Written By: 
Last Updated: 
2nd November 2008


The “Shaw” name has always been synonymous with power. Unfortunately for the Shaws power corrupts. This article will show how generations of the Shaw’s have “tainted” themselves with their thirst for power from as far back as the Salem witch trials all the way on through to the far future. Since this article deals with members of the Shaws over such vast time periods it is impossible to guess at how distantly related each generation is from the last; as a result in this article we will deal with the Shaws by time period.

The Salem Witch Trials

In 1692, English born Reverend Hiram Shaw was appointed minister of the town of Salem. At this time the town was in the height of the witch trials. Hiram was hunting down witches with furore which was rather ironic given that Hiram was secretly his time period’s sorcerer supreme. Hiram became very perturbed when his son, Obadiah, became involved with Abigail Harkness, a girl Hiram believed was a witch. He forbade Obadiah from seeing Abigail and was shocked when Obadiah refused to do so. That night while he slept, Hiram was taken to Dormammu’s Dark Dimension. Dormammu warned Hiram that his thirst for power would condemn his bloodline and showed him dark visions of his family’s future. He then asked Hiram to submit to him and he promised to “lighten his load” but Hiram refused and was returned to Earth, where he found his wife, Sarah, dead. Hiram decided to turn Sarah’s death into an opportunity and blamed Abigail for the murder. Before her execution, Obadiah freed Abigail and the two fled to the harbor. Hiram pursued the fleeing Obadiah and Abigail along with the townspeople. During the escape Abigail shocked Obadiah by revealing her mystical powers and killing the pursuing townspeople leaving only Hiram alive. Hiram was horrified as he knew he could have prevented the deaths if he revealed his true nature. After this incident, Hiram disappeared. Its unknown if Obadiah and Abigail remained together after he found out she was a witch. [X-Men: Hellfire Club #1] Note: Abigail Harkness is almost certainly an ancestor of Agatha Harkness, long-time friend of the Fantastic Four and the Scarlet Witch.

Reverend Hiram Shaw (Sorcerer Supreme)
First appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #1
Last appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #1 (presumably deceased)


Powers: mystic of impressive talent, commanding a cloak of levitation and possibly one of the Eyes of Agamotto

Sarah Shaw
First appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #1
Last appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #1 (killed by Dormammu)

Powers: baseline human


Obadiah Shaw
First appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #1
Last appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #1 (presumably deceased)

Powers: baseline human


The American Revolution

Obadiah recounted the events of his escape from Salem in a book titled ‘The Truthful Account of the Salem Witch Trials’ in his own words “I give this accounting of those terrible days to cleanse my soul of their ungodly taint, and to protect future generations from the pestilence that is my namesake. Unfortunately for Obadiah, writing about his experience wasn’t enough to exorcise his family line. One of Obadiah’s descendents was a poverty stricken English runaway named Elizabeth. Elizabeth arrived in Philadelphia aged thirteen. For Elizabeth the move just meant she went from one gutter to another. In 1780, when Elizabeth was fifteen, a member of the Hellfire Club named Lady Grey noticed her and saw in Elizabeth something she could manipulate, ambition. Lady Grey subsequently made Elizabeth her protégé. Later, Lady Grey introduced Elizabeth to Major-General Wallace Worthington. Lady Grey had planned to use Elizabeth to get military information from Wallace. Everything seemed to be going to plan and by 1781, Elizabeth and Wallace were married. Once she was married Elizabeth told Lady Grey she felt she could no longer betray the man she loved. Lady Grey didn’t take this betrayal well and she had Wallace beaten to death to gain the information Elizabeth failed to get her. [X-Men: Hellfire Club #2] Note: Elizabeth and Wallace had no children on panel. There is a slim possibility that Elizabeth was pregnant at the time of Wallace’s death, and that this child is the ancestor of the X-Men’s Angel, Warren Worthington III. Actually, though, it’s more likely, that Warren is a descendant from another member of the Worthington family, just like another Shaw must have been the ancestor of Sebastian Shaw.

Elizabeth Shaw-Worthington

First appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #2
Last appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #2 (presumably deceased)


Powers: baseline human


Victorian London

Across the pond, Elizabeth’s relatives managed to fight their way out of poverty and joined the English branch of the Hellfire Club. An unnamed Shaw was present in 1859 when En Sabah Nur and scientist, Nathaniel Essex attempted to ally with the Hellfire Club. During the meeting, one member of the club unwisely called En Sabah Nur a buffoon and was viciously killed. The unnamed Shaw, however, survived the incident and went on to father Cornelius Shaw in 1861. He was also the great-grandfather of Sebastian Shaw. [Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #2, Cable (1st series) #50]

During World War I

Cornelius Shaw died in 1915. Prior to his death, he had worked his way up to Brigadier General in her Majesty’s army. Just like his father, Cornelius had also been a member of the English Hellfire Club and upon his death there was now an opening. A high ranking member of the club, Waltham Pierce, had selected Esau Shaw, one of Cornelius’s sons to take his place. However, Cornelius’s other son, Jacob, had inherited the Shaw’s unquenchable thirst for power and wanted Cornelius’s position for himself. One night, Jacob was approached by Nathaniel Essex. Operating under the moniker of Mr. Sinister after having been genetically altered by En Sabah Nur, Essex was no longer a mere scientist. He experimented on Jacob leaving him with the ability to shapeshift. In the guise of Waltham Pierce, Jacob killed his brother Esau. Next, Jacob posed as a woman and seduced Waltham to lure him to his own bedroom. There, he wanted to kill Waltham too, but before Jacob got his chance, the original Union Jack, a friend of his brother Esau, intervened. Union Jack wanted to arrest Waltham because he believed Waltham had killed Esau. During the ensuing melee, Jacob shot at Union Jack and managed to escape. [X-Men: Hellfire Club #3]

