Uncanny X-Men Issue #23 (August 10, 1966)
Story By: Roy Thomas Art By: Werner Roth
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Brief Description: Framed for extorting Washington, D.C., the X-Men must capitalize on dissension in the Maggia’s ranks! Meanwhile, a mysterious figure invades Count Nefaria’s command center!
Characters Introduced in This Issue: None
Recurring Characters in This Issue: Count Nefaria, Unicorn, Eel, Plantman, Porcupine, Scarecrow, Iceman, Professor X, Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Jean Grey
This issue takes place immediately after the last issue ends, with the X-Men being Count Nefaria’s prisoners. Count Nefaria creates a large impenetrable dome that covers all of Washington DC. Nefaria then sends holograms of the X-Men and sends them to the white house having them demand $100 million or they will let all of the oxygen out of the dome, killing everyone inside.
The X-Men are meanwhile able to escape from Nefaria’s chains but they need to cooperate with the villain so that he does not kill all of Washington DC. The X-Men go to DC and get the ransom money from a government official.
However on their way back to Nefaria, the Count’s goons double cross their boss and try and steal the money from the mutants. The X-Men are able to defeat the evil group, but are then attacked by the military.
Cyclops sends Jean to give the money to Nefaria while the rest of the team handles the military. Jean gives Nefaria the money, but then a mysterious figure wearing a mask arrives and starts dismantling Nefaria’s machines. Nefaria runs away with the briefcase full of money and the rest of the X-Men arrive a little bit too late.
Luckily for the X-Men, the stranger is shown to be Professor X and he tells them that he tricked Nefaria and that he really still has the money. Professor X also amazes his team by showing them that he can walk using a device that he invented. Nefaria is captured by the military in his getaway boat.
The issue ends with a big reveal that after receiving a letter, Jean reveals that she has to leave the X-Men.
Issue 23 was another great issue. Just like I predicted, Nefaria’s villains turned on him and were part of his downfall. Although all of these villains have dome names and basic powers, I still enjoyed their battle sequences.
I also enjoyed the general concept of Nefaria holding DC captive. It seemed like a plan that was plausible (in the comic book sense of plausible) and it played out well.
I absolutely loved the reveal that the masked stranger was Professor X. I though that the reveal panels were hysterical and I love how nonchalant he was about saving and about walking.
I am intrigued by the concept of Jean leaving the X-Men. I know that her absence will only be temporary, but I wonder why she has to leave.
The only reason that I am not giving this issue a 5 out of 5 stars is that it is missing a special x factor that would make it perfect. If the main bad guy was someone more interesting I think this issue would be a 5, but I still give this issue an impressive 4.5 stars out of 5.
A few final notes:
1. Iceman pokes fun at the fact that the civilians happen to be around bricks when they are angry.
2. Scarecrow makes a Hitchcock reference.
3. Two energy beams meet each other!