Marvel Holiday Christmas Special: 1994 "Downtime"
Writer/Artist: Howard Chaykin
Inkers: Joe Rosas
Letterer: Brad Joyce

Nick Fury's perennial gloom come Christmas time is turned around when he receives a very special Christmas card, dated 1943.

When one really thinks about it, this was probably the last time someone who cared about the character of Nick Fury was given the opportunity to write a real character piece for him. No HYDRA, AIM, Hate-Monger or Scorpio, just a story about Nick Fury the man and his relationship with his lifelong friends. There's more genuine character moments in these 8 pages then in the next 4 years worth of Nick Fury stories. The classic gang is here, with special emphasis on Dum Dum and the Val who share the final panel with Fury in a perfect ending. Its a shame and a tragedy that the Nick Fury published later includes such inferior clones like MAX Fury and Ultimate Fury and that this Nick Fury, the Fury of Chaykin, Kirby, Lee and Steranko is probably gone forever.

With the reworked origin in the Dutter-penned oneshot and the somewhat disappointing end of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Volume 2 run, I personally place this adventure in this slot continuity wise since this is just a good place as any to bid a farewell to the classic and original Nick Fury.