By Jim Beard
Bastion: 1) a fortified place. 2) preserving or protecting some quality or condition.
Bastion, the founder of Operation: Zero Tolerance, represents mutantkind's eventual downfall, or so he'd like to think. The evil combination of two tenured X-Men foes-the Sentinel Master Mold and the future Sentinel Nimrod-Bastion's provided mutants with much to be fearful of.
The X-Men's past battles with Bastion have produced victory more than once, yet the mutant-hating artificial being has sprung back from defeat to continue his crusade. Now, X-Men: Second Coming has brought the return of Bastion to a crescendo, and with it a new insurgence in anti-mutant sentiment. Fortunately, the X-Men stand ready to defend their kind and all other innocents.
Infiltrating a clandestine meeting of personages from many nations, the X-Men-
represented by Phoenix and Gambit-came into first contact with Bastion. The two made their escape from the meeting's guard soldiers but not before Phoenix learned her incredible mind powers could not affect their new foe. By the end, one thing became clear: open season on mutants had been called.
Incarcerated by Bastion, Professor X found himself interrogated about the recent rampage of the incredible creature known as Onslaught. In his cell, Charles met a fellow mutant prisoner whose scheduled termination loomed and helped her escape, much to Bastion and his compatriot Henry Gyrich's chagrin. No one suspected Bastion's true nature at the time...
It took only one mutant girl to finally frustrate Bastion into a state of agitation. Held captive, young Jubilee threw every trick at her jailer to stymie his attempts to uncover the X-Men's whereabouts and eventually learned more about the mutants' opponent than anyone had before. But her success came at a price: Bastion physically beat her and left her physically and mentally scarred.
The horrible day finally arrived: the X-Men defeated by Bastion. High in the sky, Operation: Zero Tolerance's leader shot down the heroes and then invaded Charles Xavier's upstate mansion. There, Bastion uncovered the X-Men's files, their Danger Room and sensitive materials on the mutant underground, making sure his prisoner, Professor X, knew exactly what he'd ultimately lost.
While Senator Robert Kelly worked to revoke Operation: Zero Tolerance's official status, the X-Men took the fight to Bastion. There, a group of Prime Sentinels surrounded the mutants and it looked like an ending until Iceman entered into battle. But before Bastion could be defeated, S.H.I.E.L.D. arrived and took the X-Men's bitter foe into government custody.
Long after Bastion's original defeat he rose again to prick the X-Men and watch them bleed. Wolverine and his mutant strikeforce attacked the robotic menace but ran into other forces hoping to take him down once and for all. Logan got charbroiled for his troubles and Bastion escaped, deeming it better to live and fight another day-and setting up current events for the Second Coming.
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