Characters Appearing: Al Mackenzie, Alexander Goodwin Pierce, Baron Von Strucker, Cassandra Romulus, Contessa Valentina Allegro De La Fontaine, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Gabriel Jones, Garotte (Hydra), Guillotine, Iron Man, Kate Neville, Network Nina, Nick Fury, Saltz, Wolverine
Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #27-29
Issue(s): Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #27, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #28, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #29
...but at least he doesn't exclusively draw splash panels with posed figures, so there is a little more action in this story.
The United Nations has ruled the attack on SHIELD headquarters that left 1500 agents dead simply a kamikaze raid by a faction of Hydra (i.e. they don't accept that Hydra has been reunited), and that the majority of the damage done was by the "accidental" destruction of the building. It turns out that the UN Secretary-General is being blackmailed by Hydra.
So Nick Fury is on his own. He goes to Tony Stark, and there can be no denying that he is back in the weapons business at this point, but Fury isn't able to get the weapons.
So Fury then goes to Madripoor, looking for Wolverine.
Who agrees to help him.
And so do the core cast of SHIELD agents from this book (except the Contessa, who is still recovering from injuries).
Meanwhile, we see Baron Strucker's new lieutenants. They are Romulus and Garotte, who appeared in previous parts of this story (and Romulus in the annuals), Guillotine, who we saw in the annuals, and Saltz, who is new.
Nick Fury and company decide to follow up on the information that was stolen from the Russians back circa Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #22. To do that, they need a plane, so they decide to steel a Blackbird that is scheduled to be decommissioned to be put in the Smithsonian. With a little bluffing and some overuse of Wolverine's healing factor, they get the plane.
The Hydra lieutenants head to the Arctic, with Fury's crew on their tail but not knowing what they are after. The Blackbird is spotted, and it's also weaponless, so Fury has his crew parachute out while he rams Hydra's transport plane. Fury's actions don't go down well with Wolverine, but they make up.
They then figure out a way to approach Hydra's crash site. And it unfortunately involves killing a polar bear.
After taking care of the grunts, they snowmobile over to the lieutenants.
Wolverine becomes the second person to cut off Guillotine's arm.
After taking some causalities, the Hydra lieutenants flee. But Alexander Pierce is hurt too. Fury is so obsessed with getting vengeance on Hydra that he nearly ignores that fact.
After taking some time to recover, Fury and company continue the pursuit, and we finally learn what Hydra has been after: a Soviet powered ice breaker.
Guilotine is killed in the final fight, and the other lieutenants are prevented from getting away with the icebreaker's nuclear fuel (or maybe they get away with half the fuel; it's a little unclear to me).
With art that looks like Mike Mignola drawing with his toes, and a story that concludes with a fairly standard "bad guys try to get nukes" plot, and a pretty gratuitous and extended Wolverine guest appearance, this is a pretty poor arc. But i do like the effort of creating some sub-bosses in the Hydra lieutenants, even if they don't really distinguish themselves (except maybe for Guilotine, who is given a semi-amusing inferiority complex), and i like the fact that Baron Von Strucker remains a mastermind that is operating behind the scenes on all of this.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Nick Fury is said to have waited "five days" to get a meeting with the UN Secretary-General after the attack on SHIELD headquarters in the previous two issues. The Von Strucker Gambit annuals take place between this arc and last. Tony Stark appears out of costume here, meaning that this likely takes place after he develops the portable neuro-net in Iron Man #269 (and therefore takes place after Iron Man #277, since all those issues basically run together)(and this probably explains why he's so wimpy in this story; he's weak from the strain of using the neuro-net).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Note that it's claimed in this issue that the Helicarrier only has a skeleton crew of 50 people. However, when we see it in Infinity Gauntlet, it definitely looks like there's more than 50 people aboard.
Posted by: Michael | September 24, 2015 8:35 PM
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