By Jim Beard
That's right, soldiers! Hall hath no Fury-'cause we've got him here in NICK FURY: SHOTGUN OPERA!
While an anxious fandom awaits the latest Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale opus, namely CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE, writer Jesse Alexander lines up a prequel that aims to please.
"SHOTGUN OPERA is a buckshot throwback to the old school [Stan] Lee/[Jack] Kirby commando tales of the early ['60s]," reports Alexander. "I'm sending Fury and the Howlers deep into Nazi occupied Yugoslavia to locate a secret atomic facility and to report its location. Under no circumstances are they to engage the enemy.
"That's like telling Lindsay Lohan to chill out and wear underwear. It just ain't happening. From the first panel to the last, Nick, Dum Dum, Dino, Reb, Gabriel, Izzy, and Pinky, are tossing grenades, throwing punches, and pumping lead like there's no tomorrow."
Loeb and Sale's upcoming limited series, beginning this October, details a previously-classified mission of Captain America during World War II. Said mission also benefits from the presence of Sgt. Fury and his men; Alexander's own assignment consists of debriefing the public on Fury's earlier whereabouts.
"It shows you what Fury and the Howlers are doing the day before they cross into the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE," explains the writer. "And after getting re-acquainted with [them], seeing what they've been through, and just how good they are at killing Nazis, you'll appreciate what they might think of a guy who dresses up in footie pajamas, and carries a shield instead of gun."
Of late, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury has risen to previously undreamed levels of coolness, especially after his recent film appearances and his current mission of Skrull-takedown in SECRET INVASION. But self-proclaimed "World War II nut" Alexander sees Fury's 1940s combat experiences as indispensible to the character.
"It's a Sgt. Fury story," he notes. "It's about that red blooded American butt kicker who lived by the mantra of 'Ready, Fire, Aim!' Sgt. Fury doesn't have the eyepatch, the jumpsuit, or the Helicarrier. He's got army greens, a Tommy gun, and his best buddies in the world.
"SHOTGUN OPERA puts the modern super-spy into perspective. By showing you who we was
, you can appreciate who he is
A story with this close of ties to CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE would seem to benefit from Jeph Loeb's input. And so it does-Alexander worked closely with Loeb to insure a seamless fit between prequel and limited series.
WHITE #1 cover
by Tim Sale
"I'm lucky enough to spend 12 hours a day locked in a room with the greatest comic book writer who's ever lived-Jeph Loeb," says Alexander. "At least that's what he tells me he is.
"Jeph and I share duties as Co-Executive Producers on a little TV show you may have heard of called 'Heroes.' As I was working my tale off trying to figure out how Sylar gets his powers, I noticed Loeb scribbling on his ever-present yellow pad. When I told him to put that down and get back to work, he chose to pitch me the story for CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE. An hour later, I said there was no way in hell I was letting him have all the fun. A few e-mails later [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Joe Quesada and the House of Ideas had given me the keys to the gun cupboard."
Alexander makes no bones about it: grab the brass ring when it comes around, especially when it's a project of this caliber and pedigree.
"Writing SHOTGUN OPERA is a dream came true," he admits. "Loeb made it happen. He's the best storyteller I've ever met, and the best pal a guy could have.
"Even if he did kill Sabretooth. Kidding!"
For up to the minute Marvel news spinning out of the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, visit the Marvel.com SDCC news hub. And while you're waiting in between announcements, spend some time over at Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!