Hey Marvelites and non-Marvelites! For the next few weeks, we’re putting a spotlight on some of our favorite lesser known Marvel comic books and letting you know why you should be reading them! This week’s pick is NICK FURY by James Robinson, ACO, Hugo Petrus, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham.

A good spy comic is hard to come by nowadays, especially in a world dominated by superheroes and cosmic chaos. Recent years have given us titles such as Mark Waid’s BLACK WIDOW and Tom King’s GRAYSON. But now that these runs are over, the espionage niche is left open once again. There is a need for a book that has not only clever dialogue, but fantastic art and detail as well. This is where the creative team of writer James Robinson and artists ACO, Hugo Petrus, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham come in with NICK FURY.

READ: Get started on Fury’s secret missions with our review of NICK FURY #1!

This impressive team gives us the gift of a spy thriller featuring the titular Nick Fury Jr. partaking in secret S.H.I.E.L.D. missions. The book is vastly different from other Marvel titles, focusing on Fury’s solo adventures with an espionage flare. The incredibly clever and witty dialogue from Robinson leads to fantastic tales, while the combined expertise of ACO, Petrus, Rosenberg, and Lanham paint a psychedelic and enticing environment for the script. Its cinematic and episodic flow also help to make NICK FURY stand out. Despite these strengths and praise, the title is, unfortunately, suffering in sales, and its absence in future solicitations seems to show an end in sight. With that said, now is an optimal time to discuss why readers should give NICK FURY a chance.

A Man of Action Like His Dad

Nick Fury Jr., also known as Marcus Johnson, was first introduced back in 2012 in the miniseries BATTLE SCARS. Not to be confused with the version from the ULTIMATES, this iteration is the son of the Earth-616 Fury. After being introduced to S.H.I.E.L.D. in BATTLE SCARS, he soon became one of their top agents. Gifted from birth with his father’s Infinity Formula, Fury went on to lead top missions, even joining the Secret Avengers. Over the years, Fury has led missions and taken leaderships roles at S.H.I.E.L.D., and with the NICK FURY series, we finally get his solo missions. Each story is an opportunity to show off how he can be a legend just like his father. NICK FURY paints Jr. as a super spy akin to James Bond, pulling off capers in style.

Image from NICK FURY #3, Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Trippy Tribute to the Genre

As previously mentioned, NICK FURY puts our hero in the role of a super spy, but with all of the classic spy tropes from the 60’s and 70’s. The twist here is that we have these classic beats mixed with extravagant Marvel elements. In the very first issue, “The Sky High Caper,” Fury performs an old fashioned casino heist at the French Riviera. All goes according to plan, with the usual sly espionage tropes involved, until it culminates in an airborne dog fight between Fury and his HYDRA counterpart Frankie Noble. Notable here is that the chase scene is Fury in his flying car, while Noble flies an enormous boat armed to the teeth with firearms. The basic car chase is elevated to new heights, as this universe introduces catastrophic elements that require a new level of belief and physics not usually seen.

Image from NICK FURY #1, Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

If a sky battle doesn’t entice you, then perhaps Fury going undercover as an actual Atlantean will. In issue #4, he disguises himself with tech to hunt down a HYDRA spy before a war breaks out. This story shows off Fury’s ability to sneak around a whole new environment, all while keeping calm and dispatching foes left and right. This mission is different from most in the spy genre, having supernatural elements such as becoming another species entirely. With the Marvel Universe as a playground, NICK FURY puts an invigorating twist on the most basic tropes.

Debonair Extraordinaire

NICK FURY puts the style of the spy genre on full display, showing off how entertaining a character Fury is. We see him take on colorful foes, as well as act with a suave and comedic demeanor on missions. James Robinson writes him as calm and collected but quick to act and throw out a joke with proper timing. This is apparent in the aforementioned issue #1, but even more so in issue #3. This installment has Fury on a luxury train protecting a dignitary from assassination, but he’s also simultaneously flirting and keeping tabs with a mysterious woman on board. Here, we get to see our hero’s debonair mentality on full display, nostalgic of most Bond films where this was a common characterstic. 

Image from NICK FURY #3, Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Artwork and an Extraordinary Venture

The writing of NICK FURY is accompanied with artwork from the extraordinary team of ACO, Hugo Petrus, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. A specific panel layout sets the mood on every first page, coupled with Robinson’s exposition. Right after, there is a spectacular splash page that bombards with you a grand establishing shot, complete with vibrant colors. The name of the mission is presented with grand spectacle, pulling you in as if it were the start to a blockbuster flick.

Image from NICK FURY #1, Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

ACO and Rosenberg give the book a pop art theme reminiscent of Jim Steranko on the original NICK FURY series. The panel layout on each page is never the same, pulling your focus in on more than one object. A splash page follows, setting up the environment, accompanied with panels showing every little action vital to the plot. It’s almost magical how so much can fit on one page, all while letting characters such as Fury standout.

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Petrus and Lanham bring focus through their inking and lettering, respectively. In some panels, such as in issue #5, the impact of Fury dispatching a foe is accentuated with shading on their faces. The placement of certain dialogue and background items help to either divert or bring attention to figures. The team goes beyond comic artwork expectations, taking you on a psychedelic trip as Fury completes each mission with style. A faithful tribute to the spy genre, the art brings justice with a grand presence.

Give NICK FURY a Chance

NICK FURY is a series full of intrigue, wit, art, and action that will keep you ingrained on every page. If you’re a fan of spy espionage and eclectic art, this is the title you should be picking up. This book is a new role for Nick Fury Jr. and one that provides an escape to an episodic adventure. It separates itself from other titles by replacing high stakes story arcs with short term gambles. Being able to read an installment not tied down by implications is refreshing. 

A book this ambitious deserves a chance to bring joy to a reader. Unfortunately, sales have not been promising. With no future issues in sight with solicitations, this may be the last time you can enjoy it freshly on shelves. So, pick up NICK FURY and be introduced to a new world. You will not be disappointed.

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