The question of whether or not Twentieth Century Fox could compete with Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. during this superhero summer was answered when the first official X-Men: First Class trailer debuted. It featured shots of most of the characters, opting to focus on their powers in action sequences, emphasizing the visuals and the fact that X-Men: First Class is a franchise prequel more than anything else.

What we haven’t seen or heard much of yet is that of villainous (or are they?) characters Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Emma Frost (January Jones) who play the leader and second in command of the notorious Hellfire Club, respectively.  But a new X-Men: First Class image has surfaced focusing on just these two mutants.

The still comes exclusive from the latest issue of Empire Magazine and features Frost and Shaw inside of what is described as their “secret lair,” a place of importance for their Hellfire Club. While the room looks flashy and contemporary, we’re grounded in the 1960s courtesy of Bacon’s and Jones’ attire.

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In Marvel Comics, the Hellfire Club is a society/club for the wealthy elites but its leaders seek to do more than look good in their traditional 18th century get-up. We don’t know yet if the film will feature their trademark costumes from the comics but Hellfire Club structure is modeled after a common chess set, hence Emma Frost’s other alias of “The White Queen.” They seek to control and guide world affairs in their direction, too often crossing paths with the X-Men. In X-Men: First Class, I assume they’re involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis, a key story point for the film.

We expect that the next X-Men: First class trailer will focus on characters and story, now that the introduction is out of the way. What do you think of the casting choices for Frost and Shaw?

If you missed ’em, check out the two new Magneto/Professor X Posters released yesterday and make time to watch the X-Men: First Class trailer again.

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X-Men: First Class opens in theaters June 3, 2011.

Source: Empire