Publication Date: 29th Feb 2024
Written By: Daytripper.
Image Work: Blanchett.


Julian was born the youngest of two sons to William and Elizabeth Keller, billionaires in California. While Julian's parents adored their older son, James, who eventually left for New York to run the family business, Julian was viewed as a troublemaker and, when the Xavier Institute opened its doors to the general public, Julian was shipped off to Westchester, unaware that his parents had a very big secret they were keeping from him.

Self-assured, Julian appeared to be relatively popular at the Xavier Institute, although his attitude put him at odds with his strict instructor, Northstar. Several times, he tried to get the attention of another new student, Wind Dancer, while also making life difficult for other new students, like Wither and Prodigy. He also used his telekinetic powers inappropriately, like trying to unbutton Jean Grey's blouse, for which he was sentenced to detention. Initially, Julian's friend group included the likes of Mercury, Anole and Elixir. His friendship with Elixir led to some poor decisions, however. When the former New Mutant Magma fell into a coma at the Xavier Institute, Julian and Elixir snuck into the infirmary with the intention of using Elixir's powers to revive her from her coma. Unfortunately, the sudden shock of being brought out of her coma caused Magma to create an earthquake, which collapsed part of the infirmary on the school nurse. Julian and Elixir initially fled, before “rescuing” the nurse so that they could become heroes. Their plan backfired when Charles Xavier had ascertained the truth about what happened and issued Julian with further detention. [New Mutants (2nd series) #2-3, 5, 7]

Not wanting to get in any further trouble, especially with Parents’ Week fast approaching, Julian tried to be on his best behavior and, thinking he was doing the right thing, sent a homeless mutant away from the school when she arrived seeking help. During Parents’ Week, Julian was assigned to do several tasks but, when he faked being upset because his parents weren't visiting, Northstar let him off the duties. In truth, his parents were away skiing. Nevertheless, Julian had begun to grow tired of Northstar's strict mentorship and, when he told Northstar that Emma Frost had agreed to become his new advisor, Northstar reluctantly agreed to sign the student transfer paperwork. He also gave Julian a warning that, if he continued on his current trajectory of bad behavior, he could become a villain. Julian was faced with further conflict when Emma let slip that his good friend Elixir had previously worked with the mutant-hating Reavers. When Julian physically attacked Elixir in his rage, their friends tried to intervene, but the fight only ended when Karma put the boys under her control and sent them to their rooms. This effectively ended their friendship and, in the following days, the boys were purposely antagonistic towards each other. [New Mutants (2nd series) #8-9]

Julian became quite curious about Emma Frost's original students, her beloved Hellions. At his first official meeting with Emma and her other new advisees, the students were all allowed to choose their own codename. While Julian's teammates took the names Mercury, Rockslide, Tag and Specter, Julian chose the codename Hellion. Emma was taken aback by this but, when Julian told her that while Hellions were her favorite group of students, he would become her favorite individual student. Bemused by Julian's self-assuredness, Emma told Julian that they could discuss him taking that name once he proved himself to her. [New Mutants (2nd series) #10] After the Xavier Institute was destroyed and rebuilt, the students returned to find things slightly more organized and official at their school, including the formalization of training squads. Julian was still under Emma Frost's guidance, along with Tag, Mercury and Rockslide, while Specter was out, replaced with Dust and another new student, Icarus, whom Julian had recently befriended. Additionally, they were provided with formal team costumes. Julian's squad as named the Hellions Squad and Emma finally gave him her blessing to call himself Hellion, although his teammates were unimpressed that the team was effectively “Hellion and the Hellions.” During this time, Julian doubled-down on his rivalry with Elixir and the rest of Elixir's teammates, the New Mutants Squad, and continued to flirt with Wind Dancer. [New X-Men: Academy X #2]

When the rivalry between Hellion and some of his squad and the New Mutants squad became too much for the Xavier Institute faculty to deal with, a new regime of field day training exercises was implemented, with two squads competing towards one strategic goal. The Hellions Squad took the victory for the first field day exercise. Despite Julian's bully-tactics with other students, at times he did assume a leadership role and, when word spread that one of the students might be going to jail, Julian stood up in the cafeteria and addressed the entire student body in an attempt to unify them. When the student Wither was taken into custody by the FBI, Julian and most of his teammates plotted to rescue him, and enlisted Wind Dancer to assist. However, they were met by resistance from the New Mutants Squad and Icarus, who refused to follow Hellion's lead. The two teams battled, giving Julian a chance to unleash his frustrations on his former friend, Elixir, though the fight was stopped by the arrival of Emma Frost and Dani Moonstar. In the end, Wither was released to the custody of the Institute, where he was placed on the Hellions squad, taking Icarus' place who switched to the New Mutants Squad. [New X-Men: Academy X #3-6]

Julian's continued behavior and attitude towards the New Mutants squad, and the suspicion that he was involved in an incident where a table at which the New Mutants were sitting was upended, led Cyclops to give Julian a stern talking to, warning him that if anything happened to any of the New Mutants Squad, he would be Cyclops' first target. Wanting to clear his name, Julian offered his assistance to the New Mutants Squad, who were investigating a series of strange occurrences around the Xavier Institute. Ultimately, Julian participated in a séance with the New Mutants Squad, in which they learned the ghost of a dead mutant boy was responsible for the strange happenings around the school. [New X-Men: Academy X #8-9] When Northstar was killed in action, the entire student body was in shock and Julian, despite his usual bravado, took Northstar's death quite badly. He spent time reflecting on Northstar's warning to him that he may one day become a villain. To grieve in his own way, Julian went flying with Wind Dancer. Afterwards, Julian angrily told Wind Dancer that he would not attend Northstar's memorial with everyone, but he was seen by Wind Dancer hiding behind some trees and watching the proceedings. [New X-Men: Academy X #13]

As the students prepared for the upcoming prom and prizegiving, Julian asked Wind Dancer to be his prom date. She declined his offer, however, not interested in the false bravado he put on around other people, preferring him when he was more genuine. Not wanting to give up on his interest in her, he invited her to join him for the summer break, but Wind Dancer once again declined his invitation. Julian arrived at the prom with the three Stepford Cuckoos on his arm but, when Wind Dancer arrived with his one-time friend turned rival, Icarus, Julian cut in and Wind Dancer agreed to dance with him. The fact the leaders of two opposing squads were getting very close was not lost on Wind Dancer, worried about what their classmates would think, although Julian didn't care about how this looked.