Count Nefaria

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Count Nefaria
Count Nefaria battles the Avengers on the cover of Avengers #166 (January 1978). Art by George Pérez and Ernie Chan.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Avengers #13 (February 1965)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
Don Heck (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoLuchino Nefaria
Team affiliationsMaggia
Legion of the Unliving
Death Squad
Lethal Legion
Notable aliasesThe Dream Master
AbilitiesIonic-energy physiology
  • Flight
  • Immortality
  • Invulnerability
  • Superhuman strength, speed, agility, endurance, senses, stamina and reflexes
  • Healing factor
  • Ionic energy manipulation
  • Energy vampirism
  • Ionic Conversion
  • Energy Enhanced Strike
  • Teleportation
  • Construct creation
Criminal mastermind
Diplomatic immunity
Genius level-inventor
Vast wealth & resources

Count Luchino Nefaria is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Publication history[edit]

The character first appears in The Avengers #13 (February 1965), and was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck.

Fictional character biography[edit]

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 pretense 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.[1] In retaliation, Nefaria then unsuccessfully attempts to destroy Iron Man,[2] and then suffers yet another defeat when stopped by the mutant X-Men team.[3]

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.[4]

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 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

Nefaria eventually reappears, but in an ionic humanoid form, and constantly requires ionic energy to sustain his existence. He battles Iron Man[8] and later Captain America and Ka-Zar in the Savage Land as he attempts to find sources of energy.[9] 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.[10] He is next seen as an inmate of The Raft, a prison for supervillains, and escapes when Electro stages a mass breakout.[11]

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.[12]

Nefaria returns within the pages of Moon Knight, having established himself as the new Kingpin of Los Angeles.[13] He kills Echo in battle,[14] and is later apprehended by the Avengers.[15] Also in L.A., Daken attempts to kill him but fails.[16] Later, back in New York, he is summoned by Nightmare to destroy The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl in dreams, but is bested at finger-counting, and leaves.[17]

During the "Secret Empire" storyline, Count Nefaria appears as a member of the Army of Evil and took part in the attack on Manhattan in retaliation for what happened at Pleasant Hill during "Avengers: Standoff!".[18]

During the "Spider-Geddon" storyline, Count Nefaria is engaging Superior Octopus who counters his ionic abilities by having his tentacles charged with energy that disrupts ionic fields. Count Nefaria breaks free from the tentacles as Superior Octopus plans to threaten his mother Vitto Nefaria and his relatives Giuseppe Nefaria and Paolo Nefaria who he is spying on with his Octobots. Count Nefaria takes his leave and vows to return when Superior Octopus' role as San Francisco's protector destroys him.[19]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Count Nefaria was a normal human with a genius intellect long before he'd gained his superpowers. He was a well versed scientist, inventor, theoretical physicist, adept strategist and organizational leader with deep ties to the underworld through his own crime family, The Maggia. Such a taciturn criminal mastermind is he that upon his first appearance he'd easily turned the American public and the world over against The Avengers in their first meeting.[20] It wasn't until being subjected to a process perfected by one of Baron Heinrich Zemo's scientists Dr. Kenneth Sturdy that he was granted the combined powers of the villains the Living Laser (energy projection), Power Man (strength), and Whirlwind (speed), amplified a hundredfold.[21] 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, and fought an enraged Thor to a standstill with no apparent damage from strikes of his hammer, even stopping it with his bare hand.[22]

The character then aged until his body evolved, eventually shifting into pure ionic form. This increasing his already insurmountable abilities while granting him new ones,[23] such as the creation and manipulation of ionic energy for teleportation,[24][25] hand and eye blasts,[26] ionic force punches,[27] and/or controlling other ionic beings (and potentially gamma mutates) via parasitically siphoning their energies.[28][29] Through this he can also convert others into ionic energy beings as well, in a vampiric fashion, turning them into his superpowered thralls.[30][31] As such, Nefaria is effectively immortal and virtually indestructible. He also has the power of flight, when before he could only leap great distances.[32] He's also showcased a new power, creating energy constructs to surround his opponents in ionic energy and move them about telekinetically.[33][34] He has withstood simultaneous attacks by multiple teams of superheros at once.[35] Although it is possible to deplete Nefaria's ionic energy in combat by forcing him to expend it faster than his body can replenish it, Giant-Man 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 his ionic energy reserves completely in that manner. However, Madame Masque has developed a weapon that disrupts Nefaria's ionic energy.[36]

