Fantastic Four (3) #504-508"Authoritative Action" (2003)
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Howard Porter
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Letterer: Rus Wooten
Cover artist: Tony Harris/Tom Feister

In the wake of Dr. Doom's apparent final defeat at the hands of the Fantastic Four, a brutally scarred Reed Richards leads his family and team to Latveria where they begin to disassemble Doom's vast arsenals. Meanwhile international outrage over Richard's proclamation of sovereignty over Latveria, but more importantly its technology, pressures the United States. Nick Fury is called in to lead a multinational force to arrest the FF for treason. Unbeknownst to all, Richards has one final gambit to play with his oldest adversary.

  • Continuity Notes
  • SHIELD is mentioned as the United Nations peace-keeping force.
  • Fury is apparently given the task of heading up an international force
  • SHIELD has weapons that can take down the Human Torch and the Thing.
  • The helicarrier has a teleporter.
  • Fury makes a short cameo in issue #509 in the next storyline, Fantastic Four: Here After
  • Reprinted in Fantastic Four: Authoritative Action TPB

Review
The strongest showing by Fury in the FF title in more then a decade makes for one of his best guest-shots of 2003.
Few writers really take up the long-established relationships Fury has with both Reed Richards and Grimm, but here we see noticeable restraint by Fury to carry out his objective and give the FF every benefit of the doubt when possible. Fury's disbelief at Sue being kept out of the loop shows how its not just an assignment for him. However its clear that continuity has implicitly been chucked out, with comments about Johnny Storm being out of high school as early as seven years ago and Fury referring to Ben as Mr. Grimm (I'm sure he doesn't call him that at the poker games).

Art wise the pen and ink team is up to the job and Fury's look is akin to the style seen in the concurrent Man Hunt storyline running in Iron Man. After a Fury drought during his run on Captain America, at last we have Mark Waid writing Fury, and he captures his relationship with the FF and the tightrope he walks with his job well. As for the tiny continuity quibbles, once again SHIELD is made international after many years of it being a purely American unit and the later issues featuring Fury leading an invasion force are confusing as to whether he is marshalling SHIELD or international troops.

Rating