In part two of our Avengers Spotlight, we’re going to take a look at the man who assembled the Avengers, Nick Fury, and the organization that he runs, S.H.I.E.L.D.
The character of Nick Fury was created in 1963 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee as a cigar-chomping Word War II sargent who lead an elite US army unit called the Howling Commandos. During this time, Fury and his Howlers fought alongside Captain America and Bucky.
In 1965, Fury was recreated into the version that we know today: an ex-CIA Cold War colonel, super-spy, and executive director of S.H.I.E.L.D., which stood for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division at the time. Under Fury’s command, S.H.I.E.L.D. grew into one of the world’s most powerful organizations by forming alliances with the Avengers and other super teams, as well as governments of the world. Whenever heroes need government information to solve a crisis, Fury is the go to guy.
Nick Fury’s aging has been slowed greatly by the Infinity Formula, a serum created by Dr. Berthold Sternberg. After being first injected with the formula in the 1940s, Fury took injections annually after that. Due to its cumulative effects, he no longer needs additional doses to prolong his life.
After years of leading the organization, Fury discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. and the evil HYDRA had fallen under control of Life Model Decoys (LMDs) known as Deltites. When he exposes the Deltite threat, he disbands the organization and rebulds it from the ground up. This time around, S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate.
Fury is the only “33rd-degree” S.H.I.E.L.D. officer, which means that he is the only member of the organization, present or past, to know the full existence of 28 emergency, covert bases scattered across the globe. When forced into hiding after the Secret War in 2004, these bases acted as safe houses for him. They were also used during the ‘Civil War’ storyline as bases for the Anti-registration faction.
Shining Moment on the Page
In 2003, Fury uncovered a plot by Latverian Prime Minister Lucia von Bardas to provide a group of B-list supervillains with the advanced technology of Latverian dictator Doctor Doom, who was trapped in Hell at the time, in order to launch an attack on the United States of America. After taking his findings to the President, Fury’s request to overthrow the Latverian government is denied due to its sponsorship of the US government. Despite being denied by the Commander-In-Chief, Fury recruits Captain America, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Black Widow, Luke Cage, Wolverine, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Daisy Johnson in his own private attempt at covertly overthrowing the regime in Latveria. This came to be known as the Secret War.
A year later, Von Bardas strikes back and unleashes a massive attack on New York City and planting a high-tech bomb linked to the technology provided to her supervillain army. The heroes find this act of aggression coming out of left field, but squash the threat after a long and heated battle. After the bomb is disarmed and the enemy is defeated, Captain America and the other heroes demand answers from Fury, who is revealed to be a LMD by Agent Johnson. The LMD Fury shares what happened during the Secret War and that all the heroes expect Agent Johnson and Black Widow were brainwashed after the attack in Latveria to erase the event from their memories. After the events of Secret War, Fury had to go into hiding and S.H.I.E.L.D. appointed Maria Hill as the new director.
While this moment may not have shown off Nick Fury in all his glory, it was an integral part of shaping the Marvel Universe as we know it today.
Shining Moment of Screen
In this day and age, we’re used to seeing the Ultimates version of Nick Fury on our screens. That’s the version that looks like Samuel L. Jackson, who ended up being cast as Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Jackson was not the first actor to step into the eye patch of the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., which stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division in the movies.
In 1998, David Hasselhoff starred as Nick Fury in the TV movie ‘Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.’. In the film, Fury is retired, but is asked to resume active duty to take down HYDRA, who is now lead by one of his old enemies, Wolfgang von Strucker. HYDRA threatens to unleash a pathogen known as the Death’s Head virus upon Manhattan unless they receive $1 billion, so it’s up to Fury to stop them.
This isn’t really a shining moment because the film was any good. Samuel L. Jackson is clearly the superior Fury, but it’s just hilarious to see the Hoff appear in the role.
Now you know a little bit more about the mysterious director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury. Stay tuned for the next installment of our Avengers Spotlight, where we learn more about Maria Hill and Agent Phil Coulson.
Do you have any favorite Nick Fury or S.H.I.E.L.D. moments? Share them in the comments below.