Nick Fury, Agent Of SHIELD: Who Is Scorpio? by Steranko & Co. (graphic novel review).

June 27, 2019 | By | Reply More

Oddly, I though the sequel to ‘Nick Fury, Agent Of SHIELD’ wasn’t available or out of print or not even out there and then the long river website’s algorithm popped it up and indicated very few copies left. It then became a panic buy just in case some of you lucky folk out there beat me to the punch. More so as I didn’t get or couldn’t afford or barely saw these early issues when I got back into comicbooks the second time around.

When ‘Strange Tales’ popularity and Marvel no longer under the DC Comics restriction of distributing 8 comics a month gone, ‘Doctor Strange’ and ‘Nick Fury, Agent Of SHIELD’ parted company on good terms and on a monthly schedule. This meant double the pages at 19 a month and artist/writer Jim Steranko couldn’t keep up after 4 issues. These are included here in ‘Nick Fury, Agent Of SHIELD: Who Is Scorpio?’ The first and last story here focus on Scorpio, a villain who could masquerade as anyone else and unfortunate seemingly death at the end of each issue. Later appearances tend to indicate that there was more than one of them.

‘Who Is Scorpio?’ really has the villain really going after Nick Fury, using SHIELD’s own weapons against him, more so as he turns off an experimental protection suit that he was testing. With foresight now, it wouldn’t be difficult to see this story as a 2-parted in the original ‘Strange Tales’ but is still effective.

The second story, ‘Fun House’ has Fury and SHIELD recruit Jimmy Woo discovering the hidden base of Centurius and his robot dinosaurs, a popular trope amongst comicbook artists. Here, though, it is also being used as a film set. Objectively, the film set angle looks like additional scenes to pump up the page count but it still works.

The third story, ‘Dark Moon Rise, Hell Hound Kill!’, goes totally off on a different tact with Fury visiting Scotland to investigate the death of Ken Astor, an old commando comrade. There are elements of ‘Hound Of The Baskervilles’ here but with a more futuristic update. It is more obvious here that this was an original 2-parter. Very atmospheric and Fury doesn’t rely on his usual weaponry for a change.

The last story has Fury captured by Scorpio who takes his place. He replaces a Life Model Decoy with the real Fury with paralysed vocal cords in a combat demonstration leaving him to fight for his life. For an end story, Steranko left with a real bang.

At the back of this book are the 6 covers Steranko drew for this title. 6? Ah, # 4 was a reprint of the origin of SHIELD, allowing time for him to catch up but with the most popular cover and was used for the first volume. One can only wonder what story he would have done with # 6 with Fury in space had he done the interiors.

One thing I was curious about was whether all the pages were intact in this edition. Y’see, back in its original print run, Fury and the Countless were having a more than passionate embrace in ‘Fun House’. Tactfully, Steranko did this with tasteful metaphor. Fortunately, it is. alas, with a changed last panel in the original. Just for the record, I thought to include the original here. It’s not as though it isn’t out there on the Net. Whether this has been carried over to other reprints only you can tell me. About the only thing it reveals is that Fury doesn’t always wear his gun.

In many respects, you would have to wonder what would have happened had Steranko had stayed with comicbooks rather than pursue other things. Would he divide his talents or want total control in his work. However, with this work here and on brief stints on ‘Captain America’ and ‘The Uncanny X-Men’ and several awards, Steranko established his position in comicbook history and you should check out both volumes while you can, unless Marvel re-release them again.

GF Willmetts

June 2019

(pub: Marvel, 2009. 88 page graphic novel softcover, Price: I pulled my copy for about £10.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-7851-0766-8)

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Category: Books, Comics, Superheroes

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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