Tales #146 - 149 "The End of AIM"
Script: (#147) Stan Lee, (#148) Jack Kirby, (#149) Denny O'Neil
Art: (#146-8) Don Heck, (#149) Ogden Whittney
Letterer: (#146-8) Sam Rosen, (#149) Arte Simek
Fury and his team
are following up on the android from THEM that attacked Nick Fury and
Captain America in a remote swamp. The task force discover an enemy
hideout and launch an underwater raid.
Count Borang Royale, representing A.I.M.
(Advanced Idea Mechanics) makes
US military brass that he won't offer them technology as long as Nick
Fury is in command of S.H.I.E.L.D. .Aboard the helicarrier he sparks an incident
that galvanizes opinion on Nick Fury and his command of the agency.
Unbeknownst to anyone, AIM is in fact a branch of the terrorist forces
AIM makes its true colors known and launches an attack on the barber
entrance to S.H.I.E.L.D. Central.
Following a fatal
interrogation that costs the 'life' of an LMD replica of himself, Nick
Fury faces a board of inquiry where his leadership and command style
are put into question. Meanwhile, AIM launches a raid on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Life
Model Decoy factory where they steal a Fury LMD. However a trap
is spring on the AIM task force and the LMD reveals himself to be the
real Nick Fury (the one standing trial being an LMD) and Dugan launches
an attack with S.H.I.E.L.D. forces. Count Royale escape the helicarrier and
is followed by Sitwell who watches Royale and the AIM mountain headquarters
explode. Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. command, Fury is cleared of all charges by
the board and combs over recovered artifacts from HYDRA wit Dugan and
Jones. After surviving a near fatal clue, Fury and his comrades realize
that they will soon face a greater threat that has been guiding their
appearance on issues #147 and
by Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, and Jasper Sitwell.
appearance of Advanced Ideas Mechanics (A.I.M.)
storyline picks up after the events of Tales
- Gabe Jones appears after the events of Tales
to Astonish #83
Masterworks: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Volume 1
- S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus
- S.H.I.E.L.D. by Lee & Kirby: The Complete Collection
"He's a top notch fighting man, who never stops fighting, he
looks and acts like he hasn't left his foxhole in twenty years";
perhaps the definitive quote on Nick Fury, from the pen
of Jack Kirby.
This story certainly ranks as one of the best, sporting some of the most
surprising twists in a S.H.I.E.L.D. tale with inventive uses of the Life Model
Decoy, before it became an overused plot device. The ultimately confusing
attack of the acronyms, THEM, AIM and the Secret Empire make their way
into the story, however its all
worthwhile in giving Gabe Jones a well deserved spotlight. The final
act of the story, featuring the trio of former Howlers facing a bobbytraped
clue is not only exciting but also features perfect evolution of the
comrade the characters shared in the war years. The plot slowly unfolds
as this story showcases the tapestry of the interconnected Marvel Universe
with the organization known as THEM spreading through
multiple titles, including Tales to Astonish and Tales
of Suspense. As
villains, AIM does suffer somewhat visually; their bright yellow uniforms
lacking menace of HYDRA's green. The character of Count Royale lacks
anything special about him.
The various S.H.I.E.L.D. hardware on display is truly a testament to the grandiose
imagination of the creative team. Ranging from the now familiar LMD to
the S.H.I.E.L.D. swamp buggy, the tech in this storyline is amazing.