Cornelius Shaw

First appearance: none
Last appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #3 (mentioned post mortem)


Powers: baseline human


Esau Shaw

First appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #3
Last appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #3 (killed by Jacob Shaw)

Powers: baseline human


Jacob Shaw

First appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #3
Last appearance: X-Men: Hellfire Club #4 (deceased)

Powers: artificially-engineered shapechanging power, enabling him to change his physical appearance and mimic the features of others

A Boy from Pennsylvania

After the incident in England, Jacob relocated to Pennsylvania, but he would remain in Mr. Sinister’s service for the next forty years. During that time, Jacob married and had a son he named Sebastian Hiram, whereas Mr. Sinister constructed a machine called the Cronus device. If Mr. Sinister died the device would act as a failsafe, as it enabled his consciousness to survive in someone else’s body. Sinister’s mind would be able to possess the body of one of four mutant children that he had encrypted certain genetic markers into their DNA, one of them being Sebastian. Jacob, however, wouldn’t allow this to happen to his son and managed to build another machine to prevent Sinister from transferring his mind into Sebastian. Just before Sebastian started his freshman year, Jacob suddenly took ill. The genetic alterations induced by Mr. Sinister had started to break apart his DNA. There was nothing the doctors could do and Jacob died. [X-Men: Hellfire Club # 4, X-Men: Legacy #213] Note: Given that Jacob had betrayed Sinister by protecting Sebastian from the Cronus machine it’s likely that Mr. Sinister found out and was responsible for Jacob’s death.

Like Father, Like Son

Sebastian had inherited his father’s ambition. By the time he was thirty he had made his first million, by forty his first billion, and he eventually joined the Hellfire Club I to gain even more power and influence. Just like the previous generations of the Shaw’s, Sebastian greatest threat would prove to come from his own blood. At some stage, Sebastian had fathered a son named Shinobi with an unnamed Asian woman. Considering his son a weakling, Sebastian had little love for his son, causing the boy to despise his father just the same. When he grew up and manifested his own mutant abilities, Shinobi attempted to take his father’s place. For a long time it was erroneously thought that Shinobi had succeeded in killing Sebastian, and he went on to operate his own incarnation of the Hellfire Club II until his father resurfaced. [X-Factor (1st series) #67, X-Force (1st series) #48, 62] Currently Shinobi is in hiding, fearing what Sebastian will do to him if he finds him.

Sebastian Hiram Shaw (Black King I)

First appearance: X-Men (1st series) #129

Powers: absorb kinetic energy or electricity into his body, immunizing him to most forms of physical injury while converting the energy into raw power that increases his strength and resilience

Shinobi Shaw (Black King II)

First appearance: X-Factor (1st series) #67

Powers: manipulate the density of his molecular structure to increase his strength and durability, shift into an intangible state to pass through solid objects, or create an inter-phasing effect to remove parts of an object from the whole

The Far Future

In the so called X.S.E future, the Shaws managed to prosper despite the horrific conditions towards mutants. Anthony Shaw was leading that time’s Hellfire Club. He had had a hand in the Summers Rebellion and in the absence of the Sentinels he’d managed to create an empire. Anthony favored his son William and was grooming him to eventually take his place. In similar fashion to the story of Esau and Jacob Shaw, William’s illegitimate brother, Trevor Fitzroy, wasn’t happy at Anthony getting what he believed he deserved. One night, Trevor arranged his stepbrother’s death, so that their father would be forced to accept him as his only son and heir. However, Trevor soon abused his new status and wealth and began to sadistically torture humans. His crimes became so severe that he was incarcerated, [X.S.E. - Xavier's Security Enforcers #3] but with the aid of another inmate, Bantam, he managed to escape into the timestream.

Anthony Shaw

First appearance: Xavier's Security Enforcers #3

Powers: unrevealed


William Shaw

First appearance: none
Last appearance: Xavier's Security Enforcers #3 (mentioned killed by Trevor Fitzroy)

Powers: unrevealed


Trevor Fitzroy

First appearance: Uncanny X-Men #281
Last appearance: Bishop: The Last X-Man #14 (dissipated into time stream)

drain the life energy from other people upon contact, metabolizing it into different forms of chronal energy, allowing him to freeze people in a moment of time, reverse or accelerate their personal timeframe, and materialize portals that allow travel through time and space

Back to a Future

Upon arriving in the present day of Earth 616, the main reality, Fitzroy continued to commit atrocities. It wasn’t long before he got involved with the Upstarts which included his ancestor Shinobi. Later on, he also joined an incarnation of the Hellfire Club III ran by another of his ancestors, Sebastian [Uncanny X-Men #281, X-Man #21-22].

When Fitzroy’s archenemy, Bishop, decided to hunt him down, Fitzroy escaped to another alternate future. There he used his advanced technology to conquer the primitive Earth under the guise of the Chronomancer with initially very little opposition save from another Shaw, Sammara, of Clan Hellfire. Accidentally being transported to this timeline as well, Bishop started to craft a rebellion against Fitzroy. While Bishop was doing this, Fitzroy managed to convince Sammara to ally with him. This alliance with Sammara would prove to be in vain as Fitzroy was soon defeated. During a fight with Bishop, Fitzroy opened one of his chronal portals and attempted to merge the Timestream in the hopes of becoming a god. For a moment, it seemed like Fitzroy would succeed but Bishop grabbed his leg just as he was stepping into the portal and he was ripped apart by the vast energies present. [Bishop: The Last X-Man #1-14]

Sammara Shaw

First appearance: Bishop: The Last X-Man #6

Powers: unspecified mutant abilities that appear to be telepathic and telekinetic in nature, enabling her to fly, mentally shield herself from harm, and exert influence over the thoughts and actions of other people