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The Hellfire Club

"'Perhaps the Hellfire Club should set its sights higher — today the X-Men; tomorrow... The Avengers?"
Sebastian Shaw

"'No one important has cared about the Hellfire Club since The '80s!'"
Lance Hunter

What do you get when the Decadent Court decides they want to give the world a reason to Beware the Superman? You get the Hellfire Club.

Debuting in the pages of Chris Claremont's Uncanny X-Men, the Hellfire Club is a venerable Smoky Gentlemen's Club originating in 1760s England. With satellite locations all over the world, the Hellfire Club counts among its ranks some of the most powerful and influential people in the world. The rank-and-file members of the Club believe it is simply a Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club, but unbeknownst to all save a chosen few the Club is actually ruled by an "Inner Circle" that rank themselves with Chess Motifs. The Inner Circle's goals took a distinctly Super Supremacist turn in the modern day, when the mutant industrialist Sebastian Shaw and his followers pulled off The Coup and seized control of the Club.

Seeking to subvert society through Pragmatic Villainy rather than outright trying to Take Over the World like Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the Hellfire Club made their debut in a big way as the movers and shakers responsible for the corruption of Jean Grey, leading to her metamorphosis into Dark Phoenix and The Dark Phoenix Saga. Learning from the Dark Phoenix incident that Evil Is Not a Toy, the Hellfire Club took a more measured approach to their goals in the aftermath, offering memberships to Storm and Magneto and for a time working with the X-Men. This period came to an abrupt end with the departure of Magneto from the Club, and shortly afterwards Shaw and the Club's remaining members fell victim to The Purge, being killed off by a cabal of new young mutants recruited and organized by Inner Circle member Selene.

This led to the "Upstarts" era, in which said new young mutants competed amongst themselves in a Deadly Game masterminded by Selene and arbitrated by her ally, the mutant omnipath Gamesmaster. Selene soon fell prey to this Game herself, and without her guiding influence, the Upstarts soon fell to bickering between themselves, ultimately ending their game and disbanding without any clear resolution or winner. This seemingly marked the end of the Hellfire Club... until it was revealed that Sebastian Shaw had in fact survived, and through his characteristic force of personality the Hellfire Club was reconstituted and back in business.

Since that time the Hellfire Club has been largely static, remaining in the background as a powerful yet passive economic force in mutant affairs. Some X-Men have joined the Club, seeking to follow Magneto's intended footsteps of turning the Club into a positive force, only to find to their belated horror that The Dark Side Will Make You Forget. Magneto himself rejoined the Club in the pages of Uncanny X-Men (2016), but he was no more successful in his goals of reforming/subverting the Club than he had been before, and he departed its ranks without fanfare. With the increasing ostracization of mutants from human society and the increasing trend of isolationism/separatism among mutants, the Hellfire Club and its goals seem to have become obsolete, the product of an earlier age when mutants could still aspire to subvert the system from within.

As of X-Men (2019) the Hellfire Club is effectively dead, having experienced a schism that birthed two new organizations: the Hellfire Trading Company (a thinly-veiled take on the East India Trading Company run and staffed by most of the mutant Hellfire alumni) and Homines Verendi (yet another mutant-hating group run by the Creepy Children who briefly turned the Club into an Academy of Evil while everyone of actual importance was away).

For tropes related to the X-Men Film Series adaptation of the Hellfire Club, see their page.

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    Tropes related to the Hellfire Club 
  • Ambition Is Evil: Like the Brotherhood before them, the Hellfire Club was very ambitious in its scope, and that ambition was almost always portrayed as a bad thing.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: A fairly young one as these things go, but they are a centuries-old organization, and they are most definitely powerful and secretive.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The Hellfire Club's members aren't actually aristocrats (not the American or non-Western branch members at least), but they like dressing up in antiquated British aristocrat garb and referring to themselves as lords and ladies.
  • Beware the Superman: As a secret society of mutants who seek to subvert human society and steer it towards their own ends, they are effectively everything the various anti-mutant groups of the X-Men universe hate and fear.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Like the Brotherhood, the Hellfire Club proudly codes itself in the ranks of Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
  • Category Traitor: Unlike the Brotherhood, species loyalty is not a premium virtue in the Hellfire Club, and its mutant leaders are not at all above Playing Both Sides for their own advancement.
  • Chess Motifs: The Inner Circle's members rank themselves by chess piece names. Initiates are Rooks, mid-level members are Bishops, and the leaders are a King and a Queen. There is typically a White monarchy and a Black monarchy, though some Club branches have shaken this formula up by adding a Red monarchy to the mix.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Many of the Hellfire Club's original members were named for and physically modeled after various actors that Chris Claremont liked.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Being one isn't a requirement for membership, but it sure does seem to help. Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, and Donald Pierce were all experienced corporate raiders before joining the Hellfire Club's ranks.
  • Decadent Court: While the Club styles itself as merely a Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club, behind the scenes its most powerful members scheme and jockey for power with a treachery and fervor rarely seen outside of Westeros. Not to mention the decadence extends to sexual depravity courtesy of the collection of Dirty Old Man members running the club with female members or employees being required to dress in fetishistic BDSM-type outfits and aspirants being suspended in cages.
  • Dressed Like a Dominatrix: For whatever reason, their female members seem to have some rather BSDM fetishistic outfits, from Emma Frost to Selene and both Jean Grey and Madeline Pryor adopting similarly fetihistic outfits in their time in the group.
  • Enemy Mine: They are willing to enter into this with the X-Men from time to time; most notably when both groups were marked for termination by the future Sentinel Nimrod.
  • Enfante Terrible: During a period in which the Hellfire Club's usual leaders were all either dead, MIA, or distracted with personal pursuits it was taken over by 12 year old child of privilege Kade Kilgore and his coterie of like-minded ankle-biters.
  • Enlightened Self-Interest: Their motive (for a given value of "enlightened") whenever they help out the X-Men.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Mostly subverted. Unlike the Brotherhood, the Hellfire Club isn't open to just anyone, and for most people joining their ranks is merely a dream. With that said, the Club has been known to extend memberships to people it deems wealthy or influential enough to be counted among its ranks.
  • Evil Counterpart: Kade Kilgore's Hellfire Academy was this to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, and was introduced to the narrative purely to serve that purpose.
  • Fanservice: Apparently a mandatory requirement of any-and-all women with the Club — members, staffers, servants — is to dress as Fanservice. The men, though, not required at all; which is for the better, considering how most of them look anyway.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Hellfire Club's original White King Ned Buckman was in league with anti-mutant scientist Steven Lang and provided funding to his Project Armageddon.
  • Flanderization: Their connection to the Phoenix tends to be exaggerated in adaptations. Their counterparts in Wolverine and the X-Men (2009) are focused solely on obtaining the Phoenix's power, while in Ultimate X-Men they are an outright cult that worships the Phoenix as some kind of pagan deity.
  • A House Divided: Another trope they borrow from the Brotherhood, as the inherently treacherous and self-serving nature of its elite members leads to them frequently knifing each other in the back in the pursuit of climbing to the top of their crab bucket.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: What they pretend to be. Ironically, their name (as well as the name of the group they're a Whole Plot Reference of) can be traced back to a series of legitimate social clubs from Real Life Victorian England.
  • Mooks: Continuing with their chess theme, Hellfire Club guards are typically referred to as pawns. They also have Elite Mooks called Hellfire Knights.
  • Powered Armor: Early in their history the Club tended to outfit their Knights with this. As the X-Men trounced the armor with little effort, it was quickly phased out.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Unlike the very classically supervillain Magneto and his Brotherhood, the Hellfire Club sought to gain power through more realistic avenues than Take Over the World. Typically they worked to be The Man Behind the Man, using Corporate Warfare, War for Fun and Profit, and various other economic means to accrue the wealth and influence they sought.
  • Privilege Makes You Evil: Sebastian Shaw doesn't have this excuse, since he worked from Rags to Riches, but most of the Hellfire Club's other members, including Emma Frost, Donald Pierce, Selene, and especially the Upstarts had everything in their lives handed to them.
  • The Purge: The Club's membership has been hit by this at least twice. The first known Purge was the handiwork of Sebastian Shaw, who along with Emma Frost killed off previous Hellfire leader Ned Buckman and his Lords Cardinal, called then the Council of the Chosen. Fittingly, Shaw was Hoist by His Own Petard and fell victim to the Hellfire Club's second known Purge, which was carried out by the Upstarts and masterminded by Selene. Shaw, Pierce, and Emma all fell prey to the second Purge, though Emma bounced back quickly and in time Shaw and Pierce returned as well, making Selene's Purge an unequivocal failure.
  • Rich Bitch: Most of the Club's members, human or mutant, have this attitude.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The Club's membership is made up of some of the most powerful people in the world, and those powerful people who aren't in the Club can easily be influenced by the ones who are. Sebastian Shaw in particular was a master of this.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Everyone in the Club is filthy rich and typically whenever they ran afoul of the law this is how they wriggle out of trouble.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: This is how Shaw and his followers were able to successfully pull off The Coup, and when their connections and their cash fail them they always have this last avenue of screwing the rules to fall back on.
  • So Last Season: Magneto's Loony Fan Briar Raleigh feels this way about the Club, remarking that their kinky aesthetic (women in fetishistic BDSM-type outfits, aspirants suspended in cages, etc) is too tame for her taste. She feels they all deserve to die for this.
  • Superior Successor: Teased upon their introduction, but ultimately averted. On the face of it the Hellfire Club easily qualified as this compared to the Brotherhood, as they were far more materially accomplished, boasting all the resources one would expect The Syndicate to bring to bear along with an influence over world affairs the Brotherhood could only clumsily grasp at. But for all of that, what the Hellfire Club didn't have was a unifying goal, existing for most of its history only to be a vehicle for its most powerful members to accomplish their (usually petty and venal) personal pursuits. Since mutant history inevitably leads them to a point where material wealth ceases to matter (roughly around the time the Bad Future becomes a bad present and the Mecha-Mooks are marching mutants rich and poor up against the wall), the Brotherhood with its unifying goal of mutant solidarity has endured while the Hellfire Club has decayed.
  • The Syndicate: Unlike the Brotherhood, the Hellfire Club has tons of legitimate assets in terms of both personnel and resources. They have a veritable private army of mercenaries, satellite branches all around the world, and the various holdings of its (typically fabulously wealthy) individual members.
  • Token Good Teammate: Aside from the many members of the Hellfire Club who are just ordinary civilians, some of its upper-level members have been outright costumed heroes. British superheroes and their families in particular often inherit membership, as is the case with Captain Britain, Psylocke, and Union Jack. Other notable heroic Hellfire Club members include original X-Men member Angel and his parents, Iron Man and his father, Night Thrasher and Justice of the New Warriors, Sunspot of X-Force, Rachel Summers, and most recently Generation X's M.
  • Villain Decay: When they were first introduced, the Hellfire Club was a Greater-Scope Villain group of a type the X-Men had never faced or even imagined facing. Several defeats and a few decades later, the Club's name has become such a joke that even rookie S.H.I.E.L.D. agents like Lance Hunter crack wise (to their faces, no less) about how irrelevant they are.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The Hellfire Club's name and concept was heavily based on an organization of the same name from The Avengers (1960s).

Lords Cardinal

    Sebastian Shaw 

Sebastian Hiram Shaw / Black King

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant

Other Ranks: Black Bishop, Lord Imperial

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #129 (1980)

I didn't build a billion-dollar empire from nothing by making mistakes.

The first seen leader of the Hellfire Club and by far its most prominent member and leader, Sebastian Shaw is a snobbish, elitist, self-centred Jerkass and Corrupt Corporate Executive with the mutant power of kinetic energy absorption, meaning that any physical attack only makes him stronger making him a very difficult opponent to defeat in combat. However, he mostly relies on manipulation, treachery, deceit, and his oodles and oodles of cash and connections to further his evil schemes.

Besides the comics, Sebastian has appeared in two animated adaptions of the X-Men and also appears as a boss in the first X-Men game for the Sega Game Gear.

