- Tomorrow, I must leave the X-Men--forever!
Appearing in "To Save a City"
- Count Nefaria
- Unicorn (Milos Masaryk)
- Scarecrow (Ebenezer Laughton)
- Eel (Leopold Stryke)
- Plantman (Samuel Smithers)
- Porcupine (Alexander Gentry)
- Maggia goons
- Unnamed captain
- Eddie (First appearance)
- Charlie (First appearance)
- United States Army
- Unnamed politicians
- Unnamed Washington DC residents
- U.S. Coast Guard
Races and Species:
- Army tanks
- Count Nefaria's freighter
Synopsis for "To Save a City"
Continued from last issue....
The X-Men have been captured by Count Nefaria, who had hoped to take in the young mutants as his allies, only to learn that they are truly heroes. Nefaria tells the X-Men he will give them an hour to change their minds. Despite this setback, Nefaria still launches his current plan: To steal the entire city of Washington D.C. Nefaria accomplishes this with a special device that traps the capital city under a clear and indestructible dome. The dome’s appearance spreads panic all over the city, causing government officials to call in the military from the Pentagon. However, no matter how hard they try and what they use, nothing can pierce the dome.
Nefaria then sends out his impersonation X-Men to the Capital Building to present his ransom: One hundred million dollars, to be paid within three hours. When the government refuses and guards attempt to capture the faux-X-Men, they are shocked when they suddenly vanish. They still believe that they were the genuine article for they don't know the exact extent of their mutant powers.
Inside Nefaria's base, the real X-Men attempt to break free with the use of Jean’s mental powers, who breaks them free of their shackles. As this is happening, the Professor gets a call from General Fredricks about what is happening and he agrees to travel to Washington at once. When attempting to contact his students, he finds that they are out of his reach. Back at Nefaria's base, Jean manages to telekinetically lift Cyclops' visor so his optic blast removes his bonds and then the shackles of the others. The Professor manages to get through to the X-Men and manages to give them instructions.
Meanwhile, Nefaria has been contacted by the government who agree to his terms, much to his delight. Impressing him further is the arrival of the X-Men who agree to join forces with him. Warning the group against a double-cross, Nefaria tells them of a failsafe on the device, that only he can operate the machine that controls the dome and if anyone else were to attempt it, it would cause totaly annihilation to Washington D.C. As Nefaria sends the X-Men go to collect his ransom, his previous minions, Porcupine, Plantman, Unicorn, Eel, and Scarecrow, all agree to turn against Nefaria to seize the money for themselves.
The Professor arrives at the military attaché outside the dome where General Fredricks tells the Professor of the X-Men's "involvement" in the ransom, and the Professor asks for some time to think things over. In reality, he sends his astral form into the dome to spy on Nefaria and learn his secrets. The X-Men are provided with an opening into the dome so they can collect the ransom. They head toward the meeting spot unaware that Nefaria's betraying minions are watching and waiting to strike.
The X-Men collect the money, but are sent fleeing when a trigger happy soldier attempts to shoot at them. They also attract the attention of an angry, brick throwing mob, that chases after them. However, the crowd is scared off by Porcupine and the other crooks that then confront the X-Men and demand that they hand over the money. As the X-Men and the super-criminals fight over the loot, the X-Men defeat all them all except for the Eel and Unicorn, who rush toward the case filled with money. The Unicorn then betrays his comrade by blasting him and running off with the money. Unicorn doesn't make it very far when he's surrounded by both the X-Men and the military. However, he manages to keep them at bay with the power of his unicorn blaster.
The X-Men keep the military at bay while they take back the money from Unicorn. Cyclops hands it over to Marvel Girl and sends her back to the truck that is waiting for them. Spotting the girl with the money, the regrouped villains try to give chase but are held back by a group of soldiers. Despite the fact that Plantman manages to wrap them up in vines, they are too late to stop the van from driving off with only Marvel Girl inside. The other X-Men, seeing that they are being left behind, are ordered by Cyclops to follow after it.
When Jean returns to Nefaria's hideout, she hands over the money to Nefaria who hopes to use the money to fund future Maggia operations in Europe. However, they are interrupted when a strange masked man enters the room who surprisingly operates the machine in just the right way to deactivate the dome without setting off the trap. When the other X-Men arrive, they are distracted long enough for Nefaria to sneak away, seemingly with the money. The mystery man is revealed to be the Professor, who explains that he learned how to operate the dome thanks to reading Nefaria's mind. With a special device that allows him to walk with lightweight, flexible metal braces, the Professor walked into Nefaria's hideout to deactivate the device.
The Professor then tells them that he tricked Nefaria into fleeing with a faux image of the briefcase full of money, created by Nefaria's own machine. At that moment aboard his ship, Nefaria thinks he's gotten away but is then confronted by the Unicorn who wishes still to take the money. To both men's surprise, the briefcase suddenly disappears. Later, they are both picked up by the coast guard whom the Professor had summoned.
The X-Men celebrate a brief victory, which is interrupted when Jean is given a letter that she had gotten in the mail. Reading it, she becomes tearful and tells the X-Men that she must leave the team.
This story is continued next issue...
- The Scarecrow appears next in Captain America #159
- The Unicorn previously appeared last issue and won't appear again until Iron Man #15
- references: X-Men #14, X-Men #15, X-Men #16, and X-Men #22
- Cyclops refers to the X-Men's situation as being "a prisoner of Zenda". This refers to an actual book written in 1894 by Anthony Hope, and adapted by Hollywood in several famous versions.
- This is the conclusion of a two-part story-arc that started last issue.
- Avengers #13 - first appearance of Count Nefaria.
- Tales of Suspense #51 - first appearance Scarecrow.
- Strange Tales #112 - first appearance Eel.
- Strange Tales #113 - first appearance Plantman.
- Tales to Astonish #48 - first appearance Porcupine.
- Tales of Suspense #56 - first appearance Unicorn.
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