Comic Comments – Fury To the Max

Fury 1 Cover

Let’s start by being clear – Max comics are for adults. What makes them different from say regular Marvel? They drop the f-bomb and other curse words. People smoke – something forbidden now even for the healing factor crowd in the main titles. There’s nudity – no just right shadows or things in the foreground. They have sex, they depict some sex scenes, and yes they talk about sex. The fighting in some titles is more graphic, more blood and gore. When a guy gets punched it’s not just spittle that’s gonna fly. Still with all of that you’ll see and experience more extremes in an R movie than in a Marvel Max comic. It’s more than their general comics but not as much as an R movie. Got it? So if seeing women’s breasts or the f-word in type or blood fly in a fight – these titles aren’t for you.

That said they are for the rough and tumble character of Nick Fury! I like this take on him. He’s free to be what his character is set up to be in the regular line. I don’t seem him not cursing, not bedding the women, and not spoiling for a good fight when he can get one. He doesn’t mince words, says what he thinks but as a good soldier eventually follows orders even if he thinks it could be to his death. In this series he’s telling about his career post WWII in all it’s unvarnished truth. The first arc deals with Fury’s first days in French IndoChina as it’s moving toward what would become the Vietnam War. He’s the perfect character to use the Max setting to tell his tales.

First a very satisfied nod to the creative team: Garth Ennis, Writer – Goran Parlov, Artist – Lee Loughridge, Colors – Rob Steen, Lettering – Manny Mederos, Production – Sebastian Girner & Nick Lowe, Editors – Axel Alonso, Editor In Cheif – Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – Alan Fine, Executive Producer.

FM 02 Cov

Now for the ever present US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.

This arc takes place in  early 1954. We meet a politician Congressman Pug MCCuskey who thinks if Indochina falls to the communists then all of Southeast Asia will fall and he’s an anti-commie man second only to Joe McCarthy. Next we meet Agent Hatherly who will be Nick’s side kick through this. He’s a new CIA agent assigned to the the embassy where Nick’s the field operative, or so they say. Finally we meet the fiery and fiesty Shirley DeFabio secretary to Pug and becomes lover to Nick. The main cast is set. The task is for Nick and Hatherly to evaluate a French Foreign Legion post as allies to help assess it and improve security. What they find there disturbs them – for Nick it’s the indefensible position, under trained men, and lack of supplies that worry him the most. For Hatherly it’s the Nazi that admits to killing Jews serving as an ally to the US and going unpunished.

The story is a nutshell of politics in Indochina at the time. Nick comes at it as a pragmatic fighter while Hatherly gives us the idealistic fighter’s take. Both wind up taking a beating as Vietnam rises to overthrow the French colonials. The story is told with the rough edge of a fighter giving a true to the character voice for Fury. We all know how this is going to turn out in the end. Vietnam isn’t a good chapter but it is one every student of history shouldn’t over look or forget. Here we watch as the two polar opposites confront the issues as they were in ’54. New type of war differing from the one we’d just won. They struggle to make their ideas of war fit with the situation, colonialism is dying and our former ally Russia is now our enemy. Does that mean we should take former Nazis as our allies to defeat them? Just as in real life there are no clear cut answers. In the end the characters are wrong, all of them and glad to get out with their lives. Yet we who possess the benefit of hindsight know this isn’t the end of Vietnam for our warrior.

Miss DeFabio is all Nick could want in a woman. She’s a fighter, nay a brawler! She’s beautiful and sexy. She likes sex and has no qualms about that. She’s pragmatic and honest. She’ll help him out under the table if she sees it as the right thing to do. (Like warning him about Hathaway going off the reservation after the Nazi). She uses her influence to help Nick and her legs to pull him in closer, all for the better enjoyment of both of them.

FM 03 Cov

Another issue that’s always bother me about Fury is that he heals and doesn’t age. He addresses that right up front just stating it as fact. I’ve come to think over the years that our Fury is a mutant, with somewhat of a healing factor. It would explain a lot and maybe the term didn’t apply to him back in the day and he just skirted the whole issue by not having a SUPER power. I dunno but just like I stick my fingers in my ears and LA-LA-LA-LA away aliens and magic, I’ll do the same and make Fury a low level mutant.

In the end the story was the best Nick Fury story I’ve read in some time. Considering he’s in my top five favorite Marvel characters I was pleased to see him comfortably sitting in his own title, telling his own story, his own way. It’s most enjoyable and I’m hoping this team has a long long run with Fury Max.

Now after such praise for the story how can the art live up to it? Well I dunno how but it does! The style of the covers shows the influence of the age the story is set. The art is excellent for the story. It picks up the details of the age, dial phones with receivers that are somewhat pointed at the top, the fashion isn’t perfect but carries the flavor of the age with a modern flare. It is made to appeal to today’s audience with a feel of the era in which it sits. The good guys and gals are lovely even in the nude – remember this is Max. The bad guys or generalized characters are given traits to make them memorable. It all fits with the flashes to Fury today in his bathrobe dictating his memories. A great success in supporting a strong script.

After this misadventure in Indochina the next arc moves forward to 1962 and Cuba, or Cuber as JFK called it. You know our hero Nick Fury wasn’t on the sidelines for that one.

***Warning MATURE content below that is also somewhat spoilery for the story***

***Warning MATURE content below that is also somewhat spoilery for the story***

Here Nick introduces himself on his memoir tapes.  As I said I prefer to think of him as a low grad mutant than a test subject for the infinity formula always depending on annual injections.

Here Nick introduces himself on his memoir tapes. As I said I prefer to think of him as a low grad mutant than a test subject for the infinity formula always depending on annual injections.

How Fury came to be at a French Foreign Legion post during the Indochina War in early 1954.

How Fury came to be at a French Foreign Legion post during the Indochina War in early 1954.

After seeing the place Fury gives an honest report to Pug.

After seeing the place Fury gives an honest report to Pug. The scene plays out well and with historic perspective it’s even better.

Fury and Hatherly wind up back at the French base.  They battle through one V.M. attack and know another is imminent.  Fury being the hero gets his injured buddy out of harms way

Fury and Hatherly wind up back at the French base. They battle through one V.M. attack and know another is imminent. Fury being the hero gets his injured buddy out of harms way

There is a great dipec

There is a great dipec

I liked this scene for several reasons. One our hero (Fury) didn’t participate in the final battle being heavily concussed at the start and eventually collapsing. It’s depicted well in the panels as the battle rages around a blankly staring Fury. The leader of the V.M. isn’t some broken English speaking local barbarian but a well educated world traveled man. We understand his desire for his country to determine her own fate. Yet our historic knowledge and experience knows the brutal fight ahead for both men in this very country. It’s a good ending to Fury’s first experience and introduction to Vietnam.

Until Next Time!

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