Comics
Published July 12, 2023

The Hellfire Gala, Explained

The mutants’ annual gathering enters its third year! Revisit what’s happened at previous Hellfire Galas.

Follow the complete coverage of this year’s Hellfire Gala.

Krakoa’s inaugural Hellfire Gala: MARAUDERS (2019) #21.
Krakoa’s inaugural Hellfire Gala: MARAUDERS (2019) #21.

The Hellfire Gala is the biggest mutant celebration in the Marvel Universe, and it might be its most dangerous too. Since the X-Men and the rest of Marvel’s mutants formed a nation on the Living Island Krakoa, the annual event has quickly become a high point in the social calendar of Marvel’s heroes. The Hellfire Gala simultaneously serves as an official state dinner, the election of a new X-Men team, a celebrity-packed party, and a showcase for mutant high fashion. Naturally, the Hellfire Gala also stands as an irresistible target for enemies of the X-Men and mutant-hating groups like Orchis.

[RELATEDMeet Orchis, the X-Men's Greatest Threat Yet]

Now, we’re taking a closer look at past years of the Hellfire Gala and how these events have reshaped the course of mutant history. Before the next Hellfire Gala kicks off the “Fall of X,” we’ll also be looking ahead to this year’s event, which is set to shake the world of Marvel’s mutants in X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2023) #1, by Gerry Duggan, Kris Anka, Joshua Cassara, Russell Dauterman, Adam Kubert, Pepe Larraz, R.B. Silva, and Luciano Vecchio.

WHEN DID THE HELLFIRE GALA START?

The Hellfire Gala was originally an annual holiday party hosted by the Hellfire Club, an elite group of wealthy and influential individuals where mutants like Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost flaunted their power. Shortly after Frost reorganized the Hellfire Club’s resources to create Krakoa’s Hellfire Trading Company, Jumbo Carnation, a mutant fashion designer, gave Emma the idea to renew the tradition in MARAUDERS (2019) #7.

Although the White Queen was initially not sure what the Hellfire Gala would be, she found ways for the event to serve several purposes simultaneously. As a state dinner, the Hellfire Gala allows Krakoa to host international diplomats and heroes like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. When Cyclops and Jean Grey decided to reform the X-Men as a team of heroes operating outside of Krakoa, the gala gave the world’s mutants a chance to vote on the group’s prospective members before assembling the new X-Men team for the first time. Similarly, the gala also presents Frost and Krakoa’s other leaders a way to make major announcements in front of the world’s luminaries.

An idea is born in MARAUDERS (2019) #7.
An idea is born in MARAUDERS (2019) #7.

The Hellfire Gala is also a celebration of mutant culture where many of its attendees wear show-stopping outfits. And a lot of credit goes to Jumbo Carnation.

HELLFIRE GALA 2021

The first Hellfire Gala occurred at a particularly tense time for Krakoa’s mutants. In the wake of the X OF SWORDS crossover event, the residents of Arakko, a civilization of battle-hardened, war-loving mutants, had just returned to Earth after spending thousands of years trapped in the hellish Amenth dimension. To address their presence, Magneto presented the leaders of Krakoa and Arakko with the idea of turning Mars into a habitable planet where the Arakki could live. During Krakoa’s first Hellfire Gala, Magneto and several other Omega-level mutants terraformed Mars, renamed it Arakko, and helped the Arakki move there in PLANET-SIZE X-MEN (2021) #1.

Arakko gets a new home world in PLANET-SIZE X-MEN (2021) #1.
Arakko gets a new home world in PLANET-SIZE X-MEN (2021) #1.

Running throughout several X-Men series, 2021’s Hellfire Gala chronicled the events of the gala and its aftermath. Taking place on the Krakoa-protected island Mykines, this inaugural gala saw mutants mingle with the Avengers, international diplomats, and real-world celebrities like Patton Oswalt and Jimmy Kimmel. Elsewhere at the gala, Angel and Penance interviewed new leaders for X-Corp, Wolverine and X-Force guarded the event, and uninvited guests like Deadpool and the Hellions tried to crash.

The first Hellfire Gala also let mutants put their best foot forward in high fashion outfits designed by Russell Dauterman, Alberto Foche, Lucas Werneck, David Baldeón, Matteo Lolli, Stephen Segovia, Bob Quinn, Alex Lins, Valerio Schiti, Marcus To, and Joshua Cassara. With dramatic gowns, revealing looks, and ornate suits, everyone from Colossus to Mystique sported impressive outfits, with Emma Frost going through no less than three wardrobe changes. In addition to being featured throughout the story and on variant covers throughout the crossover, these high fashion designs were collected in the HELLFIRE GALA GUIDE (2021) #1.

Emma Frost’s designs by Russell Dauterman in HELLFIRE GALA GUIDE (2021) #1.
Emma Frost’s designs by Russell Dauterman in HELLFIRE GALA GUIDE (2021) #1.

The Hellfire Gala also marked the debut of the first official X-Men team of the Krakoan era. After taking a telepathic poll of every mutant on Earth, Jean Grey revealed that Rogue, Sunfire, Synch, Laura Kinney’s Wolverine, and Polaris would be joining her and Cyclops on the team in X-MEN (2019) #21. Polaris joined the team after winning the real-world Marvel Annual X-Men Election, where fans like you voted her onto the team through an online poll.

