- "Now I want your honest opinion on this, what do you think of the name Inferno? I like it, but I don't love it. Firestarter, well, feels a little nineties, and Burning Man, well, that would have been perfect if it wasn't for some bloody desert hippy-fest."
JT James is an Inhuman who was taken to Afterlife under Jiaying's leadership, but was expelled from the community before undergoing Terrigenesis for trying to steal from its archives. After he finally gained his Inhuman powers with the intervention of Hive and Daisy Johnson, he started calling himself Hellfire.
Following his liberation from Hive's influence, James started hating what he became, and made a deal with the terrorist group the Watchdogs to help them exterminate the Inhumans. When Quake and Jemma Simmons visited James to warn him about attacks on registered Inhumans, Hellfire betrayed them and headed them over to the Watchdogs. During that event, he was attacked and defeated by the demonic Ghost Rider and taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D.
James was born in Brisbane, Australia, eventually becoming a mercenary and a demolitions expert. Over the years, James was identified as an Inhuman descendant, and he was brought to Afterlife by Gordon. However James never fit into the community of Afterlife as he became more frustrated about not being granted Terrigenesis. When the leader of Afterlife, Jiaying, caught James stealing a Kree Orb which had some connection to Hive, she banished him.
Asked for Help
- "Why don't you tell us what you found?"
"Why? I don't really do things out of the kindness of my heart. Haven't really understood that behavior, to be honest."
- ―Daisy Johnson and James
While living in the middle of South Dakota alone in a house built with wire fences and protected by land mines, James was visited by Lincoln Campbell and Daisy Johnson, whom he ordered to leave before they regretted it, stepping outside with his rifle. Johnson took another step and accidentally stood on a mine; James reminded her that he had warned her not to take another step. While Campbell tried to help her, James commented on how he always knew Jiaying would send somebody for him, although he had assumed it would be Gordon instead of Campbell.
Johnson revealed herself to be an Inhuman and created a shockwave which kept the mine in place before she allowed it to safely explode. Furious at the incident, Johnson then sent a massive shockwave through the ground, causing all of the mines James had planted to explode at the same time. James grabbed his rifle and prepared to shoot Johnson but Campbell fired a blast of electricity from his hand which sent James flying backwards against the wall, knocking him out before Campbell and Johnson took him inside and waited for him to awake so they could begin questioning him.
When James awoke, he found that Johnson had stolen his knife as they demanded to know what he had stolen from Afterlife and what he knew about Hive. James mocked Campbell about the idea that Jiaying had granted him powers before being told that Jiaying was dead, Afterlife had been destroyed, and Campbell was now working for S.H.I.E.L.D., although James remained skeptical. When James demanded something in exchange for the information, Campbell offered him one of the Terrigen Crystals which would finally grant him the powers he so desperately desired.
James agreed to help and handed over the Kree Orb, which he explained that Hive had stolen while battling the Kree Empire with his army of Inhumans, telling them that he believed that Jiaying had no right to keep this information from them. James then demanded to have the Crystal so he could finally undergo Terrigenesis, but Campbell betrayed him and threatened him as he took both the Orb and Crystal. Furious, James reminded Campbell of how he had nearly killed his previous girlfriend in a car accident before the pair left his home while James continued to yell at them both.
Under Hive's Control
A few days later, James was alone in his home drinking beer and watching television when he was visited once again by Daisy Johnson, who asked how he had been; James however just made joking comments about whether or not she had broken up with Lincoln Campbell. James then saw that Johnson was with another man who she revealed was in fact Hive, whom she thought he should meet.
James recommended to Johnson that although he knew she was attracted to danger, the idea of working with Hive was a bad idea, noting that if Jiaying was afraid of him then it was likely for a good reason. Hive then told James that he knew that the Kree Orb he had given her was missing its companion piece, but James denied any knowledge of it. When James began talking too much, Johnson dropped one of the Terrigen Crystals, filling the room with Terrigen Mist while James yelled out in pain as he was engulfed by his cocoon.
