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Back in 2012, to further align their comic universe with the money-printing cinematic universe, Marvel created Nick Fury Jr. Modeled after Samuel L. Jackson’s cinematic spy of the same name, albeit younger, this Fury often stands in as a supporting character or S.H.I.E.L.D. stand-in. He now takes up his cigar-chomping dad’s mantle as super-spy in a new monthly series.
Writer James Robinson, penciler ACO, inker Hugo Petrus, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg create a unique atmosphere of intrigue and action. While mission-of-the-week stories are great for changes of setting, the story lacks depth. Agent Fury’s only interactions are with goons he takes out or the nameless voice on the other side of his comm-link. Everything looks cool, but it’s difficult to really care about what’s happening.
However, the art definitely compensates by being positively stunning. In fact, it moves the story so compellingly the dialogue is almost secondary. Let’s explore, shall we?
Right at the start ACO, Petrus and Rosenberg set the stage with a rich splash page. Fury has to steal the power source of a moon-based death ray built by the Yakuza. The level of detail creates the imposing nature of the base, in addition to the majesty of space with the Earth creeping over the background.
Bright pinks, purples, and shades of green spatter the interior of the base as Fury works his way in. Naturally, he’s immediately spotted by their security, but has an array of spy-toys to make short work of them. Speaking of the spy-toys, a nice touch the creative team makes each issue is to zoom in and quickly explain their purpose. It gives the whole book more a James Bond vibe than your typical Marvel superhero tale.
Fights on the moon always have the potential for great action, and this is no exception. Nano-tech, explosions, zero gravity – each panel creates a pastiche that evokes the original Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. art by Jim Steranko. ACO even states as much in interviews that this is a goal. Whether it be homage or imitation – it works, and I look forward to more from this art team.
Allow me to temper my prior criticism on the writing of this book. It’s still good. We get a few clever back and forths between hero and villain(s). The voice in Fury’s ear moves the action along with each mission objective, and has an added mystery surrounding it since we don’t know who the voice is.
At the story’s conclusion Fury fights his way to the final goal, only to find the power source already stolen and the guards dead. This proves to be the work of Frankie Noble, agent of Hydra and a new character who is rapidly becoming Fury’s nemesis. That’s a great setup, but both characters fall a little flat, spy quips aside.
But as I’ve said before – two issues does not make a complete arc, so I’ll be sure to pick up future issues – as you should too – at Downtown Comics soon.