Marvel Unmasks the New 'X-Traitor'

X-Men's latest narrative delivers surprising alliances and shocking betrayals.

by Nouman Rasool
Marvel Unmasks the New 'X-Traitor'

In the recent release of X-Men: Hellfire Gala, an unexpected twist left fans astounded. A seemingly unfaithful member lurks within the X-Men team, presenting a new incarnation of an old plot point. In the '90s, creators Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio wove an intriguing thread into their narrative involving an X-Traitor, a figure destined to betray the team and become a detested legend in the dystopian future from which Bishop hails.

This plot thread was woven into the infamous Onslaught crossover. Today, the specter of an X-Traitor returns, albeit with a different guise. X-Men: Hellfire Club #1 is penned by Gerry Duggan, featuring artwork from Adam Kubert, Luciano Vecchio, Matteo Lolli, Russell Dauterman, Javier Pina, R.B.

Silva, Joshua Cassara, Kris Anka & Pepe Larraz, enhanced by color artists Rain Beredo, Ceci De La Cruz, Matthew Wilson, Erick Arciniega & Marte Gracia, and finally lettering by Virtual Calligraphy. Firestar, the popular fan-voted new addition to the team, has been unveiled as the new X-Traitor.

This dubious title was given at the behest of Jean Grey, before her unfortunate demise.

Battle Unleashed: Jean's Final Command

The Hellfire Club becomes a battleground as the anti-mutant organization, Orchis, launches an assault.

During the altercation, Moira MacTaggert mortally wounds Jean Grey with a blade laced with the Otherworld substance, Blightswill, known for its power-dampening properties. With her abilities gradually ebbing, Jean telepathically reaches out to Firestar, entrusting her with a covert mission to infiltrate Orchis.

Jean uses her powers to manipulate the memory of Dr. Stasis, an Orchis leader and clone of Nathaniel Essex, into believing Firestar's long-term allegiance with Orchis, predating her tenure with the X-Men. While this agreement leaves Firestar appearing treacherous to all, including her comrades, she accepts the role.

Unfortunately, Jean Grey doesn't survive her injuries, leaving Firestar isolated, working clandestinely for the X-Men's welfare but perceived as an enemy. Firestar's relationship with the X-Men was always complicated, being one of the few mutants who had consciously chosen to join the New Warriors and Avengers instead.

Her decision generated friction among her teammates. Her purported treachery to the X-Men in favor of Orchis has only fueled animosity, culminating in a threat from Rogue in the issue's closing panels. The question remains: can Firestar persuade the mutants that her apparent betrayal is actually a selfless act of dedication to their cause? Only time will tell.