|First appearance||The Avengers #13 (Feb. 1965)|
Stan Lee (writer)|
Don Heck (artist)
|Alter ego||Luchino Nefaria|
Legion of the Unliving
|Notable aliases||The Dream Master|
Fictional character biography
Luchino Nefaria is a wealthy Italian aristocrat and traditionalist that also desires greater wealth and power, driving him to join the Maggia criminal organization. The recently formed Avengers superhero team, however, thwart many of his plans and force a direct conflict, so Nefaria lures the Avengers to his castle on the pretence of a charity event, and places the group in suspended animation, using images which threaten to take control of America. After he releases them, the Avengers become suspicious of him after hearing they are wanted and they cannot remember what happened at the castle. They go to the castle, however nearly all of them are paralyzed by Nefaria's gas. Meanwhile, the Teen Brigade were captured by Nefaria, and when they tried to contact the Avengers were thrown in a dungeon which would place them into suspended animation if they touched the walls. Captain America gets into the castle without touching the ground, other Avengers, or walls, and freed the Teen Brigade, who gave the antidote to the Avengers. Captain America was also paralyzed, and with his hands and feet attached to ropes he was suspended between floor and ceiling, where Nefaria mocked him, saying he would be a hero for capturing him. However, Iron Man then burst through the wall. Neferia was defeated and deported after an officer heard him confess to being in the Maggia. In retaliation, Nefaria then unsuccessfully attempts to destroy Iron Man, and then suffers yet another defeat when stopped by the mutant X-Men team. Nefaria reappears several years later and attempts to take control of the United States base NORAD, but is stopped by the X-Men once again. Nefaria attempts to escape in a plane which is attacked by the X-Man Thunderbird. The plane then explodes, killing Thunderbird and injuring Nefaria.
Now virtually destitute and discredited, Nefaria hires the supervillains Living Laser, Power Man and Whirlwind to form the second Lethal Legion. The group rob several banks, and unwittingly finance an experiment Nefaria has created in a bid to become superhuman. Employing the former scientific adviser to Baron Heinrich Zemo, Nefaria devises a means of temporarily amplifying the abilities of the Lethal Legion, and then sends them into combat against the Avengers. The effect, however, is temporary and once defeated their combined abilities are drained by Nefaria, who possesses them magnified a hundredfold. After a long and protracted battle, Nefaria is finally defeated.
Nefaria is then kept in isolation and under observation by the Avengers, and it is discovered that the process to empower him makes Nefaria immortal but vulnerable as his body reconfigures itself. Whitney Frost, also known as Madame Masque and the daughter of Nefaria, attempts to find a cure for what is believed to be his deteriorating condition. She hires the Ani-Men to attack Avengers Mansion and free her father. While battling Iron Man, Nefaria's life-support system is severed and his weakened form is crushed by a stored Jupiter Landing Vehicle. Nefaria briefly reappears some time later as a corpse reanimated by the Grim Reaper. Grim Reaper directs Nefaria to attack the Avengers, but loses control soon afterwards and Nefaria dies once again.
Nefaria eventually reappears, but in an ionic humanoid form, and constantly requires ionic energy to sustain his existence. He battles Iron Man and later Captain America and Ka-Zar in the Savage Land as he attempts to find sources of energy. Nefaria then plans to detonate an ionic bomb, which will transform millions of people into an ionic state which he can then control, perceiving it as the best way to guarantee that he receives the respect that he feels he deserves. Nefaria gains control of the ionic heroes Wonder Man and Atlas who he intends to use to kill the Avengers, but he is stopped by the combined efforts of the Avengers, fellow superhero team the Thunderbolts and Madame Masque, Masque using a weapon she had developed to disrupt Nefaria's own ionic energy. He is next seen as an inmate of The Raft, a prison for supervillains, and escapes when Electro stages a mass breakout.
Following the Siege storyline, Madame Masque sought out her father to help the Hood after Loki took back the Norn Stones. The New Avengers capture John King (Hood's cousin) and use him to track the Hood and Madame Masque. After a battle with Count Nefaria, they capture the villains and bring all four of them to Maria Hill to place them under arrest.
Nefaria returns within the pages of Moon Knight, having established himself as the new Kingpin of Los Angeles. He kills Echo in battle, and is later apprehended by the Avengers. Also in L.A., Daken attempts to kill him but fails.
Powers and abilities
Count Nefaria was a normal human until subjected to a process perfected by one of Baron Heinrich Zemo's scientists Dr. Kenneth Sturdy which granted him the combined powers of the villains the Living Laser (energy projection), Power Man (strength), and Whirlwind (speed), amplified a hundredfold. Because of this, Nefaria is one of the physically strongest known humans in the Marvel Universe. He has toppled a 40-story building with little effort, withstood a blow from Wonder Man without flinching, fought an enraged Thor to a standstill with no apparent damage from strikes of his hammer, even stopping it with his bare hand, and has withstood simultaneous attacks by multiple teams of Avengers at once and laughed it off.
