Sebastian Shaw was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne and first appeared in X-Men #129.
Sebastian Shaw was born into a impoverished family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His powers first became evident after he was accepted into engineering school and his father, Jacob Shaw, died. He dedicated his life to his studies and by the age of 20 he became a millionaire. He made the company Shaw Industries. his company was involved with making munition for the US military. By the age of 40 he was a billionaire. Shaw's goal is to dominate the world through force, money and power. His connections to top officials of corporations and government make him a powerful enemy.
Shaw caught the attention of the White King of Hellfire Club's New York Branch, Ned Buckman. He was initiated into the Hellfire Club after becoming engaged to a woman named Lourdes Chantel (who also possessed mutant abilities). This membership was partly attributed by his vast fortune along with Warren Worthington, Jr. (father of Angel), Howard Stark (father of Iron Man) and Sir James Braddock (father of Captain Britain and Psylocke). He later became part of the Council of the Chosen and earned the rank of Black Bishop.
Shaw proclaimed himself Black King, remade the Council of the Chosen into his Inner Circle and gathered Emma Frost, Harry Leland and the non-mutant cyborg Donald Pierce as the Lords Cardinal of Hellfire Club. Tessa aka Sage, a member close to Sebastian, was acting as a spy on the Hellfire Club for Professor X.
Having killed to achieve his coveted position, Shaw understood he'd face similar attempts to displace him as the Black King. And indeed, Magneto during his time as White King challenged Shaw, The White Bishop Donald Pierce challenged him, and even his own son, Shinobi Shaw, challenged him by attempting to assassinate his father so that he could earn the title of Black King for himself. However none of these attempts were effective for very long. The only two that actually succeeded were the original Black and White Queens, Selene and Emma Frost respectfully.
Major Story Arcs
During this saga Shaw is shown to encounter his first giant challenge as Black King when Selene joins the Hellfire Club as the Black Queen. Selene, being one of the most powerful Mutants on Earth, did not waste any time making her intentions clear. She wanted to the throne. During their very first meeting Sebastian had asked for an audition, without knowing of Selene's immense power. Selene used her powers over inorganic matter to encase both Shaw and the throne he was sitting on in solid concrete. Selene watched as Shaw escaped the jaws of death, as he had just barely absorbed enough kinetic energy to escape. As Shaw recovered, Selene walked over to Shaw's throne, repaired it and claimed it for herself. Shaw correctly interpreted this as Selene showing him his place.
Shaw immediately realized that Selene had already known his weakness prior to their meeting and had every intention to kill him. Shaw feared Selene and knew he had little alternative but to let her join. Selene recognized his fear and took every available opportunity to belittle and challenge him, such as mocking his ceremonies and sneaking up on him in his chambers. In order to get rid of Selene once and for all, Shaw started a plot with Emma Frost to assassinate Selene, which ultimately failed.
Shaw's Selene problem quickly escalated when Rachel Summers aka The Phoenix (who had been kidnapped by Selene as a "gift" to Shaw) attempted to murder the members of the inner circle. She started with Selene but failed due to Wolverine's intervention. Shaw secretly wanted to allow Selene's murder and took no action. This however backfired when Selene shamed him in front of the entire group, which coerced him into taking action.
This whole sequence almost broke the truce between the XMen and the Hellfire Club. The two did end up making soon after, and Shaw invited Magneto (the current Headmaster of the Xavier Institute to join as The White King). The choice, although profitable for a time, quickly became disastrous when Magneto challenged Shaw. Shaw lost the battle and Magneto joined Selene and Emma in ruling the Club without a Black King. This Inner Circle fell apart soon after, with Selene retaining most of the power and resources.
Serving In Selene's Inner Circle
For a brief period of time after the Inner Circle disbanded, Sebastian did rejoin another Inner Circle, this time formed by Selene herself. Selene had recruited Madelyne Pryor to capture Trevor Fitzroy, and after forcing Fitzroy to serve her, she commanded him to make contact with Sebastian. Sebastian once again found himself without much of a choice, and reluctantly joined.
This partnership also did not last long as Selene had her own agenda, and had recruited her new members to be pawns in her game.
Sins of the Father
For further information: X-Men Legacy
After a leaving a meeting of the Hellfire Club, Shaw is alerted to the activation of a device which subsequently kills two people. The Club is unhappy and demands Shaw give answers to the machines purpose and origins. He learns that the device was built by his father, Jacob Shaw who worked with Mr. Sinister 40 years ago. He aided him in finding mutants which he would pass on his genetic code to in the event of his death. Sinister also implanted the gene into Jacob's young son as well but Jacob created the device to prevent the effect. While following leads on the machine Shaw comes across Gambit who informs him that his name is on a hit list along with others with the genetic implant. They form a temporary truce and break into a facility where they find Dr. Mueller, who has just shot Xavier which activates the gene. Dr. Mueller traps Gambit and Sebastian who quickly breaks them free. Gambit uses his powers to charge up Shaw's entire body which is enough to take down Xavier while he takes control within his mind. Shaw parts ways and is later seen asking Miss Sinister to be his new Black Queen.
