You Only Live Twice Mr. Fury...
Today in comics its status quo to kill a character off and then bring him/her back, but Nick Fury was facing death on a routine basis from nearly his initial appearance. Thanks to the clever plot device offered by the Life Model Decoy, Nick Fury storylines have featured numerous assassinations. Among the culprits have been HYDRA, The Black Widow, the Punisher, and even Nick Fury himself.

Sgt. Fury is 'killed' in North Africa

Penciler: Dick Ayers
Inker: J Tartaglione
Sgt Fury and His Howling Commandos #114

Starting with his first story in his first title, Nick Fury became well accustomed with suicidal missions. Despite the often light-hearted tone of the comic, the Howlers and Fury saw their share of death and tragedy. The loss of Howler Junior Juniper early in the the series and the tragic death of Lady Pamela Hawley rank as two of Silver-Age Marvel's most heart-wrenching moments.

Nick Fury himself came face to face with death innumerable times, perhaps the most perilous being the time the Howlers' plane crashed in North Africa and Fury was kidnapped by Baron Von Strucker. Used as a test subject for hallucinogenic drugs, Fury was thought dead by his team mates and they mourned him, until coming across the camp where he was being held. As one of the first stories to seriously deal with the aftermath of the possibility of Nick Fury's death, its worth noting that unlike subsequent 'deaths', the reader is clued in all along that Fury is still alive, and we are allowed to see his friends mourn his passing.

Leading up to his appointment as director of SHIELD, Fury became the #1 target of Hydra, with multiple assassination attempts during the early issues of the first SHIELD comic; issue #14 featuring five attempts alone! Beginning with his first appearance in Strange Tales, through the final issue of the first SHIELD comic, Nick Fury bookended his 60's spy career with enough attempts on his life to have scared a cat to death nine times over.

Much like the finales of each successive Bond film attempted to top the last deathtrap for 007 to escape from, the various methods and plans to kill Nick Fury very quickly became a standard plot device for the title. As the SHIELD adventures moved on, often the visual twist of actually "killing" Nick Fury was introduced, either in a hallucination or dream; however it was Steranko who showcased the most unique twist to "killing" Nick Fury...

Fury is assassinated by HYDRA

Penciler: Herb Trimpe
Inker: Sam Grainger
Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD (1) #15

Fury shoots "himself" during an LMD test

Artist: Jim Steranko
Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD (1) #1

The Life-Model-Decoy, one of the more inventive ideas to come from the Strange Tales comics has now become a virtual building block of many Marvel storylines .Introduced memorably in the first SHIELD appearances in Strange Tales, Steranko showcased the LMD as a work in progress in his stories. By the time Fury was brought back in Avengers #72, following his "death" in the last issue of SHIELD (1), the technology apparently was sufficiently advanced enough to be used in the field, and used as a plot device by Avengers plotter Roy Thomas.

Hence then the LMD has been used to explain away various incongruities in Marvel history, including some of Fury's actions deemed out of character by later writers. Perhaps the worst case of overusing the LMD was in the 1994 "death" of Nick Fury in the Over The Edge storyline, featuring numerous LMDs leading up to the final event, explained away a year later by the Fury/Agent 13 mini as being also an LMD. Perhaps the most biting commentary on the abuse of the concept came in Jim Krueger's Cap:Universe X special in 2001, featuring a dying Fury with a cast of Fury LMDs escaping a crashed helicarrier; eerie but nonetheless illustrates a good point.

Fury is killed by V3 in an alternate 1943

Penciler: Sandu Florea
Inker: Tom Dzon
War Machine #16


Like many other heroes in the Marvel universe, Nick Fury has had his share of deaths in alternate realities. As already mentioned above, the Universe X created by Alex Ross features a dying Fury imparting valuable information to Captain America. Fury has become a staple in the alternate histories of Captain America, featuring prominently in the Heroes Reborn Universe and seen in the Marvel Knights run of where Captain America awakens in a world dominated by the Nazis and the Red Skull.

Its interesting to note that 1994 saw Nick Fury die twice, the more well known one being in the Over The Edge story, but also just a few months prior in the pages of War Machine in the Time War story. An otherwise lackluster story is worth a look by Fury fanatics as for a change, Sgt. Fury is killed, by weapons made from Stark technologies. Of course War Machine managed to fix this slip in the time stream and a second "death" in this year would feature more prominently.

Not since the thought-to-be fatal shot in the back in SHIELD (1) by Bullseye, has Nick Fury ever thought to be truly so close to an actual death. Hyped as the major death of a hero, the demise of Fury was treated for all intent and purposes as a real and binding, garnering a rather decent attempt at a eulogy in Incredible Hulk #434. Some attempt was made to treat the death with some dignity in Double Edge Omega with a strong showing by the SHIELD supporting cast and later an appearance. by Dawn Fury, unseen since the pages of Sgt Fury & His Howling Commandos, for the funeral. All in all a rather earnest attempt considering the character had not had an ongoing title for some years and his last attempt had been cut short.

Of course, Fury was brought back with the most vague explanation and rendering his relationship with his supporting cast as irrelevant. Here's hoping that Fury never gets this kind of treatment again.

The Punisher shoots Fury

Penciler: Douglas T. Weatley
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotto
Double Edge #2

Wolverine stabs Fury with his claws

2005 would have marked a banner year for Fury, had it not been for the serious publishing delays of Brian Bendis' Secret War. Yet another 'death', quickly followed by an LMD revelation took place in the final issue of Secret War #5. What followed that fateful issue however was not a death, but a dearth of Nick Fury appearances, as the character went underground and replacement of Nick Fury by Maria Hill as director of SHIELD.

Nick Fury became a ghost in the Marvel Universe, a spook in the truest sense of the word, appearing in voice only to characters in New Avengers and Captain America. To date the period between 2005 and 2009 marks the least active ever in the history of the character.