The Upstarts are a group of Mutants (and one human) who were vying for leadership of their own group and were given points for assassinating mutant figures. The Upstarts included: Shinobi Shaw, Siena Blaze, Fabian Cortez, Graydon Creed, Trevor Fitzroy and the Fenris Twins, Andrea Strucker and Andreas Strucker. The Upstarts were responsible for most of the death's of the original Hellions and the apparent deaths of Magneto and Sebastian Shaw.
Many members of the Hellfire Club's The Inner Circle have had their hands in the creation of many power teams. These teams were used to further the creator’s power. Selene (the Black Queen of the Inner Circle) would be no different. As the White Queen ( Emma Frost) made a team of young/adolescent mutants, called the Hellions, to solidify her role in the Hellfire Club. Selene, too, would create a team of young, mutant adults though for, it would seem, more honorable reasons. Selene was to use the team to mold and create the future mutant leaders of the world. Though with Selene, there is always more then meets the eye. Selene would have an ulterior motive for the team know as The Upstarts!
Selene was very particular about those that she would recruit into the team. Only wanting the young, wealthy, powerful and elite. Those who would be powerful leaders in the future. Her only other criteria would be that they MUST be mutants.
The initial roster would include:
Trevor Fitzroy: The teleporting, time traveling mutant from the future.
Shinobi Shaw: The phasing son of the Inner Circle's Black King, Sebastion Shaw. Cunning and sly, Shinobi Shaw is willing to betray and do anything in order to further his self.
Other would join later in the game such as:
Siena Blaze: wielding energies so powerful, each use depleted Earth further as her power were detrimental to the environment.
Graydon Creed(Tribune): the only baseline human, and future presidential candidate, to join the team also the mutant hating biological son of both Mystique and Sabretooth.
Fenris: Twin Nazi sympathizers who require skin-to-skin contact with each other to enable use of their powers. (Probationary Member)
Matsuo Tsurayaba: powerful member of The Hand. (Probationary Member)
The team would need one last person, someone who could monitor and judge the competitions for the group, a referee of sorts. Selene would get in contact with an omnipathic mutant, with mental powers on par with both Professor X and Jean Grey, by name of Gamesmaster. Though Selene organized/founded the team, he would monitor them and keep track of points to see who the winner of each game would be.
The Upstarts were unlike any other team. In joining the team each member was part of a secret competition, or games as they are referred to as being. Basically the group would be given targets (groups of people or individuals) and the Upstarts would have to assassinate them. Gamesmaster would award points based on the victim’s power, skill and their overall importance to the world. Points and competition were decided solely by Gamesmaster. The winner for smaller games would gain leadership of the Upstarts with complete loyalty and power granted to that person while they were wearing "the ring." The ring signifies who the winner was. Selene also eluded that the grand prize would be immortality, a prize that each member wanted greatly.
In order to join the team one requirement must be met. The individual requesting membership would have to kill a member of the Inner Circle. In the beginning, things went smoothly and as planned. Resulting in many major events such as: The decimation and deaths of almost all of the Hellions as well as the Reavers. Additionally, the apparent deaths of Sebastion Shaw (Black King), Emma Frost (White Queen), Eric Lensherr (Magneto/ White King) & Donald Pierce (White Rook). Selene's hidden agenda couldn't be going any better.
Selene's Secret Plan
In appearance, Selene would make it seem as though her reasoning for the team was completely honorable. Only wanting to find and mold the future mutant leaders of the world. A humanitarian effort if ever there was one. Though not all was as it seemed. True, she did want to find the future leaders, but this would be to fit her needs. There was a power struggle, one of huge proportions, in one of the most powerful factions in the world. It was in the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club. Each of the members was plotting against one another. Deception, lies and manipulation; these were a regular thing and was what was to be expected. Selene, the Black Queen of the Inner Circle would be no different.
