Believing that her position within the Hellfire Club would be strengthened by controlling a loyal retinue of gifted youths, and wanting a counter to Charles Xavier’s students (the X-Men and New Mutants), the White Queen (Emma Frost) began training young mutants, her Hellions, at her Massachusetts Academy. Emma preferred willing recruits, but used psychological or telepathic coercion where required. One student who got away was Christopher Aaronson. Christopher’s mutant powers had manifested early; at age 7, when his father threatened to send him to military school, Christopher disrupted his father’s mind’s higher functions, causing a fatal car crash. He spent years in a government research center before escaping after destroying the minds of those in charge. At 16 he attended Frost’s Academy, but left after a short stay, unimpressed by Frost’s manipulations and immune to her telepathy. However, Frost was more successful with other youths.
Marie-Ange Colbert had found she could see fragments of the future in her grandmother’s Tarot cards. Her powers later expanded to include manifesting full-sized, three-dimensional representations of the cards’ illustrations under her control. Found in a convent school in Lyons, France, by Frost, she was christened Tarot. Though she and Christopher Aaronson fell in love, she refused to depart with him, believing her destiny lay with the Hellions. Marie viewed her abilities as a curse, her own desires overridden by her predestined path; Frost feared Marie’s belief might take her from the Hellions, but hesitated to influence her telepathically, unsure how it might affect her powers. Apache James Proudstar possessed superhuman strength, like his brother John, who had died on an X-Men mission. Blaming Xavier, James swore vengeance, and willingly became a Hellion, taking James’ codename Thunderbird to honor him. Choosing him to lead the Hellions, Frost subtly applied telepathic pressure to ensure James’ hatred of Xavier and his sense of loyalty to his teammates kept him in the Academy. Catseye was a feline mutant, resembling a humanoid cat. She had grown up in her feline form, but Frost taught her to use her powers to shapeshift to a more human-looking form (which Frost named Sharon Smith). Though Frost tried to encourage her human side’s development, Catseye continued to think of herself as a cat who could become human. Haroum ibn Sallah al-Rashid was a Moroccan Moor and Berber able to generate thermo-chemical energy and super-heated plasma, which he could discharge from his lower body to fly. His body proved unable to withstand the energy it generated, one day catching fire, but Hellfire Club surgeons saved his life, grafting cybernetic systems into his body, allowing him to control his powers. His sense of honor tied him to the Hellfire Club, and he took the name Jetstream. Jennifer Stavros was born in Atlantic City, the youngest child of a casino dealer. Like her siblings, she grew up surrounded by games of chance, perhaps subconsciously influencing her psionic ability, which manifested as discs of white “good luck” and black “bad luck” energy that could alter probability fields. Jenny enjoyed playing others and causing them grief, and had run with local street gangs before being recruited into the Hellions as Roulette. Manuel Alfonso Rodrigo de la Rocha, Empath, was the son of an impoverished noble Castillian family. Able to sense and influence others’ emotions, he found it difficult to deal with the constant emotional bombardment generated by those around him. Learning he could block incoming feelings with strong personal emotions, he cultivated an arrogant disdain; most of his peers despised him, an attitude he reciprocated, finding widespread animosity easier to handle than multiple conflicting emotions. Frost also recruited Angelica Jones, dubbed Firestar because of her microwave-generating abilities. Frost kept Jones mostly separate from her other charges, fostering a sense of isolation to keep the girl emotionally dependent on her, intending to mold Angelica into an assassin.
The Hellions (sans Firestar) first encountered their Xavier’s School counterparts when the New Mutants came to the Academy to rescue a kidnapped Kitty Pryde. Frost intervened in their battle, mentally dominating the intruders. The Hellions were unhappy that Frost planned to brainwash the New Mutants into joining their number, since they believed they had all joined without coercion. When Frost was absent, they proposed a one-on-one flying duel between Jetstream and Cannonball (Sam Guthrie), the stake being the New Mutants’ freedom. When their contest was interrupted by the arrival of Frost and Sebastian Shaw, the New Mutants were teleported home by Magik (Illyana Rasputin).
Soon after, Thunderbird tried to avenge his brother. He lured the X-Men to Cheyenne Mountain, where his brother had died. Against James’ wishes, Roulette, Empath and Firestar tagged along, the last manipulated by Empath. After the other three Hellions were captured by the X-Men, James confronted a temporarily powerless Xavier, but found himself unable to kill in cold blood and finally accepted the fact that his brother had chosen the path which led to his death. Offered a place with the X-Men, Thunderbird declined, unwilling to abandon his friends in the Hellions; though released from Empath’s influence, Firestar also turned Xavier down, stating she could not repay Frost’s kindness by running out on her. Frost admonished Empath for nearly costing her Firestar’s trust and temporarily depowered him, but Firestar subsequently learned of Frost’s deceptions and forcefully quit the Academy.
Frost later sensed nightmares the New Mutants were suffering after being slain and resurrected by the Beyonder. Covertly using Empath to heighten their new headmaster Magneto’s feelings of inadequacy, Frost offered to heal the youths’ minds; Magneto agreed, and most of the New Mutants – Cannonball, Magma, Wolfsbane, Magik, Cypher and Karma - joined the Hellions. The Hellions welcomed the newcomers, and after Frost’s telepathic surgery restored the New Mutants’ damaged psyches, genuine friendships formed; Catseye and Wolfsbane found common ground in their mutual animal sides, while Cannonball and Jetstream’s flying rivalry became more good-natured. And though they initially denied it, Magma and Empath developed a mutual attraction. Though Magneto reclaimed his charges after learning he had been manipulated, thereafter the teams viewed each other more as rivals than as enemies. Learning Empath had also inflicted terrible emotional trauma on their friends Sharon Friedlander and Tom Corsi, the New Mutants kidnapped and terrorized him to give him a taste of his own medicine; the Hellions tracked them down and retrieved Empath, and Thunderbird promised to keep him in line thereafter. With Magneto having joined the Hellfire Club, the two teams met again at a Club party. To settle an argument between them, they competed to capture Viper and the Silver Samurai, a bet the Hellions won. Soon after the groups again raced for a prize, to apprehend a “Bird Boy” reported flying around Manhattan; this time the New Mutants were victorious.
Increasingly attracted to Empath, Magma transferred to the Hellions; when he accompanied her on a trip to her home Nova Roma, a plane crash left the pair temporarily stranded. Away from conflicting incoming emotions, Empath dropped his guard, and the two fell in love, choosing to remain in Nova Roma. Thunderbird decided it was time to leave the Hellions and return to his reservation. Frost pressured him to return, and when his tribe was massacred, he wrongly assumed she was behind it, joining Cable’s X-Force as Warpath. The Hellions numbers were replenished by two new recruits: the hulking, superstrong Beef, and Bevatron, a French youth able to generate bio-electric blasts. When the vigilante Night Thrasher tapped into Hellfire Club records on Firestar, then recruited her for his New Warriors, Frost took offense, and she and her Hellions confronted the teenage heroes. The Hellions narrowly lost the battle, and the White Queen withdrew.
A short time later, many of the Hellions were slain when Trevor Fitzroy and his Sentinels attacked the Hellfire Club and X-Men. Jetstream, Beef and Tarot had their lifeforces drained; Catseye and Roulette were also reportedly killed. Bevatron’s fate is undisclosed, but Empath escaped and returned to Magma in Nova Roma. Tarot subsequently returned to life through undisclosed means; her old paramour Christopher Aaronson found her and nursed her back to health.
Recently, several members of the Hellions were revived with an alien techno organic virus. They are together again as a team.