Marvel Reveals Its New Illuminati

Emma Forst and Blue Marvel join the Illuminati in Marvel's new Thanos series.

A new iteration of Marvel's Illuminati is forming. Marvel Comics recently announced a new Thanos miniseries in which the villain returns to Earth to take on the Illuminati. However, while we've seen the classic Illuminati lineup in action as recently as the current Ultimate Invasion series, the permutation of the group in Thanos is not a version of the Illuminati that fans have seen before. According to Marvel's press release for the Thanos series, founding Illuminati members Mister Fantastic, Doctor Strange, and Iron Man reform the secret society. Joining them are Emma Frost -- who is possibly Tony Stark's wife by now and is likely taking Professor X's spot in the group in the wake of the Hellfire Gala -- and Blue Marvel.

The new Illuminati appear on Phil Noto's variant cover for Thanos #1, which is an homage to George Pérez's cover of Infinity Gauntlet #1 from 1991. Though not mentioned in the press release, the Hulk also appears on the issue's cover. Whether Hulk is an unnamed addition to Illuminati or has some other role to play in Thanos is unclear. You can see Noto's variant cover below.

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(Photo: Phil Noto, Marvel Comics)

What is Marvel's Illuminati?

The Illuminati is a secret society in the Marvel Universe that came together in the aftermath of the Kree-Skrull War. Six Marvel heroes, each considered leaders of different groups within the Marvel Universe, formed the original Illuminati. Prince Namor was the antihero representing the seas and thus living beneath them. Iron Man stood for the Avengers and brought a willingness to work with governmental institutions. Mister Fantastic represents the super-science community, and Doctor Strange the magical and mystical side of the Marvel Universe. Professor X and Black Bolt represented mutants and Inhumans, respectively. The group also offered Black Panther membership, but T'Challa refused, fearing what the group would become.

Via retcons, the Illuminati are revealed to have talked the Beyonder into exile, convinced Marvel Boy to become a hero, and taken possession of the Infinity Stones. Things start to fall apart when they launch the Hulk into space, setting off the "Planet Hulk" and World War Hulk storylines, and when Black Bolt is revealed to be a Skrull imposter during Secret Invasion. Though the Illuminati disbanded, they eventually reformed, with Black Panther, Captain America, Medusa, Beast, Hulk, Captain Britain, Amadeus Cho, and Yellowjacket each serving as members at different points.

What does Thanos want with the new Illuminati?

We know that Thanos is coming to Earth to fight the Illuminati. Why is unclear. The synopsis for the new Thanos series only says that the Illuminati have something Thanos wants. Readers will likely have to wait until the new series begins to discover more.

However, we do know that Thanos is obsessed with the Infinity Stones. It's only speculation, but given the homage variant's tie to the Infinity Gauntlet, could Thanos be on the trail of the Stones again? 

Thanos #1 goes on sale in November.