Thursday, March 8, 2012

Nick Fury Vs S.H.I.E.L.D.
(graphic novel) Marvel Comics 1989

This trade paperback compiles the six-issue limited miniseries 'Nick Fury Vs S.H.I.E.L.D.' that was published from July - November 1988. The miniseries was designed to generate advance interest among Marvel fans prior to the launch of a 'Nick Fury: Agent of Shield' monthly comic book.

[This is a thick chunk of a trade paperback. Copies in good condition are available online for less than 10 dollars, while a hardcover edition can be purchased for under 20 dollars.]

The series opens with Nick and a S.H.I.E.L.D. team engaged in a risky recovery mission aimed at retrieving the nuclear cores from the remains of the Helicarrier. No sooner has Nick successfully accomplished this task, then a regiment of Hydra assailants come swooping out of the skies. Needless to say, there is some frenetic action in place to kick off the first issue of the story arc.

True to form for a S.H.I.E.L.D. tale, the plot gets steadily more incoherent with each episode. By the time I finished issue 3, I had no idea what was going on, as the narrative had devolved into at least three separate conspiracy threads (that I could figure out)..........

If you approach it as an over-the-top exercise in crazed inspiration, 'Nick Fury Vs S.H.I.E.L.D.' is an enjoyable read. I won't divulge any spoilers, but writer Bob Harras clearly intended to shake up the SHIELD franchise with some of his plot developments. 

The artwork by Paul Neary suffers to some degree from the less than crisp printing technology and coloration in use in comics in the late 80s, and more than a few of his panels have a washed-out appearance. But overall the artwork is serviceable, and occasionally even evokes the illustrative style of Sternako's classic work on this franchise.

"Nick Fury Vs S.H.I.E.L.D.' doesn't take itself too seriously, unlike some of the other miniseries Marvel issued in the late 80s. I recommend picking up a copy if you see it on the shelves.

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