Nicholas Joseph Fury
Doyle, the Man in the Mystery Mask, Patch, Scorpio; various others used in espionage
Place of Birth
New York City
Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #1 (1963)
Brown, white at temples
Fury and Hargrove were soon stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, where Fury rapidly rose to sergeant. On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese and Hargrove was slain. When America declared war on the Axis, Sawyer, now a captain, was reassigned to the U.S. Rangers and instructed to form the First Attack Squad, a special squad of rangers trained in military precision but using individually developed combat techniques. Given virtual carte blanche to handpick Squad members, Sawyer took pains to have Fury appointed field commander. Other recruits included Dugan, black jazz trumpeter Gabe Jones, mechanical expert Izzy Cohen, actor Dino Manelli, lasso-wielding Reb Ralston, and college student Junior Juniper. The Squad members were made honorary commandos in the British army and codenamed "the Howling Commandos," or "Howlers." Other units under Sawyer's command during the war included Sgt. Bull McGiveney's Maulers, Sgt. Bob Jenkins's Missouri Marauders, Jim Morita's Nisei Squadron, and Combat Kelly's Deadly Dozen.
For nearly four years Fury led the Howlers on combat and intelligence missions in virtually every recognized theater of war (and a few more besides). When Juniper was slain in an early mission, he was replaced by eccentric British soldier Pinky Pinkerton; German defector Eric Koenig joined soon afterward, establishing the core membership the Howlers would retain for the remainder of the war, although other soldiers came and went over time. His left eye injured by an enemy grenade, Fury received a Purple Heart but did not leave military service, eventually regaining sight in that eye. The Howlers clashed with many high-ranking German officers, most notably Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker. The Howlers proved so successful that Strucker was ordered to form a similar unit, the Blitzkrieg Squad, but the Howlers always triumphed over their counterparts. Occasional allies of the Howlers included other Sawyer-commanded units, the Marines of Captain Simon Savage's Leatherneck Raiders, and the costumed adventurers Captain America and Bucky. At some point, Fury befriended a Canadian soldier named Logan, secretly a superhuman mutant.
Early in the war, separated from the Howlers during a mission in France, Fury was gravely injured by a land mine. Discovered by French partisans, he was taken to a nearby doctor, Professor Berthold Sternberg. Unknown to Fury, Sternberg not only treated Fury's injuries, but also surgically altered Fury so he could withstand inoculation with Sternberg's so-called "Infinity Formula," intended to slow or even halt the human aging process. Fury returned to his unit a week later, still unaware of Sternberg's experiment; however, over the course of the war, exposure to Fury's blood introduced the formula into the other Howlers' bloodstreams as well, causing them to remain unusually vital well into old age. Fury returned to France many times during the war, occasionally on intelligence missions from the Office of Strategic Service.
Weeks after the unit's formation, the Howlers were assigned to destroy a death ray created by Baron Heinrich Zemo, who destroyed it himself rather than risk its falling into enemy hands; Zemo later became a notorious enemy of Captain America. In mid-1942, while stationed in London, Fury fell in love with Lady Pamela Hawley, a British noblewoman serving in a London ambulance unit. In July of that same year, the Howlers ventured into Romania and met the infamous vampire Dracula, who proved as averse to Nazis as they were. However, the vampiric Nazi agent Baron Blood would later capture the Howlers, though his plans fell apart when an American soldier that he vampirized turned against him. In late 1942, the Howlers were assigned to North Africa, where they saw action alongside nomad leader Desert Hawk and his daughter Sheila, Captain Starr and the Marines of Item Company, and infantryman Combat Casey, among others.
