Marvel Knights Double Shot #2 Annotations


Nick's World
Marvel Comics, July 2002, Color, 40pgs, $2.99
• THE SCOOP: The MK imprint presents two more bold visions by two killer creative teams!

• THE STORIES: First, a bizarre brainwashing technique puts superspy Nick Fury to the test -- courtesy of Grant Morrison (New X-Men) and Manuel Gutierrez (The Punisher)!  Then, writer/artist Ted McKeever (Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #13) delivers his twisted take on the macabre Man-Thing!

• THE FORMAT: A four-part, monthly series. This issue is 40 pages, with ads.
A twelve page statement of intent for Morrison's Nick Fury pitch.  Simultaneously absurd, terrifying, blackly comic, psychadelic and self referential, the tantalising glimpse we get of Morrison's Fury would have made for a groundbreaking series if continued.  The ideas of shifting identities and subjective realities are explored in greater depth in The Filth, the creator owned project that followed the rejection of this pitch by Marvel.



Page 1 - Nick Fury, the ultimate pop-art superspy, was created in 1963 by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby. Initially the hero of the World War II-set Sgt Fury & His Howling Commandoes, he made the leap to the present day later that year, initailly appearing in Stan and Jack's Fantastic Four before taking over the back-up feature in Strange Tales.

Though a grizzled WWII veteran, Nick stayed forever young through his use of the Infinity Formula, a vague, poorly defined get out of ageing card. Now head of UNCLE-esque international spy network SHIELD, the Supreme Headquarters International Enforcement, Law Division (updated to Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage Logistics Directorate in 1991), Fury swung with the best of them with a flying Ferarri and an exotic Italian countess girlfriend. When Jim Steranko took over writing and art chores from a disinterested Kirby in 1967 the psychadelic super-spy action turned up to eleven.
Steranko's short stint on Nick Fury is rightfully regarded as one of the greatest and most influential comic-book runs in history and has been collected many times. Its his version of Nick Fury that we see here in Nick's World.
Page 2 - Nick's flying Ferrari needs a tyre change. The theme of intersecting and overlapping realities, what is real and what is illusion, is introduced. With its sinister overseer, monotonous repetition of empty motives and drug-fuelled conditioning, the whole scenario brings to mind Patrick Magoohan's The Prisoner.
Page 3 - First and only appearance of Chris Kong. An enemy agent or potential SHIELD recruit? The evil doppleganger appears often in tales of super-spies, see The Avengers episode Two's A Crowd and The Prisoner episode The Schizoid Man.

The simulated training scenarios consist of classic James Bond story tropes, high-rolling casinoes and megalomaniacal cat-lovers
Page 4 - The SHIELD Helicarrier, a combination of a flying aircraft carrier and office block, first appeared in Strange Tales #135 in August 1965, created by Jack Kirby.
Page 5 - A vision of the helicarrier raining death on New York; a stark reminder of the terrible reality underpinning the suave superspy...
Page 6 - ...countered on the very next page with absurd, almost slapstick humour.
Page 10 - The bad guy was right, SHIELD's telepaths really are prettier
Page 11 -  The SHIELD agent's name badge, Marts, a reference to Morrison's New X-Men and later Batman editor, Mike Marts
Page 12 - "...we just die in it!" SHIELD agents are eminently disposable, their very purpose is to die in the service of Nick's world.

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