Black King, Black Bishop
X-Factor (1st series) #67
Harry Leland (father),
Sebastian Shaw (adopted father),
Trevor Fitzroy (descendant)
Inner Circle / Lords Cardinal of the Hellfire Club,
Upstarts, Hellfire Trading Company
• Bio-molecular energy fields let him influence his
personal density, simulating diamond-hard physical
toughness or allowing him to pass through objects
intangibly; phasing effect can either be completely
harmless or disrupt the inner workings of his victim's
Shinobi Shaw is the illegitimate son of the mutant Harry Leland and an unnamed Japanese woman. However, to make matters more complicated, Shinobi’s mother also had sexual relations with the ruthless Sebastian Shaw around the same time, unbeknownst to Harry. Shinobi’s mother wrote to Sebastian asking for money, after which the man chose to take the baby in as his own, keeping the muddied parentage a secret from everyone else. As far as both Shinobi and Harry knew, Sebastian was the father and that’s the way it would be for a long time.
By the time Shinobi was a little boy, Sebastian was already involved in the Hellfire Club, an elite organization of billionaires, which was secretly run by the Council of the Chosen - later known as Inner Circle or Lords Cardinal - a cadre of men with megalomaniacal ambitions. Even though Shinobi felt he was destined to succeed his father in the Club one day, Sebastian dismissed his son as weak and incompetent. Having only contempt for him, Sebastian emotionally and physically abused his son. Shinobi found love and shelter in the arms of his caring mother. In his formative years, he would rarely speak with his father.
Despite being branded a disappointment by Sebastian, Shinobi would sometimes visit the Club's base in New York and snoop around in the basement, curious to learn more about Sebastian's activities. He also attended official events to the Club. In those social occasions, he would sometimes hang out with another boy, Warren Worthington, whose father also held a membership in the Club. Although Warren didn't really become friends with him, Shinobi idolized him. He even tried, unsuccessfully, to convince him to join him in his explorations in the basement. Sebastian's repeated declarations that Warren would make a better son for him than his own flesh and blood reinforced Shinobi's stance towards Warren. [X-Men (2nd series) #29, Marauders (1st series) #26]
Shinobi grew up to hate his father for the treatment he had received in his hands. As a young man, he would finally get the chance to get back to him. After his latent mutant powers to control his molecular density kicked in, Shinobi was involved in the Upstarts, a group of mutant individuals who competed in a "game" which involved killing prominent mutants and garnering points from each kill. Shinobi picked his own father as a target and set about to murder him. First, he managed to buy Shaw Industries, his father's collection of companies, from under his nose.
Next, he boldly confronted him in Sebastian's private chalet in Switzerland. There, Shinobi revealed how he now owned Shaw Industries. He also cruelly teased his father by suggesting that perhaps the late Harry Leland, Sebastian's colleague from the Hellfire Club, could be his real father, on the basis of Shinobi and Harry's similar powers. Little did he know that he was much closer to the truth than he realized. Finally, Shinobi reached into Sebastian's chest and gave him a coronary attack. The chalet was then obliterated in an explosion, with Shinobi seemingly the sole survivor. [X-Factor (1st series) #67]
Shinobi's elimination of his father put him ahead in the ranking of the Upstarts, making him the frontrunner in the game. Shinobi relished in his newfound wealth and glory, and his various servants catered to his every whim in his luxurious apartments in New York and Tokyo. However, his rival Upstart, Trevor Fitzroy, coveted the top spot of the Upstarts for himself. With a new, improved batch of Sentinels, he orchestrated the massacre of most of the Reavers, Hellions and Emma Frost, the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. Fitzroy brought the lifeless Frost to Shinobi as proof and demanded to be handed over Sebastian's ring, which Shinobi wore as a symbol of power. When Shinobi refused to relinquish it, Fitzroy unflinchingly cut off Shinobi's finger which carried the ring and seized it. After Shinobi had his own Sentinels reattach his finger, he hunted down Fitzroy and located him in his secret base in an iceberg in the Arctic Circle. Shinobi's men captured Fitzroy and Shinobi reclaimed the ring. He also gleefully informed Fitzroy that the Gamesmaster, the coordinator of the Upstarts game, had ruled this altercation between the two men in favor of Shinobi. Upon learning that the X-Men were also in Fitzroy's base at the moment, Shinobi attempted to further his Upstarts achievements and wipe out the entire team with some explosions he orchestrated. However, he failed. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #281-283]