James eventually came out of Terrigenesis and felt as if his entire body was burning from the inside, discovering that he had the power to force an object to explode, although he had no control over this gift. As James begged for help, Hive sent dust into his eyes which allowed James to control his gifts and made him instantly loyal to Hive. James then revealed that the other half of the Kree Orb was hidden under his home, allowing Johnson to uncover it. Hive then ordered James to place C-4 around his house for S.H.I.E.L.D. to find.
Under Hive's orders, James traveled to Romania to assist them in the kidnapping of Holden Radcliffe, with James being given the task of distracting S.H.I.E.L.D. while Johnson found and took Radcliffe away. James went straight to the bar where he annoyed the bartender by stealing drinks while discussing the cyborgs that were attending the bar. James then demonstrated his own powers by lining up some drinks and causing them to explode, making everyone in the bar run in fear while he claimed the barman started it.
James was then confronted by Alphonso Mackenzie, who demanded to know where Johnson was, causing James to comment on how many men were out looking for Johnson. James then began throwing boiling items at Mackenzie and making them explode upon impact. While Mackenzie took cover, James asked his opinion on several potential codenames for himself, including Burning Man, which he claimed would have been perfect if it was not taken. Mackenzie managed to cause an explosion between them and escaped.
Regrouping with Hive and the rest of the Inhumans, James told Alisha Whitley that he had settled on Hellfire as his codename, despite worrying that it may be too on the nose. Hellfire then listened as Hive told the captured Radcliffe that he wanted him to use his expertise to recreate the Kree experiment that had created him all those centuries earlier. Looking around at their location, James asked Hive if he had bought them a house, but Hive explained that he had bought the entire town using Gideon Malick's money.
Being a Blowhard
- "I like a decent drink, a decent meal and an indecent lass and not necessarily in that order. And you are?"
"Nauseous, and wondering what you're doing here."
- ―Hellfire and Melinda May
Enjoying his downtime at Union City with the other Inhumans, James played pinball and drank beer, commenting on the great taste of the free American alcohol to Daisy Johnson, who asked him why he had decided to live so far away from civilization. James explained that he had never liked people and was not well liked himself, before admitting that he did become very lonely.
Changing the subject, James invited Johnson for a dance which she quickly refused and suggested they keep their friendship to pinball. James questioned if Johnson was still pining for Lincoln Campbell which offended her so James apologized. James questioned why Johnson was keeping ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. as they were trying to stop what they were doing in Union City, but Johnson insisted that it was not their fault as they did not understand their goals, but James noted that they were on opposite sides and it would not end well.
While playing pool by himself, James was approached by Melinda May, who claimed to be a member of HYDRA and demanded to know why he was there. While James attempted to flirt with May she appeared to be annoyed that HYDRA had bought in new workers since Gideon Malick had died, but James insisted that this was not the case and then demonstrated his Inhuman power to her by causing a ball to explode by her feet. May apologized and James offered to get her a drink to atone for the misunderstanding.
As they got a beer together, James discussed how Hive had chosen him to join his Inhuman army and explained that going through Terrigenesis had not changed his personality as May suspected, boasting about how awesome he claimed to be. James went on to explain that Hive had a plan to transform humans into Inhumans by recreated the original Kree experiment, offering to help May go through the change. The pair then moved to the pool table as James ranted about how great Hive was, comparing him to Ziggy Stardust.
May claimed that she would be interested in meeting Hive so James offered to try and set up a meeting between them in an attempt to impress her, however May was less impressed when James explained that Hive may be busy that night. In an attempt to win back May's favor, James insisted that Hive was only busy currently as he using the Kree Orb in an old mining facility on the outskirts of the city. With his information May knocked out James with the pool cue before regrouping with her S.H.I.E.L.D. allies.
James was ordered by Hive to set a trap for the Watchdogs in order for them to be used in their Kree experiments to transform them into Inhumans. Leaving a cafe with his hood covering his face, James allowed himself to be followed by the Watchdogs' van until he ran down an alleyway and let them follow and corner him, where they drew their weapons and told him it was the end of the line, preparing to kill him.
Reminding confident, Hellfire grabbed a chain and informed them that they could still go to hell, before turning the chain red hot and using it to whip the guns out of the soldiers' hands while mocking their efforts and their uniforms. As the Watchdogs attempted to escape, Hive revealed himself and informed them that he was the one who had invited them, although he had claimed to be with the ATCU. As Hive told them they would become what they hate, Hellfire proceeded to drag Pete Boggs across the ground with his burning chain.
