S.H.I.E.L.D. by Lee & Kirby—The Complete Collection

shield by lee and kirby the complete collection cover trade paperback
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Classic Lee & Kirby and a great introduction to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Spy books can sometimes be a bit repetitive

Comic Info

Comic Name: Strange Tales (Volume 1)/Tales of Suspense

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Stan Lee/Jack Kirby/Dennis O’Neil

Artist: Jack Kirby/John Severin/Joe Sinnott/Don Heck/Howard Purcell/Ogden Whitney/John Buscema

# of Issues: 17

Release Date: 2015

strange tales 136 cover nick fury

Strange Tales (1) #136

Reprints Fantastic Four (1) #21, Strange Tales (1) #135-150, and Tales of Suspense #78 (December 1963-November 1966).  Sgt. Fury was one of World War II’s bravest fighters.  Now, the world needs Fury to take on another role…as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!  The secret organization works to protect the United States and the worlds from threats that seem to be popping up every day.  From groups like Hydra to A. I. M. to the Secret Empire, the world is a dangerous place, and Nick Fury could be the only one able to protect it.

Written by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dennis O’Neil, S.H.I.E.L.D. by Lee & Kirby is a Marvel Comics spy collection.  The series ran in Strange Tales (Volume 1) alongside Doctor Strange and featured art by Jack Kirby, John Severin, Joe Sinnott, Don Heck, Howard Purcell, Ogden Whitney, and John Buscema.  The issues in the volume were also collected as part of Marvel Masterworks:  Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.—Volume 1 and S.H.I.E.L.D.:  The Complete Collection among others.

Nick Fury and espionage comics have never been my favorite type of comics.  With the budding popularity of film series like James Bond and shows like The Avengers and even closer The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Marvel was poised to enter the espionage field…the Cold War needed a new hero and Nick Fury was perfect for the role.

The interesting thing about Fury as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that Fury was already starring as a World War II hero.  Here, the Fury is a slightly older and wiser (World War II was close enough that the Infinity Formula wasn’t a necessary explanation at this point).  It was a natural progression to have him become a superspy (though he isn’t the suave superspy as much as a grinder who doesn’t give up).

strange tales #147 cover nick fury

Strange Tales (1) #147

The book also introduces S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra, and A.I.M. which of course shows how much Marvel loves their anagrams.  Kirby and Lee’s S.H.I.E.L.D. did a great job blending real tech and creating tech that gives the series its big feel…and of course as with many science fiction creations, some have become real since the comic book’s premiere.

I always struggle with spy books because they sometimes feel a bit repetitive though this book tries its best to break that stereotype.  The book struggles with short compressed stories due to the format of Strange Tales, but it also excels in leaving the readers with a cliffhanger to promote buying the next issue.  While I think the ties to Hydra by A.I.M. and the Secret Empire are interesting, I sometimes wish that the superheroes were more involved in the spy book since they’d be such a big factor as they arose around the world.

S.H.I.E.L.D. by Lee & Kirby is a classic period of comics done by classic creators of the time.  It is a must for fans to see where Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. came from and how they evolved.  Despite being a groundbreaking and influential series in the Marvel Universe, the departure of Lee and Kirby opened the door for Jim Steranko who is credited for helping modernize comics with his style.  S.H.I.E.L.D. by Lee & Kirby—The Complete Collection is followed by S.H.I.E.L.D. by Steranko—The Complete Collection.

Related Links:

S.H.I.E.L.D.:  Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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