As a head of the Maggia, Count Nefaria also has access to vast amounts of technology, munitions, and gadgetry developed by his Research and Development department.[37] Much of this, he had a hand in crafting, such as the Electro-disc, Time Transcender Ray, Visio-Projector, Worldwide Electro-scanner, The Dream Master and the Ionic Bomb.[38][39][40] Being of Italian nobility, Count Nefaria has also inherited a vast fortune, which he has used in conjunction with his intellect for the purpose of furthering his revenue and power. To that end he would use it for the hiring of super villains, scientists and expendable workforce in his organization branch for the creation of inventions that were far in the advances of modern science, give himself super powers or broaden the reach of his connections to both the unlawful and political circuit of the world. Being an aristocrat of understandable stature and influence, Nefaria also has claims to diplomatic immunity and as such he cannot be tried outside of his own home country.[41]

Other versions[edit]

House of M[edit]

In the House of M reality, Count Nefaria is the leader of the Maggia. He and the Maggia were slaughtered by Magneto's Sentinels for plotting against Magneto.[42]


In JLA/Avengers, Count Nefaria is seen in #4 among the other villains enthralled by Krona to defend his stronghold. He is shown fighting Superman in a panel spreading across two-pages.[43]

Old Man Logan[edit]

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.[44]

What If?[edit]

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.[45]

In other media[edit]


  • Count Nefaria appears in the Iron Man segment of The Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Chris Wiggins.[46]
  • Count Nefaria appears in Iron Man: Armored Adventures, voiced by Russell Roberts.[citation needed] 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.


Video games[edit]


  • 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".


  1. ^ Avengers #13 (February 1965)
  2. ^ Tales of Suspense #67 (July 1965)
  3. ^ Uncanny X-Men #22-23 (July–August 1966)
  4. ^ Uncanny X-Men #94-95 (August–October 1975)
  5. ^ Avengers #164-166 (November 1977-January 1978)
  6. ^ Iron Man #115-116 (October–November 1978)
  7. ^ Avengers #353-354 (Early-Late September 1992)
  8. ^ Iron Man Annual 99
  9. ^ Captain America Vol. 3 #29-31 (June 2000)
  10. ^ Avengers Vol. 2 #32-34 (September–November 2000) and Thunderbolts #42-43 (September–October 2000)
  11. ^ New Avengers #1-2 (January–February 2005)
  12. ^ New Avengers Finale one-shot
  13. ^ Moon Knight Vol. 4 #7
  14. ^ Moon Knight Vol. 4 #9
  15. ^ Moon Knight Vol. 4 #12
  16. ^ Daken: Dark Wolverine #21
  17. ^ The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #11
  18. ^ Secret Empire #0. Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Spider-Geddon #1. Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ Avengers Vol 1 #13 (Feb, 1965)
  21. ^ Avengers Vol 1 #164 (1977)
  22. ^ Avengers #166 (1977)
  23. ^ Thunderbolts Vol 1 #43 (2000)
  24. ^ Moon Knight Vol 6 #6 (Dec, 2011)
  25. ^ Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher (Mar, 25 2014)
  26. ^ New Avengers Finale #1 (May, 2010)
  27. ^ Marvel Action: Avengers Vol 1 The Ruby Egress #1 (Oct, 23 2019)
  28. ^ Iron Man Vol 1 116 (Nov, 1978)
  29. ^ Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide Vol 1 #1 (Sep, 2010)
  30. ^ Avengers Vol 3 #32
  31. ^ Thunderbolts Vol 1 #43 (2000)
  32. ^ Avengers Vol 1 #165 (1977)
  33. ^ New Avengers Vol 1 #2 (Nov, 2007)
  34. ^ Moon Knight Vol 6 #1 (May, 2011)
  35. ^ Avengers Vol 3 #33 (2000)
  36. ^ Avengers Vol. 2 #34 (Nov, 2000)
  37. ^ Tales of Suspense Vol 1 #67 (Jul, 1965)
  38. ^ Avengers Vol 1 #13
  39. ^ Tales of Suspense Vol 1 #67
  40. ^ Thunderbolts Vol 1 #43 (2000)
  41. ^ Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide #1
  42. ^ House of M: Masters of Evil #3
  43. ^ JLA/Avengers #4
  44. ^ Old Man Logan Vol. 2 #1
  45. ^ What If Vol. 2 #9 (1990)
  46. ^ The Marvel Super Heroes on TV! Book One: Iron Man (2017) - by J. Ballmann, ISBN 9 781545 345658

External links[edit]