Characters Appearing: Al Mackenzie, Alexander Goodwin Pierce, Contessa Valentina Allegro De La Fontaine, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Gabriel Jones, Iron Man, Kate Neville, Lump (Gnobian), Madame Hydra Six, N'Gami, Network Nina, Nick Fury, Red (LMD), Werner Von Strucker, Yellow Claw
Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #12-14
Issue(s): Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #12, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #13, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #14
This is technically the return of the "regular" writer of the series, Bob Harras. Last issue was a definite fill in, and D.G. Chichester, who wrote the four issues prior to that, is described as a "guest writer" by editor Gregory Wright in issue #11's lettercol. But Gregory Wright steps down as editor after this arc, and Chichester becomes the regular writer at that point.
The most consistent thing about this book has been the art team, especially Kim DeMulder's finishes. Keith Pollard has done most of the breakdowns, but there have been a couple of instances, like on issue #12 here, where there's been a different penciler, and DeMulder has kept the book consistent. And it's looking good (although it's better when Pollard is on pencils). I definitely like the art on this book.
Unfortunately i'm just having a hard time getting into the story and the characters. One thing to note is that this book is "Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD" as opposed to "Nick Fury and his Agents of SHIELD" or something. But unlike previous SHIELD books, this one really does focus more on the larger SHIELD cast. The Lee/Kirby and Steranko stories set up a premise where Fury was a spy action hero, in the mold of James Bond and other spy characters that were popular in the 60s. But since those books were canceled, Fury evolved from action hero to the gruff head of a large peacekeeping agency. And while the break-up of SHIELD allowed it to re-form as a smaller organization with a core team, it still wouldn't make sense for Fury to go running off entirely by himself. But it may be because of that that i'm having trouble enjoying the book. There's nothing wrong with a book about a peace-keeping force. But i'm just not interested in these characters.
And it's not for the creators' lack of trying. There are certainly some quirky characters in this series.
This story has an agent of the Yellow Claw freeing Madame Hydra Six from the mental hospital where's she was being held. He then has her kidnap a bunch of children from islands in the South Pacific. The children are brainwashed into loyal soldiers for the Claw. Madame Hydra has become infatuated with Alexander Goodwin Pierce, so she kidnaps and brainwashes him as well.
SHIELD has some new recruits, too, from Gabe Jones' training program (which apparently included watching too many GI Joe cartoons, causing them to bungle the traditional "Don't yield, back SHIELD!" cry).
One of the more tedious aspects of this series is the romance triangle stuff going on between Fury, his former love Val Fontaine, and his current girlfriend Kate Neville. Kate overhears Nick and Val reconciling and gets the wrong idea...
...and therefore tries to sacrifice herself in battle.
Not only is Nick Fury's love life pretty uninteresting to start with, but Kate getting shot down causes an unnatural halt in the action during the final battle. Everyone just kind of stands around so that Kate and Nick can have meaningful conversations with each other, even as the battle rages on in the background.
Hey dude with the big gun, shoot someone already!
Fontaine's current lover Al Mackenzie is also shot down in the battle, leading to more standing around.
Meanwhile, we learn that Baron von Strucker's son Werner is working with the Yellow Claw.
He's got Dum Dum Dugan, who didn't really die in issue #1.
This isn't really a surprise; issue #11's lettercol told us that they were bringing back Dum Dum in this story.
Back to the battlefield. Network Nina determines that the brainwashing of the kids is too thorough and they won't be able to bring them back to normal. But Fury has to fight Pierce in one-on-one combat. And unlike the kids, Nina determines that Pierce can be brought back.
So he eventually turns on Madame Hydra.
Maybe it was the brisk breeze on his bottom that snapped him out of it.
Nick takes a turn smacking around Madame Hydra as well. For your collection of out of context images of Marvel men smacking around women:
Yellow Claw, of course, is one of those "every loss just leads to a greater victory" guy. Hell, he may have invented the concept.
Dum Dum is conveniently found in the aftermath of the battle.
Madame Hydra Six escapes custody and kills herself.
In the end, all the various lovers turn out to be ok and the love triangles are resolved.
This is all a big yawner, but don't miss Nick Fury's enhanced man-boob exoskeleton on the cover of issue #13.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: "Several weeks" pass during these issues. There's a cameo by Iron Man...
...and Fury passes when Iron Man offers help from the Avengers.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Thanks for the Iron Man insert. I don't think I've ever seen Kim DeMulder do Iron Man.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | June 18, 2015 12:59 PM
The ending of this story is completely incomprehensible. It's suggested that the Claw wanted SHIELD to find Dum Dum but we never find out WHY the Claw wanted SHIELD to find Dum Dum, how and why Werner faked Dum Dum's death and what Werner's true role in the Death's Head scenario was.
Posted by: Michael | June 18, 2015 7:52 PM
Well, this storyline finally provides that Dum Dum Dugan nude scene everyone has been clamoring for... :P
As for Alexander Pierce and Madame Hydra...that is one strange and skimpy custom Hydra uniform she dressed her mind-controlled boy-toy in! But kudos to the writer and/or artist for being 'equal opportunity' and having a male hero get dressed in something like that after being captured.
Posted by: Dermie | June 18, 2015 11:38 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|