Marvel’s Most Infamous Influencers: The Hellfire Club
They’re as sinister as they are powerful. The Hellfire Club is a group of elite socialites in the Marvel Universe who use their influence to pull the strings in their favor. Let the weak get weaker, and let the strong get even stronger. Most of all, they obtain and exert power over others through every and any means necessary.
Though many have been members of the Club, few can count themselves as part of the Inner Circle, privy to all of the large scale schemes and plans. These leaders were called Kings, Queens, Bishops and Rooks.
One of the White Kings of The Hellfire Club, Sir Edward Buckman, secretly began funding a program that created Sentinels specifically for destroying mutant-kind. This did not sit well with quite a few members of the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, because quite a few of them were secretly mutants.
The tension and evil plans of The Hellfire Club are always thrilling to unravel. Let’s take a look at a few of the more memorable members of The Hellfire Club.
Name: Sebastian Hiram Shaw
Alias: The Black King
Abilities: Absorb various forms of energy to heal and increase physical strength
Sebastian Shaw was there to see Sir Edward Buckman slowly try and eradicate the mutants of the world. And while he played a crucial role in the devious plan, as soon as he figured out what was happening, he fought back. Using his mutant powers, he was able to dethrone Buckman and take his place as the Black King of the Hellfire Club.
As the Black King, he was still obsessed with harnessing the powers that be. He was particularly obsessed with a great force called The Phoenix. He worshipped the Phoenix, and believed that he could contain the power and use it as his own. And he knew just how to get it…
Name: Jean Grey
Alias: Phoenix, The Black Queen
Abilities: Harness the limitless power of the Phoenix Force, Telekinesis, Telepathy, and more
Jean Grey was the host for the power of the Phoenix Force. She was at one point in control of it, with the great help of Professor X. However, when she was bombarded by solar radiation in space, she became overwhelmed by the power, and became a being of pure thought and energy. This being was called the Phoenix, with powers unlike any mutant seen before.
Not only that, but two powerful telepaths worked against her to brainwash her, and convinced her to become the Black Queen of the Hellfire club as a counterpart to Jean Grey. It’s hard to believe that anyone could brainwash or trick a being as powerful as Jean Grey or the Phoenix, but some telepaths really have no limits.
Name: Emma Frost
Alias: The White Queen, The Black King (Currently)
Abilities: Telepathy, Shapeshifting into Organic Diamond Skin
Emma Frost has had many roles in The Hellfire Club. Predominantly, she was the White Queen, and used her power to try to defeat the X-Men. As the White Queen, she works hard to defeat the X-Men. She tries to capture and torture Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, and more.
She helps to brainwash the Phoenix, who is taking the form of Jean Grey, in order to join The Hellfire Club. When the Phoenix learns that she’s been deceived, the two get into a telepathic battle that nearly kills Emma Frost. Eventually, she convinced one of the most powerful mutants of all to join the Hellfire Club.
Even more recently in the comics, Emma Frost made some seriously strategic power moves and took down Sebastian Shaw in order to step into the role of the current Black King herself. In the hierarchy of the Lords Cardinal, the Black King wields the most power within the Hellfire Club, making Emma the new leader of the elite organization.
Name: Max Eisenhardt
Alias: Magneto, The White King
Abilities: Magnetism Manipulation
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and after a terrible mutant genocide, Magneto knew that large scale change needed to happen. He himself had changed sides, and was already working with the X-Men, even taking the role of Headmaster for the New Mutants. He made a plan to work together with Storm.
They both joined The Hellfire Club, and equally filled the role of the White King. In doing so, they were able to undermine the power of Sebastian Shaw, and effectively overthrow him. When Shaw fell, Magneto rose to power, and became the Grey King.
Name: Raven Darkhölme
The Hellfire Club has always had a bit of an obsession with Jean Grey. One week, it’s trying to brainwash her to steal the power of the Phoenix Force, and the next week, it’s trying to steal students from her school. The club decided to start a Hellfire Academy to create and train villains to combat the students from Jean Grey’s School for Higher Learning, a school for safely and responsibly teaching mutants to wield their powers.
Mystique was one of the Professors at the Hellfire Academy, and rightfully so. There are few only people who pack as powerful a punch and who know the X-Men as well as she does. She taught subterfuge to the students of this villainous preparatory school.
Name: Victor Creed
Abilities: Retractable Claws, Regenerative Healing
Maybe the one person who knows the X-Men the same way that Mystique does is Sabretooth. Sabretooth has fought against the X-Men alongside nearly every team he’s ever been a part of, and fought against one particular mutant nearly his whole life. Sabretooth and Wolverine have a rivalry that spans centuries. They both have quite similar abilities, they both went through the Weapon X program, they both worked on Team X, and they both hate each other.
Surprisingly, though, he made quite the good headmaster for the Hellfire Academy. Sabretooth made friends by creating common enemies- if Wolverine was their enemy, Sabretooth was their friend. That applied to a lot of relationships at the Hellfire Academy.
(Learn more about Sabretooth’s time outside of the Hellfire Academy when he teamed up with Magneto and Mystique on the Astonishing Avengers.)
Name: Dog Logan
Alias: Dog Logan
Abilities: Claws and Fangs
Dog Logan also has an ongoing feud with Wolverine. He’s about as old as Wolverine, and even grew up with him. He was James Howlett’s playmate and friend, and once saved his life.
But time can be cruel, and so can Dog Logan. He has an important position at the Hellfire Academy, too. He is the gym teacher! And he gets those villainous pupils as riled up as they possibly can be in order to fight to the best of their abilities.
Name: Charlie-Cluster 7
Abilities: Cyborg Powers, Super Intelligence, Auto-Hypnosis
Fantomex is a cyborg. Part mutant, he is already powerful and capable. But he’s also part Sentinel, a mutant killer. This war in his very own body has created complications in the past. In one storyline, he was actually cloned and split into three different bodies: Fantomex, Cluster, and Weapon XIII.
He also shares his body with a techno-organism called E.V.A. that grants him additional abilities. He has been in many battles, and on occasion, has needed help. Magneto brought him back to life and had him join the Hellfire Club to serve their nefarious purposes.
(You can learn more about Fantomex in the Geek Culture Countdown- Top 10 Mercenaries in Marvel Comics!)
Name: Tony Stark
Alias: Iron Man
Abilities: Genius Level Intellect
The Hellfire Club is full of powerful men. Some of them rise to power. Some of them are born into it. Tony Stark actually inherited his membership to the Hellfire Club from his father, Howard Stark.
He has attempted to use it as a force for good, but for the most part, Iron Man is more of an honorary member whose participation in the affairs of The Hellfire Club is infrequent to non-existent.
Who is your favorite member of the Hellfire Club? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let your Geek Sideshow!
Now, I’m not a mind reader, but if you’re looking to complete your X-Men Collection, you’re in the right place. Find all your favorite mutant telepaths, shapeshifters, Wolverines, and more!