Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hellfire Club

Team Name
Hellfire Club

Base of Operations

Hellfire Club mansions in London, New York, Hong Kong, Paris, and elsewhere

Current Members

Kade Kilgore (Black King), Wilhelmina Kensington
(White Queen), Manuel Enduque, and Baron Maximilian von Katzenelnbogen

Former Members
John Braddock, Lourdes Chantel, Hellions, Oliver Ryland, Candace Southern, Howard Stark, Wallace, Wallace Worthington, Warren Worthington Jr., Voldemir Zhivago

Other Info

The Hellfire Club was established as an exclusive British gentlemen's club by Englishman
Francis Dashwood, Scotsmen John Stuart (Third Earl of Bute) and Duncan Munro among others in the 1760s. At one point, a handful of the most powerful members emigrated to the American colonies and began a branch in New York City and in other major cities around the world. Over time, the club evolved to include high-flying business men and women, as well as the profitable descendants of royalty and other Hellfire Club members. (To learn about the characters highlighted above, just click on their names.)

During the Revolutionary War, an attempt by Philadelphia members to obtain strategic information from the influential Major-General Wallace Worthington failed, with fatal consequences for Worthington. In 1859, the club's London's members were forced into a brief alliance with the mutant conqueror Apocalypse. Also, in 1915, the twisted geneticist Mister Sinister exploited the rivalries within the London chapter, finding a willing subject for his forbidden experiments in envious young Jacob Shaw. In addition, an act of sabotage by London branch member Sir Harry Manners (who sought to facilitate a German victory in the Great War) was foiled by British superhero Union Jack later that same year. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the different characters.)

Within the Hellfire Club is a secret group, known to a select few as the "Inner Circle." The Inner Circle's desire is to achieve world domination through political and economic influence, subversive activities, and the recruitment of mercenary forces and powerful superhumans. Its members often hold positions named after chess pieces--the Inner Circle is ruled by its "Queens" and "Kings." They, in turn however, are ruled by the "Lord Imperial," who is in charge of the Hellfire Club's activities as a whole. The only original Inner Circle members were Edward Buckman as the White King, Paris Seville as White Queen, and Sebastian Shaw as the Black Bishop. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the original Inner Circle members.)

Edward Buckman invited many people into the Hellfire Club including
Howard Stark, Warren Worthington Jr., and Sir James Braddock. However, Edward Buckman had a secret agenda he held from those in his Inner Circle--elimination of all mutants by releasing the mutant hunting Sentinels. Buckman tried to accomplish this by funding scientist Steven Lang's Project: Armageddon. Once the Sentinels were launched however, Sebastian Shaw (a mutant himself) came under attack. It was then that Shaw realized he had been betrayed by Buckman. Shaw survived the assault; however, his fiancée Lourdes Chantel did not. Furious, Shaw retaliated and killed Buckman and his supporters and assumed control of the Inner Circle as its new Black King. Following his take over (aided by the enigmatic Tessa), Shaw Shaw appointed appointed lawyer Harry Leland as his Black Bishop, while the telepathic Emma Frost (introduced to the Club through Leland) assumed the position of its White Queen. Donald Pierce became the White Bishop, as well as the mutant illusionist Jason Wyngarde (aka Mastermind). (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the different characters and/or projects. Note: Beware of the very revealing outfits on Tessa, Emma Frost, and Mastermind's bio pages.)

Viewing the X-Men's activities as a threat to its new agenda of mutant world domination, the Inner Circle prepared for their elimination. With his hypnotic powers, Mastermind began to secretly manipulate the X-Men's Jean Grey (Phoenix), slowly but steadily. Hoping to learn more about their new opponents, the X-Men infiltrated Manhattan's Hellfire Club, but were soon discovered. In the subsequent clash, Mastermind's subversion of the Phoenix bore fruit, as Jean turned against her teammates and joined the Hellfire Club as its Black Queen. However, eventually, the Phoenix overcame Mastermind's influence, which led to the the club's defeat and Mastermind in a catatonic state. But, the damage was already done, and Mastermind's mental tampering transformed Jean into the Dark Phoenix. (To learn about the characters and/or team above, just click on their highlighted name. Note: Beware of the form-fitting outfits on Jean Grey's and the Phoenix's bio pages.)