Hellfire took the Watchdogs back to Hive's secret compound where he pushed them into a large shipment container ready for Holden Radcliffe's experiments. As one of the soldiers called the Inhumans abominations, Hellfire hit him across the face before locking the door as he told them they were about to join the evolution before Hive had Radcliffe fill the container with Terrigen Mist. When Hellfire eventually opened the container, they discovered that the Watchdog soldiers had undergone Terrigenesis and transformed into hideous Primitives who gained superhuman strength and were loyal to Hive's every order. Hive then ordered Radcliffe to create more of the Primitives.
Taking some time away from the base to collect some beers, Hellfire returned to discover that Lash had entered the base and had attempted to kill Hive. Hellfire charged at Lash, who had his back turned onboard the Quinjet while protecting Daisy Johnson and freeing her of Hive's control. Hellfire stabbed Lash through the back with his flaming chain, fatally wounding the beast before Johnson managed to launch him back with a powerful shockwave and escaped with Lash dead and his leader needing help.
Launching the Warhead
Following the orders of Hive, Hellfire joined Giyera in taking control of a missile silo where they killed many of the staff and took the rest hostage. Hive asked Hellfire if the men were willing to launch the missile for them which he confirmed while Giyera assured him that it would be near impossible for S.H.I.E.L.D. to reach the island without being spotted by the radar scanners.
However despite their best efforts, S.H.I.E.L.D. stopped the launch and Hellfire listened as Hive ordered Holden Radcliffe to fix the mistake with his Primitives while they attempted to kill their attackers. While searching for their enemy, Hellfire and Giyera found Hive, whose mind had been damaged by the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine, as he began yelling out random orders which made little sense. Despite Hellfire being horrified by Hive's state, they eventually got their orders to disconnect the warhead.
As part of Hive's plan, Hellfire and Giyera flew in a HYDRA plane above the Playground where they activated a Terrigen Mist bomb which had been sent into the base. This caused several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to be transformed into Primitives who freed Hive from the Suspension Gel he had become trapped in. They continued to attack the surviving S.H.I.E.L.D. agents while Hellfire and the other HYDRA agents flew the ship onto the base and took control of Zephyr One alongside their leader Hive.
Attacked by S.H.I.E.L.D.
- "So erhm, when we blow this thing, three continents of people are going to end up looking like these buggers yeah? Even the ladies? Look I don't want to seem ungrateful, you know, pumped to be changing the world and all that, but, down the road, can we still look at tweaking the formula?"
- ―Hellfire to Hive
Hellfire and Giyera flew their ship into the Playground where they regrouped with Hive, who had defeated Daisy Johnson in a fight. Once Johnson had been loaded into the Containment Module onboard Zephyr One, Hellfire asked how they had taken control only to learn that it was due to the work of the Primitives. Hellfire asked Hive if Johnson was back on their side, but Hive explained that she was there to ensure they were not shot out of the sky.
While speaking with Hive, Hellfire learned that he was capable of flying the ship due to the combined knowledge of both Grant Ward and Will Daniels' training locked inside his head. With the ship in the air, Hive confirmed that he was collecting his thoughts and Hellfire began questioning him over his plans, asking about how they would escape themselves to reconnect with the Inhumans before being destroyed in the explosion, but Hellfire reassured him that they would have escaped in the Containment Module before the explosion.
As Hive let the final coordinates, Hellfire questioned him about the fate of the women of the world, as he became worried that they would also become turned into ugly Primitives, as he requested that they one day tweak Holden Radcliffe's formula to improve the look of the Primitives so he found them to be more attractive. Hive ignored his requests but when he ordered that they move forward, he learned that Giyera had been shot and killed by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who had snuck onboard the ship to stop his plans.
Hive ordered Hellfire to find the stowaways and he soon came across Lincoln Campbell, who had managed to get onboard by using a Quinjet. Hellfire ambushed and attacked Campbell, knocking him into a corner; however, Campbell's training allowed him to defeat Hellfire with a blast of electricity before Melinda May knocked him out with a solid punch. However, Hellfire left Campbell with a bomb which fatally wounded him before Campbell sacrificed himself to kill Hive as he knew he was already dying because of Hellfire.
