Don't Yield, Back SHIELD
by Sholly Fisch
taken from Marvel Age #77 (August 1989)

So you say you're looking for hard- hitting, action packed espionage and intrigue? You've got a craving for sophisticated weaponry, secret spy cartels, and death lurking behind every corner? Well, don't worry; you needn't sign up for the C.I.A.-you'll soon be able to find all those thrills and  more in every monthly issue of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

The story of S.H.I.E.L.D, began back in Sixties when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby decided to take their howlin' World War II hero, Sergeant Nick Fury and reveal what he was doing today. The sergeant had become Colonel Nick Fury, director of a top- secret, international intelligence agency and the most high-tech spy this side of James Bond! When insidious, covert organizations such as Hydra and the super-scientific A.I.M. made their bids for world domination, Nick and his faithful comrades (a mixed bag of top agents, including his beautiful but deadly girlfriend, Val, and his old Army corporal, Dum Dum Dugan.) were the planet's last hope.

But times change, and as we read in the NICK FURY VS. S.H.I.E.L.D. Limited Series, the ol' Supreme Headquarters for International Espionage and Law-enforcement Division simply wasn't what it used to be, Nick stumbled across corruption at the highest levels of S.H.I.E.L.D., and before he knew it, he was being hunted down by the very agents he'd trained! By the end of the series, Nick even discovered that S.H.I.E.L.D. was being run by the same people who were behind A.I.M. and Hydra!

Clearly, S.H.I.E.L.D. had grown out of hand, and in the end, all Nick could do was shut the agency down completely. But can the world survive without S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Fortunately, we may never have to find out thanks to the all-new S.H.I.E.L.D. monthly series! 'When the series starts out, there's no S.H.I.E.L.D.,'explains edtor Greg Wright. 'The agents have been debriefed. Nick and Val have split up. Nick has taken refuge in an upstate fishing village and is living with with Kate Neville, the mistress of efficient killing from the Limited Series. Val is working for the C.I.A. Nick's old friends, Gabe and Dum Dum are retired. And Pierce, the gung-ho agent who idolized Nick is minding the SHIELD Central headquarters becuase he idolized Nick Fury and he hasn't figured out what do with himself yet."

Meanwhile, the world's governments have come to realize that with so many covert organizations still trying to take over the world, they desperately need S.H.I.E.L.D.. Their only problem is that Nick, embittered by the recent past, refuses to put the agency back together again!

All of that changes pretty quickly, though, once Nick's old wartime enemies, the Death's Head Commandos, decide to take advantage of the situation. Now that S.H.I.E.L.D. can't protect Nick, the Commandos figure that they can finally take revenge for all the times he thwarted them back in World War II! The Commandos strike hard, first at the people closest to Nick, and then at Nick himself! But the attacks have an unexpected effect, as Nick realizes that he cant just walk away from his past. At last Nick agrees to reassemble S.H.I.E.L.D., but on his terms!

"The new S.H.I.E.L.D. is basically a smaller version under Nick's control,' Greg says. "it still works mostly for America although its international. and still has government connections it's not answerable to any government. They need Nick Fury, so a deal is cut where he'll have the cooperation he needs but there'll be no questions asked."

The first few issues show Nick's attempts at assembling his new team. There'll be quite a few familiar faces on board, and a bunch of new ones as well. You'll meet S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new communications and computer expert, Network Nina. and perhaps the first S.H.I.E.L.D. agent from the Black Panther's Kingdom of Wakanda. But one new agent may pose a bit of a surprise for Nick and the gang; they don't know that he's one of the robotic Life Model Decoys whose conspiracy destroyed S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Limited Series-and nearly cost our heroes their lives!

As that weren't bad enough, an array of old S.H.I.E.L.D. villains are waiting in the wings as well. The supreme leader of Hydra, Madame Hydra, is back-and she's gone completely insane! Yet, even if Nick and his crew survive their encounter with her, they're still going to have to deal with perhaps their most dangerous toe ever-that insidious master of menace, the Yellow Claw! And considering that the Claw's past schemes have involved giant monsters and reanimating the dead, we'll leave it to you to imagine how he can possibly top himself this time!

All of these developments add up to some big changes in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s future. So it's only logical that the creative team responsible is almost the same as the one that turned the organization's status quo upside down in the Limited Series. Scripter Bob Harras is back, as are inker Kim DeMulder and colorist Bernie Jay. Unfortunately, other commitments prevent Limited Series penciler Paul Neary from coming back as well, but Greg's quite pleased with the folks he's found to take Paul's place! 'When Paul couldn't -do it, I decided to try a slightly different art direction. I'd worked with Bob Hall before and I fen he'd have a really good grip on the character. With Bob, there's more emphasis on intrigue since he's coming from an acting and theatrical background as a director."

But no sooner had Bob finished the first issue than fate struck again. "Due to unforeseen circumstances -which we didn't foresee," Greg chuckles, "Bob's theatrical commitments didn't allow him to continue, so we needed yet another artist." After a hasty search, Greg settled on another artist he'd worked with before-FANTASTIC FOUR penciler Keith Pollard! "I always liked Keith's work," Greg recalls, "and- I thought his pencils and Kim's inks would go well together." Judging from the results so far, they sure do!

With the way the series is shaping up (not to mention the NICK FURY WOLVERINE: THE SCORPIO CONNECTION Graphic Novel which well be previewing soon in MARVEL AGE MAGAZINE), Greg has high hopes for the future of S.H.I.E.L.D. But when asked how he felt about the new series overall, he paused. After a quick conference with assistant editor Sera Tuchinsky, he said, "I don't like giving quotes, so here's Sara's "It's rootin'- tootin', lickety-split spy action the way I like it!"

What more can we say?