Sunday, January 28, 2007

Comics review: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD tradeback

One of Marvel's most popular characters, Nick Fury's adventures have been chronicled under a variety of titles over the years. Dealing with his adventures in WWII, we have Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos (which I'll be reviewing later). But in the current day, Fury's a Colonel and he runs the secret superagency SHIELD (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage- Law Enforcement Division).

This group, which battles Hydra, was the first book to focus of "superagents" that I know of, thereby creating a whole new genre that has been continued in comics like GI Joe (first published by Marvel and now Devil's Due) as well as in games, with books like Aaron Allston's excellent Superagents (for the Hero system), Scott Bennie's Agents of Freedom (for Mutants and Mastermind's) and of course, my own Blood and Secrets (for d20 Modern).

Besides containing a lot of humor and adventure, this Nick Fury tradeback thus has a lot of value to gamers, especially those looking to run superagent adventures.

But the real attraction in this tradeback can be summed up in two words: Jim Steranko. This young artist, who begins the book inking the legendary Jack Kirby and ends the book as both penciller and writer, had a psychedleic style unlike anything seen in comics before (or since really).

The art is breathtaking and frequently on a huge scale, with whole page panels, and even one 4 page panorama that has to be seen to be believed.

In short, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD should be in your collection for a multitude of reasons: an iconic character, the foundation of a great gaming genre and look at one of the best artists in the history of comics.

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