WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Marauders #2, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Federico Blee, VC's Cory Petit and Tom Muller, on sale now.
While it's never really launched an all-out attack on the entire Marvel Universe, the Hellfire Club has never exactly been a charitable organization. Within its elite Inner Circle, mutants like Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw have used the powers, wealth and influence to try to amass more power, wealth and influence for decades. However, all of that has changed with Marvel's ongoing X-Men relaunch.
After Professor Xavier founded a sovereign mutant nation on the sentient island Krakoa, Frost reformed the Club as the Hellfire Trading Company, the exclusive exporter of the island's miracle drugs. Frost will oversee the Hellfire Company's officially sanctioned operations as the White Queen, and invited Shaw to return as the Black King and oversee the company's black market dealings.
While those two mutants are returning to their old roles, Marauders #2 confirms that the X-Men's Kate "Kitty" Pryde will be joining the Hellfire Trading Company as its Red Queen
After Kitty discovered that she was seemingly the only mutant who couldn't travel to Krakoa by portal, Frost recruited Pryde to be the captain of The Marauder, a ship that sails around the world to save mutants from oppressive nations and smuggle medicine into places that need it.
Although this issue stopped short of confirming Pryde's presumptive role as a member of the Quiet Council, Pryde's status as the Red Queen likely means that she will fill the last vacant spot on Krakoa's small ruling council.
Between Pryde's sudden predilection for the color red and a preview that inadvertently revealed her new role, none of this is really a surprise. However, Marauders #2 revealed a few more details about the current shape of the Hellfire Trading Company's Inner Circle.
Historically, the Hellfire Club had branches all around the world that were ultimately overseen by the Lord Imperial. While all of the known branches had positions that corresponded to chess pieces, each branch deviated in small ways. For instance, the New York branch used Black and White titles, while the London branch used Red and Black titles.
In the Hellfire Trading Company has streamlined that structure considerably. While the Lord Imperial still oversees the entire operation, the Club is divided into three equal branches: White, Black and Red. Each branch is led by a singular Monarch who is served by a Bishop and a Knight.
While Frost, Shaw and Pryde are all Monarchs, the position of Lord Imperial is still vacant for the moment. None of the Knights have been appointed yet, and the Black and Red Bishops are still unidentified and "awaiting accolades."
However, Emma Frost has appointed her brother Christian as the new White Bishop.
Since he debuted in Grant Morrison and Phil Jimenez's New X-Men #139, Christian has only made a handful of appearances. While he was always fairly close with Emma, Christian was abused and institutionalized by his father. After his mutant power to turn astral energy into psychic blasts or constructs manifested, Christian seemingly killed his father and inherited the Frost family fortune.
While Christian took Emma up on her offer to join the Hellfire Company, some of her other closest confidants, the Stepford Cuckoos, declined her offer. At the start of the issue, Frost's five telepathic cloned daughters were offered a role in the organization. Although it's not clear what this role would've been, a disappointed Emma says that she already has another candidate for the position.
Even though Emma's having some trouble filling one of her underling positions, this issue ends with the tease that Shaw will appoint his Black Bishop in Marauders #3, and it probably won't be too long before Pryde starts appointing roles too.
With a total of 10 named positions, the Hellfire Company seems set to be bigger than most incarnations of the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle. Despite that, the company's importance to Krakoa may very well end up making its leaders some of Marvel's most important mutants.