  • Abnormal Ammo: As part of the X-Men and the Hellfire Club's attempt to destroy Conflict Killer Nimrod, the Hellfire Club's Black Bishop Harry Leland used his power of gravity manipulation to bring Shaw back down after Nimrod hurled him into the atmosphere. The ensuing impact was stated to have the force of a small meteor.
  • Aborted Arc: There was a storyline in the 2010s where Emma seemingly killed him and took his title of Black King for her own. This was dropped in subsequent storylines.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Shaw is a classic example of the 'American dream' route to success building himself up from rags to riches. He's also the classic example of the It's All About Me Jerkass who would fit right into the House this trope was originally named for.
  • Amnesiac Villain Joins the Heroes: After having his mind wiped by Emma Frost, an amnesiac Shaw wandered his way to Utopia and formed an Odd Friendship with Hope Summers. It didn't last, sadly.
  • Archnemesis Dad: A case of Abusive Parents between him and his son Shinobi.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: His Hellfire Club is an entire organization devoted to this, and as its head Shaw does his very best to set an (evil) example.
  • Arms Dealer: Shaw Industries specializes in Mecha-Mooks.
  • Anything That Moves: Described by Emma Frost as "sexually obsessed" and while she might be overselling it there, Shaw's very definitely a ladies' man.
  • Baddie Flattery: Expresses roughly these sentiments towards Irene Merryweather, the plucky reporter who risked her life repeatedly investigating his personal history in the X-Men: Hellfire Club miniseries. After giving her a personal explanation, Shaw extends Merryweather a rare invitation to join the Club. She throws it in the fire, of course.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: A high-functioning example; he was and remains a serious threat, but in practice he is usually outplayed and manipulated by more cunning and dangerous villains. He frequently teams up with other X-Men rogues but is usually either double-crossed, or his own double-crossing comes back to bite him.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: His response to being welcomed into the leadership of the Eden-esque utopia of Krakoa is to start reciting off a laundry list of capitalist policies he likes and wants to introduce. He's immediately rebuked by Cypher, who speaks on behalf of Krakoa itself.
  • Chess Motifs: His Hellfire Club rank is 'Black King' and the rest of the Club uses chess piece names for their ranks as well (Bishop, Rook, etc).
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: His appearance and last name is taken from actor Robert Shaw.
  • Cooperation Gambit: His clear motive in joining up with Krakoa, as unlike Hazy-Feel Turn candidates like Exodus and Apocalypse, Shaw doesn't even bother pretending to have renounced any of his former beliefs. He's just doing what he's always done, signing up for what looks like the winning side, and everyone around him clearly knows it but tolerates it because he's a strong and forceful enough leader in the mutant community to merit a place at the table.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Runs his own company, Shaw Industries, that's best known for mass-producing Sentinels.
  • Death Is Cheap: He was assassinated by his son Shinobi in 1991, but five years later was revealed to have survived the attempt. It helps that it wasn't a very good attempt.
    • Two decades later Sebastian met a second death at the hands of Emma Frost. He showed up none the worse for wear in House of X, and even shares a seat right next to his would-be murderer on Krakoa's 'Quiet Council'.
  • Deadly Upgrade: When infected with the Mothervine virus, Shaw acquired the ability to absorb ambient energy around him and release it as blasts of energy, upgrading him to the power level of his adaptational counterpart from X-Men: First Class. Unfortunately for Shaw, the tradeoff for his new powers were that they were now Cast from Hit Points, not unlike those of Selene.
  • Easy Amnesia: A story arc in the early 2010s had him lose most of his memories. Hope Summers argues for letting him stay on Utopia because Amnesiacs are Innocent.
  • Enemy Mine: In the epilogue of the Acts of Vengeance crossover, Shaw ended up helping Spider-Man when Loki combined three of his Sentinels into the Tri-Sentinel, and sent it to try and trigger a nuclear disaster.
  • Energy Absorption: His Mutant power is this, allowing him to absorb kinetic energy and convert it into strength. Getting in a fistfight with him is a very bad idea, as he'll just get stronger the longer the fight goes on.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Lourdes Chantel, his fiancé. Her death is treated as his Start of Darkness.
  • Evil Mentor: Retconned into being one for the White Queen/Emma Frost. Note that originally they were very much depicted as partners in crime.
  • Faking the Dead: Through most of The '90s.
  • Feed It with Fire: He absorbs energy from attacks. There is a limit to how much he can absorb, but it takes a lot to reach it.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: As a member of Krakoa's Quiet Council in X-Men (2019). Though ostensibly on the side of the heroes now, no one particular likes him, not even the other council members, and through his interactions with them it's made clear he's only kept around because his ruthless self-interest brings a necessary perspective to the group.
  • Genius Bruiser: When it comes to the cutthroat business world Shaw is a savant without peer. Flashbacks reveal that in his youth he had even greater potential, immersing himself in his studies as a way to escape poverty and "soaking up knowledge like a sponge".
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He bore a prominent scar across his right eye during the latter half of the 90s; Madelyne Pryor eventually healed it as a demonstration of what she could offer him in a Villain Team-Up.
  • The Hedonist: A mild example, but Shaw is very much a Rich Bitch who enjoys living large and has no problems with letting anyone know it.
  • It's All About Me: He not only believes this, but wears it like a badge of honor. When he teams up with the X-Men against Mr. Sinister (who was a potential Grand Theft Me threat to Shaw at the time) he flatly tells the heroes he's not helping them out of any moral obligation, but just because he's an egotist who can't bear the idea of someone hijacking his body.
  • King Incognito: Like Nightcrawler, he sometimes carries a holographic image inducer for when he wants to move around in public unseen.
  • Limit Break: Averted. Being an Alpha-level mutant, Shaw is powerful, but there is a defined limit to his power. Unlike Vulcan, a similar energy absorber who can use Energy Absorption on an unlimited scale, Shaw has a limit to the amount of energy he can absorb, and once someone pushes him to that limit he has no way of breaking past it.
  • Logical Weakness: Shaw derives energy from any form of energy used against him, so any attack using ice and cold, which are essentially removing thermal energy will work against him.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: Back in the 90s, Shaw was one of many older villains to be bumped off by the new guard in the name of establishing their cred — in his case, it was his son Shinobi who did the deed. He eventually came back, but it took seven years and he sported a very prominent scar upon his return.
  • Manipulative Bastard: A fairly limp example, and really more a case of The Corrupter, as Shaw's main M.O. is to appeal to people's greed and vanity when trying to get them to join up with him. He tends to just automatically assume everyone is as self-serving as he is, which works for him every now and then, but usually doesn't.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: During the Acts of Vengeance epilogue. In an attempt to cut off Spider-Man from the strange new powers he had been recently manifesting, he inadvertently reversed the effect that had been blocking those powers from fully transferring to Spidey, allowing him to complete his transformation into Captain Universe.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: A more complex example than most. Shaw is not himself invulnerable, but his mutant ability renders him pretty much impervious to physical attacks of any kind.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Late in the original X-Force run Shaw is shown walking with his personal assistant, who is trying to coordinate a festival on his behalf. After a couple of panels of getting ignored, said assistant makes the mistake of getting frustrated and asking Shaw if he's even the least bit interested in what he was saying. Shaw's response?
    Sebastian Shaw: No, Carmen, not especially. Now be a dear and throw yourself off a cliff for raising your voice to me, that'll be all.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Despite being a member of the Fiction 500 Shaw is never the type to rest on his laurels.
  • Offing the Offspring: Confirmed in Necrosha for ordering the off-screen death of his son Shinobi.
  • The Peeping Tom: It's revealed by Emma Frost that Shaw built the New York Branch Hellfire Club buildings "with all of his personal kinks and perversions in mind." Naturally, this includes secret hallways and portholes to play voyeur with.
  • Personality Powers: Shaw is, for better or worse, is a Determinator who never gives up and has built his iron will over a lifetime of climbing from Rags to Riches. Fittingly, his mutant power reflects his willpower: any (physical) thing thrown at him just makes him stronger. Given the Hellfire Club's kinky aesthetic on top of this power, Shaw's sometimes been presented as a Combat Sadomasochist, or even Too Kinky to Torture.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Shaw's kinetic energy absorption ability is powerful, but it can be circumvented if one drops something on him quick and hard enough. There was also the time when Wolverine just kept coming at him until Shaw's mass caused the floor to give out under him.
  • Playing Both Sides: The biggest and worst example is that he is a mutant, yet he funded and helped to construct the mutant-hunting Sentinels. Especially bad (though poetically ironic) considering they were created out of fear that mutants could be people like him.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Probably the most stark example among X-villains — Shaw is kind of like the Donald Trump of evil mutants, having no higher belief or creed in anything beyond what's good for Sebastian Shaw. This utterly self-serving nature makes Shaw fairly resilient in coming back from his various defeats, but it also means there's no one that's ever really had any loyalty for him and his subordinates tend to sell him out or betray him at the drop of a hat.
  • Puzzle Boss: Arguably an in-universe example. Shaw simply cannot be defeated by mere force, which forces the heroes to get creative whenever they have to fight him.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!, Powers, & Connections
  • Self-Made Man: The X-Men: Hellfire Club miniseries fleshed out his background. Kind of like Tom Riddle, Sebastian was the son of a family long past its glory days who took the traditional 'American dream' route to success and got corrupted along the way.
  • Shout-Out: Like most of the first gen Hellfire Club villains, Shaw's appearance and name were based off an actor; in his case, the British-born Robert Shaw.
    • Chris Claremont knew of a British film, It Happened Here, which had an actor named Sebastian Shaw, and also based the character's name off that.note 
  • The Sleepless: When he is charged with energy, he doesn't have to sleep until the energy is used up.
  • Super Speed: Not seen as much as his other uses of his ability, and not anywhere near The Flash levels, but Shaw surprises people with this from time to time.
  • Super Strength: The primary offensive use of his mutant power. By converting kinetic energy into strength, Shaw can theoretically mix it up with anybody short of Apocalypse or the Hulk.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: He was once thrown so hard by Nimrod that he actually went into low orbit. Fortunately for him, Harry Leland was able to bring him back down before he suffocated.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Not that Shaw wasn't already a Jerkass to begin with, but the few positive traits he did possess have been steadily downplayed or phased out with time, to the point that in modern stories the character is basically a one-dimensional Hate Sink. A good example of this is the Retcon of Lourdes Chantel, originally his Morality Pet whose death was his Start of Darkness. Come House and Powers of X it was revealed that not only was Lourdes not dead at all, but that she had faked her death in order to get away from Shaw who had been violently abusing her the whole time. His relationship with Emma Frost is another example: originally they were written as partners in crime but in modern stories Shaw is depicted as Emma's Evil Mentor as a way to absolve and whitewash her of her own villainous past.
  • Villain Decay: Shaw's competence and threat both took a sharp nosedive around the 2010s and he's been in freefall ever since. Formerly a competent schemer, every single plan he has attempted in modern day stories was effortlessly thwarted, and frequently he has been subjected to Humiliation Conga incidents for the pleasure of some adversarial female character (Emma Frost most usually, though Kitty Pryde has also enjoyed humiliating Shaw). Despite holding a seat on the Quiet Council, he exercises no real power of his own and only seems to be there for Emma to exert her dominance over. At least he has breweries of wine artificially aged by Time Master mutants to drown his sorrows with.
  • Villain Team-Up: Being the pragmatic villain he is, Shaw frequently forges alliances with other villains such as Holocaust and Madelyne Pryor.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Not as much as before (when he could count on the police to help him fight those dangerous mutants the X-Men), but he still has no criminal record and has managed to keep his more questionable activities away from the public eye.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The classic arms dealer war profiteer Playing Both Sides for his own advancement. Depending on the adaptation, sometimes it comes back to bite him.
  • We Can Rule Together: Him and Madelyne Pryor had a brief fling that ended up turning into an Aborted Arc when she abruptly ditched him.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: After moderately recovering from a bout of amnesia, he has genuine distaste at the thought being able to hurt children at the Avengers Academy.

    Emma Frost 

Emma Frost / White Queen

Other Ranks: Queen of Crystal Heart, Black Queen, Black King IV

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #129 (1980)

You'll all be guests of the Hellfire Club — for the rest of your natural lives!

Introduced as the Hellfire Club's White Queen, Emma Frost spent years as one of the X-Men's most prominent villainesses before her intensely pragmatic and self-serving nature led her to the logical conclusion that it was more in her interest to side with the X-Men than against them.

    Jean Grey 

Jean Grey / Black Queen I / The Phoenix Force

First Appearance: X-Men #1 (1963, original), Uncanny X-Men #132 (1980, as the Black Queen)

Worry not, Jason. Had the Black Queen struck to kill, there would be nothing left of the lad but ashes.

A supremely powerful telepath and one of the original five X-Men, Jean Grey, then imbued with the Phoenix Force, found her Superpowered Evil Side in the Hellfire Club thanks to the corrupting influence of probationary member Jason Wyngarde (who was actually the longtime X-Men foe Mastermind), who sought to mold Jean into the Black Queen through More than Mind Control in a bid to seize control of the Club for himself. Jean's time as the Black Queen was brief, as Mastermind could not control a mutant of her stature for long. After her death, she was retconned into having been dopplegänger created by the Phoenix Force, while the actual Jean lay dormant in a healing cocoon.


Selene Gallio / Black Queen II

Aliases: Black Priestess, Lady Selene, Moon Goddess

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: New Mutants #9 (1983)

I am Selene, daughter of the moon and mistress of the fire. Come, children, give yourselves to me.

