In Marauders, Emma Frost Just teased that another classic X-men villain might be the biological father of a major Hellfire Corporation member.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Marauders #17 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Edgar Delgado & VC’s Cory Petit, on sale now
One consistent element of mutant powers in the Marvel Universe is how similar the powers can be when connected through family lines. The powers of the parent often carry over in some form to their children, even if it’s in a slightly different form and application. In the world of the X-Men, telepaths tend to have telepaths for children, and Wolverine’s children share his claws and healing factor, for example.
This tendency may mean that one major family name could be built on a lie, as revealed in Marauders #17. Emma Frost strongly suggests that Shinobi Shaw might not be the actual biological son of Sebastian Shaw, and the White Queen seems to have a working theory over who his actual father could be.
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Debuting in Chris Claremont, Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio’s X-Factor #67 in 1991, Shinobi Shaw is the illegitimate son of Sabastian Shaw, the longtime Black King of the Hellfire Club and Hellfire Corporation. Born to an unnamed mother, Shinobi has proven to have a complicated relationship with his father over the years. At various points, he’s worked with him towards a common goal, and at others, he’s worked to undermine and even assassinate his father. Shinobi’s attempts to gain power only met with chaos and defeat, however, with the villain eventually dying by his own hand to avoid the wrath of Emma Frost. He’s been restored on Krakoa as many other dead mutants have been, allowing him a fresh lease on life and a chance to remedy things with his father as the new Black Bishop of Shaw’s corner of the Hellfire Trading Corporation.
Shinobi is also now poised to take a far more important role in the Hellfire Corporation, as his father has been rendered more or less paralyzed by Emma and Kate Pryde as revenge for his assault on the latter. But Emma might know an additional secret that only complicates matters even further. While discussing the upcoming Hellfire Gala with Shinobi present, Emma notes the similarity in Shinobi’s powers to another member of the now defunct-Hellfire Club: Harry Leland. Shinobi possess the ability to manipulate molecular density — making himself intangible or super-durable as a result. This isn’t similar at all to Sebastian Shaw’s mutant power to absorb and then rechannel kinetic energy — but it does bear a similarity to Leland’s abilities, which gave him the power to control the molecular density of others.
Emma cheekily suggests that when Leland is revived, she’ll have to introduce Shinobi to him, openly implying there may be a deeper connection between them and that Sebastian Shaw may not actually be Shinobi’s birth-father. Instead, it could be his old rival Leland, giving Leland a possible in with Shinobi if and when he is revived by the Five. It would be a perfect backstabbing moment from Leland against Shaw that took decades to unravel, and it would add a layer of tragedy to how both Shinobi and Leland briefly worked together as servants of Selene during the events of Necrosha, only to be unaware of their potential connection.
This could also throw further dissent into one corner of the Hellfire Trading Corporation, allowing Emma Frost and Kate Pryde to further cement their place at the head of the group. If and when Leland is actually revived, it’ll be interesting to see if there is indeed a connection between the two men and what kind of effect it has on the Black Bishop, as well as any plans he and Sebastian Shaw had been formulating.
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