Shinobi's leading position among the Upstarts was not to last long. Fellow competitor Fabian Cortez claimed to have killed Magneto and became the frontrunner in the game. When Cortez strongly demurred at the inclusion of a human, Graydon Creed, among the Upstarts, Shinobi tried to calm him down by reminding him that the Upstarts originated as an escapist game of fun for rich, bored and spoiled children. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #299]
Besides his engagements with the Upstarts, Shinobi also had dealings with the Japanese crime scene. One evening, Shinobi had a meeting with the Japanese crime lord Nyoirin in his Tokyo penthouse. Shinobi proposed a quid pro quo: Nyoirin would restore his errand assassin, Kwannon, into order and slay the X-Men for Shinobi. In exchange, Shinobi would second Nyoirin's petition to reinstate the Clan Yashida under his control in the meeting of the Jigoku heads that was scheduled to take place the following day. Noyirin accepted this proposal, although he later failed in his mission. A bit later, Shaw had another guest: the assassin Matsu'o. Much to his annoyance, Shaw was informed that Matsu'o had talked with the Gamesmaster and was given permission by him to personally kill Psylocke. The following day, Shinobi met with the three crimelords, Matsu'o, Nyoirin and Tatsuo. Shinobi was initially rude and disrespectful to them and made to leave, asking them to just keep his mother out of their business. After an incensed Tatsuo tamed him, Shinobi cooled down and attended the meeting. Later, he and Matsu'o were telepathically contacted by the Gamesmaster. Despite Shinobi's protests to the contrary, Gamesmaster confirmed he had authorized Matsu'o, who wasn't even a member of the Upstarts, to kill Psylocke. After this unpleasant encounter, Shinobi returned to his penthouse to rest, but his peace was interrupted by Beast and Gambit, who broke into the apartment while he was in the bath and demanded - in vain - to know more about the activities of the Upstarts. [X-Men (2nd series) #21-23]
Despite his initial success with Sebastian’s murder, Shinobi had fallen down in the Upstarts rankings. At Gamesmaster’s advice, Shinobi decided to recruit a lackey to do his dirty work for him in order to fare better in the game. He finally chose the New Warriors member known as Justice. Justice feigned his allegiance to him, all the while working together with Night Thrasher in order to infiltrate the Upstarts and discover their secret plots. [New Warriors (1st series) #43-44]
When Hydra entered the opium trade thanks to a hidden set of poppy fields in the Savage Land, their enterprise threatened the drug empire of the Mandarin out of the Golden Triangle. In exchange for a small percentage, Shinobi offered his intelligence resources to the Mandarin, feeding false information to S.H.I.E.L.D. about genetically engineered poppies in the Savage Land fields. Nick Fury and the British Super-Soldiers team eliminated Hydra's operation without ever knowing Shinobi and the Mandarin manipulated them into it. In toasting a profitable day's work, Shinobi idly wondered if he could convince the Gamesmaster to award him points in the Upstarts competition for his successful venture. [Super-Soldiers #6-7]
According to the charter of the Hellfire Club, membership passes from parent to child at the former's demise. Following Sebastian's apparent death, Shinobi became the new Black King of the Club. Shinobi sought to reestablish the Inner Circle of the Club, which lay in disarray. Shinobi still remembered Warren Worthington, now the X-Man Archangel, fondly from his childhood, and decided to offer him the vacant seat of the White King. He invited Archangel and Psylocke to the annual gala ball held at the Club's headquarters in New York. There, he had them brought before him. After Warren fervently declined his proposition, a fight ensued. Finally, Psylocke telepathically made Shinobi confront his traumatic childhood and everything he had endured at Sebastian's hands. Betsy and Warren left, leaving Shinobi faced with his memories. [X-Men (2nd series) #29]
Meanwhile, the Gamesmaster initiated the "Younghunt," a new game that would assign points to whomever captured surviving members of the New Mutants and Hellions. Shinobi asked from Justice to capture his girlfriend, Firestar, and bring her to him. Shinobi tried to goad him into it by promising he would only use Firestar as bait in order to free all the other members of the two teams held captive. In fact, Shinobi hoped to precipitate the fall of both Gamesmaster and his fellow Upstarts and declare himself the victor of the Younghunt. Justice met with his teammates and revealed his undercover assignment, at which point Firestar willingly followed him over to Shinobi's headquarters and was delivered to him as a prisoner. However, by that point, Shinobi suddenly grew tired of the endless schemes of the Upstarts game and decided to focus on different activities. When X-Force broke into his apartment in Tokyo sometime later, he tipped them off to the location where the various targets were being held: his chalet in Switzerland. Thus, he brought an end to the Younghunt. [Child’s Play crossover]
