byzantine's The X-Men #23 - To Save a City review

Conflicting Agendas

Roy Thomas has delivered another flawed but interesting issue. This time much of the fun for me was in the many conflicting agendas of the various various people and groups involved. 
 
Count Nefaria entraps the entire city of Washington within an impenetrable dome. Giving a deadline to the congress for the payment of a large sum or money. Their alternative being the death of everyone in the city from suffocation. He uses holograms of the X-Men to interact with those within the city. Meanwhile he blackmails the real X-Men to act as his agents. Pointing that their reputation is already ruined. 
 
The X-Men enter an alliance with him. Agreeing to handle the delivery as long as there is no loss of life. The villainous enforcers of Nefaria are assigned to keep an eye on the mutants. Actually they conspire to doublecross Nefaria and escape with the money. Unicorn has been voted in as their new leader, though nobody is merely following orders.  
 
The people within the city are in full-riot mode against the mutants. The military seeks to prevent anyone from escaping the city . Professor X is still acting as their expert on mutant relations while having some plans of his own.  
 
Naturally several chaotic battles follow. Unfortunately the artwork is not that great. Scarecrow has taken ideas from the "Birds" by Alfred Hitchcock on how to use his trained Ravens, but the effects from their attacks are not evident. Plantman causes several trees to come alive, horrifying a previously enraged crowd. But the panel seems to have the trees simply throwing down their leaves. Eel supposedly delivers a lightshow powerful enough to temporarily blind Marvel girl. But the artwork simply depicts him standing in front of her, etc. 
 
If anything the resolution is poor. The X-Men have gained a new reputation as menaces to the United States public. Unicorn has publicly claimed that Plantman, Porcupine, Scarecrow and Unicorn himself are all mutants. Adding fodder to the anti-mutant sentiments and singling themselves out as targets. The villains remain at large, except (probably) Nefaria and Unicorn. Are their arrests supposed to clear the mutants' reputations? That is left open to interpretation. Honestly, you would events of such magnitude would have further effects.  
 
At least the story leaves all villains available for subsequent appearances:   
 *Plantman returns in "Sub-Mariner" vol. 1 #2 (June, 1968).   
 *Unicorn returns in "Iron Man" vol. 1 #4 (August, 1968).  
 *Eel and Porcupine next chronologically appear in the retro story of Alpha Flight Special: First Flight (June, 1992). There they face an early version of the Flight (Groundhog, Saint Elmo, Smart Alec, Snowbird, Stich and Wolverine). Porcupine proceeds to appear in "Captain America" vol. 1 #130 (October, 1970). Eel proceeds to appear in "Captain America" vol. 1 #159 (March, 1973).  
* Count Nefaria returns in "Uncanny X-Men" #94 (August, 1975) for another encounter with his least favorite mutants. 

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    We Now Return to Plot Contrivance Playhouse 0

    While this issue is a little better than part one in the previous issue, that isn't saying very much. Yes, X-Men series today are far too serious for the most part, but this third effort from Roy Thomas does not take itself seriously enough. The X-Men agree to steal a 100 million dollars from the U.S. Government (which, fortunately it just so happened to have lying around? was it poker night on Capitol Hill?), and they don't seem too concerned about attacking the U.S. Army, endangering the lives...

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