web stats

CSBG Archive

The Greatest Nick Fury Stories Ever Told!

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!

Enjoy!

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!

55 Comments

Wow… only one of my picks, Fury #1-6, made it…

I need to read that Marvel Spotlight issue.

Absolutely agree with the #1 slot (and they are pretty much one story) as well as 2-4. I think NFAOS #2 and #3 are also underappreciated, but I can understand why they slipped the list.

One of my favorite characters. Seeing this list makes me wish more of his stories ( especially all of Sterankos’ run) were collected.

Uhmmm… I think that “Fury”, by Ennis & Robertson, it’s the worst thing i ever read about Nick Fury. It was the story that convinced me to give up with Marvel Comics for about five years…
I agree with all the others slot!

The Steranko stuff is collected. Not sure if it is still available, but ebay should have the collections.

nice chocies and not surprise most if not all of the stories are from Sternanko run for he knew how to make fury really tick as a character. that plus daring to call a weapon satans claw

Hail Fuckface!

Glad to see that Strucker title was able to make it. Thats always been my favorite, as it set up Hydra’s never ending feud with S.H.I.E.L.D.

I don’t know if it would’ve counted or not, but I expected the first six issues of the Ultimates to be on here. Made me wish Fury could have been responsible for forming the main universe Avengers.

I think Secret Warriors as a whole series should’ve been higher, personally. That’s the biggest game-changer for Fury in forever, since Marvel clearly have no intention of returning him to the Director position right now, and it was a great examination of what Fury does in this new world.

The Ennis Fury miniseries was a great tory about an aging Cold Warrior addicted to battle. Unfortunately, Nick Fury was never much of a Cold Warrior in the comics, and he seemed to have been picked mostly because he’s Marvel’s only prominent war character. Nor has Fury ever been presented as much of a war-lover elsewhere. Ennis is much more interested in deconstructing a certain archetype in fiction than in Nick Fury as a particular character. It works brilliantly on that level, but it’s also another of those Marvel experiments that runs aground of the company’s ambitions for its IP.

It’s actually kind of interesting how popular spy fiction, by the mid-1960s, was often not naming the Soviets as villains. The Bond films tended to change the Soviet SMERSH into the non-Soviet SPECTRE whenever possible — From Russia with Love is especially notable in this regard — and Nick Fury’s only major stories interacting with Russians had them as grudging allies.

Unlike Bond, who took on the Chinese Communists by proxy since they were always the ones hiring SPECTRE, Fury’s foes in HYDRA, AIM, and the Druid’s organization were, respectively, Nazism 2.0 and generic sci-fi type groups. Nick Fury is a curiously apolitical spy strip, probably because his creators were more interested in fusing the super-spy archetype to the rough-and-tumble pulp and serial adventurers on whomt he Brookyln-born Fury is also based. It’s why his major villains are mad scientists like AIM, Centurius, and the Demon Druid; Prussian aristocrats (rather than standard Nazis) like Strucker; pre-Communist Yellow Peril archetypes like the Yellow Claw; and mysterious rivals like Scorpio.

I don’t begrudge Ennis’s alterations to the character to tell the story he wanted to tell; but I also don’t begrudge Nick Fury fans their refusal to recognize that character as a particularly recognizable take on Nick Fury.

“Has Steranko ever addressed who he intended Scorpio to be?”

Does anyone at comicbookresources.com have his phone number? One would think this would be one of the all time great mysteries??

The top five were all on my list, albeit in a different order. Too bad Steranko’s Nick Fury #s 2-3 aren’t here as well. Those are damn good stories as well.

Nick Fury vs. SHIELD is the one of the reason I grew to hate the so-called Prestige Format. It wasn’t a bad story, per se, but there certainly wasn’t any thing remotely “prestigious” about it. It came across like an old inventory story that they packed up in an expensive format to milk a few extra bucks. (A great lineup of painted covers, though).

I think I reread that Chaykin story until the cover fell off. That was good stuff.

Wasn’t Fury vs. SHIELD greatly delayed because editorial kept changing things? I don’t even think Harras was the original writer when the proejct was announced.

It works brilliantly on that level, but it’s also another of those Marvel experiments that runs aground of the company’s ambitions for its IP.

There’s always talk about that great story (that I doubt we’ll ever hear the truth about, one way or the other) that George Clooney was interested in starring as Nick Fury in a film until he was given Ennis’ Fury mini-series, at which point two things happened – 1. Clooney was no longer interested and 2. Marvel writers no longer had the great freedom that they had in the early days of the Jemas/Quesada tenure at Marvel.

Awesome to see Steranko the love he deserves in relationship to this character.

Regardless of whether it’s a “true” Nick Fury story (I can’t very well enter that discussion until I read it all), I have wanted to check out Ennis’s “Fury” mini. Not only as an Ennis fan (though I understand where his detractors are coming from), but also because Darick Robertson inked by Palmioti sounds like a really interesting art combo. When I first saw Robertson’s art, I didn’t really like it (I thought it was a bit too sloppy, I guess), but now I can’t imagine “Trasnmetropolitan” or “The Boys” (the bulk of it anyway) as being drawn by anyone else. What he lacks in technique he makes up for in expressiveness and style (in my opinion). Man, that was a lot of parentheses.

Brian: “A few issues later, Scorpio strikes again, but he seemingly dies before Fury can discover who he is and why he is trying so hard to kill him. ”

Minor quibble, Brian, but it is pretty evident that Fury finds out who Scorpio is at the end of issue 5 (hence, his shocked response); it’s the readers who were left in the dark.

Ennis’s Fury was one of my least favorite comics of all time. I found it excessively juvenile, and I usually like Ennis’s writing. Robertson’s art was ugly, and I liked his work elsewhere. The covers were cool, at least.

So, Clooney was unaware of the TV movie starring Hasseloff? I would think that would turn you off a project faster than even a “bad” Ennis book….

And yeah, I loves me that Double Shot book. Makes you wonder if The Filth would have “worked” with Fury in it.

I loved Ennis’s Fury the way I love Samuel Jackson’s,I mean the Ultimate/Movie Fury,cool Fury aspects as long as “regular” Marvel still has the real Fury in use. Remember, Ellis wrote a MAX Fury. It should do things 616 Fury can’t(should’nt.doesn’t),altho in time since I’ve tired of it being the only character Ellis can now write.

I always thought that Scorpio was Fury’s brother Jake, it was hinted at very vaguely at the time and
there was an issue of Avengers that featured Scorpio that cleared up the mystery. Dont know which issue
but it was one of the Steve Englehart run.

Man. George Clooney would make a great Fury…….

I always thought that Scorpio was Fury’s brother Jake, it was hinted at very vaguely at the time and
there was an issue of Avengers that featured Scorpio that cleared up the mystery. Dont know which issue
but it was one of the Steve Englehart run.

That’s who Roy Thomas had it turn out to be, but it seems unlikely that that was Steranko’s original intention.

I asked Steranko once who he intended Scorpio to be, and he was very evasive about it, but he indicated that he thought making them brothers was too obvious.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

November 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Actually one of my favorite stories is “Who remembers Scorpio?” from David Anthony Kraft’s DEFENDERS.

Yeah, that’s how I’ve always understood it, as well, Alexa. That:

A. He’s not saying who Scorpio was going to be

and

B. He did not intend it to be Jake.

Hopefully someday he lets us all know!

@ Jake

“Man. George Clooney would make a great Fury…….”

I agree – check him out in “The American” – he’s brilliant. Unfortunately most of the public associate Nick Fury with Sam Jackson, much to my annoyance. Mark Millar totally screwed up the character by doing that IMO.

Interesting that all these stories are SHIELD related ones. Are the Sgt Fury stories not known?

On that note, I saw where the Essential Sgt Fury v1 just recently came out from Marvel. Not sure if it’s a new version or just a new volume. Probably worth picking up, right?

RE: Scorpio’s identity,

Frankly, I think that it would have been better if we (the readers) had never been given an answer. There is something so haunting in Fury’s shocked reaction to the revelation (seriously, look at the last page; he was nearly broken by what he learned) that I don’t think that any answer would have been adequate. Sometimes mysteries should remain mysterious.

Travis Pelkie:”Interesting that all these stories are SHIELD related ones. Are the Sgt Fury stories not known?”

Yeah, it is odd that none of the Sgt Fury stories made it. In particular, I am surprised that . SGT FURY # 18 (the death of Pamela Hawley) didn’t make the list; that was a very moving tale.I guess that they maybe are not that well known. Hopefully, the ESSENTIAL SGT FURY will change that.

Steranko practically couldn’t have intended it to be Jake, since Jake hadn’t been so much as named when Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #5 came out. Jake first appeared with a name and a distinct personality in an issue of Sgt. Fury by Gary Friedrich published some time after Agent of Shield #5.

Michael “Prime Eternal” Hoskin did a fair bit of research, in which I was a minor and largely unhelpful part, sme years back to write a profile of Jake/Scorpio. He noted at the time that Steranko had shown two other characters — Strucker and Centurius — using the phrase “parable of doom” that Scorpio also employs. Perhaps a connection was intended? Perhaps Steranko just liked the phrase? Who knows?

Oh, another little bit a lot of people miss: each Scorpio story never answers the question that makes up its title, but in the second one Fury learns the answer to the previous story title (and final question), ‘Who Is Scorpio?”

Yeah, the “parable of doom” thing has always interested me. I think he just really liked the phrase, honestly. I am not saying that it is NOT a clue, but it seems to me more likely that he just liked the phrase.

Man, plenty of Love for the Steranko bits, I can understand, but none for the Friedriech/Trimpe Bullseye story that followed it, I’m telling you, that’s unfair :)

Absolutely loved Nick Fury VS SHIELD. Seems terribly dated now, but when I read it as a youngun, it was mind-blowing that a conspiracy could be so large and far-reaching. Of course, nowadays, a staple of “secret organization” fiction is to expose the villainous conspiracy at the center. Nick Fury VS SHIELD seemed to capture that lightning in a bottle before everybody else did

Omar Karindu:”Steranko practically couldn’t have intended it to be Jake, since Jake hadn’t been so much as named when Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #5 came out. Jake first appeared with a name and a distinct personality in an issue of Sgt. Fury by Gary Friedrich published some time after Agent of Shield #5.

Michael “Prime Eternal” Hoskin did a fair bit of research, in which I was a minor and largely unhelpful part, sme years back to write a profile of Jake/Scorpio. He noted at the time that Steranko had shown two other characters — Strucker and Centurius — using the phrase “parable of doom” that Scorpio also employs. Perhaps a connection was intended? Perhaps Steranko just liked the phrase? Who knows?”

RE: Jake Fury,

Total agreement. Roy Thomas was just searching for someone and decided to use the always reliable “my own brother” twist.

RE: Strucker and Centurius,

Given Fury’s reaction, I just can’t see it being someone like them; Fury’s reaction is so extreme (note the aura of melancholy that surrounds him in the last panel), that just confronting a villain come back from the dead would not be enough. Plus, there is the whole connection to Pickman angle to consider as well. If Steranko actually planned to reveal Scorpio’s identity to the readers (which I tend to doubt; the conclusion is so effective as it stands), I’m pretty certain that he would have gone with someone who had a friendly relationship with Fury.

I asked Steranko about Scorpio as well and also got an evasive answer. But I seem to remember reading somewhere Steranko saying that the first 10 issues of Shield would fit together in a larger story arc.

Actually, the most interesting tidbit I got out of Steranko about his plans for Fury was that he intended for Valentina to get discovered and go to Hollywood, and Fury would leave SHIELD to follow her (but of course he’d still find plenty of trouble to get in and out of). While I have no doubt that would be a terrible story to try now, I think that could have made a fun story back in the Silver Age– especially with Steranko’s art and passion for cinema behind it.

Scorpio: Maybe he was intended to be one of the HC, or one of his other allies? OR, an ex-girlfriend or father of an Ex?

Basara:”Scorpio: Maybe he was intended to be one of the HC, or one of his other allies? OR, an ex-girlfriend or father of an Ex?”

Well, I think that we can safely rule out an ex-girlfriend…but the others are all certainly possible.

Frankly, I doubt Steranko was even really sure who Scorpio was supposed to be. He just knew who he wasn’t. And sometimes the answers others come up with are more interesting than the ones the creator would have. Stan intended for Magneto and Xavier to be brothers. Magneto the Auschwitz survivor is 10 million times more compelling than that.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

November 24, 2011 at 4:13 am

For some reason I thought Scorpio was a self-aware Nick Fury LMD originally. Maybe I’m confusing it with NICK FURY VS. SHIELD. I’m also sorry Sgt. Fury stories weren’t more popular. I think those are the stories work best. THE AMERICAN would have been a great Nick Fury movie.

Steranko did seem to be building Scorpio as a mystery even in issues where he didn’t appear, though, since they kept working the Jimmy Woo red herring.

Ronald Jay Kearschner — I think you may have gotten that idea because a Nick Fury LMD figures in both Scorpio stories. In the first one, Scorpio “kills” one thinking it’s Nick. In the second, Scorpio steals one and forces Nick to take its place in a series of deadly stress tests.

As you may know, Ed Brubaker recently used a self-aware Fury LMD as a villain in the first several issues of Secret Avengers.

An interesting aspect of the Scorpio stories is the theme of doubleness/mistaken identity that runs through them:

#1: A Fury LMD is killed in the belief that it is Fury, plus we have the Mitch Hackett- Flip Mason doppelganger plot, where a stand-up comic is mistaken for a gangsster.

#5 Fury replaces an LMD (reversing the set-up in #1) while Scorpio takes Fury’s place.

This kind of playing around with identity just makes me all the more certain that Steranko was more interested in the mystery that was Scorpio than in supplying answers.

As much as I love Hickman, I’d be fine if this list was nothing but Steranko

I’m pretty sure that the self-aware Fury LMD that resurfaced recently is meant to be the same one that was hanging out with Scorpio in that Kraft Defenders story (one story that makes the “brother” retcon worth it).

I too am sorry that none of the Sgt. Fury stories made the list…but hard to argue with the Steranko runs being tops!

No Howling Commandoes?

Scorpio was Nick Fury’s clone. Well, now you know…

I just re-read Nick Fury vs Shield and its only interesting in the sense that it is one of the last of its kind. The books came out in the late 80’s, just after Dark knight Returns, and it still reads like it was written in 1963. Other than that, its pretty terrible.

I wrote an article about the best SHIELD comics for new readers. Nick Fury isn’t the main character in all of them though:

http://comicbooksftw.com/?p=384

[…] series, named one of Nick Fury’s greatest stories, begins with indications that a conspiracy is afoot.  A scheme that frames Nick as a traitor and […]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives