ROGUE REPORT: Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw

by Ryan Rigley

Now that Mark Millar has signed on as creative consultant for 20th Century Fox’s upcoming Marvel projects, comic book fans all across the country can sleep a little easier at night. With credentials ranging everywhere from “Kick-Ass” to “Wanted” and ample experience on both the “Ultimate X-Men” and “Ultimate Fantastic Four” ongoing series, it’s quite clear that Millar has a firm grasp on the source material.

This, of course, comes as even more great news for the highly anticipated “X-Men: First Class” sequel, “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” In fact, the only foreseeable downside to the sequel is that Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw won’t be making an appearance. Absorbing mutant energy in order to enhance his own, Bacon’s Shaw practically stole the show in the first film.

But how did he stack up against his comic book counterpart? Click past the jump to find out in today’s Rogue Report!

What Worked: Although we never see his ascension to power, Bacon’s Shaw is portrayed as leader of the Hellfire Club (an evil gang of mutants hellbent on starting the next World War). In the comics, Shaw first joins the Hellfire Club after becoming engaged to a fellow mutant (Lourdes Chantel) and becomes the leader by killing his way to the top. While we never actually see any of this on screen, it’s fairly safe to assume that the Sebastian Shaw in “X-Men: First Class” killed his way to the top as well. After all, he had no qualms with killing a young Erik Lensherr’s poor, innocent mother. Which brings us to our next point.

What Needed Work: When we first meet Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw, he is experimenting on mutant children in a Nazi concentration camp under the name Klaus Schmidt. Then, jumping several years into the future, we are reintroduced to him as Sebastian Shaw without any sort of explanation. Suddenly, he’s American, he’s a mutant, and for some reason he looks the same age as he did back during World War II. What’s going on here? Obviously, Shaw’s ability to absorb the energy and life force of other mutants has also granted him the gift of eternal youth. As for the change in dialect, we’ll just chalk that one up to multilingualism.

What Was New & Interesting: Making it so that Sebastian Shaw is almost directly responsible for creating Magneto is an interesting concept to say the least. In the comics, these two characters share little to no connections with each other but for an “X-Men” film starring both of them it makes a whole lot of sense. Even that iconic anti-telepathy helmet is turned into a shared link between the two. Giving Sebastian Shaw the helmet is a terrific idea for two reasons; not only does it make for one epic final scene in which Magneto decides to put it on, but it also makes Shaw appear infinitely more powerful. Drawing his powers directly from other mutants, Sebastian Shaw can absorb virtually any attack and throw it right back at his opponents. In fact, the only thing that he is susceptible to is a psionic attack, which is also nullified as long as he wears that sweet Russian helmet.

The Rogue Report looks at comic book movie villains past, present and future to see how they handled the transition from the paneled page to the big screen. Suggest a villain for our next column in the comments or on Twitter!