X-Men's Hellfire Club Just Got a New Black King

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for X-Men Black: Emma Frost #1 by Leah Williams, Chris Bachalo and J. Scott Campbell, on sale now.

The Hellfire Club has been around for much longer than most realize. Typically portrayed as enemies of the X-Men, the club was originally founded back in London in the 1700s, which makes a certain amount of sense given their internal power structure, which is divided into titles like White Knight, Black Bishop and, of course, White Queen. The latter is typically reserved for one character and one character alone: Emma Frost, one of the most powerful psychics in the Marvel Universe. Recently, though, Emma embarked on a quest to trade in her White Queen role for one even higher on the food chain, a title that rules over all the others: Black King.

X-Men Black: Emma Frost #1 reveals that the Hellfire club is on the run and the White Queen is hot on their trail. As much as she likely wishes she could, Emma can't take them all alone, so she begrudgingly recruits the X-Men to aid her. The X-Men's finest handle the club's satellite operations while Emma tackles the head, the Black King himself, Sebastian Shaw.

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At first, things go swimmingly for Emma. Using a combination of her psychic suggestions and diamond skin, Frost is able to either disable or cut a swath right through Shaw's guards. When she gets to her actual prey, though, things go a little pear-shaped. Shaw, who isn't nearly as debilitated as Emma thought, is no slouch when it comes to his fighting prowess, and his mutant powers mean that he can absorb the energy from nearly any kind of threat that gets lobbed at him. He can't, however, absorb the energy from a sleeping draught, which, along with a little dash of subterfuge, is how Emma inevitably takes him down, thus pronouncing herself the new Black King and leader of the Hellfire Club, the organization she supposedly wanted to topple.

So, what exactly does this get Emma? Well, The X-Men Blue series has steadily been following Magneto's return to villainy, which is also linked to his pursuit of Emma, who he blamed for her role in the Mothervine incident. Considering that X-Men Black changes up the status quo for various villains before the relaunch of Uncanny X-Men, it's completely possible that Emma is circling her wagons, making subtle changes inside the Hellfire Club so that her position is secure and she is protected when it really hits the fan, which isn't something she could guarantee when Shaw was in charge.

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It's also completely possible that Emma is telling the truth in her final monologue, that she sees the need for change in the Hellfire Club and wants to work to make that a reality. Emma has gone to great lengths to ensure that she is the architect of that change. This isn't terribly surprising. Nothing is simple when it comes to Emma Frost, and it's entirely possible we'll be looking at a completely new kind of Hellfire Club when Uncanny X-Men #1 rolls around and Emma Frost reemerges in all her kingly fury.

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