only to be replaced by a living, breathing Phantom Visage. Realizing that he had been pulled into the future, moments before his death defeating Rularuu, The Phantom Visage spent what little time he had helping Android and Brickyard take down Lunaruu. Eventually he reversed the timelapse, brought Metal Mage back to the present, and sent himself back to the past, back to his inevitable death, fully content that the future had new heroes who could take care of it without him.