In 1943, Fury and Dugan rescued Pam Hawley from the German sorcerer Viscount Krowler, unwittingly intervening in a time-transcending clash between the demonic Dormammu and future Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange, who removed the soldiers' memories of the proceedings. The Howlers faced more magic weeks later when they teamed with adventurous thief Jean Luc LeBeau to keep Baron Strucker from obtaining the time-traveling gem called the Momentary Princess. On a more prosaic note, Fury at last decided to propose marriage to Hawley, but she perished tragically during a London air raid, killed by the raid's final bomb as she was helping the wounded. Months later, when Fury was home on leave, his brother Jake, jealous of Nick's fame, was abducted by the Nazi Colonel Klaue. Nick freed Jake but was captured himself, and Jake helped the Howlers rescue Nick. Following these events, Jake enlisted in the army; he soon regretted his choice, and his resentment of Nick grew.Red Skull infiltrated Fury's base in disguise, though circumstances foiled his mission. In April 1944, the Howlers fought the Skull directly alongside Captain America and Bucky, rescuing an American industrialist. Weeks later, the Howlers pursued Baron Strucker to the German village of Gruenstadt, where they saw him lead a Nazi S.S. Squad in massacring Gruenstadt's entire population. Outraged, the Howlers gunned down Strucker's soldiers to the last man, although Strucker himself escaped. Fury did not know it at the time, but Strucker destroyed Gruenstadt to conceal the nearby discovery of a party of Gnobians, extraterrestrials with vastly advanced technology. After the massacre, Strucker mindlinked with the Gnobian leader, gaining extensive alien knowledge—though he later disputed this—while the Gnobians were infected with his own twisted personality.
On June 6, 1944, a.k.a. D-Day, the Howlers were part of the Allied invasion of Nazi-held France. In October they teamed with Captain America and Bucky to face a far different invasion, helping the contemporary Sorcerer Supreme, the Ancient One, against an alliance between Dormammu and the Red Skull; once more, sorcery removed memories of Dormammu from Fury and company. Returning to more conventional warfare, Fury and Cap destroyed one of the Red Skull's biochemical warfare camps weeks later, freeing airman Michael Kramer and other prisoners. The Howlers were also among the Allied forces who halted German advances in the Battle of the Bulge in the last days of 1944. In 1945, the Howlers had yet another brush with the unworldly in Berlin, where centuries-old sorcerer Algernon Crowe was creating zombie soldiers for the Nazis. The Howlers incapacitated the zombies and torched Crowe's facility, believing Crowe to be dead.
When the war finally ended in August 1945, Fury led the Howlers on European "mop-up" missions against remaining Axis operatives. It was during this period that the Howlers shut down the death camp laboratories of Nathaniel Essex, a.k.a. Mister Sinister. Fury was then reassigned to Okinawa, Japan to shut down remnants there, while the other Howlers returned to civilian life.
Fury was soon recruited by the O.S.S. full-time. Working with agents of the British MI-5, he was sent after Colonel Ishii, a renegade Japanese scientist with a cache of bio-weapons; Fury captured Ishii, but was the mission's only survivor. In 1946, Fury aged sixty years in minutes due to long-term effects of Sternberg's Infinity Formula; Sternberg, having anticipated this, had mailed Fury a mutated version of the formula, and Fury immediately inoculated himself with it, restoring his youth. However, the effect lasted only one year, and Sternberg began extorting money from Fury in exchange for a yearly supply of the formula. Unable to locate Sternberg, Fury acquiesced and bought doses from him for the next several decades.
When the O.S.S. disbanded in 1947, Fury was reassigned to Army Intelligence and eventually saw action in the Korean War, which began in 1950; at some point, Fury re-formed the Howling Commandos, who re-enlisted for a special mission to blow up a missile base behind enemy lines. At the successful close of this mission, Fury was promoted to second lieutenant and soon afterward transferred to the Central Intelligence Agency. In this capacity, he led a unit known as Team Valkyrie until the war's end in 1953. At some point in the late 1950s or early 1960s, Fury worked with the super-team called the First Line and was particularly impressed by their leader, Yankee Clipper. By 1963, Fury was a C.I.A. colonel in charge of a program involving telepathic operatives, one of whom, Theresa Bellwether, was murdered as part of a defense operation called Project: About Face. The ultimate fate of Fury's program is unrevealed, but by 1967 he was active in the Vietnam War, where he again re-formed the Howling Commandos as volunteers on special assignment; a year later, he underwent training in the Green Beret Special Forces, which he followed up with Black Beret training in 1973. Little else is known of Fury's C.I.A. activities, although during this period he frequently worked with his wartime comrade Logan, now a Canadian intelligence operative. Fury's tactics and talents earned him many rivals, including a deadly intelligence operative known only as the Spook.Ben Grimm. During the same time frame, Fury worked with two brilliant scientists, Reed Richards and Tony Stark; unknown to Fury, both men were involved in Project S.H.I.E.L.D., and Jake Fury soon became a Stark employee.