Her goal was simple, she wanted full control of the Inner Circle and in effect the Hellfire Club. This would never happen with the current members as they all wanted the same exact thing. So she would pick individuals with the powers and abilities to assassinate/kill those currently in the Inner Circle. She would sugar-coat the actions by calling it a competition or game. With each completed game another part of the Inner Circle would be removed, from the actual members to their followers. This would only leave Selene to be in the fullest control of the group. Here are some of the initial games.
-Payment for membership would be to kill one of the current members of the Inner Circle.
-Destroy any of the personal teams the Inner circles may have. i.e. the Reaver's who were the followers of Donald Pierce (White Rook).
-Kill the Hellions, loyal to Emma Frost the White Queen, and potential Inner Circle recruits in the future.
-The total annihilation of the entire group of the Inner Circle, excluding Selene.
If the ploy was successful there would only be the Black Queen, Selene, with all the power to herself. She would then have her team fill the emptied spot to create a new Inner Circle. Though as it would shortly be seen, Selene wasn't the only one playing a game for their own benefit. One, of the Upstarts would soon have plans of his own, that none were aware of. And there wasn't a thing anyone could do to stop him.
The Gamesmaster's role was to be the quiet background member. He was only to be the referee with no other real role on the team. In actuality he was getting taken advantage of by Selene, only wanting him for his mental powers, powers that she would underestimate. Gamesmaster was no regular telepath, he was an omnipath with mental gifts so powerful any average telepath's mind would burn out. His mental powers were at such a level that he is linked/connected to every single mind on the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. More then 6 million people's thoughts coursing through his mind all at one time. Even the powerful Professor X would not withstand that duress. He would find ease when he was asked to join the Upstarts. He found that when focusing on specific sets on individuals, rather then trying to block everyone’s thoughts, it would ease his pain. Gamesmaster enjoyed the games, he found the interesting, and especially liked the reprieve from the pain of his powers. The problem was that Selene's game was soon to end, and the game would be over. Or so she thought.
The Gamesmaster's Game
Selene No More
The Gamesmaster couldn't allow the games to end; he enjoyed them, to make them continue he would have to do a little manipulating, himself. Gamesmaster would have to use his powers in a way that he had never tried. He would have to mentally control another person to put his plans into play. Considering his amazing telepathic might, it shouldn't be a problem. He would select the maniacal Fitzroy. While Controlling Fitzroy he would have him use his powers to capture Selene. Fitzroy would prove successful and even put her in a torture machine from the future. All her experiences in her long life, battling some of the most powerful heroes from the X-Men and Excalibur, while all ranging from life threatening to simply casting a spell, they have not prepared her for such physical pain. Otherwise known as “spooling” the process involves being ripped to shreds and then reformed over and over and over again. Needless to say the pain was exquisite. Fitzroy fail-proofed his plan as well. The only way she could be freed is if someone took her place in the machine. No one in there right mind would do that, so Selene would be stuck their. Gamesmaster also fail-proofed his plan. If Selene, by chance, did free herself, she would blame Fitzroy, not the true person behind it. Once Selene was out of the way, Gamesmaster could use the Upstarts to his hearts content. He would control them and their lives like a game of chess. He would never have to worry of ramifications either, as he would never have physical contact with the teams either, since all connections with them would be through the astral plane. It was the perfect plan.
Let The New Games Begin!
Gamesmaster would now play an even larger role in the Upstarts. No longer simply a referee, he was participating in the games by manipulating and controlling his team. When he took over, new members would join like: Tribune (Graydon Creed), Fenris and Matsu'o from The Hand.
The games that he created were one the same path as those in the beginning. He would select target and this Upstarts would have to assassinate them for points. He picked some very hard targets and in most cases not successful at his attempts. Some of the targets were Forge, Cyclops, Storm, Professor X, Moira MacTaggert and in one a death wasn't required. Mr. Sinister hired the team to attain D.N.A. from Proteus instead return with the D.N.A. of Marvel Girl (Rachel Summers, then using Phoenix as her code-name.) Gamesmaster had many games, some time multiple one at any given time. None would require more effort from him and his team the Upstarts, then the final one that they would participate in together.
