S.H.I.E.L.D.: Nick Fury VS. S.H.I.E.L.D. Hardcover – Dec 21 2011
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About the Author
As Ralph Macchio's assistant, Bob Harras edited several titles, mostly tie-ins such as Micronauts, Rom Spaceknight, Saga of Crystar and U.S.1. He subsequently became chief editor of the X-Men titles and wrote for multiple series, including a three-year run on Avengers. Graduating to editor in chief, he oversaw well-received runs of Captain America, Daredevil, Deadpool and other titles, as well as the controversial second Clone Saga in the 1990s' Spider-Man titles. Harras has since worked as contributing editor at Wildstorm and collected editions editor for DC Comics. He became DC's editor in chief in 2010.
After stints on Warren Publishing's Eerie and IPC's 2000 AD, Paul Neary moved to Marvel UK as artist on the imprint's Hulk and Nick Fury features, as well as multiple Doctor Who sagas. With then-newcomer Alan Davis, he migrated to more mainstream titles, inking Davis' pencils on Uncanny X-Men and Captain Britain, as well as on DC's Detective Comics. Returning to Marvel UK as editor in chief, Neary launched Death's Head II, Motormouth, Warheads and other 1990s titles. He has since returned to art, inking Bryan Hitch's pencils on Wildstorm's Authority; and Marvel's Fantastic Four, Ultimates and more. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
-all 6 issues are 48 pages each for a total of nearly 300 pages of story.
Content: A fantastic continuation of the Nick Fury/Shield saga. In what is probably his best comic work, Harras does a beautiful job of following up on all of the classic Nick Fury characters from the Strange Tales/SHIELD days, including Dum Dum, Gabe Jones, Jasper Sitwell, Contessa, Laura Brown, Jimmy Woo, etc and so-forth. Any fan of the original Stan Lee-Steranko issues will love the story contained within, and the book manages to maintain an espionage/corruption element that made the original stories so great.
I can't say enough about Paul Neary's art: it's simply gorgeous.
Book: the only detractor I can find is the fact that this book is a normal size hardcover. Paul Neary's art would be much better experienced in oversized format... I'm a little perplexed at this decision, as this story is nearly 300 pages, and the digital issues on Comixology are clearly a high enough resolution to print in oversize.
For die-hard Fury/Paul Neary fans, I'd also recommend the digital issues. The art is wonderful and much more pronounced (and bigger) than in this normal sized hardcover, even on a computer screen.
There is one positive. The art works looks great. I know this is the standard apologetic for any comic, but it's really true here. Some panels are just fantastic. I was exceptionally pleased at instances, e.g., where I believed that certain panels actually depicted robots, rather than humans (e.g. Nick Fury and his Life Model Decoy). They don't really look qualitatively different from other instances of characters, but the expressions make me believe that this is a robot (now, I can understand if someone further says, "But if they look like robots, wouldn't that defeat their purpose as decoys?", which is why robot decoys are bad ideas in comics in general). The colors are great, and the art just evokes...motion sometimes. I would advise anyone who is purchasing this to take one cursory "read", doing nothing but turning through the pages and admiring the panels.
The exceptions to the great artwork are the covers themselves. They look hilarious. I don't like beating up on artists, but wow - some of these covers are pretty bad. For example, the cover to issue one, apparently attempting to evoke images of spy novels of the past (with some James Bond influences) depicts a topless woman covering her breasts with two guns. Strangely, however, she only seems to have one holster on her belt. Moreover, it looks like she was sawed in half, and then glued together in an ineffectual manner. Another image shows a man holding a white-haired woman, screaming while firing a gun. His face looks like it was torn in half, and put together, again in an ineffectual manner. I don't deduct any stars for this.
So why the low rating? Well, one reason is the paper quality. For a book with a forty-dollar cover, I expect something better. If you must use this type of paper, make it heavier. Better yet, consider the paper stock of many of the DC archives (a matted, heavy stock that was reminiscent of the type of paper that was required for submission of my thesis to the LoC archives).
But the main reason is the turgid, tedious writing. God, this is painful to read. From the opening scenes, it immediately feels dated and boring. At times, it actually felt like a poor localization of a foreign work. Everyone just says way too much. I don't mind wisecracks under fire - writers have gotten great use out of this (Joss Whedon has made a career of it). But brevity is the soul of wit - if you need five lines for your zinger, I'm bored.
There's just too much exposition. The authors should have given the readers more credit. It's not like writers of the time didn't understand this (e.g., look at Grant Morrison's breezy dialogue in his run of Doom Patrol, which started in 1989). And obviously, I don't expect all writers to be Grant Morrison, but there has to be a happy medium. It took me four attempts (and two full restarts) before I could get through this, and if you have to "get through" a comic, it's not a comic anymore.
At the end of the day, I got this book, in hardcover, for under eight bucks. I can't argue with that price, even with my dislike of the work. The art alone is worth that. Prices are currently good here on Amazon as well. So, let me give a final, Objectivist rating system:
If you purchase this for less than ten bucks: 5 stars
If you purchase for between ten and fifteen: 4 stars
If you purchase for between fifteen and twenty-five: 3 stars
If you purchase for more than twenty-five: 2 stars