Hellfire Club (Marvel)

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The young leaders of the Hellfire Club from Wolverine and the X-Men v1 #16.

The Hellfire Club is a group that features in Marvel Comics.




Hellfire Club soldiers in X-Men v1 #133.

The Hellfire Club

In 1859, the Club was a famed house of lust and decadence though in truth this was a smokescreen for their real work as they operated silently and effectively to achieve their aims. This group of powerful and rich men sought to shape the planet's future to their desires. Nathaniel Essex sought their patron after he was condemned for his experiments by the Royal Society with him seeking their support. En Sabah Nur had awakened during this time and encountered Essex where he grew fascinated by his knowledge of evolution along with the emergence of Mutants. He convinced Essex to introduce him to this cadre of powerful men that operated in London. During the meeting, En Sabah Nur set out his plan where he desired a world in which the strong survived and the weak were culled with a master race ruling the Earth. The Club dismissed these words as the ramblings of a mad man and desired for Nur to be removed from their sight. It was then that he transformed into his true form of Apocalypse where he killed some of those that disbelieved him but he decided not to kill the others as he had plans for them. (Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix v1 #2) At the time, the Club was concerned the serfs becoming troublesome in Russia whereas they believed Lincoln would be a problem for them. However, the were summoned by Apocalypse once more with the Club members resenting this outsider that they feared. Apocalypse sought to use the Club to bring war around the world whilst Essex would be used to create a pestilence that would cull its population whereupon in the aftermath he desired only the strong to survive. (Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix v1 #3)

For more than two hundred years, the Club had sought out men of power. (Uncanny X-Men Annual v2 #2)

Modern Day

The Club under Sebastian Shaw in Uncanny X-Men v1 #454.

In America, the Club had existed for the last 150 years as the country's oldest and most exclusive gentleman's club. (Uncanny X-Men v1 #130) The highest ranking members of the Club's consisted of super-powered Mutants that craved power greater than the group's boundaries and were planning to purge the leadership in the Inner Circle. These Mutants were aware of a coming conflict involving their kind and thus sought to form their own team of agents first. Shaw's plans were threatened by Dr. Perry Edwards who wrote a book called The Shadow Society with him seeking to expose the existence of Mutants to the world and learning of the Mutant Agenda thus making him a target for the Club. An offer was also made to Neil Langram but he refused leading to Creed being dispatched to eliminate these loose ends. (Logan: Shadow Society v1 #1)

It later established the Massachusetts Academy that was headed by Emma Frost with it becoming regarded as one of the most prestigious private schools in America. (Uncanny X-Men v1 #130)

After usurping control of the Inner Circle, Shaw proceeded with remaking it in his own image. (Uncanny X-Men Annual v2 #2)

After the apparent demise of Sebastian Shaw, his son Shinobi Shaw inherited his position in the Hellfire Club and quickly became its new leader. (X-Men v2 #29) Shinobi Shaw came to become suspicious of the London branch of the Club when secret meetings were conducted, foreign consultants were being met and when his spies could not discern any further information. (Excalibur v1 #96)

In the aftermath, the Inner Circle of the New York Club had seemingly purged its ranks of Mutants with its members once again consisting of incredibly wealthy and powerful humans. They elevated Kade Kilgore to the rank of Black King and supported his efforts in creating anti-Mutant hysteria in the world. (X-Men: Schism v1 #2) Kilgore and his allies later massacred the Club leaders thus bringing it under their complete control (X-Men: Schism v1 #5)

After the Schism, Wolverine opened up the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning where he opened it up to new students. This saw the Hellfire Club arrange an attack on it by not only to destroy the building but also the hearts and minds of the X-Men. (Wolverine and the X-Men v1 #2)

In anger, Magneto began attacking the chapter houses of the Club in order to confront Emma Frost. (X-Men: Blue v1 #31)

House of X

Following the establishment of the Mutant nation of Krakoa, the Hellfire Club came to ally themselves with Charles Xavier's new vision. They became distributors of the new Mutant pharmceuticals developed by the island itself. In exchange for the drugs, nations of the world were to recognise the Mutant nation and to allow Mutants to migrate to it. However, some nations refused to do so and thus the Hellfire Club established the Hellfire Trading Company to handle these matters. Emma Frost then recruited Kitty Pryde to help lead the efforts in rescuing Mutants to bring to the island where she formed the Marauders for this goal. (Marauders v1 #1)


The Inner Circle in X-Men: Legacy v1 #210.

