Out With The Old And In With The New: Black Nick Fury Jnr. Comes To 616

Posted on: April 27th, 2012

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There’s been a bit of controversy of late regarding the rapid shoehorning of Marcus Johnson or Nick Fury Jnr. as we like to call him into the regular Marvel 616 Universe just in time for The Avengers movie…


….featuring Marvel’s Ultimate Comic’s version of Nick Fury – Samuel L. Jackson.

Ultimate Nick Fury was writer Mark Millar’s attempt to diversify the Ultimate Marvel U and Artist Bryan Hitch had the sexy idea to make Black Nick Fury big Sam. Director John Favreau then made the next logical step and cameo’d Sam as Fury at the end of Iron Man (one of the many building block franchises that would go on to shape The Avengers).

Son, I've killed more people than you've had hot dinners. Now where's my stogie or your next

Now the problem with this is that former WW2 Warhorse and all round bad mother-fucking 60′s super spy; the original Nick Fury is still around in Marvel’s 616 (main) universe, and so lots of fans have been asking just what’s going to happen to this pretty excellent supporting character now that an albeit slightly more steroidal Samuel L. Jackson look-a-like has nicked his gig?

Turn this big motherfucker left, Phil!


Newsarama spoke with Marvels Senior Vice Pres of Publishing Tom Brevoort, who had this to say in a slick move to smooth things over:

 I don’t know that he’s going to be more around than he has been. I don’t know that necessarily he’s going to be around less. He’s certainly appearing regularly in Ed [Brubaker]‘s Winter Soldier series. There’s been talk about Matt [Fraction] using him over in Defenders. And obviously we’re doing the Fury MAX series — it’s MAX, so it’s set aside from Marvel continuity, but it’s the classic incarnation of the character.

I don’t think, necessarily, the advent of Marcus-Nick Fury means, inevitably, that you’re looking at the demise of classic Nick Fury. You’ll no doubt tend to see more of new Nick than older Nick in the days ahead. But honestly, even the roles that I see them playing are a little bit different from one another. For whatever reason, and it probably had a lot to do with the fact that he stopped being the star of his own series, when he was initially conceived, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a guy who strapped on some Steranko gear and went out and mixed it up with Hydra agents and A.I.M. guys.

By the inevitably of not having a book of his own, over the last 10 or 20 years, Nick’s role has generally been to knock on a superhero’s door, and say, “Hey, superhero, I have a mission for you,” and be a very easy way to get a character into a story that they otherwise wouldn’t be connected to. Much more of a supporting player role.

In terms of where “Marcus” Fury is set up at the end of Battle Scars, he’s not the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., he is an agent. In my perfect world, he’ll go out there and do all the kinds of stuff that Nick used to do back in the day. He won’t be a guy that’ll show up with a mission for a superhero, he’ll be on a mission and team up with a superhero. That means you can still have old Nick in that role that he’s been playing. It is kind of a way to eat our cake and have it too.

Ultimately, new Nick comes from the publishing world to begin with, he just comes by a circuitous route, starting in the Ultimate Universe, and then winding through the films and animation, to come back to Marvel publishing. But any time it seems like what we’re doing is following the lead of other divisions, our fans just have a hard time accepting it. They don’t like it. It was the same sort of situation on a much smaller level when we gave Spider-Man the organic web-shooters. That too was a case where, “Man, everybody has seen these films.”

Then he had the organic web-shooters for a number of years, and at a certain point going into “Brand New Day,” we decided, “OK, let’s go back and give him the mechanical web-shooters again,” and then a different bunch of people were upset about that. It’s always kind of a dicey thing when you’re shifting things up this way, but to me the challenge is, “Make new Nick an interesting, viable character.

Don’t just make him a clone of old Nick in black face and a goatee, make him a character unto himself.” The good thing about new Nick is, at least at this point, he’s had very little interaction with any of the characters in the Marvel Universe, so you’ve got the opportunity to introduce him to Spider-Man, and to Daredevil, and to Iron Man, to Thor, and the Hulk and everybody — and get a different perspective, and let him have a different set of experiences than the ones that older Nick had, and hopefully create some interesting story possibilities and directions for things moving ahead.

We’re definitely going to do more with the character; we’re definitely going to do more with Coulson in the months and weeks ahead.


Okay, now first off did Brevoort say; Black Face? Yeah, he actually did. How PC of you Tom ya cracker ass cracker!

Anyway, personally original Super-Spy and former Howling Commando Nick Fury gives me an astonishing ACTION BONER every time I see the cigar chomping mad man, because if he pops up he’s either working an angle or shits about to pop off. I love the guy, and he’s a flat out kill machine which is always a winner in my book (the one where I endorse maximum amounts of violence).

That said, New Sam Jackson Lite Fury has proven to be a fairly bad man in his own series Battle Scars, and although he’s been clumsily squeezed into regular continuity strictly for marketing reasons (even though Marvel aren’t just going to come out and say it) I think its a good thing for two reasons:

1) Marvel 616 needs more ethnic diversity. It’s still full of white, middle class scientist types who were popular during the 60′s and although there’s a few brothers and Shang Chi representing, they are still in the minority compared to the sheer amount of white people clogging up Marvels pages.

For example, everyone on this panel is white (even She-Hulk and Thing....technically)


2) Newer fresher characters is always a good thing. The majority of Marvel mainstays have been around for at least 50 years. And while new black Fury may be a new take on a pre-established character – at least he’s actually new (if not entirely original). Seriously, the last few original characters in the main Marvel U were Sentry (dead), Aries (also dead), Kaine (back from the dead) and a load of Avengers Academy kids and New Mutants that no one really cares that much about (be honest).

Seriously, I used to read this and I can't remember who any of these guys are?

So having a new mainstream character who might have some big impact is definitely a positive thing, in an industry that’s been recycling the same characters for decades.

And for old school Fury fans, the original is still gonna be around, and his new Max title (if anything like his previous Max titles) looks to be a bad-ass kill fest with the old war bastard on top form as usual. Fine by me.

So it looks like there’s going to be something for everybody, although lets face it they’ll probably screw us out of old Nick eventually. But by then we’ll have all forgotten though, and be fervently moaning about something else.


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  • spider-ham

    Its such a cheesey move. I thought Marvel had more guts that that. I mean how many people who saw the movie went out and bought the mag? no one i know. It smacks of PC gone mad. I’m taking it as a slow route out of Marvel until someone restores the status quo and gets rid of creators rather than characters.
    Reminds me of the Heroes Reborn debacle. Should have cancelled all my Marvel mags after that!

    • http://www.facebook.com/Fix06 Mark McCann

      Marvel are just a big Hollywoodised mass production, mass marketing machine now though, so everything you ever read from them from now on likely has a majorly franchised agenda.