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The Hellfire Club counts among its members the most famous, wealthy and influential members of society. Membership is passed on to descendants and can also be earned through wealth or influence. While many accept the invitation simply for the pleasures that the Club offers, others seek just the wealth and influence. In fact, the purpose of the Hellfire Club is to obtain and exert power through politics and economic influence instead of outward conquest and domination. Since its foundation, the Hellfire Club has been involved in wars and assassinations to further the agendas of the Club's most powerful members. The most influential member the Club has ever had is Sebastian Shaw.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sebastian Shaw loses his father, Jacob Shaw, shortly after being accepted to engineering school. Jacob died after he contracted an incurable disease, thus Sebastian devoted himself to his studies and created Shaw Industries, becoming a millionaire by age 30 and a billionaire by age 40.
You don’t run that with that kind of swag without getting the attention of the ladies. Shaw became engaged to a woman named Lourdes Chantel. After that Shaw was initiated into the Hellfire Club due to his vast fortune. Along with some other upstanding pillars of the community by the likes of Warren Worthington, Jr. (father of Archangel), Howard Stark (father of Tony Stark) and Sir James Braddock (father of Captain Britain and Psylocke), Shaw soon gains the attention of then White King of Hellfire Club's New York Branch, Ned Buckman. Shaw then becomes a member Council of the Chosen earning the rank of Black Bishop. Buckman becomes worried that Sebastian might be out of control and he’s right; Sebastian plans a coup with the help of Emma Frost's telepathy and she makes Buckman kill all the Council of the Chosen. Now the king of the roost, he remakes the Council of the Chosen into his Inner Circle and gathers Emma Frost, Harry Leland and the non-mutant cyborg Donald Pierce as the Lords Cardinal of Hellfire Club.
Shaw and his Club were a pivotal part of the corruption of the Phoenix entity into the Dark Phoenix. This was the first time Shaw and the Hellfire Club encountered the X-Men. During the Hellfire Club's battle alongside the X-Men against Nimrod, a Sentinel from the future, Shaw was thrown into the upper atmosphere by the Sentinel, then caught by Harry Leland's power and slammed at phenomenal speed into Nimrod. This effort had the side effect of fatally overwhelming Leland's weak heart (puss). After that the Hellfire Club and the X-Men became “friends.” Magneto and Storm step in and act in the position of White King. Later on Storm left the club, which left Magneto, Selene and Emma to conspire to vote Shaw out of the Club.
Through a handful of mediocre storylines and terrible handling, Shaw has had his ups and downs, but mostly downs. Sebastian Shaw is a mutant with the ability to absorb kinetic energy. So this is how he brings the ruckus. Kinetic energy is energy of motion. The kinetic energy of an object is the energy it possesses because of its motion. The kinetic energy of a point mass m is given by
Then he is able to metabolize it to enhance his own physical
strength, speed, and stamina. This makes him extremely difficult to defeat in
battle, as every blow struck to him only makes him stronger (*cough* which is
pretty damn cheap *cough*). When it comes to fist of cuffs, you’ll be there all
day. Your best bet is to attack him psionically. What he needs to do is get one
of them Magneto helmets – that’ll show’em. Word on the streets is that he also
possesses technology that can block telepathic intrusions (how convenient).
Also, Shaw can use all of that absorbed energy to Kinetic Metabolism, so can
forgo sleep if he receives enough kinetic energy. Not only that, he has enhanced
durability, enhanced speed, enhanced stamina, accelerated Healing and Kinetic
Energy Contact. This guy has got Hulk-style powers written all over him.
So is Sebastian Shaw a worthwhile character? Who knows? He has tons of potential but seems to always get his ass smacked around. He comes off as more of a tool than a mutant badass and that’s really too bad. Yet somehow he’s one of those characters that fans go, “Oh, Sebastian Shaw is in this. Cool.”
He does have a presence in the Marvel U by being in big events and series like Age of Apocalypse – Sebastian Shaw is one of the many mutant aristocrats and a prized servant of Apocalypse. In X-Men Noir, Shaw is a powerful politician who commands the Brotherhood to do his bidding. In Mutant X, Shaw is still the Black King of the Hellfire club, but is enclosed in a protective shell for reasons unknown. In Forever Yesterday, Shaw fights against tyranny alongside such heroes as Cannonball, Juggernaut and Beast and House of M, and he was granted the position of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director (brilliant).
See, there’s nothing Shaw can’t do and he’s in X-Men: First Class to prove it.