During the Original Sin storyline Shaw teams up with Miss Sinister. They trick Wolverine into defeating the members of the Inner Circle and try to get Daken to work with them.
During Dark Reign, Emma Frost is seen speaking to Namor in an attempt to get him to join the mutant cause. When she senses Namor's hesitance, she offers him Sebastian Shaw's head in exchange for his cooperation. Namor agrees, and Emma makes him watch as she cuts his head off. Namor is impressed and agrees with Emma's demands. After he leaves it is revealed that Shaw was not killed, Emma had fooled Namor and planned to keep Shaw for herself. Emma Frost put him in a prison under Utopia for the time being.
Soon after Emma freed Shaw from his prison so she could properly deal with him. Along with Kitty Pryde and Fantomex she extracts him from his prison and they use EVA to take him to China. After a long discussion with him, Fantomex grew bored and opened a hole in EVA dumping Shaw to the ground from great heights. He didn't know that this wouldn't kill Sebastian, but instead put him at full power.
An infuriated Emma chastises Fantomex as Shaw emerges from a small crater, energized to the max with kinetic energy from the fall. Emma goes after him.
Shaw and Emma start to fight, and Shaw proved to be too powerful at first, until Emma manipulated his mind into thinking he had killed her already. Emma let Sebastian enjoy the illusion of victory and took control of his mind by the time. Emma then used her control to freeze Shaw's body. After taking a moment to enjoy Shaw in his defenseless state, Emma erased his memories completely. Shaw would later be found and taken back to Utopia by Hope and her team of Lights, much to Cyclops's surprise.
The Five Lights travel to Pakistan after Cerebra detected a mutant there. They discover a mind wiped Sebastian Shaw being used by a radical terrorist group to carry out bombings. Hope and the Lights fight the terrorists to free Shaw and return to Utopia. Upon his arrival, Shaw is immediately restrained and subdued by Danger and Psylocke. Cyclops has Dr.Nemesis run medical tests as Emma remains silent. Hope visits Shaw in his cell and alludes to knowing about the man he was but does not tell him the truth. After the battle that results in Zero's death, Hope returns and gives Sebastian his file, revealing his past.
Shaw and the Lights are brought to the West Coast Avengers during Avengers vs. X-Men. Wolverine demands that Shaw be locked up to which he complies, only requesting some books to read. While in his cell, Shaw repeatedly slams the books into his face, storing the kinetic energy and punching through the floor to escape. Madison Jeffries builds a battle suit to follow after Sebastian and attempts to restrain him without hitting him. Sebastian reveals he is able to absorb electric energy as well and breaks through Madison's suit. Shaw defeats Hercules and Tigra before reaching the students who are fighting themselves, the Avengers Academy against the Lights and other X-Men students. The Avengers Academy students attack Shaw as the Lights come to his defense. At the height of the battle Shaw reveals that he never intended to hurt the students but to free them. The Avengers Academy and faculty stage a "defeat" so that the X-Students can escape. Shaw goes off on his own after Tigra makes him promise not to let her regret it.
Hellfire Trading Company
After having his throne usurped by Emma Frost, Shaw has now returned to power, albeit under Emma Frost, along with a seat on the Council of Krakoa, the living island and mutant sovereign nation. Shaw oversees the drug trade that Krakoa produces and offers to the humans. Shaw has a lot of trouble working underneath Emma, since she never fails to show him down. Shaw decides he must take action when Emma makes Kitty Pryde the Red Queen. He resurrects his son Shinobi Shaw in an attempt to make him the Red Bishop. While spending more time with his son, Shinobi asks about his death, only for Shaw to lie and tell him he was set up by the White and Red Queen, Emma Frost and Katherine Pryde. Shaw used this lie to team up with his son to kill The Red Queen, who was later resurrected by Emma. Emma then severely punished Shaw for his actions, and allowed him to continue ruling only if he improved.
Sebastian Shaw continued to serve under Emma for some more time, but Emma started to notice Shaw slowly attempting to rise back to power. That coupled with his continued failure to be of any use made her realize that she needed to put an end to Shaw. Emma planned Shaw's death extensively and then finally went to his mansion and confronted him. Shaw initially overpowered her but just as he was about to strike, he froze and collapsed.
Emma had once again allowed him to overpower her since she wanted to see Shaw think he had won. She then explained to Shaw that she had poisoned him in advance. As Shaw's life ended Emma started changing and mocking Shaw, reminding him of how he was the one who had picked Emma to join the Hellfire Club. She tells him how he had fallen from great heights and was no longer fit to hold any title. Emma finishes changing and is shown to be in a Black version of her dress, and proclaims herself as Black King. In the end, it was Shaw's own protege Emma Frost who successfully permanently took his title away from him.