The conflict between the Hellfire Club and the X-Men kept smoldering in the months to follow, but there was also friction within the Inner Circle. An attempt by Pierce to overthrow Shaw's rule failed and resulted in Pierce's exclusion. While Shaw used his contacts to influential officials like his friend Senator Robert Kelly to lobby for new, government-sponsored Sentinel projects, Frost attempted to recruit Charles Xavier's younger students into her own group of charges--the Hellions. In addition, the Inner Circle was joined by the ancient sorceress Selene as its new Black Queen, along with Emmanuel DaCosta as the White Rook. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the different characters and/or groups.)

Later on, when Harry Leland was killed by Nimrod (an advanced Sentinel), the Inner Circle and the X-Men agreed to an join together, in order to survive in a world increasingly hostile towards mutants. This resulted in Magneto (headmaster of the Xavier Institute at the time) becoming the new White King along with X-Men leader Storm. Philosophical differences between Shaw and Magneto, however, resulted in Shaw's dismissal as Black King and Magneto's crowning as "Grey King." But, soon Magneto wearied of the ongoing struggles between humans and mutants, and withdrew from the Inner Circle. (To learn more about the characters and/or place above, just click on their highlighted names. Note: Beware of the EXTREMELY revealing outfit on Storm's bio page--might want to block images.)

With the Inner Circle weakened, the Upstarts (a group of young power mongers including Shaw's son, Shinobi Shaw who were originally assembled by Selene as the next generation of mutant leaders) started a string of surprise attacks on them. This resulted in the apparent deaths and defeats of Shaw, Magneto, Pierce, Frost, the Hellions, and even Selene. Believing to have killed his father, Shinobi offered memberships to Psylocke (who inherited her membership from her father), Archangel, and Storm; however, they all declined. The younger Shaw did manage to briefly assemble his own Inner Circle; however, once he learned that his father was still alive, Shinobi deserted his position and went into hiding. (To learn about the team and/or characters above, just click on their highlighted names.)

Quickly after his son deserting the Inner Circle, Sebastian Shaw reclaimed his position as Black King, recruiting Madelyne Pryor, Trevor Fitzroy, and even his old rival Donald Pierce, into a new Inner Circle. However, after a bit of time, Shaw failed both in developing a profitable cure for the lethal Legacy Virus and in acquiring Apocalypse's advanced technology. Soon after this, he resigned from the Inner Circle. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the different characters. Note: Beware of the very revealing outfit on Madelyne Pryor's bio page.)

During his absence, Shaw's former aide Tessa joined the X-Men (revealing that she had been a spy working for Professor X all along). In addition, with Shaw gone, Selene took her chance and returned as the Inner Circle's Black Queen. Now in league with the demon Blackheart as the Black King, she succeeded in coercing Xavier's former student Sunspot into joining her as a Black Rook. Her Inner Circle's capacity to act, however, remained hamstrung by the unwelcome presence of its contentious White King, superhero exorcist Daimon Hellstrom. Eventually, Sebastian Shaw made his return to the Inner Circle as Lord Imperial, but immediately lost the position to Sunspot when an attack by Pierce resulted in his hospitalization. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn more about them.)

With Sunspot as the Hellfire Club's new Lord Imperial, he tried to change the club into a force for good. He invited many to join him to better the club; however, Courtney Ross (White Queen) and Viper appeared to have their own agenda. (To learn about the characters above, just click on their highlighted names. Note: Beware of the revealing outfit on Ross' bio page.)

Over time, the Inner Circle was broken up and rearranged multiple times. More recently, the Inner Circle's membership consisted of Kade Kilgore as the new Black King and Wilhelmina Kensington as the White Queen. This new version of the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle made a visit to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Once there, the Hellfire Club launched an attack on the school first with a group of small Nightcrawler-like creatures named "Bamfs," awakened a Krakoa upon which the school is built, and unleashed an army of Frankenstein monsters. However, Quentin Quire (aka Kid Omega) took control of the situation by calming Krakoa and defeating the Frankenstein monsters himself. Upon seeing their armies destruction, the Hellfire Club fled from scene. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn more about the characters.)

To learn more about the Hellfire Club, click on the following link, (Note: Beware of the revealing outfits worn by some on the Hellfire Club's bio page.)

The Hellfire Club appeared in the film X-Men: First Class. This version of the Hellfire Club is led by Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost, with Azazel, Riptide, and eventually Angel Salvadore as other members. As you can tell, the movies basically took two of the know leaders of the Hellfire Club and then just added their own members from them. So, it isn't very true to the comics; however, I still think it turned out cool.

1 comment:

  1. It seems like the Hellfire Club story connects a lot of different plot lines... it's like a huge web that goes back to the Hellfire Club frequently. It's kind of cool!