Marvel Masterworks Vol. 83 Nick Fury, Agent of S.h.i.e.l.d. Ltd. Ed. Marble Variant Hardcover – Oct 24 2007
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book covers Nick's earliest adventures and his first encounters with sinister organizations like Hydra, AIM, the Druid and the Secret Empire. The creative minds of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee are on fine display as Fury visits flying aircraft carriers, drives around a flying Porsche, and battles all sorts of insane schemes to rule to world. All the while he does it while speaking in an outrageous Noo Yawk accent and griping about how things were a lot simpler back in the war.
Somehow the crazy mix works. Fury serves as our hero and as our point of view character, always commenting on how crazy the situations are and somehow always getting the job done.
So why only 3 stars? For one thing the art in this book is rather lackluster, Kirby provided layouts but the art was finished by a host of mediocre draftsmen. For another it ends just as the series was getting good, when Jim Sterenko's innovative layouts and designs would really make it a classic. Lastly, there is a much cheaper and better reprint out there in the form of 'Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD' which covers most of Sternko's run and many of the classic moments people still remember today.
So unless you are devoted fan of the character and want to see where it all began, the Marvel Masterworks edition is really not for you.
However, it wasn't always so. In the 1960s, with James Bond and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. a phenomena, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby launched Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a regular half-issue feature in Strange Tales. This book collects the 12-page stories from Issues 135-153 of Strange Tales plus a crossover with Captain America in Tales of Suspense #78 and Fury's first post-World War II story which appeared in Fantastic Four #21 and had Fury as a CIA Agent.
The stories are great, the villains are superb classic 1960s bad guys on an epic scale. The supporting cast is strong as well with Fury supported by fellow World War II Commandos Dum Dum and Gabriel Jones, as well as conscientious rookie Jasper Sitwell, who also brings a bit of comic relief.
However, the star is the big feature and it's Nick Fury. The silver age incarnation of this tough as nails World War II commando turned super spy could only have been effectively played by John Wayne. Fury is wise-cracking, ornery, and courageous with a firm and steady admiration between him and his men. Fury is the type of hero they just don't make any more. Truly, a great character in all of his quirks such as his cigars and his tendency to appear shirtless (some times without any explanation.) This was a blast and I can't wait to read Volume 2.