After Shinobi permanently broke off with the Upstarts, he focused his exclusive attention to the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club. After enlisting new mutants to fill in the vacant seats of the Inner Circle, he decided on yet another X-Man he could recruit for the Club: Storm. In cahoots with the villainess Candra, he chose Storm on the basis of her perceived susceptibility to corruption. He began by sending her flowers and an invitation for dinner at the Club. The flowers were laced with a neurotoxin, which affected Ororo's cerebral chemistry, suppressing all her inhibitions and flaring up her strong subconscious urges. Storm began acting uncharacteristically wild and accepted the invitation. At the Club, Shinobi claimed that he envisioned the Club as an institute bent on acting as a global benefactor and asked for Ororo's help. However, as the neurotoxin began affecting Storm in more unpredictable ways, Shinobi complacently revealed his deception. After Ororo was neutralized, Shinobi planned on injecting her with more neurotoxin to ensure her complete submission. By that time, though, a few members of the X-Men stormed into the Club and a fight ensued. After Shinobi was defeated, Storm proved to him she wasn't as dark as he thought by sparing his life. [X-Men Annual (2nd series) #3]
Undaunted, Shinobi went about his Hellfire business again. Later, Emma Frost's younger sister, Cordelia, began pressuring him to make her the new White Queen. Cordelia unsuccessfully tried to lure him by presenting the mutant known as Mondo as a "gift" to him. [Generation X Annual 1995] Later, Shinobi had other, more pressing concerns. His intelligence was giving disquieting reports on the activities of the London branch of the Hellfire Club. Furthermore, the murderous criminal known as Mountjoy was reported to have infiltrated the Inner Circle of the British branch. Feeling his interests threatened, Shinobi contacted Captain Britain, an inactive member of the Club. Shinobi briefed him on the strange goings-on in the London branch and asked him to infiltrate it and investigate. [Excalibur (1st series) #96]
On top of everything, Shinobi's worst nightmare finally came true: he began hearing rumors of Sebastian resurfacing alive and well. Shinobi went into hiding, dreading Sebastian's wrath. Always restless, he was soon involved in a project about a machine that could potentially convert mutants to baseline humans. Shinobi was interested in perfecting this process, with the rationale he could use it as a weapon against his father and simultaneously gain an advantageous position in the human/mutant conflict. The project was based on a secret island, where it could be carried out without interference. Shinobi also arranged for the abduction of Nga and Leong Coy Mahn, Karma's twin siblings, to be used as guinea pigs for the experiments. However, the machine never quite seemed to work. Before Shinobi's plans could come to fruition, X-Force infiltrated the base. Amidst this ordeal, Shinobi had the Mahn twins sold to the madwoman Spiral. As the battle against X-Force escalated, Shinobi's machine was destroyed. Subsequently, Shinobi fled, vowing revenge. [X-Force (1st series) #62]
Shinobi vanished from the face of the Earth afterwards, apparently hiding from Sebastian. Some time later, he was one of the few mutants who retained their powers post-M-Day, when roughly 90-95% of world's mutants were depowered. [X-Men: The 198 Files #1] However, some time later, Sebastian finally tracked Shinobi down and ended their vendetta, by slaying his son. Shinobi's saga wasn't to end here, though. He was among hundreds of mutants resurrected by a mystically enhanced version of the Techno-Organic Virus, wielded by Selene and her lackey, Eli Bard. Under Selene's thrall, Shinobi participated in the attack of her army of undead against the X-Men's fortress in Utopia. Inside the base, Shinobi located his father in the prisoners' brig, where Sebastian had been held for the past few weeks. Naturally, Shinobi's hatred for his father murdering him was as seething as ever and he tried to return the favor to him. However, Sebastian's warden, the artificial intelligence known as Danger, prevented him and got caught up in a fight with him. [X-Necrosha #1, X-Force (3rd series) #21-22]
Shinobi was apparently one of Selene’s resurrected mutants who remained alive even after her defeat. Years later, Shinobi and the rest of the Upstarts decided to get back together, after most of the X-Men and other mutants were presumed deceased following a battle against Nate Grey. The Upstarts went back to their old ‘hunting’ habits, now targeting the few remaining X-Men. To that end, they lured the team to the Cloisters in Upper Manhattan, where the X-Men were presented with the corpses of another reformed villain group, the Nasty Boys.
