Characters Appearing: Deathlok (Michael Collins), Kate Neville, Leviathan (Coven), Network Nina, Nick Fury
Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #30-31
Issue(s): Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #30, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #31
These issues admittedly have a focus on the actual main character of the series. Leviathan returns to try to get Nick Fury's Infinity Formula. The issues start with some of Leviathan's Coven group taking over a telephone company's office building (i think), killing all of the employees and accessing their computer system. Nick Fury is on the scene...
...and he's called in a favor from Deathlok
Deathlok has only agreed to work with Fury after Fury promised not to kill any of the terrorists, so Fury has shot them with "neuro-snap" bullets.
Deathlok is able to determine that the takeover of the phone building was just a distraction, and they were really interested in using the building's computer system to hack into SHIELD, expressly to learn about the Infinity Formula.
Fury keeps the Infinity Formula at his apartment. Fury calls Kate Neville there to warn her that Coven is coming, but she doesn't exactly distinguish herself when they arrive.
The reaction to Ernie Stiner's art in the lettercols is absolutely brutal. To be fair, a lot of these people are missing Butch Guice, who i didn't think much of either. But there's no doubt the art here is messy and cartoony in a weird, not good way. On top of that, we are transitioning from D.G. Chichester to Scott Lobdell as writer, so Lobdell is scripting these issues, and he's doing it in his typical irreverent style. So overall this feels more like a comedy book. I feel like i'm saying that a lot lately, and i wonder if it is part of an overall push during the DeFalco era to put the "comic" back in comic book.
That said, despite the responses in the lettercols practically begging us to give Stiner more time to grow on us, he is off the book starting next issue.
When Lobdell isn't trying to be funny, the dialogue is very stilted. I can't remember the last time i saw a "curse you!". Maybe Leviathan is meant to be saying it ironically; it's hard to tell.
Lobdell also seems to be covering for plot and/or art choices that he doesn't agree with. After Leviathan acquires the Infinity Formula and blowing Fury and Deathlok out the window, instead of just leaving what he came for, he inexplicably hangs around in Fury's apartment for half an issue. So Lobdell understandably has one of the Coven goons wonder why the heck they are still there.
Eventually the Coven are defeated and Leviathan captured. And in what was probably the point of the story, Nick Fury reveals why he hasn't just handed over the Infinity Forumla to the whole world: it's said that he first had to have an operation that made it work (the mad scientist that performed the operation is no longer available). It would kill anyone else that used it.
It's subsequently said that Fury doesn't need the Formula anymore. It's self-replicating in his body. So he dumps out the last of it, saying that either the doctor is right and he doesn't need it or else he'll live out a normal life and that's it.
The real point of the Infinity Formula was to explain how Fury is still alive and kicking after being active in World War II. I know that somewhere it is suggested that Fury gave the formula to some of the other Howling Commandos, but this story suggests that that wasn't really possible.
In an alternate universe somewhere, D.G. Chichester and Butch Guice handled this story and it was a serious, if dry, thriller with an important continuity development. But the Lobdell/Stiner version has me not 100% sure if i just finished reading an issue of What The--?.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Fast forward another 23 or so years to Original Sin and... (unless there are other revelations coming between now and then)
And clearly the other Commandos were really LMDs like Dum Dum.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | November 18, 2015 7:57 PM
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