Nick Fury: Who is the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Nick Fury is Earth’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

Iron Man: “He’s a spy. Captain, he’s the spy. His secrets have secrets.

The Avengers (2012)

A man wearing an eyepatch observes an array of monitors. He sees The Avengers fighting the Masters of Evil. On another monitor, he watches his troops in a pitched battle with HYDRA and AIM. A third monitor shows riots in the streets as angry mobs hunt mutants. Another shows the POTUS threatening Latveria with nuclear war for Doctor Doom’s transgressions.

The man sighs. “Some days, it just don’t pay to get outta bed,” Nick Fury grumbles.

Nick Fury is Marvel’s signature super spy. He’s fought in World War II, become Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and once hunted Godzilla. So who is he? How is he young despite fighting in WWII? Why is he White in comics, but African-American in the movies? Let’s find out.

Howling Commandos: Nick Fury’s Backstory

J. Jonah Jameson: “What is this place?!
Nick Fury: “Welcome to Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-enforcement Division. We call it S.H.I.E.L.D.

Spider-Man “Day of the Chameleon” (Season 1, Episode 13)

Nick Fury first appeared in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 in 1963. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to win a bet with Marvel editor Martin Goodman. Fury’s design and squad drew inspiration from DC Comics’ series Boy Commandos, Sgt. Rock, and the real 101st Airborne Division, colloquially known as the Screaming Eagles.

An Army lieutenant who saw Nick’s wing walking act at a circus recruited him. Fury excelled at army training and was soon given command of a squad of misfits. He nicknamed the ethnically-integrated squad The Howling Commandos and led them throughout WWII.

The Commandos fought alongside contemporary heroes like Captain America, Wolverine, and The Invaders. They fought against the creations of Dr. Zola, Hitler’s protege the Red Skull, and Fury’s archenemy, Baron Strucker.

Nick Fury became a secret agent in 1968. Stan Lee says the change was to cash in on the popularity of James Bond and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Fury started as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and eventually rose to become its Director.

Original Sin: Nick Fury’s History

Nick Fury: “I’ve killed… More times than I can count. I’ve burned worlds. Destabilized galaxies. Dethroned gods. And I did it without any of them even knowing my name. That’s what it means to be the Man on the Wall. To be the invisible monster who keeps the other monsters at bay.”

Original Sin #5

Nick Fury was ousted from S.H.I.E.L.D. after brainwashing several heroes into attacking Doctor Doom’s home in  Latveria. The Latverians launched a retaliatory strike that devastated America. While on the run, Fury assembled a team called the Secret Avengers to perform black ops.

Fury eventually learned he had a long lost son named Marcus Johnson, who looks suspiciously like Samuel L. Jackson with an eye patch. Fury convinced his son, now calling himself Nick Fury Jr., to join S.H.I.E.L.D. As a bonus, Fury Jr. convinced his friend Phil Coulson to join as well. How… convenient for Marvel.

In 2014’s Original Sin, Nick Fury killed a cosmic entity called The Watcher. Readers learned that Fury is “The Man on The Wall”, an assassin who killed anything that threatened Earth. Fury committed countless crimes as the Man on the Wall, including torture, execution, and genocide. The Watcher’s species punished Fury by changing him into a being called The Unseen and forcing him to take the Watcher’s role.

Super Spy: Nick Fury’s Powers and Personality

[An agent learned he is a robot.]
Dum Dum Dugan: “You want to kill threats to humanity, Nicky? Maybe you shoulda started with yourself!
Nick Fury: “Duly noted. You done?”
Dugan: “Yeah, I’m done. [puts a gun to his head] If you were ever my friend…don’t bring me back this time. Let me go. Let all this go. Don’t nail anyone else to your damned wall. Tim Dugan died thinking you were a good guy, Nick. It’s not too late to be that guy again. [BANG]”
Fury: “I’m sorry, Dum Dum. But that’s not how the world works.”

Original Sins

Nick Fury is an expert martial artist and has mastered several weapons. He’s trained as an Army Ranger, a paratrooper, demolitions expert, and Green Beret. He also uses the Infinity Formula serum to keep his body in prime shape, effectively making him immortal.

As Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury had access to gadgets James Bond would kill for, including bulletproof suits, flying cars, flying battleships called Helicarriers, and an army of robotic duplicates called Life Model Decoys. The LMDs are indistinguishable from Fury and possess superhuman abilities. They provide a good excuse if Fury “dies” during a story.

Nick Fury spent decades cultivating a tough but ultimately heroic image. He is a manipulative Knight Templar who won’t hesitate to kill threats. He often expresses remorse for his actions, but only to assuage his guilt.

The Actors who play Nick Fury

Phillip Abbot – Spider-Man: the Animated Series, Iron Man (1994)
Jim Byrnes – X-Men: Evolution
Alex Desert – Wolverine and the X-Men, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
Dean Redman – Iron Man: Armored Adventures
Kevin Michael Richardson – The Super Hero Squad Show
Chi McBride – Ultimate Spider-Man, Hulk and the Agents of Smash
Samuel L. Jackson – Iron Man, The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Secret Invasion, more

Didya get all that?

Earth’s personal S.H.I.E.L.D.

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