Garth Ennis
Medium: comic
Year: 2001
Writer: Garth Ennis
Penciller: Darick Robertson
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Keywords: Nick Fury
Format: 6 issues
Website category: Comics
Review date: 22 March 2022
Nick Fury isn't a superhero. He's an old soldier who first appeared in WW2 comics as the leader of an elite U.S. Army Ranger unit, so you can see why Garth Ennis decided to write him.
Ennis's version's a grumpy warhorse with no role in today's world, being sidelined by bureaucratic pen-pushers at S.H.I.E.L.D. and without illusions about how things are. S.H.I.E.L.D. belongs to the UN, whose relief agencies are stupid and corrupt, but at least they're better than the CIA. When you topple a regime or a group of terrorists, all that usually happens is another round of musical chairs with people who are rarely an improvement on the last lot. The ordinary people always suffer. Fury's best case scenario is that maybe, if he's lucky, things might get a bit better for some of them.
He misses war. He likes killing people. But at least he's less far gone than Rudi Gagarin, an old foe of his from H.Y.D.R.A. Gagarin's idea of recreation includes murder and trying to start World War Three. He loves "Nicky" and their ultra-violent encounters. "All that's true is you and me and the beautiful game we play."
(This ends with them biting chunks out of each other's faces and Fury strangling Gagarin with his own intestines.)
It's a Marvel MAX series, so Ennis is free to go as far as he likes. This version of Fury is less sweary and prostitute-happy than in his Punisher appearances, but only in the sense that "some" is less than "non-stop". It's implied that he'd have tortured a captive. He's grumpy and obnoxious. (A bureaucratic dick calls him a dinosaur who's unfit for the modern world, which actually isn't wrong.)
It's great, if to you that means outrageous carnage, used condoms and a baddie called Fuckface. If you've read Ennis's Punisher work, it's pretty much exactly what you'll be expecting. Military man does his job. Lots of people die. Stan Lee was unhappy about the violence and gore in this series, but I was extremely happy. I now want to buy Ennis's other Fury series (Fury: Peacemaker in 2006 and Fury: My War Gone By in 2012).
"And when he returned and found the men of his command dead, did he immediately report this disturbing development? No! He cowered in a ditch for the rest of the night! So I gave Fuckface permission to sleep with him!" (On the next page, we discover that "sleeping with Fuckface" doesn't merely involve rape and multiple broken limbs, but also having your neck snapped in front of all your men.)