Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #12-14
Writer: Steve Parkhouse (#12) Gary Friedrich (#13-14)
Penciler: Barry Winsdor-Smith (#12)
Herbe Trimpe (#13-14)
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Artie Simek

When confronted with the possibility of being replaced as director, Fury begins to suspect elements within the agency. His suspicions culminate in his going on the run after killing a HYDRA mole posing as a government investigator assigned to S.H.I.E.L.D.

While Fury is on the run as a fugitive from S.H.I.E.L.D., the Super Patriot plans an attack on the United Nations. Fury shoots the Super-Patriot and when he removes his mask finds it is himself.
The events of the past two issue are revealed to be a dream induced by HYDRA mole working in the ESPer Squad. Nick Fury survives yet another assassination attempt.

  • Continuity Notes
  • Appearances by Val, Laura Brown, Gabe, Woo, Dum Dum and Gaf
  • Fury's personal secretary is Agent Huff
  • Reprinted in
    • Marvel Masterworks: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Volume 3
    • S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus

With issue 12 such a gem of an issue for the fantastic Barry Smith art and layouts alone, its a shame the subsequent two issues don't live up to the promise of the initial story started by Parkhouse. With a style that rivals Steranko, issue #12 returns Fury to the cutting edge of art design with stunning layouts and especially with a classic cover. The landmark story by Steve Parkhouse was simply too good to wrap up convincingly and the two successive issues pale in comparison to this issue. Why are all the great stories explained away as dreams? The interlude with the Super patriot makes for an interesting plot until it disappears into the lukewarm story of the issue 14 with yet another HYDRA assassin infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. to try and kill Fury (what is it with the security in this place?!)

Val is back and living with Fury (but not as lovers?) but Friedrich throws in Agent Huff for some cookie-cutter titillation. The issue is a rehash of familiar elements: assassination attempts, Fury loses his hover car (again!), Fury survives the day through the hand of fate rather then his own wits (Huff walks in at the right moment). It seems even Fury is confused by this storyline, asking himself why he looked like the Super-Patriot (yeah, good question). One highlight, Gaffer and Fury exchanging quips over the latest gizmo, a hover motorbike that turns invisible; a senseless scene but fun nonetheless.

Many elements of the NF Vs S.H.I.E.L.D. miniseries can be seen to have originated here; including a very sophisticated initial premise in #12 based around the government tampering with the agency and later a perceived betrayal by Val. Although issue 12 is one of the best of the series, the last two issues are near the bottom.