Secret War #1-5 (Feb 2004 - December 2005)

Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Gabriele Dell’Otto
Letterer:Cory Petit

In 2003, Nick Fury uncovers a secret plot by the Latverian prime minister to fund super criminals with new technology. Dismissed by the President, Fury calls on Captain America, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Black Widow to bring down the plot. A year later, a plan of revenge is unleashed, leaving Luke Cage in a coma as Fury and a cadre of NYC heroes face off against a mysterious new villain and her hi-tech army.

Continuity Notes

  • Appearances by the Contessa, Jimmy Woo, Jasper Sitwell, and Dum Dum Dugan.
  • Fury leaves S.H.I.E.L.D. and goes underground in the last issue.
  • Among the villains seen with S.H.I.E.L.D. connections include Mentallo and Constrictor.
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. is described as a "world peacekeeping" force and an "international espionage coalition", apparently answerable to the US president..
  • The S.H.I.E.L.D. file database in issue #5 features a bio of Constrictor with no mention of his ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. as seen in S.H.I.E.L.D v.2 (also featuring Luke Cage).
  • Robbie Robertson explains that the "media" purposely does not report stories that involve S.H.I.E.L.D. and/or Nick Fury.
  • Most of Fury's hand-picked team went on to reform the Avengers in New Avengers.
  • A special one shot, Secret War: From the Files of Nick Fury with background information on the story was released the summer of 2005.
  • The original synopsis presented in the hardcover reprint alludes to a slightly different ending where Latveria and the US go to war and "one villain will change sides, becoming a Marvel hero with a lot to answer for".
  • Reprinted in the Secret War and Pulse: Secret War TPBs.

Review
What could have been a seminal event for Nick Fury instead becomes yet another rehashing of familiar material with mostly lackluster results. Beginning with strong promise in the first issue (featuring more traditional S.H.I.E.L.D. elements then have been seen in some time) the plot is hardly given a chance to develop through the small page counts in each issue and most of it seems to happen either in flashback or off-panel. The idea of Nick Fury calling in his friends is nothing new, however its the dynamic that one would look forward to; but there is none to be found here. In fact one doesn't understand why these heroes would help Fury at all judging by just the story seen here.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. cast get a good showing. Jasper and Woo, both major supporting players in their heyday are used well and the Marvel time-slide thankfully doesn't null their edge as seasoned agents. Its great to see Val again and agent Daisy Johnson makes for a fine addition to the S.H.I.E.L.D. ranks. However most of the S.H.I.E.L.D. elements are kept to the bookends, and Mac from S.H.I.E.L.D. V2 makes a surprise cameo in crossover issues of the Pulse.

Despite the prolonged publishing schedule the miniseries went through, the story still reads like just sketches of a plot that needs more fleshing out. My main question after reading everything is why did Fury need to gather the heroes together in the first place, if all he was going to do was blow up Doom's castle. His wanting to send a 'message' I would think would have been as loud and clear if he had done the mission solo.

I would be remiss not to mention the art in the series, a little too dark for my tastes, but still the series sports some wonderful shots of Fury and his crew, and especially the helicarrier in issue #1. 

The story's finale, complete with yet another Fury LMD brings to mind so many other Nick Fury "deaths" that at this point I think it would be original simply to suggest that Nick Fury has been dead for years and all that are left are endless Life-Model-Decoys. His codas in issue #5 and issues of the Pulse reveal Fury's genuine affection and admiration for the heroes which is a humanizing touch, however everyone from Captain America to Jessica Jones does little more then tell Fury to go to hell. Also a missed opportunity is the main villain of the piece who hardly has enough panel time to make any impression at all.

Rating

Cameo appearances by Nick Fury in Secret War crossover issues. The order is chronological to Fury's life (well, I've tried at least). The year of publication of the comic title appears beside the issue numbers.

The Pulse #7 (2005) *cover appearance only
Okay, everyone repeat after me, "Nick Fury controls the Marvel Universe". Basically that sums up this nonappearance where Jessica Jones spends allot of time preceding Fury's name with a string of expletives. Nonappearance by Clay Quartermain as well in this "Secret War" crossover.

The Pulse #10 (2005)
Fury appears via hologram stating how no one will be seeing him anytime soon as his career is over. The checklist of comics ignoring this issue continues to grow.

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