In recent years, not long after the debut of the Fantastic Four, Nick Fury aided the team against the subversive Hate-Monger. Following this mission, Fury was assigned to investigate a spy at Stark International, unaware that Stark himself was involved in the new international espionage unit known as S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division), the finalized version of Project: S.H.I.E.L.D., whose director, Colonel Rick Stoner, had recently been slain by the high-tech terrorists Hydra. Fury was dismayed to discover that the spy was his brother Jake, who had defected to Hydra. Confronting his brother, Fury was shot in the left eye, exacerbating his old war injury. Though his operations were exposed, Jake escaped, and Nick, his left eye now almost totally useless, began wearing an eyepatch. Shortly afterward, a mission in Russia again teamed him with Logan, now the Canadian super-agent Wolverine.
Returning to America, Fury was, at Stark's recommendation, recruited to head S.H.I.E.L.D., which was facing renewed attacks from Hydra. Fury was dubious of his own qualifications but accepted the role, soon recruiting Dum-Dum Dugan, who became his second-in-command, as well as Gabe Jones and Eric Koenig. Fury led S.H.I.E.L.D. against Hydra, A.I.M., the Druid, and other terrorists; never one to risk subordinates' lives on jobs he could do himself, Fury continued to act as a field agent. His right-hand man was Jasper Sitwell, a loyal administrator whose dedication to the rules irked Fury almost as much as it grounded him, while much of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s developing technology was overseen by Sidney "the Gaffer" Levine, a brilliant inventor and, like Fury, a veteran of a wartime unit, in his case the high-tech Skywolves. During his early clashes with Hydra, Fury fell in love with Laura Brown, daughter of the organization's supposed leader, the Imperial Hydra; when the Imperial Hydra was slain in one clash, Fury believed Hydra was on its last legs, but its creed of "cut off one arm and another shall take its place" would soon prove itself true. When Fury's relationship with Brown ended, he began romancing fellow agent Contessa Valentina de Fontaine.
Mere months after joining S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury was reunited with his wartime friend Captain America, who had been revived from decades of suspended animation by the Avengers. Ironically, Fury faced a more unhappy reunion when he learned that Hydra, founded in the closing days of World War II, was secretly led by none other than Baron Strucker, who tried to blackmail the world with a so-called Death-Spore bomb; however, Fury located the bomb and sealed it in Hydra's domed island base, where it apparently killed only Strucker and his men. On the heels of this victory, Fury was almost driven mad when he became a pawn in a game between Latverian dictator Doctor Doom and his robot opponent, the Prime Mover. In the course of the game, S.H.I.E.L.D. clashed with a robot of the megalomaniacal Yellow Claw, and when the true Claw's nemesis, FBI agent Jimmy Woo, became involved in the proceedings, Fury recruited him for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Another foe resurfaced when Jake Fury, empowered by the mysterious Zodiac Key, attacked S.H.I.E.L.D. as Scorpio; eventually exposed, Scorpio clashed with Fury repeatedly until his apparent death, although his consciousness survived in an android body. A final bit of Fury's past was laid to rest when Professor Sternberg was slain by criminal Steel Harris, who attempted to up the extortion on Fury's supply of the Infinity Formula; however, with the help of de la Fontaine, Fury defeated Steel and obtained the secrets of the Infinity Formula for himself.
As S.H.I.E.L.D. director, Fury fought various superhuman foes alongside New York's super heroes, many of whom he befriended. When the Thing and a handful of Avengers organized a floating poker game, Fury became a regular participant; at one such game he renewed his friendship with Wolverine, now a member of the mutant X-Men. Despite his respect for super heroes, Fury recognized them as potential loose cannons, and S.H.I.E.L.D. formed more than one contingency plan against them. For years, Fury balanced his duties against his friendships, not always to his own satisfaction. As S.H.I.E.L.D.'s influence spread, Fury became concerned about internal corruption and worked with ex-agent Mockingbird to expose several criminal operations. Fury became the target of the seven-section organization the Sept, who attacked S.H.I.E.L.D.'s airborne Helicarrier base, overthrew a small Latin American government, attacked Fury and his men in Egypt, and were tracked to Hong Kong, where Fury unmasked their leader, the One, as the true Yellow Claw. A few years later, while investigating use of the Zodiac Key, Fury was stunned to meet a new Scorpio named Mikel Fury, who claimed to be Jake Fury's son by Amber D'Alexis. Working alongside Wolverine, Fury shut down D'Alexis's latest criminal operation, but D'Alexis herself held Fury at gunpoint and revealed that Nick, not Jake, was Mikel's father. D'Alexis was defeated by Wolverine shortly afterward, and Fury took Mikel into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, although he soon escaped.
Soon afterward, Fury learned that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by artificial life-forms called Deltites, who deceived most of Fury's agents, including de la Fontaine, into turning against him. Fury and a handful of loyal agents eventually defeated the Deltites, but not before almost all remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were seemingly slain; unknown to Fury, the Deltites had been directed by Baron Strucker, alive after all, who kept the supposedly dead agents in stasis. S.H.I.E.L.D. was formally disbanded, and Fury traveled the world to close S.H.I.E.L.D.'s bases and destroy its most dangerous technology. Physically and emotionally exhausted, Fury briefly retired in the company of agent Kate Neville, who became his lover.
Months later, Fury left retirement to join de la Fontaine, Neville, and others against the Death's Head Guard, Gnobians altered by former Nazi geneticist Arnim Zola and driven by Strucker's hatred of Fury. The Guard slew hundreds of American agents before Fury managed to break through their programming, after which they committed mass suicide; Strucker later implied that the aliens were in fact creations of Hydra, but this claim seems dubious given the Gnobians' wartime activities. Soon afterward, a new S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate), designed to be less vulnerable to corruption, was formed, and Fury became its director. Under Fury, the new S.H.I.E.L.D. renewed ties with the superhuman community and faced enemies both new and old, including Algernon Crowe, one of the leaders of Mys-Tech, which combined science and magic in pursuit of conquest. Investigating Mys-Tech's greatest threat, the reality-altering Un-Earth, Fury was slain by Crowe, only to be resurrected when American and British super heroes reversed time to defeat Mys-Tech. Fury later teamed with the United Kingdom's Super-Soldiers against Hydra's Warlord Huang Zhu in the Savage Land.
Sometime later, Fury received a coded distress message from someone called Fallen Angel, who claimed to be Rick Stoner, long believed dead. Commissioning a specialized LMD (Life Model Decoy) android duplicate from Tony Stark, Fury left the duplicate in his place and traced the signal to Project: Backslide, an abandoned S.H.I.E.L.D. experiment, only to be pulled into a pocket dimension with Fallen Angel, who, regardless of his true identity, died shortly afterward, leaving Fury stranded for months. Unknown to Fury, his LMD duplicate captured and tried to rehabilitate the killer vigilante Punisher; however, the Spook, Fury's longtime rival, brainwashed the Punisher into assassinating the LMD, believed by all to be Fury. Meanwhile, Fury's subconscious had remade the pocket dimension into a duplicate of wartime Europe, where he relived past Howlers missions. He regained his senses through the arrival of Sharon Carter, an agent of the prior S.H.I.E.L.D., long thought dead; although Carter had come seeking vengeance on Fury, she ultimately helped him return to Earth. Fury briefly stepped down from S.H.I.E.L.D. directorship, leaving Carter to succeed him, but he soon returned, driving himself harder than ever. One of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most serious setbacks came when the Helicarrier was hijacked by the Red Skull, who joined forces with the Hate-Monger in an effort to spread hatred across the world, but the villains were defeated by Fury, Captain America, and their fellow wartime veteran, Namor the Sub-Mariner.Ultimately, despite Fury's best efforts, the second incarnation of S.H.I.E.L.D. has proven no more immune to corruption than the first, and Fury has grown dubious of some of the agency's more inhumane operations, such as the so-called Deathlok project. Fury even briefly lost command of S.H.I.E.L.D., being demoted to a desk job. Despite ending the threat of former Hydra agent Rudy Gargarin on Napoleon Island, Fury had to struggle to regain his position. Moreover, as superhuman incidents become more widespread and devastating, Fury, despite his efforts to steer government attention away from such allies as Spider-Man and Daredevil, has found himself at odds with the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and even his old friends Captain America and Wolverine, whom he has been reduced to manipulating on more than one mission, including a recent foray into Latveria that left hard feelings all around and resulted in Fury losing directorship of S.H.I.E.L.D. and going into hiding. Fury is now working underground. It remains to be seen how long Fury can tread the line between conflicting loyalties.