The second and by far more prominent Black Queen of the Hellfire Club, Selene is the oldest known living mutant (after she killed the other Externals), born over 17,000 years ago, after the fall of Atlantis, but before the age of Conan the Barbarian, and is an ancient enemy of Kulan Gath. She doubles as a sorceress and psychic vampire, with a myriad abilities, some of which are magic, some of which are genetic. Regal, vain, manipulative, demonic-level pure evil, and extremely hard to permanently get rid of, she is one of the X-Men's most dangerous adversaries.
  • Achilles' Heel: Her extreme arrogance and vanity, as well as some well-hidden but deep-seated insecurity about the possibility that she may not be able to stave off aging forever. Moonstar took advantage of this and projected an image of her as a hideous old hag that proceeded to warn her that she could only stave off aging for so long before her powers stopped being effective, which caused Selene to have a crippling panic attack.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The adaptational counterpart of Selene that appears in Dark Phoenix is this, due to pretty much just being Selene In Name Only.
  • Ambiguously Bi: She isn't openly bisexual and is in fact a widow of a man named Marcus Gallio. But she also possesses some amount of Lesbian Vampire traits.
  • Arch-Enemy: Initially paired up as one for Rachel Summers, until Rachel was utterly eclipsed in appearances by Emma Frost. She was then redesigned as something of a Foil to Emma, but still has the odd clash with Rachel every now and again.
  • Asshole Victim: In the 90s, when she was betrayed by the Upstarts, a group of wealthy young mutants Selene had been grooming to be the next generation of the Hellfire Club. Upstart Trevor Fitzroy trapped her in a device that systematically disassembled and reassembled her molecular structure, a sickening fate for just about anyone else but somehow appropriate for an immortal predator like Selene.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: She embodies the Evil Wears Black trope to such an extent that she never wore anything else but black outfits from the get-go, even after leaving the Hellfire Club. (It can be a little odd to read her first appearances, where- besides being married to a Nova Roman senator- she wore green, purple, and blue.)
  • Actually a Doombot: Though not a particularly convincing one — a giant Selene robot appears as a boss in the 1992 video game Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge.
  • Back from the Dead: Resurrected by Arkea in X-Men (2013) series.
  • Bad Boss: Naturally. Selene is not remotely above snacking on her own underlings if a fight starts draining her.
  • Big Bad: She was one of the major villains in the original new mutants run and it took a long, long time, but Selene finally got her due as a Big Bad again in the Necrosha story arc.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: What she is in function most of the time, thanks to her Evil Is Petty nature detailed further below and her lack of fortitude compared to the more usual Big Bad-level characters like Magneto, Apocalypse, etc.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Being a Chris Claremont character, the Black Queen's always had a certain element of fetish to her.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The usual result of her The Corrupter antics, and anything involving Selene will probably involve a case of this at some point.
  • Burn the Witch!: Attempted by the senators of Ancient Rome after they discovered her plan to sacrifice the whole city's population to herself. Unfortunately for them Playing with Fire was one of her powers and she merely turned the flames back on them.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Averted. She absorbs memories along with life force, and therefore does not forget her victims. Not that it makes her care more about them...
  • Chess Motifs: Played with. She took the rank of 'Black Queen' in the Hellfire Club but had been styling herself as a queen long before the Club, or even chess itself, ever existed.
  • Co-Dragons: In the 80s, she and White Queen Emma Frost were the dragons to Sebastian Shaw.
    • Dragon with an Agenda: Naturally, Selene was only in it for herself though, and when Magneto defeated Shaw and proposed expelling him from the Hellfire Club, she wasted no time in siding with Mags.
  • Combo Platter Powers: She can animate objects plus suck people's life force to feed her youth and immortality (plus some minor Psychic Powers and Functional Magic, and various inconsistently enhanced physical abilities). Until she got upgraded; as of Chasing Hellfire, it's "turn into living shadow, plus absorb people entirely to feed her youth and immortality, as well as take on the form of victims."
    • Cast from Hit Points: She calls it 'spending her life energy', but the end result is the same.
    • From a Single Cell: Boasts of being able to reconstitute herself from dust. Immortal X-Men presents it as a sorcery-based power that can be canceled out by Anti-Magic.
    • Life Drinker: She can drain the life out of others to keep herself young. As an added bonus, said lifeforce also fuels her sorcerous powers.
    • Liquid Assets: Originally her Life Drinker powers were only applicable to herself, but after she Took a Level in Badass for the Necrosha story arc she was able to extend it to others.
    • Mind over Matter: She has telekinetic abilities; it's not clear whether these are part of her mutation or the result of some of her Functional Magic.
    • Summon Magic: Summons an Eldritch Abomination made of the essences of her dead External brethren in Immortal X-Men.
    • Transformation Horror: She's capable of inflicting this on others, as seen with the Roman senator Eliphas, who she transformed into the immortal Eli Bard as punishment for failing her.
  • Continuity Snarl: Her home of Nova Roma and relationship with the New Mutant Magma are both tangled in one of these. As written by her creator Chris Claremont, Nova Roma was a lost Roman colony and Magma was her granddaughter. Then Fabian Nicieza came along with retcons that Nova Roma was not ancient but merely a sham city populated by people Selene had brainwashed, and Magma was in fact a British mutant named Allison Crestmere with no relationship to Selene. The two camps have gone back and forth over this, to the extent that modern Selene stories tend to ignore both Nova Roma and Magma entirely due to the continuity being such a mess.
  • The Corrupter: This is pretty much her shtick, as she frequently seeks out innocent and/or impressionable young mutants to turn to her side through various means. Sometimes this works out for her, sometimes it doesn't. But she always gets off on it.
  • Cruel Mercy: What she subjects the Roman senator Eliphas to as his punishment for "betraying her". She saves him from a death of being burned at the stake, but then transforms him into an undying vampire-like creature because she knows the worst fate he can imagine is an eternity without her. Then she buries him alive.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • Right in her first appearance, Sunspot dunked her in a lava pit, but even then he figured it'd not be enough to kill her.
    • Momentarily killed of by Warlock during the 80s, by him draining the life out of her. Once Kulan Garth's reality warp got undone, she was revived.
    • During Chris Claremont's second run on Uncanny X-Men, she was apparently vaporised by Rachel. It didn't take long for her to turn up again, fine and dandy.
    • Killed off at the conclusion of Necrosha, but was resurrected three years later by Arkea.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the Krakoa era she reacted to losing a seat on the Quiet Council to Hope Summers by summoning a giant bug monster to destroy the island, despite Xavier having just approached her to express his dissatisfaction with the decision and even an offer of partnership.
  • Enemy Mine: In New Mutants Forever, Selene teams up with the New Mutants to save Nova Roma from the Red Skull.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Statutory rape, apparently, given that she explicitly notes Wither to be of age before she starts seducing him. Still some epic cradle-robbing, though, as she's close to 1000 times his age. The Red Skull is also too evil for her, as she teamed up with the New Mutants once against him.
  • Evil Is Petty: Going hand-in-hand with Immortal Immaturity, Selene is all too happy to waste her time on small-scale petty and vindictive acts and overgrown teenage mean girl antics. While she certainly has the power, intelligence, and connections to act on a far larger scale if she wanted to, she appears to be much happier engaging in Decadent Court power games, pointless grooming of vulnerable young mutants, and general petty cruelty.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Once got into a fight with the Red Skull's crew shortly after Acts of Vengeance. They were looking for Skull and figured the Hellfire Club knew. Selene didn't know what they were after, and didn't care. They were simply on her turf. Fight ended on a no-score draw.
  • Evil Wears Black: What else would you expect from the ''Black Queen''?
  • Eviler than Thou: What she did to pre-Heel–Face Turn Emma Frost and her Hellions by using Fitzroy, or to Eli Bard, among others. She also subjected the Externals to this during the Great External Purge.
    • UXM #191 saw Selene get a taste of her own medicine when her ancient foe Kulan Gath subjected her to this, using his magic to inflict a truly horrific case of Body Horror on her.
  • Foil: To Emma Frost, during their time in Hellfire. Now, she's more of an Evil Counterpart.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Completely averted and inverted at the same time. No man is responsible for making Selene the bitch that she is, she has always been a bitch, in fact she thrives on it. So much indeed that corrupting naïve younger men is one of her favourite hobbies.
  • For the Evulz: Doubles as a case of Evil Is Petty — you'd think a person with seventeen millennia — not centuries, millennia — of life experience under their belt would be able to come up with better ways to pass the time than by indulging in petty power-mongering and corrupting impressionable teenagers.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: She has a particular fondness for Ancient Rome, choosing to reside in a lost Roman colony for centuries. If you go by the Fabian Nicezia retcon, she even went so far as to create said "lost" Roman colony, which wasn't actually lost as she just brainwashed hundreds of random Europeans to make them think they were part of a lost Roman colony.
  • Freudian Excuse: Was venerated as a goddess and worshipped basically since birth, and has never really faced consequences that she wasn't either shielded from by her followers or able to talk or fight her way out of. She is one of the most vile, morally reprehensible beings in the X-Men canon (moreso than even Apocalypse, who at least had a far more awful childhood and early adulthood and has consistently held himself to his own beliefs whenever he has been defeated), but there's something of a valid explanation for why she is the way she is, but it still doesn't justify anything since Selene doesn't care for redemption or getting reformed.
  • A God Am I: Her surfacing around Necrosha gives this as her motivation, although she has claimed to be a goddess since her introduction. She was even worshipped as such since birth, around 17,000 years ago, and was even offered regular human sacrifices by her people. It has left her with an ego problem. Even so, she recognizes Arkea as a being older than her and treats her with respect... right up until she leaves her for dead.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Styles herself as the 'Black Queen' and is one of the deadliest of the X-Men's villains.
  • The Hedonist: Even seventeen millennia of self-indulgence haven't sated Selene's appetite for decadence.
  • Human Sacrifice: She got started on this very early, with the tribal elders of her village ordering their own people to sacrifice themselves to her after identifying her as a goddess (see Self-Made Orphan below). Since that time she has spent much of her history being served in this way, either by corrupted citizens or by entire civilizations outright.
  • Humiliation Conga: In Immortal X-Men she is punished for inflicting a giant monster on Krakoa by first being shot through the head with a Mysterium bullet by Hope Summers, then being sucker-punched by Hope immediately upon being resurrected, then being subjected to some Mind Rape by Exodus who controls her to discorporate said giant monster and then unceremoniously sends her back to death with a Neck Snap (that she should logically be able to resurrect from, but the title treats it as her being Killed Off for Real).
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Not literally, but close enough. She feeds on the life-force of her victims, leaving only skeletal husks.
  • Immortal Immaturity: She is older than written history itself, yet she has roughly the mentality and attitude of Cersei Lannister. Her almost pathological need to be worshiped, tendency to fly into destructive rages whenever things don't go her way or she feels slighted, emotional fragility and inordinate vulnerability to Villainous BSODs whenever someone triggers her, almost obsessive love of petty The Corrupter and Brainwashed and Crazy antics with people who cannot influence events in any meaningful way, and general proclivity for small-scale petty vindictiveness and vengefulness makes her come off as a really shitty, nasty, bratty teenage mean girl and makes it obvious that while she may have been ancient when even Apocalypse was young, her emotional growth came to a screeching halt in her early teens.
  • Immortality Immorality: Though Selene is over 17,000 thousand years old she doesn't have a moral bone in her entire body.
  • In Name Only: The version of Selene that appears in Dark Phoenix shares her name and gender, but aside from those paper-thin connections they're for all intents and purposes two completely different characters.
  • It's All About Me: Explained, if not really justified: Selene has been worshiped as a goddess literally since her birth, and has spent most of her very long life surrounded by people who venerate her. Interestingly, she has on occasion shown emotion for her worshipers, if not actual empathy, such as when she gave a tender kiss to a Nova Roman general who willingly offered his life to her before sucking him dry.
  • Jerkass: Quite notoriously so. Selene is a complete and utter bitch and enjoys every minute of it. She might delve into Faux Affably Evil at times or use honeyed words to manipulate someone, but it's just a veneer that never lasts long.
  • Kick the Dog: She once murdered a homeless guy who had befriended Rachel Summers, just For the Evulz.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: The intended target of one, as the young mutant (and future New Warrior) Firestar was actually recruited to the Hellions by Emma Frost with the express purpose of killing Selene.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Perhaps it is just Claremont but trying to turn attractive teenage psychics like Rachel Grey into her disciples seems to be a particular hobby of hers.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Invoked. Even long after she had left the Hellfire Club, her costume mirrored that of Emma Frost, only in black instead of white.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Selene has a lot of powers, and being both a mutant and a practicing sorceress makes it tough to pin down what comes from her mutation and what's the result of her magic.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: See Asshole Victim above.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Even though she doesn't need to, she really enjoys toying with people's minds to get what she wants. A lot.
  • Moment Killer: In a famous story, she very nearly murdered The Juggernaut. Ironically, Juggy was saved by Wolverine, who started a bar fight between himself, Colossus and Juggs before Selene could finish seducing him.
  • Most Common Super Power: She has a very noticeable and buxom bust.
  • Mutant: If not the first, then certainly the longest-lived and first known.
  • Never My Fault: Particularly in Necrosha and the stories leading up to it.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: To go with her regal persona.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Well, she is in Hellfire...
  • Our Vampires Are Different: She is a psychic vampire.
  • Out-Gambitted: In Immortal X-Men she attempts to force the Quiet Council of Krakoa to bend to her will by summoning a giant monster that cannot be conventionally attacked or destroyed to attack the island, then retreating to the headquarters of Coven Akkaba which has promised her refuge. Hope Summers uses a prophecy from Destiny and Magik's time-discs to assassinate her at a window, and after resurrecting her the Council uses Exodus to force her to discorporate the monster and kill her again, seemingly for good.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Has exhibited this at times regarding Nova Roma, a lost colony that has worshiped her as a goddess for centuries. See here for a good example.
  • Physical Goddess: Always styled herself as this, but she really starts living up the role in Necrosha. Not so much in Immortal X-Men, which portrays her as a very Squishy Wizard.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Surprisingly enough given her monstrous ego, but Selene has enough self-interest to not let her pride get in the way of a good deal for her. This quality is what drove her to join the Hellfire Club in the first place, and decades later in the pages of House of X she swallowed her pride a second time and joined the massive new mutant nation of Krakoa, not because she has any faith in or passion for mutant solidarity, but because she's smart enough to sense which way the wind is blowing. This doesn't stop her from throwing it all away in a fit of pique, but that Immortal Immaturity had to kick in sometime.
  • Proud Beauty: Selene knows she's very attractive and she wouldn't want anyone to forget it. See Vain Sorceress below.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Going hand-in-hand with Immortal Immaturity, Selene is old enough to effectively view even Apocalypse as a young upstart, but strip away all of her power and she's basically just a really nasty overgrown teenager with a pathological love of corrupting others and being worshiped who can more often than not be driven into debilitating panic attacks or aimless raging meltdowns just by saying something that triggers her or touches a nerve.
  • Recycled Premise: The Necrosha story arc in 2010, of which Selene was the main villain. It was a thinly-veiled reworking of the 2009 DC Comics Crisis Crossover story Blackest Night, just with Nekron and the black power rings swapped out for Selene and her modified transmode virus.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Though Apocalypse claims to be the first mutant, Selene's got him beat pretty handily. At 17,000 years old, she's by far the oldest recorded mutant, as well as one of the oldest beings in the Marvel U period.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: While mostly an enemy of the X-Men and their related teams, she faced Captain America and the Daughters of Liberty when she decided to go out of Krakoa and cause mayhem.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!/Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: If she can't charm her way out of something, she has more than enough firepower to fight her way out, and believing that she is completely beyond reproach is a consistent character trait of hers.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Courage under fire is not Selene's strong suit. It takes a lot to get her under fire, mind, but the moment she thinks the tide's turned against her she usually doesn't hesitate to beat feet.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: After a failed alliance with Blackheart, Selene was trapped for a time in the catacombs beneath the Hellfire Club's headquarters.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Like fellow X-villain Proteus, Selene's mutant powers manifested much earlier than is normal for mutants - specifically, at the moment of her birth. Her first use of them was to drain her mother's life force dry, leading the village elders to pronounce her a goddess.
  • Smug Snake: Selene has nothing but contempt for anyone questioning her ways or antagonizing her. If her vanity and pretentious smirks weren't already clue enough, she usually talks down to anyone interacting with her. Unless she is trying to manipulate them in some way, that is.
  • Solitary Sorceress: Viewed as this by her External brethren, due to her not attending any of their gatherings. To be fair, they do have something of a point, as she has spent most of her life in isolated settlements cut off from the outside world.
  • Sore Loser: Immortal X-Men puts it best, describing her as "a bad winner and an even worse loser". Her actions in the title completely bear this description out.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's 5'10"/178cm tall and she sure is attractive in a decadent sort of way.
  • Stupid Evil: At her worst, she's this. She has the power, intellect, and connections to be a threat on par with Magneto and Apocalypse if she wanted to, but she is so obsessed with childish power games and petty The Corrupter antics with people who will, at worst, go on a brief rampage before being taken down (never with any genuine heavy hitters) that "play stupid games, win stupid prizes" is honestly a very accurate summary of how her schemes tend to go. There is a reason why, despite having been an incredibly persistent and long-lived threat to the X-Men, she has only one real moment where they were forced to take her seriously and couldn't just wait for something to backfire or for her to have a Villainous BSoD or flip her shit and launch into a glorified tantrum because something didn't go her way or someone said something mean to her.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: One of the few consistently viable ways of dealing with her, owing to her extreme vanity and narcissism and tendency to lose her shit and have crippling panic attacks when you manage to hit her where it really hurts (usually by making reference to her extreme age, especially if you're preying on her fear of her ability to stave off aging burning out someday).
  • Third-Person Person: Often refers to herself in the third person, especially when she wants to sound particularly haughty or menacing.
  • Time Abyss: She's literally been alive for the entirety of recorded history and then some.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: She abandons Arkea to the X-Men, even though Arkea was the being who had facilitated her resurrection.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: An interesting variation on this trope with her, as her lack of skill is mental rather than physical. In terms of physicality, sorcery and raw mutant power Selene ranks among the strongest of mutants, but her fragile psyche and lack of fortitude keep her from being a Big Bad level threat.
  • Vain Sorceress: Right up there with the Asgardian Enchantress as one of the most vain and fiercely self-obsessed characters in the Marvel Universe, she is so fixated on her own youth and beauty that Wolverine taunting her by calling her an 'old hag' during Necrosha serves to distract and enrage her during her triumphant ascension, leading to her (temporary) death. An even more direct example is when Dani Moonstar taunted her with an illusion of a withered and ugly image of herself, while warning the ancient sorceress that sooner or later the accumulating centuries would be too much for her powers to deny, leaving her a wrinkled crone forever. The horror of that vision so completely shatters Selene's concentration and confidence during another moment of triumphant ascension that she loses her ability to access her magicks, forcing her to flee.
  • The Vamp: Oh, is she ever! Being a literal (psychic) vampire certainly helps.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Suffers one after being fatally stabbed by Warpath at the end of Necrosha.
    Selene: I... I am... I am a god... How can this... This is wrong... this is not how things were meant to be...
  • The Woman Behind the Man: To the Upstarts, later to Madelyne Pryor and later still to Wither.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Does this to Bard, and it's implied she would've done it to Wither and possibly the entire Inner Circle had she lived long enough.
  • You Killed My Father: She killed Amara's mother. Made more heinous what with Amara being her granddaughter (sometimes).

