Marvel Just Hinted Iron Man’s Secret Illuminati Could Be Returning

Krakoa’s new X-Men may not be the only team to emerge from the Hellfire Gala, as X-Men #21 hints at the return of Iron Man’s Illuminati.


The Hellfire Gala is underway and the X-Men have invited many of Earth’s greatest heroes and leaders to join them for the celebration on Krakoa, but by bringing together so many influential figures, the mutants may have unknowingly created a new threat to mutantkind: the Illuminati.

The Illuminati is a secret society composed of some of Earth’s most intelligent heroes. The team was formed by Iron Man after the Kree/Skrull War when he realized that the superhuman community could have prevented the conflict by sharing information and strategies. Joining Iron Man on the original roster were Mister Fantastic, Professor X, Doctor Strange, Namor, and Black Bolt. Several other notable members passed through the Illuminati’s ranks as well, including Black Panther, Beast, and Captain America. The team worked together to overcome many potential threats, but a particularly challenging situation known as the “Incursions resulted in the team destroying a parallel universe and brought each member’s moral compass into question and caused the team to disband. Captain America swore that he’d never let the covert group form again, but his recent visit to Krakoa suggests that he may be going back on his word.

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X-Men #21 – by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, Russell Dauterman, Lucas Werneck, and Sara Pichelli – opens on Namor, who is one of the many guests in attendance at the Hellfire Gala. Professor X and Magneto approach the Sub-Mariner with hopes of forming an alliance and they even offer him a seat on Krakoa’s Quiet Council. Thinking himself superior to the X-Men, however, Namor declines and walks away to talk to some other Marvel heroes. Interestingly, the group that he sidles up to includes Iron Man, Black Panther, Mister Fantastic, Captain America, and Doctor Strange, all of whom were once members of the Illuminati.

This brief gathering suggests a possible return for the Illuminati, which is hinted at even more later in the same issue. Amidst a collection of secrets from Mister Sinister’s Red Diamond, there is mention of the existence of secret alliances and ruling councils. While the Illuminati isn’t mentioned here, the team certainly fits this description, providing more evidence that the X-Men may have to deal with this formidable shadow organization in the near future.

Although the reunion between former Illuminati members is largely overlooked throughout the rest of this issue, it doesn’t seem like a coincidence that these Marvel mega-powers are meeting up. Considering how powerful the mutant nation of Krakoa is becoming, it’s entirely possible that these heroes are scheming on behalf of humanity. After all, tensions have been high between the X-Men and other heroes since their move to Krakoa, indicating that a greater feud could be in the works.

If the Illuminati is truly planning to reemerge in order to keep Earth’s mutants in check, it will definitely be interesting to see how the X-Men react. Drawing battle lines between Krakoa and Marvel’s most prominent human heroes probably wouldn’t bode well, and given the Illuminati’s history, things could get ugly very quickly. X-Men #21 is available now in stores and online.

Next: Cyclops Confirms Professor X’s Mutant Dream is Dead (For The Best Reason)

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