Evil Geek Book Report – Fury
I’m fascinated by Nick Fury. I love the idea of the grizzled war veteran super spy. Alas, things have certainly changed in Marvel’s landscape….don’t even get me started on Nick Fury Jr. Trying to find something I could sink my teeth into I came across the 2001/2002 miniseries Fury by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. I have heard good things about Ennis’ Preacher series as well as his grim and ultra violent take on the Punisher through the Marvel Knights imprint and later Marvel’s Max line. The idea is that the Punisher’s age hasn’t been retconned to keep up with new young readers and Frank Castle is a warped Vietnam vet. The Fury miniseries generally takes a similar approach.
We are introduced to an old ass Nick Fury, veteran of the Cold War who is adrift in modern society. It’s not as extreme as Captain America’s reclamation to the 1960s, but it’s intense. He still works for S.H.I.E.L.D. based solely on the fact that he’s a legend and helped build the agency but they want to move him into a do nothing administrative job because of his non progressive thinking and attitude. Fury is disgusted by everything around him, he hates the softening of America, the inability to smoke cigars indoors and when he meets up with an old army buddy Dum Dum Dugan he’s dismayed to find he’s gone soft. He’s off the booze completely and offers Fury alternative therapies to help him “relax”. This is the biggest theme addressed in the book and is often played for laughs.
Perhaps the strangest laugh though comes from Wendell a young boy who Fury became a parental guardian for after someone he knew died in a war and he promised to watch over him. Wendell is a very sickly, nerdy kid who will do anything to impress Fury. Fury on the other hand, wants nothing to do with him and even fantasizes about dumping him into a tiger exhibit at the Zoo. It’s disturbing but that’s only the tip of the iceberg with this book. Wendell really serves no purpose in this story and seems to just be included only to agitate Fury further and be a bit of comic relief from some of the brutalness that infiltrates through the pages.
Fury’s luck begins to turn though when he has a chance encounter at a bar with a former H.Y.D.R.A. operative and enemy, Rudi Gargarin. The two lament about the good old days when war actually meant war and you didn’t have to pussy foot around, you could actually get your hands dirty. Gargarin proposes they quietly invade a seemingly non political Island and run it into an all out war for their own benefit. You know…to get that old feeling back again. Fury contemplates the idea and how much fun he could have but ultimately rejects it.
Gargain can be pretty persuasive though and after Fury has his way with a bunch of Asian hookers (for real) his apartment is swarmed by assassins sent by Gargarin. Fury blows them all to hell and decides to go to war. He bullies his way through S.H.I.E.L.D and builds a small team of elite soldiers who will do exactly what he says and then drops them onto the island.
The soldiers and Fury are there with a relatively bloodless plan but soon that all goes to hell. What follows is blood and guts…literally. There is a scene where someone is being strangled with their own intestines! It’s pretty fucking intense. I’m not dismayed by violence; I’m just not usually drawn to a book because of it. So this was an interesting detour for me to read. I certainly didn’t love it, but was fairly intrigued by it. It ended up being a little too one dimensional. The idea in concept is very cool with room for lots of possibilities. I just don’t think the execution was what I wanted. It ended up playing as a one note humorous gory b-movie. I’ve since been told this is far and away the weakest entry on Ennis’ work on Nick Fury. The art was a little lackluster for my taste too, a bit on the cartoony side. I was let down because of the excellent cover of the trade by Bill Sinkewicz, I thought perhaps that would echo the art on the inside. Anyway, if any of this sounds remotely interesting to you then check it out.
Till next time
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