    Magneto and Storm 

Magneto and Storm / White King and Grey King

Hellfire First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #210 (1986)

I am what I am, Shaw. As is Storm. Take us or leave us!

The "last of the four Lords Cardinal", Magneto and Storm were jointly invited to the Hellfire Club by Sebastian Shaw as a gesture of peace, and jointly shared the title of White King between them. After the events of Inferno (1988), Magneto expelled Shaw from the Club and retitled himself the Grey King, but soon lost interest in the Club altogether in favor of more overt supervillainy. While Magneto would briefly return to the Club and reclaim his position, Storm has never returned to the Club's ranks on any level.
See Magneto and Storm

Inner Circle

    Harry Leland 

Harold "Harry" Leland / Black Bishop

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #129 (1980)

Your challenge is accepted, dear boy. Stop you I shall.

A portly attorney and mutant Gravity Master who was one of Shaw's first allies in Hellfire. Rounding out their ranks, he proved a surprisingly capable opponent to the X-Men, but his sedentary lifestyle eventually caught up to him in a battle against the super-Sentinel Nimrod.
  • The Alcoholic: Leland's vice of choice, which is why he's so out of shape compared to Shaw.
  • Beard of Evil: A full beard and is a bad guy.
  • Back from the Dead: He’s finally brought back properly on Krakoa by the Five so he can take The chair as Krakoa’s representative at the U.N.
  • Came Back Wrong: Bears the dubious distinction of having this happen to him twice. The first time was in the 90s, when the voodoo-themed villain Black Talon chose Leland to resurrect as one of his four "X-Humed". He was laid to rest after this story with his mouth filled with salt and sewn shut to prevent future resurrection, but apparently this measure was not enough, as he returned again during the Necrosha event.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: His appearance was modeled after Orson Welles while his name is take from Harry Lime of The Third Man and Jed Leland from Citizen Kane.
  • Cowardly Lion: He wasn't nearly as self-confident as Shaw and preferred to avoid fisticuffs when he could, but when push came to shove Leland was always there for his friends and allies.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: He was so reliant on his powers to fight that he immediately resorted to using his ability against Wolverine when the X-Man was right above him, with the result that he was sent crashing down through the next few floors when Wolverine landed on top of him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He crushed Wolverine — quite literally — in their first battle, increasing the weight of the clawed Canuck until the floor gave out under him, sending Wolvie crashing down into the sewers.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Considered himself guilty of this when he did not engage a Sentinel in combat because he was afraid and it ended up killing Lourdes Chantel, Shaw's fiancée. Only then did he use his powers on it in anger and guilt so that Shaw could finish it off, although the effort nearly killed Leland.
  • Fat Bastard: Less bastardly than fellow bishop Pierce or his Hellfire superiors, but he still helped Shaw institute The Purge against the Hellfire Club's previous leadership. Also, he was a lawyer.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: As both Wolverine, Colossus, and even Nimrod learned in their battles with him.
  • Gravity Master: Gravity Novice might be more apt in his case, as he could increase the mass of any object or person within 350 feet of his person but could not decease it likewise or otherwise alter it. He was also unable to defy gravity in any way himself.
  • Gravity Sucks: He was able to pull Sebastian Shaw out of orbit (after Shaw had been thrown there by Nimrod) and bring him crashing back down onto the super-Sentinel.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Had an ultimately fatal one.
  • Hollywood New England: He was born in Boston and certainly fits the mold of the "Codfish Aristocracy" stereotype.
  • Killed Off for Real: Died of a heart attack after overexerting his mutant power in a fierce fight with Conflict Killer robot Nimrod.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: When he attempted to assassinate his father, Shinobi taunted Sebastian with the possibility that he was actually Leland's son, since their powers were much more alike than his and Sebastian's. Marauders #26 confirms that Leland is Shinobi's biological father.
  • Noble Demon: He lacked the passion for backstabbing that most Hellfire Club alumni boast, was willing to ally with the X-Men against Nimrod, and ultimately sacrificed his life for his friends and allies.
  • No One Could Survive That!: In his rematch with Wolverine, Harry made the very bad mistake of increasing Wolverine's mass again — as he was leaping down at him for a Death from Above attack. Against all odds, he somehow managed to survive being crushed under hundreds, maybe thousands of pounds of hairy bad-smelling Canadian and lived to increase mass another day.
  • Villainous Valor: He was definitely not one of the good guys, but Leland refused to let his fear of Nimrod overcome him, and fought literally past his last breath, clinging to life just long enough to bring Shaw back down from orbit and smash him into Nimrod.

    Donald Pierce 

Donald Pierce / White Bishop
Donald Pierce could give Jean Grey a run for her money when it comes to coming back from the dead. - Wolverine

Nationality: American

Other Ranks: White King

Species: Human cyborg

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #132 (1980)

One of the X-Men's most loathsome foes, an evil racist cyborg who wants to exterminate all mutants - usually starting with the babies and children and working his way up. Totally repugnant and insane. Ironically, was a former member of the Hellfire Club until his political views drove him to become an all-out anti-mutant terrorist.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: He started out as a Rich Bitch in the Hellfire Club before his anti-mutant views and Sanity Slippage set in.
  • Asshole Victim: It's really hard to feel sorry for this guy when Trevor Fitzroy shows up at his base with a small army of future Sentinels and proceeds to tear all his mooks, and then him, limb from limb.
  • Beta Test Baddie: Early in his career he was written this way, considering himself only "half a man" because of his cyborg enhancements. He eventually got over it.
  • Blood Knight: He wages war on mutants solely because of The Power of Hate.
  • Chess Motifs: Like all Hellfire Club members, Pierce got a rank analogous to a chess piece; in his case, it was the White Bishop.
  • Child Hater: Pierce's anti-mutant sentiments are such that he believes mutants are best killed when they're young; as such, he's basically the walking personification of Would Hurt a Child in the X-Men universe. Of the 348 mutants he's credited with killing, almost all of them were children.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Inflicted this on Wolverine back in The '80s, leaving him crucified and half-dead in the middle of the Australian outback.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: His appearance was originally based on that of Donald Sutherland while his name is a combo of Sutherland's first and M*A*S*H main character Ben "Hawkeye" Pierce.
  • Combat Pragmatist: A distinctly evil version, as he targets the mutants least capable of defending themselves (children) for his prey. He also pulls out all kinds of dirty tricks whenever he has to throw down with the X-Men, with the dirtiest being a nano-virus he had developed specifically to attack Wolverine.
  • Conflict Killer: When he came back at the Turn of the Millennium he was a sufficient enough threat to necessitate an alliance between the X-Men and Sebastian Shaw.
  • Cowardly Lion: Villainous example. He's a bully, and a Dirty Coward, but in a fight he's a match for the likes of Wolverine.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Though his cybernetics and his evil seem to be independent of each other...
  • Death Is Cheap: See the profile quote. Because he's far more machine than man now, Pierce is one of the most frequently killed X-Men villains. Beheaded, dismembered, however he dies he always manages to rebuild himself and come back.
  • Dirty Coward: Not exactly. He has faced Wolverine directly in combat, but generally prefers to pick his battles to his advantage, hence targets child mutants, sets traps, or sees to that he has the advantage through numbers and ambush. The Bully would probably be a better term.
  • Evil Uncle / Like Father, Unlike Son: His nephew Justin Pierce is nothing like him, never showing any hatred or bigotry towards mutants and even showing romantic interest in Dani Moonstar.
  • Family Honor: Perhaps the one and only positive thing that can be said about Pierce, even as narcissistic and self-serving as it is, is that he has this. At one point he is arrested by the FBI, and among their agents is a Justin Pierce, identified as Donald's nephew. When Pierce inevitably escapes he is given the chance to kill Justin but leaves his nephew alive, telling him that unlike him, he values family.
  • Hate Sink: Aside from the one-time case of Family Honor described above, Pierce has never been seen to have anything even approaching a redeemable trait. No concern for his fellow man, no friends or lovers, not even a Freudian Excuse. The man's just got a mad-on for mutants and The Power of Hate.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Averted — unlike other anti-mutant zealots such as Graydon Creed and Senator Kelly, Pierce doesn't seem to have any higher concerns for his fellow man driving his anti-mutant views.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Has kept pace with the X-Men over the years by constantly upgrading his cyborg body, mixing and matching parts and bodies so often you'd think he was made of legos.
    Pierce: The beauty of being a cyborg is that, unlike you mutants, I can always upgrade.
  • Jerkass: One of the most odious examples you'll ever find. He's a vile, spiteful, cowardly bully motivated completely by The Power of Hate and without an ounce of humanity anywhere in him.
  • Joker Immunity: See Death Is Cheap above. While not a hugely popular villain, Pierce's cyborg nature makes resurrecting him very easy. Even if his head is taken off, he'll inevitably come back sooner or later.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: Like many classic X-Men villains, Pierce was offed in The '90s at the hands of then up-and-comer villains the Upstarts. In Pierce's case, Trevor Fitzroy invaded his Australian hideout with a squad of future Sentinels and picked off the Reavers one by one, bringing back Pierce's bisected body to Shinobi Shaw as proof of his successful conquest. This being a decade before Pierce reached full Joker Immunity status, he vanished for most of the 90s as a result.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He brought Sam Guthrie on as hired muscle for the Hellfire Club and ordered him to kidnap Professor X. This set into motion a chain of events that led to Sam becoming the mutant superhero Cannonball.
  • Off with His Head!: Frequently dispatched this way. 90s villain Trevor Fitzroy beheaded him and tossed his head into fellow Upstart Shinobi Shaw's bed to prove it (imagine Blade Runner meets The Godfather) and a decade later Sebastian Shaw punched his head off. This never kills him for good, of course.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: An unrepentant racist who Would Hurt a Child without blinking.
  • Put on a Bus: Currently on one since 2010's Second Coming storyline. Cyclops blew him to smithereens, but Pierce has come back from worse.
  • The Power of Hate: After being socially ruined and willingly sacrificing what little humanity he was born with in the name of power, it's safe to say this is the only thing that keeps Pierce getting up out of bed in the morning. Indeed, his hatred for the mutant race runs so deep that his (current) Last Words to Cyclops were an Evil Is Petty rant about how the only thing he was sorry for was that he wouldn't be around to see mutantkind's extinction.
  • Psycho Electro: Being a Hollywood Cyborg, he was eventually upgraded to be able to generate currents of electricity from the tips of his Wolverine Claws.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Reavers, a gang of cyborg mercenaries he took leadership of in the eighties. Initially played deadly straight, their camp nature led them to inevitable Villain Decay and most of them haven't been seen since the nineties.
  • Shout-Out: He is named after and originally looked like Donald Sutherland; his surname is a reference to Sutherland's character in the movie M*A*S*H, Hawkeye Pierce.
  • Smug Snake: The classical villain that loves to smirk and taunt as long as he's got the advantage.
  • Sympathy for the Hero: At one point shortly after Colossus's loss of his family and sharp descent into depression Pierce almost exhibits this, calling the tormented mutant "a man after my own heart" and remarking that it would almost be a shame to kill such a man... before adding that he is still a mutant and an X-Man, and therefore must die.
  • Token Human: He's the sole regular human of the original Lords Cardinal, as Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Harry Leland, Jason Wyngarde and Jean Grey (the Phoenix Force, actually) are all mutants.
  • Trojan Prisoner: In "Second Coming", Bastion's plan includes Pierce being captured so he can sabotage and destroy the X-Men's jets.
  • Villainous Crush: Had one on Lady Deathstrike during their time together in the Reavers. To say she wasn't interested would be putting it mildly.
  • Wolverine Claws: As a cyborg who frequently slugs it out with the Trope Namer, it's unsurprising that Pierce sports these.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Hundreds of them, actually.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Planned to do this to his fellow Lords Cardinal in the Hellfire Club, who he planned to not only kill but usurp as well. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't nearly as good a schemer as he thought he was and his plot ended with him being expelled from the Hellfire Club and losing all his social standing.

