Uncanny X-Men (Vol 1) #23: To Save a City

The X-Men are trapped in Count Neferia’s dungeon. They have declined to aid Count Neferia in his quest to steal Washington D.C. Count Neferia proceeds with his plan. First, he seals the city in a force field so no one or nothing can enter or exit the city.

Next, Count Neferia plans to “force the X-Men to become [his] ballies in the most daring of possible crimes”. He sends an illusion of the X-Men to attend a “special committee meeting” at the Capitol. There, the X-Men confess to holding the city ransom. But when the police try to apprehend them, the X-Men simply vanish.

Meanwhile, the real X-Men are still in the dungeon. Marvel Girl attempts to pick the lock on their shackles but is unable to do so. She is not able to contact Professor Xavier either, but that is because he has “mentally sealed off [his] brain” to focus on his secret project.

Just then, the phone rings. Xavier is alerted to an emergency regarding the X-Men. He attempts to contact them but to no avail. The X-Men must be further away than he thought.

Back in the dungeon, Cyclops has an idea. He gets Marvel Girl to undo the metal band covering his visor. She succeeds and Cyclops is able to free his team mates. Suddenly, they receive a telepathic message from Xavier.

The Senate has agreed to Count Neferia’s X-Men’s terms. As he revels in his success, the real X-Men barge in and pretend to be on in Count Neferia’s scheme. He has the X-Men transported into the city. Unknown to the X-Men, Count Neferia has a contingency plan and sends his goons to watch the X-Men. However, his goons are tired of following orders and plan to “seize” the ransom money for themselves.

Xavier meets with the military outside the dome that covers the city. He projects his consciousness onto the Astral Plane to gain access into Count Neferia’s “stronghold” undetected and learn of his evil plans.

The X-Men enter the city through an opening in the dome. They collect the money easily, but have to contend with the angry civilians in the city. Count Neferia’s goons jump into the fray and chase away the mob. The X-Men then find themselves fighting the goons for the money.

The general watches the mutants fight over the money from outside the dome. Angered, he orders for the X-Men to be “shot on sight”. Seeing as he cannot help the X-Men here, Xavier takes his leave and checks into a room at a nearby motel.

The Unicorn has stolen the money from the X-Men. But Cyclops manages to regain control of the briefcase. The rest of the X-Men are busy with the military. Cyclops instructs Marvel Girl to return to Count Neferia with the briefcase.

Marvel Girl returns to Count Neferia’s lair. A mysterious man breaks into the compound. While Marvel Girl is forced to hand over the money, the mysterious man walks into the room and starts “manipulating the controls of [Count Neferia’s] doom projector” to disable it. Marvel Girl finds the voice of the mysterious man familiar.

The rest of the X-Men finally arrive at Count Neferia’s stronghold. The mysterious man points out that Count Neferia has fled onto his ship and the Unicorn has gone to confront him. The mysterious man then reveals himself to be Xavier. Xavier is now able to walk thanks to his new invention, “lightweight, flexible metal braces” operated by a power source attached to his belt.

Xavier also manipulated Count Neferia’s mind, making him think that he escaped with the money. The briefcase turns out to be a figment of Count Neferia’s imagination.

The X-Men return home and return the money. Marvel Girl receives a letter bearing unpleasant news: she is to leave the X-Men.

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