To outsiders, it was held as being a old and stuff establishment that was risqué. Its membership consisted of a secret circle of industrialists that sought to rule the world and used Mutants to accomplish their aim. (X-Men v1 #132) It counted among its membership the richest and most powerful tycoons in the world. (Uncanny X-Men v1 #208) It contained a nation's social, political and economic elite. (Uncanny X-Men v1 #130) Admittance and membership into their ranks was made by invitation only. Only those that are among the wealthiest and most powerful received those invitations. Typically, none turned down membership as to do so excluded the person from cavorting with others of social, economic and political life. (Logan: Shadow Society v1 #1) Under the terms of the Club's charter, membership passed down to the heirs of a members estate. (X-Men v2 #29)

This group of shrouded silent men used their covert influence to manipulate the world along with its unwitting population from the shadows. (Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix v1 #3) It brokered in many things such as pleasure, sex, conspiracy, coercion and power. They were said to be above more trivial pursuits. (Uncanny X-Men Annual v2 #2) In the past, it had covertly endeavored to dominate mankind and those Mutants that stood against them. (X-Men Annual v2 #3)

Behind its plush façade resided the secret society of the Inner Circle whose goal was domination of the world. (Uncanny X-Men v1 #208) The Inner Circle was only open to a select few who saw the Club as a venue to achieving power. (Uncanny X-Men v1 #130) The leader of the Hellfire Club bore the title of the Lord Imperial. (Uncanny X-Men v1 #429) The Lords Cardinal were members that ruled in the Inner Circle. (Uncanny X-Men v1 #208) Should the circle loss members, nominations were opened to allow the Club to select replacements. (X-Men: Legacy v1 #215)

When there was no confidence in the Clubs leader, then a member could call upon the Rite of Challenge. This saw challenger and challenged being given a mission to complete with the loser forced to step down as leader. During the challenge, the Ebon Knights and White Knights were provided to both participants as agents. Through them, the terms of the challenge were sought with one group of knights seeking the completion of their mission and the other seeking to stop them. (Spider-Man Team-Up v1 #1) Club rules do allow for undeclared challenges that was used by members to secretly poison their opponents. However, the Hellfire Club frowned on failure and anyone that failed in an undeclared challenge and was caught saw them being killed as a result by their opponent. (X-Men: Legacy v1 #215)

During the celebration of the Club's birthday, an exclusive party was held with a guest list consisting of several of the world's richest and most powerful people. (X-Men v1 #132) An annual gala was also a regular occurrence with members being invited to the event. (X-Men v2 #29)

The motto of the club was "Fais ce que tu voudras" ("Do what thou wilt"). (Heroic Age: X-Men v1 #1)


The Inner Circle in X-Men: Hellfire Club v1 #1.
  • Mr. Shaw : a member during the 1800's who met with Nathaniel Essex and En Sabah Nur. (Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix v1 #2)
  • Lord Braddock : a member during the 1800's who met with Nathaniel Essex and En Sabah Nur. (Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix v1 #2)
  • Gordon Phillips : a male Mutant unaware of his true nature who was the Lord Imperial of the Club who was killed by Sabretooth. (Uncanny X-Men v1 #388)
  • Sebastian Shaw :
  • Shinobi Shaw :
  • Emma Frost :
  • Harry Leland :
  • Donald Pierce :
  • Jason Wyngarde :
  • Selene :
  • Edward Buckman :
  • Warren Worthington III : male Mutant who inherited membership from his parents. (X-Men v1 #132)
  • Erik Lehnsherr : For a time, he decided to assume the mantle of both White and Black King with him referring to the position as Grey King. (New Mutants v1 #75)