    Friedrich von Roehm 

Friedrich von Roehm / Black Rook

Nationality: American

Species: Human lycanthrope

First Appearance: New Mutants #22 (1984)

I have the high privilege to present, as candidate for admission to the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, as its new Black Queen — Lady Selene!

A German jeweler and devoted worshipper of Selene who sponsored her membership into the Hellfire Club. Like Leland, he was killed in battle with Nimrod.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Oddly enough, Von Roehm was physically modeled after creator Chris Claremont himself.
  • Doomed Contrarian: When Storm proposed the X-Men and Hellfire Club ally against Nimrod, Von Roehm rejected her proposal. Panels later, he was...
  • Killed Off for Real: Nimrod barbecued his ass and has never returned in over three decades.
  • Legacy Character: When Kade Kilgore briefly took over the Hellfire Club, one of the Club members that showed up to his coronation was named Wolfgang Von Roehm. Who this man is and what relation he is to Friedrich is unknown, as he was never shown.
  • Old Retainer: He is apparently from a line of high priests to Selene that were bred over generations to have a lycanthropy she alone could trigger at will.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: He was a hereditary lycanthrope, but not of the usual sort as Marvel werewolves goes.
  • Slave Collar: Well, he is a Chris Claremont character after all, this sort of thing is to be expected.
  • Slave Mook: Aside from his personal devotion to Selene, his lycanthropic form could only be awakened by her, and in that state he was outright contolled by her.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Von Roehm wasn't around for long, but he did serve as Selene's introduction to the Hellfire Club, leading her to the group she has been affiliated with for most of her comic history.
  • Sycophantic Servant: He was a self-professed high priest of the religion venerating Selene and was her worshipful, perfectly willing slave.
  • Twofer Token Minority: He's not a mutant or even a human, but rather a magic-based mutate, and both groups have no representation in the Hellfire Club other than him.
  • The Von Trope Family: He's got the requisite Von tacked onto his name to emphasize his noble family bloodline.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Unlike Leland, Von Roehm has never been resurrected, and appears in only 9 issues.

    Jason Wyngarde 

Jason Wyngarde / Mastermind

First Appearance: X-Men #14 (1964, original), Uncanny X-Men #129 (1980, as Wyngarde)

Just remember, Shaw, it was my psychic seduction of Jean Grey that provided the key to our victory... "We could have won without her?" Is that so? Very well, then. I'll simply release my hold on her. See how long you last.

A mutant Master of Illusion originally affiliated with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Granted probationary membership into the Inner Circle, he sought to prove his worth and seize control of the Club for himself by corrupting Jean Grey into the Club's new Black Queen. Unfortunately for him, Evil Is Not a Toy, and his pursuit of wealth and power came to an ironic end courtesy of the nascent Dark Phoenix.


Tessa / Sage

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #132 (1980)

I offer the sanctuary of the Hellfire Club. Let this truce last a little longer. In Shaw's name, I guarantee your safe conduct.

Introduced as Sebastian Shaw's Personal Mook, Tessa held no official rank in the Inner Circle but was nevertheless a fixture within it through her close working relationship with the Black King. Staying on with the Hellfire Club after her boss's death, Tessa became a Beleaguered Assistant to the Club's new Black King, Shinobi Shaw, and was mostly able to mitigate the damage his incompetent leadership caused until Sebastian's return. Staying on with the Club's reformed incarnation, Tessa remained loyal to Shaw until she was Left for Dead by him, upon which time she joined (rejoined, actually, as it was revealed at this time that she had actually been a Deep Cover Agent in the Hellfire Club the whole time) the X-Men under the new codename of Sage.

    Ned Buckman 

Edward “Ned” Buckman / The White King

Nationality: American

Species: Human

First Appearance: Classic X-Men #7 (1987)

Sebastian Shaw's immediate predecessor as the Hellfire Club's head and leader of its ruling body (called then the Council of the Chosen).

  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: A rich industrialist who plotted to use his wealth to fund mutant genocide (via a program called Project: Armageddon, even).
  • Death by Origin Story: Along with Lourdes.
  • Expy: It's not immediately obvious given his limited panel-time, but as a Fantastic Racist human who plots the deaths of all mutants while holding the rank of White King and usually dressing to match, he's essentially a wimpier Donald Pierce.
  • Fantastic Racism: Helped Stephen Lang finance the Sentinels. He paid for this.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: His finding the Sentinels which lead to the death of Lourdes Chantal is what led to Sebastian Shaw killing him, taking control of the Hellfire Club and becoming the cold bastard he is today.
  • Klingon Promotion: Shaw kills him and takes over the Inner Circle, renaming its secret leaders the Lords Cardinal.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Manipulative enough to get Shaw onboard with the Hellfire Club funding Sentinels by convincing him they would be used only to Take Over the World.
  • Posthumous Character: He was already dead by the time he was introduced and only ever appeared in flashbacks.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: His death even provides the trope's image.
  • Rich Bitch: Unlike his successor Sebastian, he was born to wealth.
  • Smug Snake: His plan to backstab Shaw was treachery at its most basic and he had no contigency plan for what to do if the Sentinel assassination failed, leading to Shaw and friends easily turning the tables on him.
  • Stepford Smiler: He always treated Shaw and Lourdes like his best friends but behind the smile he hated their guts and gleefully plotted their deaths.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Used the language and mannerisms of one, though he's one of the ones who more used it as a type of Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Villain in a White Suit: As the Hellfire Club's White King, he mainly (though not always) dressed in white suits.

    Lourdes Chantel 

Lourdes Chantel / The Black Queen

Nationality: Spanish

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: Classic X-Men #7 (1987)

Sebastian Shaw's former fiancée from before he became the Black King.

  • Act of True Love: Despite being weakened she still selflessly teleported Sebastian out of a Sentinel's coils, leaving herself open to being impaled by it.
  • Cassandra Truth: She tried to warn Shaw that Ned Buckman was a false friend and a lying patron, but Shaw was much more trusting at the time and disregarded her warnings. She also warned Shaw that the Hellfire Club would corrupt him, which sadly also happened after (and partly as a result of) her death.
  • Faking the Dead: Marauders revealed that Emma used the Sentinel attack to make it appear as though Lourdes was killed by a Sentinel. Lourdes previously asked for Emma's help to get away from Sebastian (while sporting a black eye), but Emma brushed off Lourdes's concerns until she saw Sebastian trying to strangle her. Emma saw an opportunity, projected the image of Lourdes dying in the minds of Sebastian and Harry Leland, and then helped Lourdes escape with a new identity.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: She was killed by a Sentinel shooting a massive spear through her chest after she saved Shaw's life from it.
  • Lost Lenore: Her death was part of what caused Shaw's Start of Darkness and he tells Emma that he has not been truly happy since she died. After the founding of Krakoa and the Five beginning the revival of dead mutants, Shaw laments that due to her passing before Cerebro came online she cannot be revived, although he indicates he has a plan to get around that.
  • Mysterious Past: She knew a lot about the inner workings of the Hellfire Club despite not (as far as has ever been revealed) being among the families with a long Club association. She was also the only one of Shaw's confidants who was not American, hailing from Spain instead. Like the extent of her Hellfire association, it's never been revealed how she and Shaw met, nor how or when she discovered her mutant powers.
  • Not Quite Dead: Turns out her death was a ruse by Emma who helped Lourdes escape the Hellfire Club and Shaw at her request.
  • Posthumous Character: Like Ned Buckman, she was already long dead by the time she was introduced. Or not, per the 2021 House of X retcon.
  • Properly Paranoid: Repeatedly warned Shaw that Buckman was not to be trusted and that he hated mutants. Shaw did not listen to her until it was too late and cost Lourdes her life to one of Buckman's Sentinels.
  • Retcon: A rather extreme one was introduced in House and Powers of X with The Reveal that Lourdes had faked her death to escape an abusive relationship with Shaw, which is particularly jarring given that earlier in the same story hints are dropped that Shaw is plotting some sort of scheme to revive her.
  • Teleportation: Her mutant ability, although she had issues going long distances with it.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Died in her debut story, although one issue in later miniseries went into more depth on how she met Shaw and their relationship together. She was revived in the Krakoan era, but still has only made a half dozen appearances in over 30 years.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Showed up in House of X just long enough to reveal that she wasn't dead and Shaw was even more evil than anyone imagined, but hasn't been seen since.

    Emmanuel Da Costa 

Emmanuel Da Costa / White Rook

Nationality: Brazilian

Species: Human

First Appearance: Marvel Graphic Novel #4(September, 1982)

Roberto Da Costa’s wealthy father.

  • Abusive Parents: He was quite controlling of his family in general, but Roberto got it the worst because Emmanuel wanted to toughen him up.
  • Best Served Cold: When he got rich, he bought the mansion of the man he had to work for and took no small pleasure in financially ruining the guy.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He still cared about Roberto and his ex-wife at first, and was insistent his goons avoid killing them if possible, even if it jeopardized his entry into the Hellfire Club. While at an insanely awkward dinner with both Da Costas present, Danielle Moonstar notes that despite their surface bickering, they are still in love.
  • I Have No Son!: Tells Roberto this in New Mutants issue 12 when Roberto confronts him. Roberto just shoots back that if that's the case, he'll gladly be half an orphan.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: His wife is Caucasian. He isn't. Roberto was bullied, in public no less, for being a "filthy half-breed" by the white kids.
  • Motive Decay: Wanting to provide for your family, all well and good, but over time he starts losing sight of that goal.
  • Rags to Riches: He started off dirt poor, and became a self-made millionaire by twenty. Unfortunately, this left him with some severe issues.

The Upstarts

    In General 

The Upstarts

  • Deadly Game: The Upstarts were Hunting the Most Dangerous Game in their corner of the universe, which was of course mutants. Sebastian Shaw and his allies were their first victims, but Selene and the Gamesmaster soon put them to work hunting mutants of all stripes. Good mutants, bad mutants, it didn't matter. The stronger a mutant, the more points they were worth in the game, but in the end it didn't really matter since the game ended without any winner being declared. Though, technically the winner would have been Trevor Fitzroy if one had been declared, since Shinobi and Cortez's kills were both found to have been duds and neither Siena Blaze nor the provisional members (Graydon Creed and the Fenris Twins) ever got around to actually killing anyone, leaving Fitzroy the only Upstart with a confirmed body count.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: They hit the X-scene with guns blazing, killing off a majority of the previously established X-Men villains in one fell swoop. Shinobi Shaw killed his father Sebastian, Fabian Cortez took out Magneto, and Trevor Fitzroy iced Donald Pierce, the Reavers, the White Queen and all of her Hellions. In time most of these deaths were undone, with only the Hellions remaining dead.
  • Spoiled Brat: They all had the Rich Bitch attitude of the Club's ruling class down pat, but lacked their patience and ability to at least pretend to be something other than self-obsessed Jerkasses. Kade Kilgore and his clique of whelps also richly qualify.

    Shinobi Shaw 

Shinobi Shaw / Black King II / Black Bishop

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: X-Factor #67 (1991)

The bastard son of Harry Leland, raised by classic X-villain Sebastian Shaw, Shinobi debuted during the 90s as a member of the Upstarts, a gang of wealthy and powerful young mutants that kill other mutants for points. As The Un-Favourite to his hard-nosed adopted father, Shinobi wasted no time in bumping him off (He failed, but Sebastian vanished for seven years and bore a prominent facial scar upon his return.) and taking his place as Black King of the Hellfire Club. Unfortunately, Shinobi didn't really have much of a plan for... well, anything beyond getting rid of his father, so after whittling away a good few years on offscreen orgies, he was written out as going into hiding, and even more jarringly, Killed Off for Real offscreen.