Young Hunt / Child's Play
Coming full circle Gamesmaster would have his final targets be the ones that got away in the very first game. The new/old target are the remaining living original Hellions and New Mutants (in actuality all the remaining living New Mutants, save a few were all Hellions). Though now, these are no longer young, novice mutants who could get easily pushed over. Both teams are older, more experienced and are very spread out. They are all spread out out now and apart of different teams such as: X-Force, Mutant Liberation Front (MLF) and New Warriors. There were quite a few targets that the members of the Upstarts were to take on, including: Empath, Thunderbird(now known as Warpath), Firestar, Magma, Cannonball, Boom Boom, Karma, Moonstar, Rictor and Wolfsbane. The key difference in this game is that Gamesmaster didn't want the captives to be killed, only captured. It can only be assumed that he grew bored with the Upstarts and was to use the captives mutants as his new pawns. His ploy was nearly successful and would have won if not for one, Paige Guthrie, the future X-Men known as Husk and little sister of Cannonball.
The New Game
To Control The Future
Gamesmaster was always ready for a new challenging game, especially the one posed to him. Paige challenged the Gamesmaster to a race. A race to locate and control the future mutants of the world. She stated that Professor X, Magneto and the Hellfire Club would all be trying to find them as well. Being intrigued by the challenge, he quickly decides that he no longer had interest in the Young Hunt. He called the game off and released all his mentally captives ex-member's of the New Mutants and the Hellions. Not only would he call and end to the current game but he would follow that with the disbanding of the Upstarts. He felt that he no longer required them as he could continue his game alone.
Where Are They Now
It not likely that the Upstarts are to regroup and make an appearance. Many have passed away, unfortunately have this status be much more permanent the some of the "death" that they dealt out on their targets. Here is an update on the status' of each of the members.
Selene: is still actively scheming away hiding in the dark. She recently came into the company of the young mutant Wither and has plans in place for the both of them. Though nothing has been revealed about it.
Gamesmaster: After the Upstarts were disbanded, he would show up a few more times doing battle with the likes of both the X-Men and X-Force. After a lose at the hands of Jean Grey he seemingly disappeared. Though being that he is a telepath of high order, he may simply be hiding his presence till the right time.
Trevor Fitzroy: Though he would continue to wreak havok for many years to come he would finally run into his enemy from the future, Bishop, and be dispatched. It appears that his death is a permanent one.
Siena Blaze: Though she had immeasurable and deadly mutant energies at her disposal, in the end it wouldn't matter. She along with hundreds of other mutants would be captured and sent to Neverland, a facility ran by Weapon X. She would ultimately be placed in a gas chamber and be killed. Her power's would matter not as the building was harnessing the power dampening mutant Leech's powers to effectively depower all mutants in the vicinity.
Shinobi Shaw: Though he thought he was successful in his ploy to kill his father, he would be wrong. His father would reappear, very much, alive. Scared for his father retribution, Shinobi went into hiding and has yet to come out.
Fabian Cortez: Would attempt multiply time to kill Magneto, his one time savior. He was first attacked and thought to be killed by another of Magneto's over-zealous followers, Exodus. Though, truly he was alive, Magneto would find him and put an end to his life.
Graydon Creed: He would go as far a being a candidate for presidency, while giving a speech his very own mother, Mystique, would assassinate him.
Fenris: Of the two of them, Andrea and Andreas, only one would not meet their death. Andrea would, by chance, deduce the identity of a newly arrived Citizen V. Not wanting his secret out he would murder her in cold blood, ensuring his secret would be safe. A mind controlled Andreas, would find her body and show no real emotion, but would slice some of her skin off and have it added to the sword that he was carrying. He would have the skin tanned and added to the hilt of his sword so that he could maintain his power's which require skin contact with his sister and he would also take the role of the Swordsman working for the Thunderbolts.
The Upstarts were created by both Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio.