Spy fiction has always been a cornerstone of comics and that’s especially true for Marvel. Their premiere super spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. became a major player in the Marvel U thanks to Jim Steranko’s iconic Nick Fury title back in the 60’s. Marvel’s espionage themed titles have been more hard-boiled than psychedelic in the 21st century, but all that changes with ‘Nick Fury’ #1.
Courtesy of writer James Robinson the new ongoing title follows the exploits of Nick Fury Jr., the son of the famed elder, and it returns S.H.I.E.L.D. to its roots. Trippy art, flying cars, crazy Hydra agents, its all here.
Nick Fury #1 is light on story, but makes up for it with style, which it has in spades. Artist ACO invokes Steranko infused with a bit of David Aja as the panels zip with a kinetic flourish. It makes the issue a quick read, but also incredibly fun. The premise is simple and familiar, Nick Fury must navigate a Vegas casino, recover information from Hydra operatives, and make it out alive. Naturally, it gets complicated and explodes into an aerial battle between a sports car and yacht taking place. Yup.
It’s clear is that Nick Fury will be a far cry from something akin to Ed Brubaker’s terrific Winter Soldier or Greg Rucka’s Black Widow. Robinson sets the tone by dialing up the fun factor and its a refreshing departure. One of the better spy titles in recent memory was actually DC Comic’s Grayson that wrapped up in 2016. That title was unabashedly inspired by Marvel’s Nick Fury and they simply can’t allow themselves to get beaten at their own game.
Robinson cranks the spy kitsch to 11 and presents Nick Fury as a cavalier badass unbothered with the moral conflicts that are present with Marvel’s other super spies. This does make the inaugural issue feel like style over substance and time will tell if there’s deeper material that will be introduced.
However, Robinson kept his Scarlet Witch series similarly insular with mostly single issue stories. The likelihood Nick Fury will feature an overarching plot is very low — but that feels okay.
In an age where crossovers are rampant and big events are a constant, maybe an easily consumed, single-story ongoing is exactly what we need. There’s plenty of titles delivering long-form storytelling, but so few that allows the reader to jump in and out at their discretion. Nick Fury could prove to be a palette cleanser for a rather beleaguered publisher that could use its brand of fun.