With the founding of the new mutant nation of Krakoa and the resurrection abilities of the Five, Shinobi has made his return once again, this time as the Black Bishop of the Hellfire Trading Company. From his warship The Upstart, Shinobi ensures that mutant medicines are delieved into the black markets of countries that have refused to recognize Krakoa while scheming with his father to sieze the title of Red King.

He appears as a boss in Wolverine: Adamantium Rage and X-Men: GamesMaster's Legacy.
  • Abusive Parents: Sebastain was apparently quite the dick to him in his youth, leading him to become a firm example of Antagonistic Offspring.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In Wolverine: Adamantium Rage Shinobi's in-game bio describes him as a man who "uses his cruel cunning and total lack of mercy in his endless quest to strike down the X-Men, and Wolverine in particular". As anyone familiar with him knows, the only thing Shinobi's ever strove to 'strike down' in canon was a bottle of wine.
  • All Your Powers Combined: He tells Vance Astrovik that the prize for the Upstarts competition is the combined powers of all the other Upstarts, implying that this is what he wants most as all the Upstarts believed the prize was something different.
  • Alliterative Name: There aren't many good reasons to name your kid Shinobi, but at least it makes his full name into this.
  • Back from the Dead: He and his biological father Harry Leland were both resurrected by Selene's transmode virus during Necrosha. He is now back on a more permenant basis thanks to the Five on Krakoa.
  • Badass Longcoat: Wears one from time to time. Being who he is, there's no way he isn't intentionally trying to invoke this trope.
  • Cavalier Competitor: An interesting example. Despite very much wanting the prize of winning the Upstarts competition (whatever it may have been), Shinobi doesn't seem nearly so bent on it as his fellow competitors, even offering Trevor Fitzroy the assistance of his Sentinels when he's in the lead. He seems to treat the whole affair as just an exotic way to make new friends, which is pretty appropriate given his Friendless Background.
  • Chess Motifs: Takes his father's title of Black King; he's often referred to on websites as 'Black King II', but this is just to differentiate him from Shaw, and he was only called just 'Black King' in-universe.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: ... kind of? Shinobi comes off as way too young (not to mention too dumb) to be one of these, yet somehow he manages to orchestrate a hostile corporate takeover that completely swipes Shaw Industries out from under his father's thumb. Might count as a case of Hidden Depths.
  • Daddy Issues: Oh yeah. Huge ones. So much indeed that he had based his entire life around the idea of punishing his father, so much so that, succeeding in doing just that lead him to become completely idle afterwards.
  • Death Is Cheap: Killed by Shaw, brought back in Necrosha, and died again by his own hand. He's dead as of 2019, but with death being a nonfactor as of House of X it's only a matter of time before Shinobi returns again.
    • And he's back again, resurrected at the request of his father.
  • Depraved Bisexual: The very first panel he appears in shows him surrounded by a harem of shirtless and nubile young men and women. Fellow Upstart Trevor Fitzroy wastes no time in making jabs at him for his 'proclivities', just in case the harem image was too subtle.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Implied. Shinobi almost always starts shit for distraction and for no other reason. An Idle Rich man without any special talent nor hobby, he isn't even exactly "evil" in the strictest sense of the word. Most times, Shinobi is just bored, uninspired and too oversexed for his own good. Ironically, despite his strong distaste for being ordered around, he's only useful if someone gives him a task to handle.
  • Didn't Think This Through: His plan to bump off his father. While it was originally meant to be permanent, in retrospect Sebastian's return seems inevitable. Of all the ways to assassinate a mutant with Energy Absorption powers, did Shinobi really think a bomb would work? If he'd just opted for poison, he'd probably still be drinking and whoring it up in the X-books to this very day...
  • Dirty Coward: Despite theoretically being able to use his powers to duke it out with the heroes as a mini-Colossus, Shinobi used them pretty much for one thing and one thing only — running away.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the pages of Uncanny X-Men (2018) he's inexplicably brought back from the dead only to return himself to the grave because he'd rather die than kneel to Emma Frost.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Was assassinated by his father at some point between 2004 and 2010's Necrosha story arc.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Never stated explicitly, the nineties not quite being ready for that yet, but Shinobi is pretty firmly coded as an enthusiastic user of recreational drugs.
  • Enemy Mine: There's a brief, almost Aborted Arc, where he tries to recruit Vance Astrovik aka Justice of the New Warriors to the Hellfire Club.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Shinobi talks Vance into kidnapping his own girlfriend, with the implied threat that if he doesn't that the other Upstarts will take her and won't be as gentle about it.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: A strange example. Shinobi's more immature than outright evil, but his loveless childhood left him pretty much incapable of understanding or appreciating the familial bonds that unite the X-Men together.
  • Friendless Background: Overlapping with Lonely Rich Kid; Warren Worthington/Archangel reveals at one point he was pretty much Shinobi's only childhood friend, and even then they weren't particularly close.
  • Freudian Excuse: Sebastian apparently looked down on his son for being too effeminate and weak. This probably played a role in Shinobi's attempts to kill him.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: You'd expect this from a character named Shinobi, but it's thankfully averted.
  • Hanlon's Razor: Keep it handy when reading anything this guy appears in. You'll need it.
  • Harmless Villain: Borderline. Shinobi can theoretically give you a heart attack, but he's much more likely to just hire someone to beat you up... and that's if he even cares enough to bother, which he usually doesn't. Most villains will dispose of an underling who's betrayed him, but his response when he finds out Tessa sold him out to the X-Men? Pout. No rages, no threats, he literally sulks like a child.
  • The Hedonist: Differs from most Hellfire alumni in that his hedonism is largely just a way of coping with his Freudian Excuse.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: He was a founding member of the Upstarts, a Hellfire Club offshoot of rich young mutants that amuse themselves by hunting other mutants for points.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: To the point of killing his father in his very first appearance. Or attempting to, at least.
  • Idle Rich: Much more so than his father, or really anyone else in the Hellfire Club. The whole reason why Shinobi's tenure as Black King was so brief was because he really didn't do much of anything after gaining that rank, participating in only a handful of limpwristed efforts to recruit various X-Men to the Club.
  • In the Blood: His mutant abilities, which come from Harry Leland, his biological father.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: His father certainly feels this way, and judging from Shinobi's track record as Black King, the elder Shaw is entirely correct in this belief.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Not to many, as most people can't see past the whole 'born with a silver spoon in his mouth' thing, but aside from the bed of cash he cries (and screws) himself to sleep on Shinobi's definitely got at least a few sympathetic moments. It helps that he's barely ever outright trying to hurt or destroy the X-Men either, unlike many villains, and actually tries pulling We Can Rule Together more than anything else.
  • Informed Ability: Shinobi's power of density control can be used in two ways: either he significantly lower his own density, which makes him intangible, or on the contrary he increases it drastically making him harder than rock. The latter ability however has never been used on panel, and it was only mentionned by Shinobi himself in his first appearence, though technically he uses in small degree when materializing his hand in his opponents' body as a killing technique. See Intangibility below.
  • Intangibility: Has the mutant ability of density control, making him a sort of Evil Counterpart to Shadowcat. It also offers him some limited degree of Nigh-Invulnerability, at least enough to where he can "take a crowbar to the chin" and not flinch.
  • It Amused Me: If you're looking for a high-minded villain, look elsewhere. Shinobi does what he does primarily out of boredom and/or whimsy, and really has no overarching plan beyond this. Demonstrated nicely when he usurps his father as Black King of the Hellfire Club, acquiring obscene wealth and the connections to be a potential global mover, only to spend years doing exactly what he was doing in that very first panel he showed up in — bedding harlots and drinking with thieves.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Sebastian's insulting Shinobi as a pathetic, whining nobody unworthy to inherit Sebastian's power was cruel and abusive...and also correct.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Probably the one time he doesn't come off as Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense is when X-Force kicks in his door during the Younghunt. Faced with a band of gun-toting and pissed off mutants, he immediately washes his hands of the entire Upstarts affair and flounces off pretty much the second they let him.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: It's implied that Harry Leland, the Black Bishop of the Hellfire Club, might be his biological father. Indeed, Shinobi's mutant powers are similar to Leland's (density control) and very unlike Sebastian's powers. Marauders #26 confirms that Leland is his biological father and Sebastian knew.
  • Mecha-Mooks: After usurping control of Shaw Industries from his father Shinobi gathered a cadre of Sentinels for his own personal use.
  • Mundane Utility: He openly admits he can use his Intangible Man powers for peeping on girls (not that he needs to with his cash)
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Despite being a mutant, Shinobi has no interest at all in superhero brawls and whenever one breaks out he inevitably makes a beeline for the nearest exit.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Possibly. He certainly plays the Depraved Bisexual angle to the hilt, seemingly not carrying who might see him carrying on in his numerous orgies. The fact that said people might then dismiss him as a dumb kid in over his head might be an explanation for how he was able to pull off his hostile takeover of Shaw Industries without his dad ever once catching wind of it until it was too late.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Though largely an idiot, Shinobi is notable for being one of the few comic book villains who isn't interested in dragging things into fisticuffs. He'd much rather just talk or buy his way out of trouble, and when it's inevitable, tends to rely on Mooks rather than fight himself.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: A very jarring example. With virtually no buildup or explanation, Shinobi just suddenly... vanished, right around the time his father started re-emerging as a villain. The timing probably wasn't a coincidence, but it took nearly a decade for Marvel to just come out and admit they'd Dropped a Bridge on Him.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Played for comedy at one point, where Shinobi's underling (and his father's former assistant) Tessa calls the X-Men on him. Not because he's crossed any moral lines or anything, oh no... she calls them because she fears Shinobi's leadership is so inept that he'll steer the Hellfire Club into ruin out of sheer incompetence.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Let's face it, without the Shaw fortune funding him Shinobi probably would've ended up either in prison or as one of those annoying college kids always going on about legalizing marijuana.
  • Attempted Self-Made Orphan
  • Signature Move: Being a villain, he uses his intangibility powers to pull off 'heart squeezing' as his trademark killing move.
  • Spoiled Brat: Of a sort. While he had every material thing he could ever want, Shinobi was routinely subjected to ritualistic emotional abuse by his father.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Beneath all the obscene wealth Shinobi is just another disaffected teen with daddy issues.
  • Troll: To Wolverine in Adamantium Rage. Somehow Logan gets it in his head that Shinobi (of all people) is responsible for his latest amnesia troubles. Rather than just taking the easy way out and correcting him, Shinobi eggs him on, to the point where Wolverine rips and tears his way through the entirety of the Hellfire Club's staff, including Shinobi's cyborg butler, all just to wipe that smug smirk off his face.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Averted, actually. Despite usurping his father's position as Black King, Shinobi doesn't actually do anything with that power and is killed offscreen, a horribly ignomious fate for a character with his pedigree.
  • The Un-Favourite: Someone at Marvel must have really hated this guy. Not only was he written out of the story offscreen, he was killed offscreen! Killed Off for Real too, no less. He was also very much the in-universe Unfavorite of his father, who considered him an unworthy successor and had no problem telling him so to his face.
  • Vehicular Assault: Not in the comics, but in the Sega Genesis game Wolverine: Adamantium Rage he hops into the cockpit of a Mini-Mecha-sized tank thing to do battle with Wolverine.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Here's a hint: when your villain spends more time partying and getting wasted than he does committing any actual villainy, it's probably a sign you don't have the makings of a master Big Bad on your hands.
  • We Can Rule Together: He was fairly fond of this, offering high-level Hellfire Club ranks to Archangel and Psylocke, and later Storm as well.
  • Yakuza: Has dealings with them and it's even possible they were the power behind his hostile takeover of Shaw Industries.

    Trevor Fitzroy 

Trevor Fitzroy

Aliases: White Rook, Chronomancer

Nationality: American (Earth-1191)

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #281 (1991)

You have been clumsy, little one. You should have chosen a target more within the reach of your abilities.