However, the night ended on a sour note, when the body of Wanda Maximoff was discovered after the Hellfire Gala in X-FACTOR (2020) #10. This led to the Trial of Magneto, the Scarlet Witch’s resurrection, and the expansion of Krakoa’s Resurrection Protocols.

The results of the X-Men Vote were revealed in X-MEN (2019) #21.
The results of the X-Men Vote were revealed in X-MEN (2019) #21.

HELLFIRE GALA 2022

The second Hellfire Gala occurred immediately after one of mutantkind’s biggest secrets became public knowledge. Since its formation, Krakoa has been able to resurrect dead mutants by psychically uploading copies of their minds to cloned bodies. After Orchis almost went wide with the details of Cyclops’ death and resurrection, the X-Men leader revealed the existence of the Resurrection Protocols to the public in X-MEN (2021) #12. Although the Hellfire Gala was meant to highlight mutant contributions to medicine, Cyclops’ revelation became the unofficial focus of the event.

[RELATEDThe Top 5 Moments from This Year's Hellfire Gala]

Cyclops’ news overshadows the X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2022) #1
Cyclops’ news overshadows the X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2022) #1

Unlike its predecessor, the second Hellfire Gala took place almost entirely in X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2022) #1, by Gerry Duggan, Russell Dauterman, Kris Anka, C.F. Villa, and Matteo Lolli. Once again, the Hellfire Gala brought heroes, ambassadors, and celebrities to Mykines, where the aliens of Gameworld entertained them. While Krakoa’s mutants sported new fashion-forward outfits for the occasion, characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, and Doctor Doom also sported unique looks designed by artists like Russell Dauterman, Meghan Hetrick, Carmen Carnero, Mateus Manhanini, and Erica D’Urso.

The mutant-hating leaders of Orchis used this Hellfire Gala to enact several plans against the X-Men. Shortly after Moira MacTaggert turned into a cybernetic villain, the former X-Men ally took control over Mary Jane Watson and tried to unnerve her powerful son Proteus by revealing her role in co-founding Krakoa. Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Greycrow ultimately freed Mary Jane from Moira in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2022) #9. After claiming Mars’ moon Phobos for Orchis, Feilong encountered Tony Stark at the gala and seemingly began planning to take over his company.

[RELATEDMeet Feilong, the X-Men Villain Who Has Set His Sights on Iron Man]

The White Queen telepathically conducted the second annual X-Men election. While Rogue, Laura Kinney’s Wolverine, Polaris, and Sunfire stepped away from the team, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Synch successfully asked to be re-elected. After Firestar was nominated to join the group, Forge, Havok, Magik, and Iceman were also elected to round out the team. Firestar was the winner of the second real-world Marvel Annual X-Men Election.

The results of the second X-Men Vote in X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2022) #1.
The results of the second X-Men Vote in X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2022) #1.

HELLFIRE GALA 2023

As the “Fall of X” kicks off at the next Hellfire Gala, Nimrod, the Omega-Sentinel, and the rest of Orchis are set to be the ultimate party-crashers. While Krakoa is planning a night of high fashion with guests like the Avengers, Orchis is set to unleash the Stark Sentinels, Feilong’s next generation of mutant-hunting machines built on Stark’s Iron Man tech. Just one of these Sentinels almost took down a team of veteran mutants in X-MEN (2021) #23, and it successfully infected the teleporter Magik with power-disrupting nanomachines. When a time-traveling Cable tried to stop Orchis from attacking the gala, Moira put him on ice in X-MEN #24. Orchis also set its sights on taking out the mutant teleporter Manifold before the event, but the precognitive Destiny warned Rogue to protect him at all costs.

Rogue gets her mission to retrieve Manifold in ROGUE & GAMBIT (2023) #1.
Rogue gets her mission to retrieve Manifold in ROGUE & GAMBIT (2023) #1.

The Hellfire Gala will also reveal the winner of the 2023 Marvel Annual X-Men Election, where Jubilee, Juggernaut, Prodigy, Dazzler, Cannonball, or Frenzy will join the next X-Men team. While Cyclops and Jean Grey are contemplating their future, a flash-forward to the Hellfire Gala revealed that an unnamed Orchis agent will steal the Captain Krakoa power-suit, defeat Cyclops, and set fire to the team’s New York headquarters in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2023: AVENGERS/X-MEN #1. With Orchis ready to launch its most devastating attack against the X-Men yet, the next Hellfire Gala is shaping up to be a night to remember for all mutantkind.

The fall of Captain Krakoa in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2023: AVENGERS/X-MEN (2023) #1.
The fall of Captain Krakoa in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2023: AVENGERS/X-MEN (2023) #1.

See what happens at this year’s Hellfire Gala on July 26 in X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2023) #1, and stay on top of all the news coming out of the event!

Hellfire Gala
Hellfire Gala
You're invited to the Hellfire Gala! The worlds of mutants, celebrities, and Super Heroes collide in Krakoa’s first diplomatic event that will unveil the all-new X-Men lineup. If you thought the Reign of X was big, wait until you see what mutantkind has in store...
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