Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
"He's Mike Hammer and James Bond rolled into one, a tough-talking, shirt-shucking, gun-toting fireball of a secret agent who attracts bullets and babes in astounding qualities."
This is how Marvel Comics begins the explanatory text on the back of it's newly-released Nick Fury, Agent of Shield trade paperback, and it perfectly encapsulates the exciting exhilarating, and down- right FUN attitude of this book.
The trade collects the first six issues of the original series that began in 1968, and at a time when superheroes were Marvel's standard material, this was something quite different. In fact, it still is. The stories reprinted in this album present readers with a fair amount of action, suspense, science fiction, drama, and even horror. And they are all done in a style incomparable to anything else done at that time, and, unfortunately, to the following issues as well, as writer/artist Jim Steranko departed after the sixth issue.
Steranko kept the dynamic Marvel style alive, but gave it an extra kick by adding then-modern design concepts to characters and scenes. He borrowed from popular media, such as TV's The Avengers, and James Bond movies. Similarly, his page layout style showed great influence from modern graphic artists Andy Warhol and Peter Max. Events flowed through the page, as opposed to the stop-and-go of panel-by-panel storytelling. These innovations, even today, make Nick Fury, Agent of Shield as much fun to look at as it is to read.
Unfortunately, Steranko's early departure from the book gives the trade paperback an unsatisfying ending, leaving the reader to wonder at the identity of the villain, Scorpio. As a result, the book has a beginning and a middle, but no real ending. It is, however, still worth searching out for those who wish to experience what great work can be accomplished in the comic book medium.
Nick Fury, A.O.S., can be acquired through comic shops, bookstores, and by logging on to www.marvel.com.
Nick Fury, Agent of Shield, published by Marvel Comics, 88 pages, $12.95.
Review by Mark Allen
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