A mutant criminal from around approximately eighty years or so into the future, Trevor Fitzroy originally believed himself to be a simple teleporter. Upon discovering his full potential, he used his mutant abilities to escape into the present day, unwittingly bringing his chief pursuer Bishop along with him. He made quite an impact when he first arrived thanks to a particularly excessive Bloodbath Villain Origin, but despite (or perhaps because) of it, he was never featured so prominently again. Despite being Killed Off for Real at the Turn of the Millennium, he's made a handful of appearances since.He appears as a boss in two of the three Game Gear X-Men games and as the Final Boss of Wolverine: Adamantium Rage.
  • Aborted Arc: Doubles as a case of What Could Have Been; in early appearances Fitzroy was played up as having a very personal grudge against Emma Frost, though it was clear the present-day Emma had no idea who he was and his grudge was likely against Emma's future self. Then, a few issues later, Fitzroy claims that Bishop's sister Shard killed his mother, with Bishop himself present, and that he is acting to avenge her murder. Neither of these plot points are ever mentioned or elaborated on again.
  • Abnormal Ammo: At one point he demolished a police barricade by using his portals to summon an oncoming prison train from his future.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Like many 90s X-Men villains, Fitzroy got his evil quotient dialed back a few notches for his appearance in the X-Men animated series. There he's more of a Lovable Rogue than a Dangerous Deserter, he ends up betraying the Big Bad Master Mold to help the heroes (albeit to save his own skin), and his mutant powers pointedly do not kill, instead just knocking the victim unconscious for a day or two.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Bishop. Weirdly for comic-book arch enemies, Fitzroy actually debuted an issue before Bishop hit the scene.
  • Bad Boss: To his lackey/manservant Bantam.
    Bantam: What need do you fill in my life?
    Fitzroy: Your need to keep breathing.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Having a mutant ability that requires the continuous theft of lifeforce from other beings does not set one up on the road to heroism.
  • Bald of Evil: As the Chronomancer.
  • Bastard Bastard: He's the illegitimate son of Anthony Shaw, descendant of today's Sebastian Shaw, and his resentment over being a bastard was one of the main factors that appears to have pushed him into villainy.
    Fitzroy: In the olden days of kings and queens, 'Fitzroy' was the surname given to royal children born out of wedlock, and my dear daddy considers himself every inch a king. I'm his little joke, see?
  • Beard of Evil: More like a little goatee of the sort normally reserved for evil twins.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Played with — Fitzroy is definitely this in a narrative sense, being used as the Big Bad for his first story arc and then constantly being forced into working for villains with greater power and resources afterward. But in-universe, Fitzroy didn't actually want to be a supervillain on par with Magneto, instead just wanting to escape into the past and carry on his hedonistic lifestyle there.
  • Bloodbath Villain Origin: His primary claim to fame. Busting onto the scene in 1991, Fitzroy racked up an astonishing bodycount with the help of his pet Sentinels — the Reavers, Selene (sort of — she was 'merely' imprisoned and tortured rather than killed, being immortal), and most infamously, the Hellions all met their makers by his hand. To this day, well over twenty years later, the massacre of the Hellions is still remembered for being one of the most senseless wastes of beloved D-list characters ever.
  • Came Back Wrong: An odd Freudian Excuse - years after his death, Fitzroy was featured in a flashback (flash forward?) issue of X-Factor which revealed that he had once been a heroic freedom fighter during the Summers Rebellion. Then he was killed by the baddie Cortex, who knew that Fitzroy was the only rebel whose powers he was vulnerable to. Fellow freedom fighter Layla Miller was able to bring him back, but sans his soul. This is retconned into being the reason why he was such an unrepentant Jerkass in the present day.
  • Chess Motifs: His Hellfire Club rank was 'White Rook' and later in X-Men '92 he would acquire a more direct motif, being introduced toying pensively with a chess piece of his arch-enemy Bishop.
  • Co-Dragons: He and Madelyne Pryor were briefly this to Selene when the Hellfire Club was being reformed. While Madelyne eventually ditched the Club to go find Nate Grey, Fitzroy stuck around a bit longer, finding new patronage with Sebastian Shaw before he finally came to the very late realization that he'd been thinking too small and left to go become a Dimension Lord.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Inflicts this on Selene, locking her in a device that systematically disassembles and reassembles her on a molecular level.
  • Create Your Own Villain: A younger Fitzroy was time-travelling cyborg Cortex's first target when he was set on the rebellion, because of his life-draining abilities. Ruby Summers told Layla to resurrect him, knowing what would happen.
  • Dangerous Deserter: His father forced him to join the X.S.E. in an attempt to be rid of him. But after having had a taste of wealth and power, he wasn't keen to settle for the life of a glorified rent-a-cop and bailed on them a few years later.
  • Dimension Lord: In Bishop: The Last X-Man, where it's revealed he eventually fled the present day to rule a far-flung future where mankind has regressed back to a medieval state.
  • Dirty Coward: Accused of being one by Bishop often, and with his powers mostly being useful for running away, there's some merit to it. Fitzroy himself realizes this and resents it, to the point of invoking it in their final battle.
    Fitzroy: You want to end this too, don't you? Well, come closer then... and see if I run!
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: His brief revival in the 2018 UXM run was ignobly ended when he and Siena Blaze were killed offscreen by Sentinels.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being a fugitive and unrepentant murderer misogyny is apparently crossing the line for him. The first thing he does upon meeting Siena Blaze is kill her boyfriend for going on about how he only hooked up with her because she had the Most Common Superpower.
    Fitzroy: No one likes a sexist, Wallace.
  • Evil Mentor: To Siena Blaze of the Upstarts.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Because he almost always ends up betraying whoever he works with/for, Fitzroy has a lot of enemies among fellow villains. Selene in particular, upon being freed from the perpetual torture chamber he locked her in, took intense pleasure in exacting revenge on him.
  • Flanderization: In the X-Man title. He was already a Jerkass, did the writers really need to throw in Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil? Apparently Bob Harras and Terry Kavanagh thought so.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: How he was Killed Off for Real. Halfway through a portal that would have allowed him to merge with Time itself, Bishop grabbed his ankle and held him until it closed.
  • The Hedonist: Seems to be a requirement for membership in the Hellfire Club, doesn't it?
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Fitzroy's control of his own powers is decidedly limited at first, and for a good long time after. He can create and maintain multiple portals, but requires the aid of another mutant to 'catalog' them for future use. He has some degree of vulnerability to his Life Drinker powers too, as X-Force once tricked him into draining (and nearly killing) himself. Finally, for the longest time he believed his portals were one-way, and he could only use them to travel back in time, never forward. As we see when he realizes his full potential as the Chronomancer, that was very much not the case.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: As a member of the Upstarts, this was his motive for villainy shortly after arriving in the present day.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: A useful side-effect of his mutant powers, though for most of his history he could only access it with the aid of his manservant Bantam, who 'catalogued' his portals to bring back specific things through them (shown examples include a fleet of Sentinels and a prison train).
  • Immortality Seeker: He tells Siena Blaze that the prize for the Upstarts competition is immortality, implying that he is one of these since all the Upstarts believed the prize was something different.
  • Irony: At first, Fitzoy didn't know his portals were time-travel portals. He just opened up portals and tossed Sentinels in willy-nilly.
  • Last-Name Basis: In lieu of a proper mutant codename, he had this. Until he became the Chronomancer he was pretty much exclusively addressed as 'Fitzroy'.
  • Locked into Strangeness: X-Factor (2006) revealed that Fitzroy's neon-green hair wasn't natural, but instead a sort of Red Right Hand that he'd Came Back Wrong after being resurrected by Ruby Summers.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: Due to his Bloodbath Villain Origin detailed above, this guy could well be the Trope Namer.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Being a Bastard Bastard of one, this is how he styles himself.
  • Mecha-Mooks: He brings back a squad of future Sentinels with him. Shinobi Shaw's response is to note that they're, "Mmm. Smaller than mine".
  • Mutant: As the descendant of an evil Badass Family of mutants, this is to be expected, though Fitzroy's powers differ markedly from the other known Shaws.
    • Life Drinker: He absorbs life energy through physical contact, but doesn't gain increased strength, power, or youth from the exchange. Instead, he can use it for Time Travel — a fleeting touch allows him to jaunt back a few minutes or so in time, while draining a person until they're dead allows him to go back weeks. And draining multiple people...
    • Liquid Assets: At one point he reveals he can channel the life energy he steals into others as well as himself. He does this to his servant Bantam, restoring him to life after killing him for mouthing off.
    • Teleportation: At their most basic level this is what his powers function as. Because he can use a fleeting touch to jaunt from one place to another with only a minute or so lost or gained in a time, Fitzroy actually spent years believing he was only a simple teleporter. It's not known if he discovered his Time Travel capabilities by accident, and then became a murderer to make use of them, or if he was already a murderer who discovered what he could do after using his mutant powers to kill for the first time.
    • Time Master: As his new codename implies, Fitzroy realized his ultimate potential for this as the Chronomancer. No longer just limited to making portals, he could incapacitate people by trapping them in localized pockets of temporal stasis, speed up or slow down the aging process, and even seemed to have some limited Reality Warper abilities, restoring Bishop's sister Shard from her Energy Being state back into a flesh-and-blood form.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He is directly responsible for Bishop's presence in the present day, as a portal he opened for his followers to come through spit out the Bish instead.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: His most defining personality trait is how utterly disloyal he is to anyone.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: According to X-Factor, the main reason Fitzroy took part in the Summers Rebellion was because he was bored (and dating Ruby Summers).
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Not seen so much in the comics, but very much this in Adamantium Rage. He pops out of nowhere after Wolverine's trashed Shinobi Shaw and reveals that he was hanging around watching the two of them wail on each other so he could finish them both off.
  • Picky People Eater: At one point he gripes about having to drain a flatscan (human) for lifeforce, remarking that they 'leave such an unpleasant aftertaste' compared to mutant victims.
  • Powered Armor: He brought a suit of armor back from the future with him. Probably a good call, seeing how physically fragile he was otherwise.
    Fitzroy: The mutants of this day have a nasty habit of fracturing certain facial features I'm rather partial to...
  • Real Men Wear Pink: In his first appearance, and occasionally thereafter. Merchandise usually changed it to a more aesthetically-pleasing blue.
  • Retcon: A pretty big one some years after his death — originally Fitzroy had been pretty much crooked from day one, but Peter David's X-Factor run established him as a Fallen Hero by showing him as having fought for the good guys during the Summers Rebellion, only to die and get brought back out of sheer necessity.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Possibly his real motivation for murdering the Hellions, if the Aborted Arc between him and Emma is anything to go by.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Mostly featured as a Bishop villain, he was borrowed to be the final boss for Wolverine: Adamantium Rage.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Sensitive Guy to Bishop's Manly Man, during the brief time when they were allies in the X.S.E.
  • Stable Time Loop: He became Siena Blaze's Evil Mentor because in the future they met and her future counterpart told him where to find her in the present. Whether this was a gambit on the part of Future Siena to produce one of these, or to change her future altogether, is unknown as it ended up being another Aborted Arc.
  • The Starscream: Originally, the Upstarts were being manipulated by Selene from afar. When they found out, it was Fitzroy who went after her to teach her that Evil Is Not a Toy.
  • Status Quo Is God: Despite evolving into the Chronomancer during his final appearances, the reset button was hit for Fitzroy during his appearance in Uncanny X-Men (2018).
  • Those Two Guys: He was often seen with his manservant Bantam, a Sycophantic Servant dwarf.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In Bishop: The Last X-Man he came back for one last hurrah as the Chronomancer, having improved his control of his powers exponentially. Indeed, he'd become so powerful that Uatu himself showed up to observe his endgame, something he does only for matters of great cosmic importance.
  • Villain Ball: In Bishop: The Last X-Man. He was literally right there in front of the portal and all he had to do was just walk through it, but he just had to monologue and give Bishop time to catch up to him.
  • Villain Decay: In his first appearance he was a match for the combined force of the Hellions and the X-Men, making use of a variety of useful features of his Powered Armor that were never used again. A few issues later Colossus beat the holy hell out of him single-handed, and it was pretty much all downhill from there.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Casually drains a hapless repairman in one story, leading to this exchange:
    Mook: P-Please, don't... I have a wife, kids...
    Fitzroy: They'll just have to wait their turn.
  • Wolverine Claws: Sometimes sported these through his armor, other times he could summon them as crystalline 'gloves'.
  • Would Hurt a Child:One of the first things he does upon being revealed as the Chronomancer is to drain a small group of very young kids, just in case any readers were wondering if he was still an irredeemable Hate Sink scumbag.

    Fabian Cortez 

Fabian Cortez

First Appearance: X-Men #1 (1991)

Cortez: How can we even consider Creed a member of the Upstarts?! He's done nothing to prove himself, while I have—
Shinobi/Fitzroy: —murdered Magneto. Yes. We know.

A Spanish mutant who was "born royalty" according to himself, Fabian Cortez founded the Acolytes and murdered their idol Magneto, putting him in the early lead of the Upstarts competition (which he lorded over them at every opportunity). Eventually losing his lead when it was revealed that Magneto was Not Quite Dead, Cortez soon found himself embroiled in troubles of his own making, and was the first Upstart to drop out of the competition on account of suffering a sudden case of death courtesy of Exodus.

    Siena Blaze 

Siena Blaze

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men Annual #17 (1993)

Ha! I'm not better, Cyclops. I'm the worst. "They" made me who I am today. And now, they'll just have to... DEAL WITH IT!