The character then aged until his body evolved, and eventually shifted to an ionic form, able to create ionic constructs and manipulate other ionic beings. As such, Nefaria is now effectively immortal, and virtually indestructible. He also has the power of flight when before he could only leap great distances. He once showcased a new power allowing him to surround his opponents in ionic energy and move them wherever telekinetically. Although it is possible to deplete Nefaria's ionic energy in combat by forcing him to expend energy faster than his body can replenish it, Giant-Man has calculated that it would take three weeks of constant combat – without even giving Nefaria time to pause for breath – for even the combined forces of the Avengers and the Thunderbolts to deplete Nefaria's ionic energy reserves completely in that manner. However, Madame Masque has developed a weapon that disrupts Nefaria's ionic energy.
House of M
Old Man Logan
In the pages of Old Man Logan, the elderly Logan awoke on Earth-616 and had a flashback to where Count Nefaria, Red Skull, Baron Blood, Spiral, and Whirlwind were standing over the dead bodies of the superheroes the day when the villains rose and the heroes fell.
Count Nefaria appears in the What If? story "What If the X-Men Died on their First Mission?" at the time he and the Ani-Men have taken control of NORAD (Uncanny X-Men #94-95). With the X-Men having perished in a prior fight with Krakoa, the former X-Man Beast hastily assembles a mutant team to combat Nefaria. While attempting to flee, Nefaria's jet is brought down by Theresa Cassidy. Though Nefaria escapes, Theresa avoids mainstream Thunderbird's fate when her teammate James Proudstar catches her before she falls to her death.
In other media
- Count Nefaria appears in the Iron Man segment of The Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Chris Wiggins.
- Count Nefaria appears in Iron Man: Armored Adventures, voiced by Russell Roberts. This version sports a cane that shoots electricity and is one (if the only known boss) of the Maggia. In the episode "Pepper, Interrupted", he and the Black Knight and his Maggia have a negotiation with the Mandarin when some Maggia members catch Pepper Potts snooping around the meeting area. When Iron Man arrives, a fight between the Tong and the Maggia breaks out. When Pepper tries to maneuver through the fight, Nefaria orders his men to catch Pepper. Mandarin (in the Gene Kahn alias) ends up saving Pepper as Nefaria ends up getting word that the police are approaching. Nefaria and Black Knight are arrested alongside the Maggia troops that didn't escape. In the episode "Armor Wars", Nefaria and his henchmen rob a bank when Guardsmen members Force and Shockwave appeared. Nefaria knocks down Force and Shockwave, but was defeated by Iron Man. It was later revealed by Pepper to Tony Stark upon going into the FBI Database that Force and Shockwave worked for the Maggia before being outfitted with the Guardsmen armor by Obadiah Stane which meant to Tony that Force and Shockwave had Nefaria fake a bank robbery all along. The episode "The Hawk and the Spider" revealed that Barney Barton is in debt to Nefaria. Hawkeye and Black Widow planned to give the User Interface Chip they took from Iron Man (after swiping it from Stark International) until the User Interface Chip is taken from them by Justin Hammer (in the Titanium Man armor). In the episode "The Hammer Falls", Hammer has Nefaria captured where Justin suspects him as the person who's been blackmailing and subjects him to the Zombie Gas.
- Count Nefaria is mentioned in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. In the episode "Widow's Sting", he has been contacted for his Maggia connections (along with Aleksander Lukin) by Black Widow at HYDRA's behest for Baron Strucker.
- Count Nefaria has a cameo appearance in Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher. He appears as one of Leviathan's investors. Nefaria takes a brief part in the final act, fighting in his ionic form against Captain Marvel and retreating not soon after.
- Count Nefaria appears in Lego Marvel's Avengers.
- Count Nefaria appears in Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- A version of Count Nefaria is a frequent "guest" on the X-Men-centric podcast Uncanny X-Cast. This version is a vampire and speaks with a stereotypical vampire accent, similar to Count von Count from Sesame Street. One of the two hosts has a negative opinion, and usually tries to convince the other host to make the Count "leave".
- Avengers #13 (Feb. 1965)
- Tales of Suspense #67 (July 1965)
- Uncanny X-Men #22 - 23 (July - Aug. 1966)
- Uncanny X-Men #94 - #95 (Aug. - Oct 1975)
- Avengers #164 - 166 (Nov. 1977 - Jan. 1978)
- Iron Man #115 - 116 (Oct. - Nov. 1978)
- Avengers #353 - 354 (Early-Late Sept. 1992)
- Iron Man Annual 99
- Captain America #29 - 31 (vol. 3, June 2000)
- Avengers #32 - 34 (vol. 2, Sept. - Nov. 2000) and Thunderbolts #42 - 43 (Sept. - Oct 2000)
- New Avengers #1-2 (Jan-Feb 2005)
- New Avengers Finale one-shot
- Moon Knight vol 4 #7
- Moon Knight vol 4 #9
- Moon Knight vol 4 #12
- Daken: Dark Wolverine #21
- Avengers #166
- New Avengers #2
- Avengers vol.2 #34
- House of M: Masters of Evil #3
- JLA/Avengers #4
- Old Man Logan Vol. 2 #1
- What If vol. 2 #9 (1990)