Fury, a 6-issue miniseries created beween 2001 and 2002, is the first Nick Fury story under the Darker and Edgier, Bloodier and Gorier Marvel MAX line. Just like Fury: My War Gone By, which followed a decade later (it is unclear if the two works share a continuity, despite both being MAX), this was written by Garth Ennis. The story concerns an older Nick Fury, facing the now-Obstructive Bureaucracy of S.H.I.E.L.D., as he tries to stop Rudi Gagarin, an old rival.
Not to be confused with Mad Max: Fury Road.
This comic has examples of:
- Arch-Enemy: Colonel Rudi Gagarin, to Nick. The line is somewhat blurred since, to paraphrase Good Omens, they've been enemies for so long that they're practically friends.
- Big Bad: Gagarin is the driving force behind the story, plotting to start a war.
- Black Comedy: To be expected from a Garth Ennis work. The high (low?) point has to be Wendell, Nick's utterly hopeless dork of a "ward", suffering a graphic abdominal hernia while trying to deadlift a barbell four times his weight. Fuckface's method of "disciplining" an incompetent Napoleon Island officer is right behind it.
- Blood Knight: Deconstructing this trope seems to be a theme of the series. Special Ops vets like Fury and Gagarin are so addicted to covert warfare that it's nearly impossible for them to function during times of relative peace. Fury tries to do the right thing despite these urges, but at the very end he silently admits that Gagarin was right: if he hadn't gone and kicked up a hornet's nest for a fresh slice of action, Fury would have done it himself.
"Reportedly the last Soviet soldier to leave Afghanistan. On foot. Returning fire. Laughing."
- As Gagarin is laughing aloud during an airstrike, two mercs complain about the pay. He tells them this is the pay.
- One quote from Fury about Gagarin epitomizes this trope:
- The Cameo:
- Spider Jerusalem of Transmetropolitan can be spied in the press conference just before the assault on Napoleon Island, looking quite amused at Nick's hilariously blunt appraisal of how it will go.
- Nick has a brief visit with Dum Dum Dugan, in what is notably the only instance of Ennis using one of Fury's preexisting supporting characters.
- Cannon Fodder: Gagarin sends a team of assassins to kill Fury after he turns him down to join him in starting a new war. Fury correctly guesses that Gagarin doesn't want him dead, and did not believe for a moment they'd succeed. He just wants to make sure Fury will go after him, so he throws him a bunch of disposable minions to guarantee it.
- The native soldiers of the disputed island Gagarin effectively takes over are much the same. Gagarin even references them as "the morons", but "it never hurts to have some cannon fodder around".
- Colonel Kilgore: Gagarin, very much so. He loves war, to an almost disturbing degree. Fury himself is close to this, but tries to keep his eyes on fighting a war that will win a peace, rather than just fight them for the sake of it.
- Downer Ending: Almost entirely. Gagarin is dead and a full-scale war between America, China and Russia has been avoided, but Napoleon Island has been utterly devastated, Nick's fire-team has been wiped out, his position at S.H.I.E.L.D. is likely to be terminated after he half-blinds Li and machineguns the names of his dead squad on the huge S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem in the lobby, and Nick has admitted to himself that's he's no less a war-addicted Blood Knight than Gagarin was.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The series is officially counted as being set in the same universe (Earth-200111) as Ennis's subsequent MAX comics, but has quite a number of tonal discrepancies in the form of including or referencing more "comic book-y" things like Hydra, the Helicarrier, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Howling Commandos, all of which are ignored or only paid lip service in the later series.note
- Eye Scream: Fury is unable to get used to modern attitudes towards smoking, and decides he'll extinguish his cigar in the eye of the next person to complain about it. Guess how his meeting with Li ends.
- Father to His Men: This is pretty much THE difference between Fury and Gagarin.
- Friendly Enemies: The story kicks off with Nick and Rudi as this, but things obviously deteriorate after Rudi makes it clear that he's become so tired of languishing in irreverence and so desperate to relive the "good old days" that he's willing to reignite the Cold War; a rejected offer of We Can Rule Together is the last time he and Nick are amicable.
