Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
Every day in November we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!
Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).
Today’s list is the Greatest Nick Fury Stories Ever Told!
10. Secret Warriors #1-6 “Nick Fury, Agent of Nothing”
How does Nick Fury react to discovering that his entire worldview is turned on its head? That’s the question that Jonathan Hickman and Brian Michael Bendis ask in this opening arc of the Secret Warriors series (artwork by Stefano Caselli).
9. Marvel Knights: Double Shot #2 “Nick’s World”
Grant Morrison examines the certain je ne sais quoi that makes Nick Fury Nick Fury in this short story, drawn by Manuel Gutierrez. It’s an amusing tale that both examines how difficult it is to be Nick Fury while also showing the bizarre lengths Nick Fury will go to protect his place in the world.
8. Nick Fury vs. SHIELD #1-6
Before Secret Warriors, Bob Harras’ prestige format mini-series, Nick Fury vs. SHIELD was probably the most dramatic change to the world of Nick Fury and SHIELD, as Harras had Fury discover a vast conspiracy involving Hydra, AIM and SHIELD. Branded a traitor, Fury had to fight his own comrades as a number of supporting characters bit the dust (all of them eventually returned, I believe – some have been killed and resurrected once or twice each since). Paul Neary and Kim DeMulder did the artwork.
7. Strange Tales #135 “The Man for the Job!”
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers introduced us to the world of SHIELD in this first issue of Fury’s Strange Tales feature. And boy what an introduction! This action-packed story also contained the first LMDs and the first appearance of the Helicarrier!
6. Fury #1-6
Garth Ennis delivered his own particular take on the world of Nick Fury in this acclaimed MAX mini-series. Ennis depicts a Fury who is a “Cold War dinosaur” (I swear, I think there is a law that you have to use that term if you talk about this story) who longs to be relevant again. When something comes up that brings him back to the forefront, Fury grabs a hold of the opportunity and holds on for dear life. That’s similar to the reading experience of this fast-paced (and often obscene) series. Darick Robertson and Jimmy Palmiotti provided the artwork.
5. Marvel Spotlight #31 “Assignment: The Infinity Formula!”
In Marvel Spotlight #31, Jim Starlin and Howard Chaykin explain why Nick Fury hasn’t seemed to age much in the thirty years since World War II ended. Their explanation comes in the form of the Infinity Formula, a life-extending drug that Fury has been more or less addicted to for decades. When someone steals Fury’s supply and attempts to blackmail him over it, Fury strikes into action. This is a classic noir tale by two great creators.
4. Strange Tales #159-167 “SHIELD versus the Yellow Claw”
The last epic storyline by Jim Steranko as the writer/artist on the SHIELD feature, this classic tale pitted Nick Fury against the Yellow Claw, with FBI agent Jimmy Woo along for the ride. The series opens with the classic “Spy School” issue that shows how SHIELD agents train (including a great fight between Captain America and Fury). That issue notably introduces the Contessa in an amazing little sequence.
3. Strange Tales #150-158 “Baron Von Strucker Returns as the Leader of Hydra”
Jim Steranko joined the title on this epic storyline that revealed that Baron Von Strucker, Fury’s old World War II nemesis (who had showed up a few times to fight the Howling Commandos in their ongoing series at this point) is also the leader of Hydra! He is revealed after an extended series of issues where he impersonates a few different people, including a SHIELD agent! Steranko takes more and more control of the series as the storyline progresses, and the more comfortable Steranko gets the more outrageously awesome the book gets. The Satan’s Claw, for instance, is one of THE greatest weapons of the Silver Age.
2. Strange Tales #168 “Today Earth Died!”
This one-off tale finished Fury’s run in the pages of Strange Tales and boy did Steranko (and inker Joe Sinnott) go out with a bang! An alien comes to Earth and causes all sorts of chaos in New York City before being confronted by Nick Fury in a battle of wills that needs to be seen to be believed!
1. Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #1, 5 “Who is and Whatever Happened to Scorpio?”
Enough people voted for this as one story that I think it is fair enough to count it as one. This is the classic tale that Steranko used to open up the new ongoing SHIELD series, as a mysterious masked man known only as Scorpio tries to kill Fury. A few issues later, Scorpio strikes again, but he seemingly dies before Fury reveals to the readers who he is and why he is trying so hard to kill him. Steranko never revealed Scorpio’s true identity, leaving it other writers to figure out (Roy Thomas eventually came up with it being Nick’s brother, Jake). Has Steranko ever addressed who he intended Scorpio to be? I know not at the time, but perhaps more recently?
Anyhow, that’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!
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