Deal with the Watchdogs
Having been saved from Hive's control following his death, James was taken in by S.H.I.E.L.D. and forced to sign the Sokovia Accords, putting himself and his powers onto the official record. James got himself a job at Primed and Ready Fireworks. During this time James gained a hatred for Inhumans who he blamed for his suffering and made a deal with the Watchdogs to help them find the Inhumans by hacking into his own S.H.I.E.L.D. wristband.
While working at the factory one day, James found himself greeted by Daisy Johnson and Jemma Simmons. Seeing them James sent his customers to speak to Shaun, while he questioned why S.H.I.E.L.D. was visiting him and comparing his working at a firework shop to Shaun stopping smoking. Simmons revealed that the Watchdogs were hunting down Inhumans and explained they were there to protect him, with Johnson suggesting that they join forces and fight back together, which James seemingly agreed with, telling them to meet him later that night.
Dealing with the Ghost Rider
- "I don't know who the hell you think you are, but you just made a big mistake."
"Funny, I was gonna say the same thing. Without the accent."
- ―Hellfire and Ghost Rider
James later found Daisy Johnson and Jemma Simmons waiting for him by some storage lockers and teased them for fighting over him. Johnson questioned what he now had to provide them and James claimed that he had some explosives that they could use together, leading to Johnson arguing with Simmons over her methods, while James reminded Johnson that only they understood what it was like to be controlled by Hive and lose everything when they had been his slaves.
However when James opened his locked, he revealed that it was filled with Watchdogs soldiers, he aimed their guns and Johnson and Simmons. James revealed that he blamed Johnson for everything he had suffered for putting him through Terrigenesis, as James insisted that he had never wanted to suffer Hive's mind control and viewed Inhumans as a curse upon the planet, which was why he had made a deal with the Watchdogs. Johnson risked breaking all her bones to create a shockwave, allowing them to escape while Simmons fired an I.C.E.R. at the Watchdogs as they ran away.
Taking hold of some bowling balls he found in the lockers, Hellfire began hunting down Johnson and Simmons throughout the facility, joining the Watchdogs in their own search. While Hellfire began throwing the balls which he turned into explosives down the hallways he continued mocking Johnson and Simmons, noting that while killing them may not bring him peace it would feel good to him. Before long he found the pair hiding in one of the lockers and used an explosion to subdue them before he attempted to use his Hellfire Chain to cut them both in half with cruel delight.
However, just as Hellfire threw the burning chain back, he was stopped when it was caught by Robbie Reyes who ripped it from his hands before mocking Hellfire's threats and accent. Reyes ordered Johnson and Simmons to go find Agent Phil Coulson for protection while he and Hellfire prepared to fight each other. Seeking to kill his attacker, Hellfire threw one of his explosive balls at Reyes' head, only to be horrified when Reyes was unharmed and instead transformed into the terrifying Ghost Rider who proceeded to use the Hellfire Chain to attack Hellfire and throw him against the wall.
Despite being clearly outmatched by Ghost Rider's incredible power, Hellfire refused to be defeated as he insisted that he would be the last of the Inhumans to die. Once pinned against a wall, Hellfire used his powers to destroy the wall, causing himself and Ghost Rider to fall into a room filled with fireworks which exploded due to the intense heat both fighters were producing, much to the horror of Alphonso Mackenzie and Coulson. The explosions knocked Hellfire out while not affecting Ghost Rider, who turned back into Reyes and dragged Hellfire's unconscious body out of the wreckage and handed him over to S.H.I.E.L.D. who took him into custody.
- "Were you like this before you got your powers?"
"What? 101% Awesome? You bet. Becoming Inhuman doesn't change your personality."
- ―Melinda May and Hellfire
James is a person who loves to hear the sound of his own voice. Maybe because he has spent so much time alone or because he does not like people enough to be talkative to them, James tries to get his point said as fast and as unsubtle as possible. He does not keep the slightest thought to himself, including throwing insults to Lincoln Campbell and openly mocking whoever he meets, including Hive.