- After their final fight, Fury collapses on top of a dying Gagarin... whose final act is to rest a reassuring hand on his head, right before he dies. It blurs the line between heartwarming and utterly psychotic.
- Friendly Sniper: Li (not him, his brother) seems like this. Quiet, polite, professional, and preternaturally accurate with his rifle. Even Gagarin is impressed, despite the fact it's his men Li is picking off with ease.
- The Generalissimo: General Makawao embodies this trope, but he's far outclassed by Gagarin in terms of wit, cunning, and ability. In fairness, he assumed that Gagarin was on his payroll to help him seize power, not that he's really planning to restart the Cold War just for the hell of it.
- Gentle Giant: Fuckface was this, being referred to in those exact words. Sadly, after a "unfortunate accident while shark fishing", that was... no longer the case.
- Made of Iron: Fuckface, again. Having a satchel charge blow up feet from him, which sends parts of an AK-47 into his torso, apparently does nothing to slow him down. It takes an M203 grenade shot directly into his throat before detonating to kill him.
- Name-Face Name: Fuckface. He provides the page image.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Features some pretty obvious cameos, courtesy of Darick Robertson. Specialist Steiner looks unerringly like Janeane Garofalo, the Li brothers could easily be played by Jet Li, and Fury himself is (as is par the course for Garth Ennis protagonists) pretty much a buffed-up Clint Eastwood.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Fury and Gagarin hold nothing back in their final confrontation. Eye gouges, low blows, knives in kneecaps, it's all there, capped with Fury disemboweling Gagarin and strangling him with his own intestines.
- Not So Different: Gagarin points out to Nick that they both love war; Fury apparently agrees, and hates himself for this.
- Comes up in the first issue, after Fury and a DEA squad wipe out a drug cartel stronghold. Fury recognizes two of the dead cartel mercenaries: one used to work for S.H.I.E.L.D., and the other for Hydra. After both organizations collapsed or were downsized, both men ended up working for whoever paid them.
- One-Man Army: Fury, naturally, but Gagarin is certainly no slouch. Fury states that Gagarin racked up 275 confirmed kills during the Soviet-Afghan War, entirely by himself.
- Reality Ensues: Crops up quite a bit, considering the gritty real-world setting. A brilliant example is Fury's calm, contemptuous dismissal of Li's reassurances to reporters that there will be next-to-no casualties thanks to smart bombs and modern technology."A stealth fighter is not invisible. A laser-guided bomb is still a bomb. We will lose aircraft and we will kill civilians... If this thing does go ballistic it'll come down to infantry work, just like it always... American troops will die. So will S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel. So will anyone else who sticks their head up."
- Sir Swears Alot: A very dry and downplayed example with Trooper Foss: every time he speaks features him using "fuck" at least once. What makes it so pronounced is that he has maybe thirty words of dialogue in the entire miniseries.
- Smug Snake: Li, a high-ranking bureaucrat in the new S.H.I.E.L.D., oozes this trope on practically every page he appears. After a whole series on putting up with it, Fury finally has enough and possibly blinds him via. a lit cigar in the eye.
- Take Care of the Kids: The dying request of a soldier who Fury fought alongside was that Nick keep an eye on the man's son. The boy is a total possibly-retarded wiener who "Uncle Nick" clearly detests having to spend time with, to the point that he fantasizes about killing him.
- Take That!: It's a Garth Ennis comic, of course Bush gets shown to be a moron. Although Gagarin claims the people who let him talk into a live mike are even stupider.
- War for Fun and Profit: Gagarin's entire motivation, and only the first part. He doesn't care at all about money, wanting only to be buried in another war to make himself feel alive. If that means he has to drag Napoleon Island into a war that will devastate it, well, too bad.
- War Is Hell: Another theme of the miniseries. Nick and Gagarin may be addicted to the rush, but the chaos unleashed on Napoleon Island is never depicted as anything less than bloody, brutal and totally unnecessary. Best depicted when a U.S. fighter identifies a field tractor as a military vehicle and promptly obliterates it.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Dum Dum Dugan leaves Fury a voicemail in the end of the comic, asking Fury bitterly if it was worth it and cementing the end to their friendship.