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Count Nefaria(pop culture)
Count Luchino Nefaria, first appearing in the Stan Lee–scripted and Jack Kirby–illustrated The Avengers vol. 1 #13 (1965), is one of the most resilient menaces in the Marvel Universe, having pursued the Avengers, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, the Thunderbolts, and the X-Men. During the Silver Age (1956–1969), Count Nefaria had no superpowers. Despite his oldfashioned wardrobe—complete with monocle and opera cape—he utilized highly advanced technology, including a “nightmare machine” with which he could project illusions into sleeping victims' minds, as he did to Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #67 (1965). Nefaria clashed with the X-Men when he entrapped Washington, D.C., within an impenetrable dome and attempted to hold the city at ransom in X-Men vol. 1 #22–#23 (1966). An overconfident master planner, Nefaria was the leader of one of the most powerful families within Marvel's Mafia-like Maggia organization, and he has also led several groupings of secondstring supervillains to assist him in his evil plottings. His acts involve high levels of intelligence and deception, such as duping the U.S. public into believing that the Avengers were declaring war on America. Perhaps Count Nefaria's best-remembered appearance took place in X-Men #94–#95 (1975), on the heels of the mutant team's Giant-Size XMen #1 revival, in which he captured the NORAD missile base (“Valhalla”) at Cheyenne Mountain. The X-Men thwarted him, but at the cost of the life of new X-Men recruit Thunderbird. In Avengers #164–#166 (1977), Nefaria gained superpowers at the hands of Professor Kevin Sturdy during the experiment that gave Wonder Man his ionic abilities, receiving the attributes of laser-like eyebeams, one-hundredfold-multiplied strength, and Hulk-worthy leaping. He is, however, vulnerable to weapons that use that same type of ionic energy. Nefaria destroyed the lab and mortally wounded Professor Sturdy—before he discovered that the experiment possibly went awry, aging rapidly as he attacked the Avengers. In a later tale, the enfeebled Nefaria was seemingly killed, but was actually in a coma. His “aging” was really his physical body adjusting to the ionic radiation in his body, a process that made the Count immortal and restored him to his prime condition. To maintain his powers he must drain energy from other ionic beings. Count Nefaria is the father of Whitney Frost, alias Madame Masque, the sometime lover of Iron Man. Though Madame Masque has been Nefaria's ally, they have since become enemies. Count Nefaria appeared in the initial issues of New Avengers (2005–present), in which he continued to wreak havoc.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.