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Essential Avengers

Essential Avengers: Nick Fury

Peel back the curtain on the mysterious Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

"Marvel's The Avengers" hits theaters on May 4, and in anticipation of Earth's Mightiest Heroes assembling on the big screen for the first time we're bringing you the Essential Avengers. From accounts of the characters' epic stories from the original comics to looks back at the character with some of their most prominent creators both past and present and interviews with the designers of the heroes cinematic costumes, the Essential Avengers give you everything you wanted to know about the team, its allies and its enemies.

By Jim Beard

He’s the world’s greatest spy, a tireless, seemingly-immortal agent of liberty who prefers to work behind the scenes, rather than hog the spotlight. His leadership abilities cannot be questioned. He’s been beaten, brainwashed, and bullied, but he’s never given up the fight for what he believes to be right. He’s Nick Fury, and he’s the shield between you and those who’d rob you of your freedoms.

Fury’s life-story’s a hum-dinger, a real roundhouse of a punch to the gut. Most of it's classified. The rest you may simply choose not to believe…

War is Hell

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos

Nicholas Joseph Fury grew up so poor his parents couldn’t afford to even send him to the School of Hard Knocks. He gained his education on the cruel streets of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, a place that made the trenches of World War II look like a picnic at the beach. Nick found his way into those trenches and ended up being a sergeant in the US Army and leading a bunch of yahoos called the Howling Commandos. They saw a lot of fights and won a few, too, all the way across Europe and the Pacific.

By the time the war came to a close, Sgt. Fury’s decorations for valor practically outnumbered the hairs on his head, but he didn’t care; he just wanted the whole shooting match to be over. The big brass put him into the pre-cursor of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services, right after the war. Around that time Nick also found he wasn’t really aging like normal folks, thanks to a little thing called the Infinity Formula. Oh, and he took to wearing an eye-patch, too, another gift from the war.

Nick Fury’s early days as a solider in WWII can be found in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS VOL. 1.

Spy Stuff

From the OSS, Fury moved over to the new organization, the CIA, and gained a lot of experience in the way of spies and covert operations. Tony Stark, the world’s leading industrialist and weapons designers, convinced Fury to head up S.H.I.E.L.D., a government group that tackled big problems worldwide and had more resources and agents than an old soldier like Nick’d ever seen. He grew that office into a force to be reckoned with and targeted such terrorist organizations as HYDRA and any other goofballs with world domination on their sick, twisted minds.

Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Fury’s days with S.H.I.E.L.D. weren’t always a bed of roses, and he suffered a lot of grief at its helm, but after every blow-up and every rebuilding he always came back to the fold and got the job done. During his time there, he gained a clearance level that’d make anyone’s head swim and a knack for rooting out bad guys that’d put any so-called “super hero” to shame. S.H.I.E.L.D. swam in Nick Fury’s bloodstream; he ate, drank and breathed it.

Fury’s first forays with S.H.I.E.L.D. and later adventures may be found in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and NICK FURY VS. S.H.I.E.L.D.

Alien Invaders

There came a time when the entire Earth fell under a secret invasion by the alien shape-shifting Skrull race, and Fury went deep underground to fight back with a secret team of his own. When the whole mess went public and fighting broke out in the streets, Fury and his people struck like lightning from covert bases around the globe, a little S.H.I.E.L.D. detail most folks didn’t know about.

When the final battle against the Skrulls went down, Nick Fury led the Young Avengers and the Initiative heroes against the invaders and helped turn the tide for Earth’s defenders. Sadly, he also watched as Norman Osborn, the supposedly-reformed criminal known as the Green Goblin, made the kill-shot that not only took down the Skrull queen but endeared Osborn to the desperate public. Osborn basically took charge of S.H.I.E.L.D., transforming it into H.A.M.M.E.R., and its former commander faded back into the shadows, underground again.

Details of Fury’s involvement can be found in SECRET INVASION.

Darkest Before the Dawn

Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors

With Norman Osborn in the spotlight and his H.A.M.M.E.R. forces play-acting like S.H.I.E.L.D.’s replacement, Nick Fury’s world tumbled into an even deeper hole. Information that HYDRA secretly controlled the stalwart spy organization all along came to light and Fury knew then he couldn’t rest on his laurels and retire. He formed a new team, the Secret Warriors, and with a myriad other covert operatives around the world waged war from the shadows against Osborn and his cronies.

The former Green Goblin’s “dark reign” came to an end in a daring H.A.M.M.E.R. raid on the fabled city of Asgard, which then hung in the sky over a small American town. Fury and his young, super powered soldiers joined in on the fun and once again provided back-up to one of the biggest battles since the Bulge. With Osborn finally behind bars, Fury allowed Steve Rogers to take over running the whole spy network thing, but vowed to keep his one good eye focused squarely on any threats that might rise up to take away our freedoms.

Nick Fury’s underground war was waged in SECRET WARRIORS VOLS. 1-6 and SIEGE.

Ultimate Nick Fury

Ultimate Nick Fury

The Ultimate Universe version of Nick Fury also fought in World War II, but became a subject of Operation: Rebirth after being arrested for looting a house in Sicily. Fury used his new-found super-strength to free himself and other prisoners. He continued in the military after college and became embroiled in several different operations that involved super humans, leading to his work with S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury eventually rose to the rank of General and ultimately took on the leadership of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Ultimate Fury, still alive and vital in the present day due to the Super-Soldier serum, put together the Ultimates to protect Earth from different menaces. During a scuffle with beings from an alternate Earth, Fury found himself captured and imprisoned there. He eventually returned to his own reality and resumed his duties with S.H.I.E.L.D., becoming even further involved with super human activities of all kinds.

This Nick Fury also spots an eye-patch and can claim a prosthetic arm, a result of a battle with enemies of the Ultimates. He possesses many high-tech gadgets and weapons, which he puts to good use in his operations.


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hhhmmm!! i thought this was gonna be a bout a printed essential nick fury, could that be a possibility?