> Uncanny X-Men Masterworks Volume 5

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"As chairman of the Inner Circle, I, Sebastian Shaw, propose a toast: To the Hellfire Club - - and our Black Queen - - Long may She Reign!"

-- Sebastian Shaw, pg. 17

Comics storytelling doesn't get much better than this classic sequence from Claremont, Byrne, Austin, Orzechowski and Glynis Wein.

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X-Men #132
April 1980 17 pages

Script: Chris Claremont Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Pencils & Co-Plotting: John Byrne Inks: Terry Austin

Title: "And Hellfire Is Their Name!"

First Appearance: "Inner Circle", Harry Leyland, Donald Pierce

Villain: Hellfire Club Inner Circle: Sebastian Shaw, Jason Wyngarde, Harry Leyland, Donald Pierce

Guest Appearance: Angel, Candy Southern

Cameo: Dazzler, White Queen, Hellfire Club armor goons, Kitty Pryde (all in flashback)

Innovation: Jason Wyngarde revealed to be alter ego of Mastermind, Jean turns into Black Queen

Letters Page: Page One

Synopsis: The X-Men pay a visit to the home of Warren Worthington III, aka the Angel, who lives with his girlfriend Candy Southern in a place he calls Angel's Aerie in New Mexico. While Candy entertains Xavier and the rest of the team, Cyclops asks to speak with Angel privately. Angel grabs him and flies him off to the top of a distant butte, where Cyclops gets him up to speed about their past fight with Emma Frost, the entanglement with the Hellfire Club, and Cyke's worries that Jean is being controlled by some outside force. Angel says that he was a member of the ultra-privileged Hellfire Club for a short time, but didn't like it and quit, and can't offer Scott any information on who might be messing with Jean's mind. After a time, Jean joins them on the top of the butte and Angel leaves to give them privacy.

Back in New York, the X-Men follow through with their plan to infiltrate and investigate the Hellfire Club. Nightcrawler and Wolverine scurry through an underground tunnel system to snoop around below; Wolverine lashes his claws against some power lines so that when the sewer water rises later, the power will go out. Scott, Jean, Peter and Ororo enter the Club, where there is a ball going on to which many super-powerful people have been invited. Xavier is back in New Mexico with Angel, monitoring the situation through radio contact, but yet unable to establish a comprehensive mental link with his former students, due to his long absence from them while in space.

The entrance of the non-costumed X-Men does not go unnoticed. The "Inner Circle" of the Hellfire Club- Sebastian Shaw, Jason Wyngarde, Harry Leland and Donald Pierce- take immediate steps to counter them. Shaw demands Wyngarde play his cards with Jean immediately. Thus, Wyngarde heads down to the ballroom and suddenly, Jean finds herself in another timeslip. She is back in the 18th century, convinced she is in the arms of her husband. Scott deduces this is what is happening to her once again as he watches her dance with Wyngarde. As Wyngarde hurries Jean up the stairs, away from the ballroom, Scott looks up and sees Wyngarde's real form for the first time: it is the X-Men's longtime foe Mastermind! Cyclops chases after them, but as he rounds the corner upstairs, he is met with a fierce blast that knocks him down. Standing over his body is Jean, dressed as the Black Queen, and paying heed to her "husband" Jason Wyngarde.

Peter and Ororo hear the sound of Phoenix' energy blast and drop all pretenses. They rush upstairs in costume and are faced with Sebastian Shaw. Colossus lands a left hook against him, but it bounces off his body and Shaw knocks him straight back. Shaw encourages the X-Men to hit him with all they have, so he can give their power right back to them. Under the Hellfire Club, Wolverine and Nightcrawler climb up into the basement where they are met by Donald Pierce and Harry Leyland. Pierce grabs Nightcrawler by the throat and Wolverine slashes at him with his claws, cutting his hand off and revealing Pierce to be a cyborg: part man, part machine. Harry Leland stops Wolverine in his tracks and begins to add so much mass to his body that he sinks to the floor, and eventually crashes through, falling all the way down through the building and into the sewer tunnels.

Storm had escaped Shaw and frantically searches for the rest of her teammates when she is met rudely by Shaw once again. He grabs hold of her and pushes her to the ground and knocks her unconscious. The Hellfire Club's Inner Circle joins together with all the X-Men together in a pile, save for Wolverine who is assumed perished after Leyland's terrible assault. Of course, there is a simmering distrust between Wyngarde, who seeks the ultimate power of the Club, and Shaw, who knows exactly what Wyngarde is up to. They all raise a toast to the Black Queen, who smiles at recognition of her part in achieving victory.

But in the bowels of the Hellfire Club's sewer system, Wolverine rises...and is ready to finish what he started!

(continued in XMEN #133)

--synopsis and panel images by Gormuu

--letters pages provided by Avengers Assemble

Issues Reprinted
X-Men #132-140, Annual #4, Phoenix #1
and Phoenix from Bizarre Adventures #27

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.

XM #132 XM #133 XM #134 XM #135 XM #136 XM #137
XM #138 Ann. #4 XM #139 XM #140 PHX #1 BA #27


All cover images are courtesy of the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Gallery.

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