This lack of self-control caused Jiaying to deem him unworthy of Terrigenesis, causing him to hate her and other Inhumans associated with her and Afterlife. After gaining powers, James himself admitted that nothing changed about him; thus, Melinda May was able to manipulate him for her own means during an undercover mission.
- "How could you do this to us?"
"How could you do this to me? You're the one that turned me into this freak of nature."
"You were obsessed with going through Terrigenesis! I gave you what you wanted!"
"I didn't ask for this. Hive and bloody misery? If I could take it all back, I would."
- ―Daisy Johnson and Hellfire
James became an emotional wreck after his liberation from Hive's influence. Unlike Daisy Johnson, who became the vigilante Quake and helped people, he began to hate not only himself but Inhumans in general. He ended up betraying all Inhumans by giving the Watchdogs access to his tracking watch in exchange for being the last Inhuman to die.
Powers and Abilities
This section requires expansion
- Explosion Touch: Hellfire can cause items he touches to heat up to the point of explosion. Objects ignited with his power glow brightly for a few seconds before the entire object detonates intensely. The size of the blast created appears to be correlated to the size of the exploding objects; larger objects like coolers and lamps produced a large, violent explosion while smaller objects like pool balls and shot glasses detonated in a small burst. Once he began to fully control his power, he chose a simple industrial chain as a weapon, as it was able to withstand his power without exploding and instead transmitted his power to other objects.
- "I was lighting fuses long before I was the fuse."
- Explosives Mastery: As a former demolitions expert and mercenary, Hellfire has extensive experience with the usage of explosives. He knows how to safely install land mines, which he laid throughout his front yard as a defense. James also had access to C-4, which he used to booby-trap and ultimately destroy his home under Hive's influence.
- Chain: James used a steel chain as his weapon of choice after undergoing Terrigenesis. While being chased by Watchdogs into an alley, he grabbed this item off of a dumpster and infused it with his flames, using it to threaten and disarm his assailants. Later, upon seeing Lash attack Hive, James used this chain to impale and kill Lash.
- Remington 700: James kept a Remington 700 by his side while he lived in a caravan in South Dakota, carrying it when he saw that Lincoln Campbell and Daisy Johnson came to his hideout. When Johnson detonated all of his landmines, James prepared to use this rifle to neutralize the intruders but was unable to fire after Campbell knocked him unconscious.
- Land mines: James surrounded his home in the Badlands with these explosives planted in the ground to keep out unwanted intruders. Daisy Johnson accidentally stepped on one of these but managed to step off and detonate all of the mines in the ground.
- C-4: James used these explosives to booby-trap his home in the Badlands. Before heading off to Romania with Hive, James planted these bombs throughout his trailer and activated a timer in order to eliminate the S.H.I.E.L.D. team that came to apprehend him.
- Hive † - Former Enthraller
- Alisha Whitley †
- Giyera †
- Holden Radcliffe †
- Primitives - Attackers turned Temporary Allies under Coercion
- Shaun - Co-Worker
- Watchdogs - Enemies turned Allies
- Afterlife Inhumans - Allies turned Enemies
- S.H.I.E.L.D. - Captors
- Daisy Johnson/Quake - Temporary Ally under Coercion turned Attempted Victim
- Lash † - Victim
- Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider
|Appearances for Hellfire|
In chronological order:
- In the comics, James Taylor James was an American store clerk and alleged descendant of western hero Carter Slade, with the ability to control supernatural flames. He was a member of the Secret Warriors and a romantic interest of Daisy Johnson, until he betrayed the team for HYDRA and is later killed by Nick Fury.
- In The Singularity, James states that he considered "Firestarter" as an alias, but that he decided against it because it "felt a little '90s". This is a reference to the song "Firestarter" by The Prodigy.
- He also considered "Inferno" and "Scorch", both of which are common codenames for pyrokinetic individuals in the comics. Unbeknownst to him "Scorch" had previously been used.
- James is a Leo with a "little tad" of Scorpio.
- In the episode Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire, James was given lines directly from the game Overwatch spoken by the character Junkrat, an Australian pyromaniac who has an obsession with high explosives.
Behind the Scenes
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.16: Paradise Lost
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.18: The Singularity
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.19: Failed Experiments
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.20: Emancipation
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.21: Absolution
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.22: Ascension
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.04: Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire