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Drawing Crazy Patterns – “Nick Fury Is…Dead!”

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Here is an archive of all the patterns we’ve spotlighted so far.

Today, in honor of the latest trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, let’s take a look at five times when everyone believed that Nick Fury was dead!

Enjoy!

Humberto M. Ferre, who runs the awesome Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD fan site, had already collected these deaths so that made it a whole lot easier for me to put this together.

First up, chronologically, is 1973’s Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #114. In #112, Fury believes he was a in a plane crash that killed all of his fellow Howling Commandos. At the end, it turns out that it was just Baron Strucker messing with his mind. In reality, there WAS a plane crash (which Strucker used to kidnap Fury) but the other Howling Commandos were fine. They just think it is FURY who is dead!

#114 has everyone reacting to Fury’s death, in a series of really great pages by Gary Friedrich, Dick Ayers and John Tartaglione…

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Four years earlier, two thirds of that creative team (Friedrich and Ayers, only Ayers was inking Herb Trimpe) killed Fury for the FIRST time in Fury, Agent of SHIELD #15, which was, at the time, the last issue of the title (it came back a year later).

Fury is at a concert with his girlfriend when a HYDRA agent named Bulls-Eye shoots him dead…

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Less than a year later, Roy Thomas brought him back in Avengers #72 (with the reveal being that the Fury who was killed was a Life Model Decoy sent by Fury in his place because he didn’t want to go to the concert. No wonder Fury is often such a jerk – being a jerk saved his life here!).

In 1995, Fury got busy dying. In War Machine #15, War Machine goes back in time to stop some bad guys from helping the Nazis win World War II.

While there, he teams up with the Nick Fury of World War II, who is then killed in battle…

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Luckily, War Machine is able to destroy the time traveling system, fixing every change that the bad guys made (and making it so that Fury never died).

Fury was not so lucky a couple of months later when, in Double Edge Omega, the Punisher was brainwashed into thinking that Fury killed his wife and kids.

He first destroyed all of Fury’s LMDs…

And then shot Fury dead…

Luckily, by “there were no LMDs left,” we of course mean that there were LMDs left, so the Fury who was killed was an LMD (I covered the whole ridiculous storyline here).

Finally, Fury’s shortest “death” would have to be Secret War #5, where it is revealed that Fury wiped the memories of a bunch of superheroes after they did a mission for him. Now, a year later, the heroes are being targeted for revenge (and they have no idea why). Wolverine, as you might expect, is not a fan of his mind being messed with…

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Two pages later they discover that the Fury Wolverine killed was a Life Model Decoy, as Fury figured one of the group would eventually try to kill him for what he did.

That’s it for this time! If YOU have a suggestion for a future installment of Drawing Crazy Patterns, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

27 Comments

The best (i.e only good) part about the 1995 “death” is the funeral scene in an issue of the Hulk where all the other Howlers are goofing about and laughing at the funeral because they’re convinced it’s all going to be revealed to be a hoax/dream/whatever due to all the previous times Fury had died…….

Yeah, but by the end of the issue they all believe he IS dead. Waid later also had some fun with Fury’s “death” when the Contessa tells Cap and Sharon (both just back from the dead themselves) that Fury is dead and no one comes back from that and Cap and Sharon just smirk at each other.

People sure do like their mind-wiping, don’t they?

Man, is there a running tally of who’s “died” the most in comics?

Man, is there a running tally of who’s “died” the most in comics?

It’s going to be a supervillain topping that list. Doctor Doom and the Red Skull would be way up there, but the Joker might have everyone beat. He’s been “dying” and coming back since sometime in 1941.

Anyone else get the feeling that there is no “Omega Serum”, there is no “Nick Fury” (at least not wince WW II), there is just a huge stockpile of LMDs?

Wait, so did Wolverine know that was an LMD because of his heightened senses, or did he really think he was killing Nick Fury? I’m not one of those purists who thinks heroes should never, ever kill, but that truly is just cold-blooded murder. That’s insane!

Also insane is that Fury sent an LMD because he fully expected one of the heroes to try to kill him once they found out. If you have to fear the heroes on your own side of killing you, something is very wrong.

Fury was also “killed” by Silvermane and Hydra in Daredevil 123. Once again, it was only a LMD that died. Also, I wonder how Lester feels about this Bulls-Eye guy.

Omar –

Someone should definetely do a tally. Lorendiac, from Lorendiac’s lists?

The murky coloring and photo-realistic art of Secret War really doesn’t do Wolverine and his ducky-yellow costume any favors.

I did a few elsewhere for some big-name Marvel villains years ago that’s now quite out of date. The Joker would be a particular challenge, though it’s worth noting that sometime after Crisis and Year One most writers stopped “killing” him at the end of stories in favor of the now equally cliched “laughing in Arkham” finisher.

I think I should clarify the question: who’s got the record of a character “dying” with the intention of the author wanting to kill them and keep them dead? I think we should differentiate from “in-story fake-outs.” I remember a comic from John Byrne’s Superman run where Superman was “killed” by the Silver Banshee and had a funeral and everything. Then the Martian Manhunter impersonated his ghost to stop the Banshee. Turned out Supes was in a coma and came back in the same issue.

I’d differentiate that from “The Death of Superman” in which Superman was actually dead and we, the readers, were legitimately concerned that he’d keep that way.

Well, I wasn’t really concerned that Superman was dead at that time, but I see your point.

But since it’s hard to judge authorial intent, I think a good tally would list any and all deaths, excepting those when the character returns in the very same story arc, like the Silver Banshee storyline above. So, time spent “dead” would be the determining factor. If it’s more than one storyline, then it counts.

There is also the factor of whether the same creative team who killed the character were the same ones to bring them back, and there’s often behind the scenes information when editorial interference or fan backlash is involved.

Of course there’s also cases where the creator changes their mind, but for something like Claremont’s Uncanny run I think it’s pretty obvious when a character was intended to stay dead or be revived. Also, wasn’t there a case in the past few years where fan reaction caused a resurrection whithin the same storyline as the death?

Jeff Nettleton

March 2, 2014 at 9:07 pm

These days, it seems like death in comics is the equivalent of the sketch in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. All you need is John Cleese to argue with the “dead” guy and you are all set!

Loved the funeral in that Hulk issue.
I think Fury is the most “killed” good guy in comics.
Deaths don’t really matter any more in comics now that they re-set continuity every few years now.
all they have to do is slap All-New or NOW or New 52 on a cover and no excuse is needed.

The craziest one was when they replaced him with a black guy that looks like Samuel Jackson! Didn’t see that coming.

I think Fury took the Noman/Arnim Zola route, and is shuttling his consciousness around between LMDs all the time. :-)

LMDs annoy me more and more as I grow older. A lot of stories present them as being as much an AI as the Vision, Human Torch or the Metal Men but it’s considered perfectly legitimate to destroy them as if they were a laptop.

2 questions:

1. Are we counting the first Steranko story where they introduce LMDs and several HYDRA agents all think they’ve killed Fury as a “death” story since they reveal it 2 pages in?

2. Has anybody at Marvel tried to retcon “Bull’s Eye” as being an early look for Bullseye?

I liked the first issue the LMDs appeared. They showed Shield making a fresh batch of Nick Furys, sent, like, five of them off to walk around the streets and every single one of them was destroyed in a matter of minutes.

Why did Fury have that X-Men choker on his uniform in those days?

Are we counting the first Steranko story where they introduce LMDs and several HYDRA agents all think they’ve killed Fury as a “death” story since they reveal it 2 pages in?

Hmmm…you know, I guess I really should have counted that, yes.

2. Has anybody at Marvel tried to retcon “Bull’s Eye” as being an early look for Bullseye?

No, because this “Bull’s-Eye” uses computer targeting and a special super-gun and has no uncanny aim of his own. Kurt Busiek and others have pointed out that price guides used to list it mistakenly as the DD villain’s first appearance, though. I can’t help wondering if Marv Wolfman was a Nick Fury fan, though.

Huh. Dr. Doom’s got his Doombots, Fury’s got his LMDs to fake his deaths. He must also be a big hit at parties.

Every one of those panels should include Cyclops shouting “Logan!” as if he can’t shoot him with his optic blast to stop him.

David Oakes:

Anyone else get the feeling that there is no “Omega Serum”, there is no “Nick Fury” (at least not wince WW II), there is just a huge stockpile of LMDs?

Good guess.

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