In the Marvel big event era one of the characters that has suffered the most from lack of direction is Nick Fury. And its not just one version of Nick Fury. It is both the original Nick Fury: Directory of SHIELD and his son Nick Fury Jr., who is inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Ultimate Universe version of the character. There is so much potential that Marvel is leaving on the table with how they completely lack a vision for what they want Nick Fury to represent in the comic books. So to not just complain about this lack of direction we can take a look at how Marvel can actually use the current state of their universe to make Nick Fury a major player once again.
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS NICK FURY?
As Marvel brought in the age of big events taking place every year one of the comic books that started this trend was the 2004 Secret War series. It was in that series where we saw the downfall of the original Nick Fury as the event concluded with the character stepping down from being the Director of SHIELD. Ever since then Nick Fury’s appearances were sporadic at best until the character returned in Original Sin. The event ended with Nick Fury turning into The Unseen, a being who is to witness all the events that take place in the Marvel Universe but cannot interfere in any way.
With the original Agent of SHIELD Nick Fury gone it gave Marvel the chance to align the comic books more with the MCU where the Ultimate Universe version of Nick Fury, inspired by Samuel L. Jackson. Now Nick Fury Jr., who is the son of the original Nick Fury, is the one that has taken on his father’s legacy. While picking up his father’s legacy Nick Fury Jr. appearance have been sporadic, only randomly appearing when Marvel needs a government agent to appear in a comic book.
In terms of starring in his own comic book Nick Fury Jr. got a seven issue series in 2017. In that series writer James Robinson and artist Aco did their best to replicate what made Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD such a legendary comic book. The series certainly had the style but did not last long to fully establish Fury Jr. to have the same status as his father.
The only other major appearance the Nick Fury Jr. has had was his role as one of the leads in Civil War II: Choosing Sides. In that story Nick Fury Jr. was successful in his undercover mission to stop a Hydra plot but in the process showed that he still has a long way to go to have the experience his dad have. We saw that with how he barely survived long enough in a fight with Black Widow to escape. And while he was successful in his mission Nick Fury Jr. decided not to return to SHIELD because of what he learned.
Since then Nick Fury Jr. has had only three major appearances in all of 2021. One was in a supporting role in Taskmaster #5, an epilogue back-up story in Avengers 2021 Annual, and guest starring in the Black Cat “Infinity Score” story arc. The Avengers 2021 Annual gives us the best insight as to where the character is at as he had Star under confinement as he started to see the bigger picture of how the Infinity Stones got out of hand. Though that sub-plot was quickly undone in the Black Cat “Infinity Score” story arc as Star broke out and he got played by Felicia Hardy in the story.
THE POTENTIAL OF NICK FURY
Taking a look at all that Marvel has really done nothing with Nick Fury Jr. since they debut the character. He’s been nothing more than a supporting character who has been positioned as a government agent rather than a super spy Agent of SHIELD. With Marvel looking to get over every aspect all the integrations to align Marvel-616 with the Marvel Cinematic Universe its time they stop not putting in work to establish Nick Fury Jr. as a power player in the comics.
Now since I’m a solutions oriented person who does want to see the positive in things there is a lot of potential of how they can make Nick Fury Jr. a prominent character like his dad was before him. Immediately you can take a look at all the recent developments with the Avengers and X-Men franchises. In both franchise we see them each dealing with major crisis that has changed the state of the Marvel Universe.
Especially in the X-Men comics we have seen the rise of the Orchis organization and Agent Brand having used the most recent incarnation of SWORD for her own plans against Krakoa. Just looking directly at Orchis, it is an organization made up of former members of AIM, Hydra, SHIELD, SWORD, and other Marvel organizations. Given that Orchis is growing in power and Agent Brand the Marvel Universe needs a counter that is not just this organization but other growing threats, like Wilson Fisk turning New York City into a police state in Devil’s Reign.
This is where Nick Fury Jr. should be stepping in and looking to bring back SHIELD in a new form. Right away Nick should go to the Avengers, X-Men, and other heroes to discuss how they need to create Earth’s answer to how great evil has taken advantage of their current state. Show him convincing these major heroes that they should bring SHIELD back as something they are in charge of with Nick as Director. Then Nick as Director can come to an agreement to have other heroes related to each team as Agents of SHIELD. That way each franchise is represented in the new SHIELD while keeping the organization in check so Nick, Maria Hill, and others don’t let the world’s government cloud their judgement.
All of this can be an opportunity to showcase Nick Fury Jr. finally stepping up as a leader rather than just a government grunt as Marvel has positioned him as. Like his father before him, Nick should get his own iconic style rather than just taking Steve Rogers Super Soldier suit. Whether it’s the black trench coat look from the MCU or a new version of the original Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD suit, he should have his own style that has an iconic nature to that.
Having said all this, it is up to Marvel to actually commit to getting over Nick Fury Jr. so he can be more than just a caricature of the MCU version of the character. Random appearances is not enough. The current state of the Marvel Universe has opened the door for the SHIELD concept to be reborn in a new way with Nick Fury Jr. in charge. The door is open, its now just about seeing that opening and tapping into the potential that is there to be explored.