Powers and Abilities
Shaw is classified as an alpha-level mutant who can absorb all forms of kinetic energy directed at him, and use it to enhance his strength, speed, and stamina. This includes physical damage such as that sustained in fighting, being stabbed or cut, shot and kinetic blasts such as Cyclops' optic blasts or Gambit's explosions. He can also absorb and use other forms of energy such as electricity. Also he can absorb magical energy as shown in Avengers academy when fighting Hercules. He can build up stores of this energy, and release it whenever he chooses.
He can also go for long periods of time without sleep if he can store up enough energy. He has been known to have underlings in the Hellfire Club fight him in order to build up extra energy to store, and has been seen punching a wall in order to build up reserves. During a fight he is known for taking punches, allowing an enemy to charge him up to the point at which he is more powerful.
While absorbing energy makes him more powerful, he is not invulnerable. His body will still sustain damage, and he can be killed. Another way he could sustain massive injury is through being crushed. If he is not able to absorb enough kinetic energy from something that is crushing him, he can be injured by it. Shaw can also be overloaded if he absorbs too much damage. One of the most effective means of stopping him is preventing him from absorbing energy such as restraining or incapacitating him so that he has nothing to absorb. He is also susceptible to psychic attacks.
Gender : Male
Height : 6'1''
Weight : 210 lbs. (95 kg)
Eyes : Black
Hair : Grey
Age of Apocalypse
Sebastian was an aristocrat who was a prized servant and informant. Though, he was never a part of Apocalypse's military forces.
He was the leader of Hellfire Club alongside with Kitty Pryde.
Sebastian Shaw died but lived in eternity in Realm of the Dead believing that he himself was still alive and those that are really living were the ones who were dead. He was then confronted by Dr. Doom as Mar-Vell starts to recruit a number of super humans against Death.
Sebastian was the leader of the Hellfire Club and was a regular human who was later killed by the Phoenix.
House of M
Shaw had a position in SHIELD. He then became the director as he aligns himself with Magneto and helped each other in reprogramming the sentinels into mutant protecting robots.
X-Men: The Animated Series
Sebastian Shaw appeared in the X-Men: The Animated Series adaptation of "The Dark Phoenix Saga" storyline, voiced by an uncredited Canadian voice actor. He is the leader of the Hellfire Club's inner circle, and usesJason Wyngarde to control Jean Grey.
Wolverine and the X-Men
In Wolverine and the X-Men, Sebastian Shaw was a member of the Hellfire Club and acts as its leader. He congratulated Emma Frost as she successfully fooled the X-Men and was able to have Jean Grey back for the club to release the Phoenix. Selene always talks to him about Emma not being loyal to the club. Yet, Emma betrayed them as she realized that the mission of the club ( not only to release the Phoenix but also to kill Jean Grey) was evolved as Sebastian stated. He then commands the members to attack both Emma and Scott as he proved that Emma had betrayed them. He was voiced by Graham McTavish.
X-Men: First Class
Sebastian Shaw is portrayed by Kevin Bacon in Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class. Shaw's abilities were quite similar to his comic book counterpart. In the movie, Shaw was shown to absorb kinetic energy and re-channel it through blasts which is same as Bishop's mutant power. By absorbing the kinetic energy, Shaw can't convert it into super strength and speed, but he can save large amounts of energy at nuclear magnitude. He also states that his abilities somehow keep him eternally young, explaining how he looks the same in both the 1940's and 1963.
In the film, Shaw is the leader of the Hellfire Club along side with Emma Frost with Riptide and Azazel as henchmen. It is revealed via flashbacks that he tortured and experimented upon a young Erik Lehnsherr while working as a Nazi researcher during World War 2, and was responsible for the death of Erik's mother, Edie. In 1963, he attempts to bring about a nuclear Holocaust by goading the U.S. into attacking the Soviet Union, with the ultimate goal of presiding over a new mutant world after the death of the human race. In the finale, Shaw is killed by Erik, who forces a coin Shaw had given him as a child through his skull.
- Sebastian Shaw appears as the final boss in X-Men for the Sega Game Gear on the level called 'The Hellfire Mansion'.
- Sebastian Shaw appears in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (which draws loosely from the Age of Apocalypse storyline), voiced by Alan Shearman. He remains an independent figure in this video game, and barters a key to Apocalypse's tower to the X-Men and the Brotherhood. He has special dialogue with Gambit.
- Sebastian Shaw is revealed to be the owner of the cybernetics lab in the video game adaptation of X-Men Origins: Wolverine (though he does not appear in the film), the game based on the film of the same name. His company, Symstemized Cybernetics Lab, is responsible for manufacturing for Project Wideawake under Bolivar Trask. Senator Robert Kelly is mentioned as one of the backers of the company by Raven Darkholme.
- Sebastian Shaw is featured as a boss in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Sebastian Shaw was featured in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection from Eaglemoss Publications.
- Sebastian Shaw was featured in the HeroClix figure game.
- Sebastian Shaw was featured in Hasbro's Marvel Legends line as part of the San Diego Comic-Con-exclusive Hellfire Club box set.