  • The Hellfire Club was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne where they made their first appearance in Uncanny X-Men v1 #129 (January 1980).
  • It was modelled after the real life Hellfire Club.
  • In Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe v1 #5 (1983), it was said to had originated in England in 1760 as a social organization for the elite of British society.

Alternate versions

  • In New Mutants v1 #49 (1987), in an alternate future timeline Magneto joined the Hellfire Club and allied it with the Xavier school. Together, they divided the city into two castes named Uptown consisting of Mutants and Downtown that con sister of human's who lived in squalor.
  • In What If? v2 #77 (1995), an alternate world was shown as part of the What If setting with this being set on Earth-77995. On this Earth, the Inner Circle headed the Hellfire Club International (HCI) that was the worlds largest public Mutant corporation that sought to corner the market on genetic information and was based in the Black Tower in New York City. It was seeking to create illegal procedures to create Mutant powers for the wealthy with Warren Worthington III opposing this plans and as a member used his shares to stop this act.
  • In Bishop: Xavier Security Enforcers v1 #1 (1998), an alternate future was shown that was set on Earth-1191. The Hellfire Club was shown to had been re-established after the Summers Rebellion where it was headed by the Inner Circle of rich and powerful Mutants and them being led by Anthony Shaw.
  • In Bishop the Last X-Man v1 #6 (2000), an alternate future was shown created by the Chronomancer Trevor Fitzroy. This reality saw a version of the Hellfire Club survive where it became known as Clan Hellfire led by Samarra Shaw.

In other media


  • In X-Men: The Animated Series, the Hellfire Club made an appearance as antagonists in the Phoenix Saga storyline. They were renamed as the Inner Circle Club within the cartoon series and consisted of e Sebastian Shaw, Jason Wyngarde, Emma Frost, Donald Pierce, and Harry Leland.
  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, the Hellfire Club appeared as antagonists in the animated television series.
  • In Marvel Anime: X-Men, the Inner Circle appeared as antagonists in the animated television series. Among their members included Rat, Marsh, and Neuron who were assisting Mastermind.
  • In The Gifted, the Hellfire Club was referenced in the live-action television series where they were stated to had been allies of Fenris. William and the Stepford Cuckoos were charged with the goal of rebuilding the Club whilst looking to bring down the Hound Program.


  • In X-Men: First Class, the Hellfire Club appeared as antagonists that followed Sebastian Shaw in his goal of bringing about worldwide hostilities. They were established and headed by Sebastian Shaw who had gathered Emma Frost, Azazel, Riptide and Angel Salvadore into their ranks. Their ultimate goal was to orchestrate World War III during the Cold War in an effort to wipe out mankind from Earth with the intention of Mutants rising up to replace them allowing for Shaw to rule as the leader of the new world order.

Video games

  • In X-Men, Hellfire knights appeared as regular enemies for the player in the 1992 Konami game and Emma Frost appeared as a boss level character.
  • In Marvel: Avengers Alliance, the Hellfire Club appeared as antagonists in the Facebook video game and had a Dossier Entry. During the Special Operations - Eclipse Phase mission, its revealed that their London branch was in possession of the Darkhold with them being allies of Mephisto until he betrayed them. This led to them handing the Darkhold to the heroes to stop the demonic vampires that were attacking the world during a mystical eclipse.


  • Uncanny X-Men v1:
  • X-Men v2:
  • Excalibur v1:
  • X-Men: Legacy:
  • Wolverine and the X-Men v1:
  • Uncanny X-Men:
  • X-Men: Blue:
  • Marauders v1:

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