X-Men: Hellfire & Brimstone

X-MEN: LEGACY writer Mike Carey looks back on the venerable and infamous history of the Hellfire Club!

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WOLVERINE:
ORIGINS #30
preview art by
Mike Deodato

By Tim Stevens The Hellfire Club teeters on the precipice of a brutal conflict with Wolverine for the mind and soul of his son, Daken, as the "Original Sin" storyline draws to a close in the pages of X-MEN: LEGACY #218 and WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #30, due out on November 19 and 26 respectively. The battle could bring about the Club's biggest victory or most debilitating defeat. Either way, it seems likely that the group might be set to evolve once again. Since their debut in UNCANNY X-MEN #129, the Club has staked itself out as one of the mutant team's more unusual foes. Through several incarnations, the Club has been everything from a place where dynasties like the Starks and the Osborns could rub elbows to a "safe zone" where mutants of all stripes could take in a dance or two without having to fight one another. In between, it has been a collection of demons striving to rule the planet and a mutant advocacy group. However, over and over again, the team has returned to its most popular incarnation: a shadowy secret society of mutants bent on acquiring power in any way the members see fit. X-MEN: LEGACY writer Mike Carey responds most to the incarnations that have embraced that mission statement, especially the classic lineup.

WOLVERINE:
ORIGINS #30
preview art by
Mike Deodato

"If I'm honest, the original line-up—the triumvirate of Sebastian Shaw, Harry Leland and Donald Pierce, with Mastermind and Emma Frost on the fringes—[it] just worked so well," he admits. "I'm a die-hard supporter of the original line-up." Carey does enjoy the Club's other incarnations as well though. He explains, "I always felt that there was a lot of mileage in Cordelia Frost, too, and I enjoyed most of Selene's machinations, without ever really seeing her as quite belonging." Even the presence of heroes like Daimon Hellstrom or Sunspot in the group has held value, although he acknowledges, "I know, I'm talking as someone who had three or arguably four villains on one X-team at the same time, but with the smaller core cast of active mutants, the mix-and-match thing has probably run its course." Coming out of that period of time, it fell to Carey and WOLVERINE: ORIGINS writer Daniel Way to guide the Hellfire Club into its next incarnation. The duo saw the future in the Club's past. "When they were first introduced, they were almost like a dark mirror for the X-Men," recalls Carey. "We saw the White Queen recruiting young mutants in the same way that Xavier's academy does, and Shaw building a powerful grouping of adult mutants to further his plans and visions: so much of that reflected the way the X-Men

WOLVERINE:
ORIGINS #30
preview art by
Mike Deodato

worked, with Shaw as Professor X's scary opposite. And like the X-Men, they presented a respectable, harmless face to the world through the club itself." Thus, the mantra became, "put the iron curtain up again and [let them] pursue their own secret, sinister agendas." However, the mutant world finds itself in a much higher state of agitation than when the Club first made its mark and that needed to be taken into account. "After House of M, some of that was never going to work in the same way, so Daniel and I built up this image of the club as being like a cross between a powerful corporation and a medieval royal court, constantly torn apart by rivalries, from which a new order and a new leader emerge every so often," explains Carey. To see if this new Club can survive "Original Sin" and flourish, check out the final two installments of the blockbuster storyline, X-MEN: LEGACY #218 and WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #30, due out on November 19 and 26. To read the first appearance of the Hellfire Club, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything X-Men!

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