A reckless young mutant anarchist and the last recruit to the thrill-seeking Upstarts. In her debut appearance she almost killed three of the most powerful X-Men, and she remained a formidable foe for as long as the Upstarts were active. After the Gamesmaster disbanded the group she was shunted into The Ultraverse, where she joined the Exiles (no, not those Exiles) and found herself going through a Heel–Face Turn. She might have become a full-fledged hero, but unfortunately nobody could figure out what to do with her post-Ultraverse and she vanished for several years before being Killed Off for Real in the mutant concentration camp Neverland.She appears as a boss in the 1995 Game Gear game X-Men: GamesMaster's Legacy.
  • Arch-Enemy: Briefly used this way for Jubilee (Marvel Comics) and Rachel Summers.
  • Back from the Dead: She was one of the many dead mutants who were resurrected by Selene's transmode virus during the 2009 Necrosha story and was seen fighting Namor on Utopia. She lived for some years afterward, apparently, but was ultimately killed off again in the fifth volume of Uncanny X-Men.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: As Professor X himself states on one of Siena's trading card bios: "Never before have I met a mutant whose power is so solely, wantonly and completely destructive."
  • Combat Pragmatist: In her first appearance she shoots down a plane with Professor X, Cyclops and Storm inside while the plane is over the Arctic. Even if they end up surviving (which they do), they then have to contend with the hostile arctic weather in addition to her. She, on the other hand, never exhibits any discomfort with the weather, even after being frozen inside a glacier by Storm, implying that her powers protect her from the environment somehow.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Has the ability to manipulate electromagnetic fields, which is in functionality a form of of Lightning Can Do Anything. She has used it to the following effects:
    • Blow You Away: In GamesMaster's Legacy she attacks the player character with whirling tornadoes.
    • Flight: Achieves this by surrounding herself with an aura of magnetic energy of equal polarity to the Earth's geomagnetic field, causing the Earth to repel her upwards.
    • Nigh-Invulnerability: Through unexplained means she was capable of rendering herself tough enough to tank an optic blast from Cyclops and a compact hurricane from Storm simultaneously.
    • Shock and Awe: Fires deadly force blasts of electromagnetic energy. Just one of these blasts was capable of bringing down the Blackbird.
    • Super Senses: She can sense both people and objects that effect the Earth's EM field, even teleporters like Nightcrawler. Sensing teleporters in particular allows her to perform a:
    • Tele-Frag: By disrupting the EM field in a teleporter's vicinity, she can redirect where they will rematerialize. When she used this on Nightcrawler she forced him to rematerialize into solid rock.
    • Teleportation: "Rides" the Earth's EM field to teleport in a fashion similar to Nightcrawler.
    • Weather Manipulation: An extremely nasty side effect of her powers and the reason for her being declared Too Powerful to Live. She causes localized ecological disasters every time she uses her powers.
  • Cool Shades: Almost always seen sporting a pair of giant red 90s shades.
  • Dark Action Girl: Served this role in the Upstarts.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Though Siena herself turned out to be a very minor character, much of her personality was borrowed from for the reimagined version of Pyro seen in the X-Men Film Series, to the point where that character can accurately be called a Composite Character of the actual Pyro and Siena.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Unceremoniously killed off in the pages of Weapon X after several years of being MIA without any fanfare at all. She later got a second bridge dropped on her in the pages of Uncanny X-Men (2018), being brought back only to be killed offscreen yet again.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She calls Mr. Sinister a "real creep" when strong-armed by the Gamesmaster into working for him.
  • Foreshadowing: Trevor Fitzroy convinces her to join him by giving her a brief glimpse of her future self, who is shown to be an aged prisoner on a mutant transport train. Later the present-day Siena was herself captured by Weapon X.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Twice, once in a What If? story where she joins the X-Men of a Bad Future and then when the main universe Siena joined the Ultraverse Exiles.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Expresses some measure of bitterness about "regular people" when Cyclops exhorts her to "be better", leading to her profile quote above.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: It was strongly implied that Siena was the most powerful member of the Upstarts, despite being the youngest and least experienced of them. Even their leader Gamesmaster, who is himself a mutant omnipath with telepathy so advanced he is constantly connected to every mind on Earth, was once stated to be "frightened of the genie he let out of its bottle." Siena later proved it by holding her own against the likes of Rachel Summers, Illyana Rasputin, and even Namor.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Implicitly implied with the revelation that Siena risks causing permanent damage to Earth's electromagnetic field every time she uses her powers and she just keeps on using them anyway.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: As a result of her high power level combined with her inexperience, Siena's mutant ability tears scars into the Earth's electromagnetic field every time she uses it.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Starts off as a particularly nasty one, but after some character development as a member of the Exiles she appeared to be growing out of it.
  • Run for the Border: When she is first found by Trevor Fitzroy she is on the run with a human bank robber. They are actually in the middle of a shootout with the police when Fitzroy shows up.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Or extremely reckless and anarchistic villains, in her case.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Her later character development would seem to indicate Siena was more disaffected and immature than out-and-out evil.
  • Spanner in the Works: The mad mutant Stryfe feared Siena might become this for his plans, as seen in her entry in Stryfe's Strike Files. Ironically Stryfe died before Siena was even formally introduced to readers.
  • Too Powerful to Live: Outright stated in her early appearances due to her power wreaking havoc on the Earth's electromagnetic field with every use.
  • Villain Decay: The Upstarts competition seems to be the only thing that Siena feels gives her life any purpose or meaning. After the Gamesmaster disbanded the group, she was seen still trying to keep the competition going, even though there was no one left to award her any points or any prize to claim with them. She was completely at a loose end until the group reformed, even though they fought without any teamwork against the X-Men.



Aliases: Harold Smith, Jeremy Stevens

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #283 (1991)

Okay then, Nathan... To you, and to Charlie, and Dwayne Taylor — To Forge, and Exodus, and Mr. Sinister — To all of you out there — Let the game begin!

A mutant "omnipath" whose Telepathy is so advanced that he is constant contact with every mind on Earth simultaneously — and he can't turn it off. To stave off Go Mad from the Revelation, he joins forces with Selene to organize the Upstarts, and serves as the arbitrator of the Deadly Game they play. He provides the Antagonist Title for the 1995 Game Gear game X-Men: GamesMaster's Legacy, though he never appears in the game itself.
  • Aborted Arc: Jeph Loeb's run on X-Force presented a backstory for the Gamesmaster in which he was actually a young boy named Jeremy Stevens who was physically trapped in a mental institution. This was immediately discarded, perhaps because it was more than a little bit of a ripoff of Chris Claremont's own Aborted Arc origin for his villain Mr. Sinister.
  • Astral Projection: He's more than capable of this with his powers, and when he appears he's usually Wreathed in Flames for no particular reason.
  • Bald of Evil: He's the classic example of a Chrome Dome Psi and is in league with some very nasty people, though he's not a particularly nasty guy himself.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Oh, he's definitely powerful, but it's doubtful he's as powerful as he pretends to be. Despite making a Badass Boast about being able to control every mind on Earth if he wanted, he struggled to control just the New Warriors and X-Force during the "Child's Play" story, and while he was later able to control all of Salem Center, he was also distracted enough for his control to slip. He also turned into a Dirty Coward when Siryn threatened to stab a body he was using for People Puppets, implying he could be killed if a body he was inhabiting was killed before he could withdraw from it.
  • The Cameo: He made a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in X-Men: The Animated Series as one of the telepaths captured by Apocalypse during the "Beyond Good and Evil" 4-part episode.
  • Chronic Villainy: The Upstarts story ended with Husk convincing him to abandon the competition and try playing a more constructive game by finding and guiding the next generation of mutants, which he delightedly agreed to. Yet future appearances by him would see him slide back into his usual petty Superdickery.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Unlike other high-order telepaths, he struggles with any other application of his powers beyond basic listen/speak telepathy. This means that, unlike other telepaths on his level like Professor X and Emma Frost, he has to keep his physical body far away from danger at all times. Fortunately for him, that's an easy thing to do with his powers.
  • Deadly Game: He's the arbiter of the Upstarts, who are Hunting the Most Dangerous Game for points and a nebulous "prize" offered by Selene.
  • Dirty Coward: He stays far away from danger and the one time he was threatened with physical harm, he immediately withdrew his presence.
  • The Final Temptation: He tempted the X-Men with one of these at one point, sans Jean Grey who was too powerful to be fooled by him.
  • Game Master: It's literally his codename, and he certainly styles himself as a trollish DM playing with the lives of his players capriciously.
  • Hearing Voices: Billions of them. All the time.
  • It Amused Me: Aside from the necessity of a distraction, he sticks around with the Upstarts after they get rid of Selene because he finds them and their interactions with each other amusing. He's prone to throwing the odd wrench in their plans, such as tricking Fabian Cortez into confessing to murdering Magneto with one of his eavesdropping followers listening in, for the same reason.
  • Living a Double Life: The end of the "Child's Play" story implied that he leads one of these, showing him with a picture of himself and two other people, a blond-haired woman and a young boy who were most likely his wife and son.
  • My Rule Fu Is Stronger than Yours: At the climax of the "Child's Play" story he declares himself the winner of the Upstarts game and that X-Force and the New Warriors have to die, not because he wants to kill them but just because those are the rules he set. But Husk breaks out her own Rule-Fu and convinces the Gamesmaster to try playing a different game.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: An extreme example, as he has no other powers besides his telepathy. How extreme? No one has even met him in person yet.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: He has no particular grudge against the X-Men and doesn't wish harm on them, he's just got way too much power and is too much of a Troll to vent it in harmless ways.
  • The Omniscient: When you're in constant contact with every mind on Earth, very little surprises or escapes you.
  • Power Incontinence: He has no way of shutting off his super-telepathy, leaving him with no choice but to find distractions for himself lest he go mad.
  • Power Limiter: He wears cybernetic implants at his temples to modulate his powers. Unfortunately, even the strongest Limiters can't modulate them to the point of allowing him to turn them off.
  • Psychic Powers: He possesses an aberrant, extremely powerful variant of telepathy titled "Omnipathy".
  • Put on a Bus: After the end of the "Child's Play" story he hopped on one of these and has spent most of his time since on one, hopping off only very infrequently for the odd X-person run-in.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Peter David's 2nd run on X-Factor introduced a character called the Isolationist whose backstory was very nearly a direct copypaste of the Gamesmaster's (extremely powerful telepath is cursed to listen to everyone on Earth and can't turn it off, becomes a supervillain to cope with it) but with the added bonus of having Mega Manning powers as well.
  • Troll: He clearly enjoyed needling the self-important Upstarts and throwing wrenches into their plans "to keep the game interesting".
  • Unknown Character: In GamesMaster's Legacy''. He is referred to in the title and is stated to be the Big Bad in the game manual, but he is never seen or mentioned within the game itself and the Final Boss turns out to be Stryfe.
  • The Watcher: Back when he was still in circulation he would use his omnipathy to observe important events, such as when Shatterstar fused with Benjamin Russell.

Later members

    Adrienne Frost 

Adrienne Frost / White Queen II

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: Generation X #48 (December, 1998)

Emma dear, family is for people who can't make friends on their own.

The older sister of Emma Frost. A ruthless corporate raider willingly molded in her father's image, she joined the Hellfire Club as its White Queen after falling out with her sister and the kids of Generation X. Treacherous and conniving, she backstabbed everyone who crossed her path, including the Hellfire Club themselves. Eventually her double-dealing caught up with her, however, and after causing the death of one of Emma's students the old White Queen shot the new one dead.


William Rolfson / Nemesis / Holocaust

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: X-Men: Alpha #1 (1995)

I see that you are the sort of commander who understands that wars are not won in a single battle, Shaw. I'll... respect that. For now.

The time-displaced son of Apocalypse from the Age of Apocalypse. An associate of the Club rather than an actual member, Holocaust was tracked down by Sebastian Shaw after falling to Earth in a fearsome battle with Exodus of Magneto's Acolytes. Shaw built Holocaust a new containment suit in exchange for his service, but that service didn't last for long, as Onslaught soon arrived to make Holocaust a better offer.

    Madelyne Pryor 

Madelyne Jennifer Pryor / Anodyne / Goblyn Queen / Black Rook / Red Queen

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant clone

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #168 (1983, original), X-Man #22 (1996, joined Hellfire)

I see no fire, Tessa, no flame... Except for the Inferno (1988) itself. — Sebastian Shaw

The first wife of Cyclops and a woman who was seemingly the spitting image of Jean Grey... because as it turned out she was actually Jean's clone. After being used as the Big Bad for the Inferno event and being Killed Off for Real for several years, Madelyne was resurrected in the pages of the X-Man title, where she was brought into the Hellfire Club as Black Rook by Selene. Never a woman to let herself be used, Pryor turned the invitation to her own advantage, forging an alliance with Sebastian Shaw and leaving her former patron in the dust before departing the Club itself because it turns out that Everyone Has Standards, even clones.

    Courtney Ross 

Courtney Ross / Opul Lun Sat-Yr-9 / White Queen III

Nationality: English

Species: Human

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #449 (2004)

A Canon Foreigner who is originally the problem of Excalibur, the woman known as Courtney Ross is actually an alternate reality counterpart from Earth-794 who killed the real Courtney Ross and usurped her identity. Sat-Yr-9 was a ruthless dictator in her own reality but she got deposed and has come to Earth-616 through a Portal Door in the multiverse to evade execution and start anew with a different position of power somewhere no one knows who she is.

Even though she still goes by "Courtney Ross", Captain Britain (Psylocke's brother) and his team are completely aware of the fact that Sat-Yr-9 is an impostor and have already battled her but she managed to escape and is now the new White Queen, and has appointed Madame Hydra as her personal aide and bodyguard as the "White Princess".

She keeps her arrogant and ruthless behavior and still ranks high on Captain Britain's hitlist for having killed his girlfriend, even though he hasn't gotten track of her yet.

    Reeva Payge / Black Queen 

Reeva Payge

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: X-Men Annual #3 (August, 1994)

Shinobi’s Black Queen when he took over the New York chapter of the Hellfire Club from his father.
  • Brown Note: Her mutant power was to use her voice to emit a high pitch frequency that would disrupt the targets brain’s chemistry and distort their perception of reality.

Black King Emma’s recruits


Raven Darkholme / Mystique / White King


Joshua Foley / Elixer / Black Bishop


Sarah / Marrow / Black Knight


Telford Porter / Vanisher / White Bishop

See X-Force

Hellfire Trading Company recruits

    Kate Pryde 

Captain Kate Pryde / Red Queen


Lucas Bishop / Bishop / Red Bishop

    Christian Frost 

Christian Frost / White Bishop

Nationality: American

Species: Human mutant

First Appearance: New X-Men #139 (June, 2003)

The eldest sibling of the Frost family, Christian and his sister Emma were the only two members to actually get along with each other. After losing contact following Emma joining the Hellfire Club and Christian being committed by his father due to being gay, they eventually reconnected and discovered that Christian was also a mutant with the ability to create constructs of astral energy. With the founding of the mutant nation of Krakoa, Christian has joined his sister as part of the Hellfire Trading Company, serving as the organization's White Bishop.


Callisto / White Knight

    The Five in One 

Sophie, Phoebe, Irma/Mindee, Celeste , and Esme Cuckoo a.k.a The White Queen
The Cuckoos took over Emma’s role in the Hellfire Trading Company so Emma could focus on her responsibilities on the Quiet Council

See New X-Men: Academy X