In the ensuing battle, the Upstarts were quickly defeated and Shaw was the last man standing. Shaw argued that their mutant genes were built in a way that could help them survive their pursuers: humanity. However, mutants had failed in that respect, being exterminated or weaponized. Cyclops, though, dismissed Shinobi’s argument as a mere excuse for attacking his fellow mutants. Shaw then claimed that he and the Upstarts were trying to protect the few remaining mutants from Emma Frost’s mental manipulation and her new Hellfire Club, and, with that in mind, they had murdered the Nasty Boys, lest they would fall in Emma’s hands. Shaw himself was unwilling to fall prey to Emma. Right before the X-Men’s disbelieving eyes, he committed suicide by materializing his own hand inside his head. [Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #20]
Shinobi wouldn’t stay dead forever, as Professor Xavier had developed a way to bring any deceased mutant back to life. The mutant race now lived on the island of Krakoa, with Sebastian taking a prominent role on the running of the mutant society. Sebastian was always looking to make any situation work best for him first and foremost, and so he petitioned to have Shinobi brought up the resurrection queue. Sebastian was working alongside Emma Frost and Kate Pryde in distributing special medicines around the world for the human race, and he had many business dealings, both legal and not-so-legal to take care of. Mimicking the Hellfire Club’s titles, Shinobi was intended to be the Red King but, when Kate took the role, Sebastian gave him the title of Black Bishop.
Shinobi himself remained uneasy at working so closely with his father, as both had attempted to kill each other numerous times before. It took a while but, when Shinobi saw the full extent of Krakoa’s influence, as well as Sebastian’s hand in running things, he decided to start afresh and work alongside him. [Marauders (1st series) #3, 5-6]
Whilst Shinobi travelled the world, using his unsavory contacts to distribute medicine and strike some very profitable deals, Sebastian enacted his own plan to rid himself of Emma and Kate. He murdered Kate and covered his tracks… but not well enough, as Emma soon realized he was behind it. After Kate was resurrected, they tracked Shinobi down and read his mind to ensure he was unaware of his father’s actions. The two women exacted their revenge by crippling Sebastian and weakening his position on Krakoa, leaving Shinobi to take up the slack. [Marauders (1st series) #17]
When Harry Leland was brought back to life, Sebastian realized it was time to reveal Shinobi’s true parentage to all of them. Even though he had suspected, Shinobi was still taken aback by the revelation and seemed rather uncomfortable with Harry’s excited displays of affection. [Marauders (1st series) #26]
In the grim future timeline known as Days of Future Past, Shinobi also succeeded his late father in the leadership of the Hellfire Club. He worked with Betsy Braddock (as Psylocke) and Wolverine's adopted daughter Amiko as his personal assassin. Amidst a United States demolished by the Sentinels, Shinobi abducted Scarlet Witch and had her brought to the Club. Shinobi tied Wanda with a machine that would amplify her reality-warping powers and wreak chaos all over the globe.
His plans were thwarted by Scarlet Witch's father, Magneto. Magnus infiltrated the base, along with Wolverine and other mutant allies. He killed Shinobi by ripping apart his structure at a molecular level, albeit at the cost of his own legs and Wanda's life.
Unlike the mainstream version of Shinobi, his counterpart from the Ultimate Universe seemed to be loyal to his father. That reality's Hellfire Club was an organization that worshipped the Phoenix God, a divinity they believed existed within the X-Man known as Jean Grey. After Sebastian was killed by Jean, Shinobi took over his life's work. Working together with Gerald, an undercover operative of the Club who was operating from within the Xavier Institute, Shinobi started a relationship with Emma Frost, which enabled him to come in closer contact with Jean. Finally, he and Gerald attempted to restrain Jean and inject her with a syringe, but were both incapacitated by her and her reawakened Phoenix powers. Shinobi was then taken into custody by the police.