5716 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Nick Fury (Marvel Comics) by Jim Lee

Nick Fury

(Nicholas Jacob Fury) (Gisted)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This article is a gisted profile for Nick Fury, a classic Marvel Comics character who debuted in 1963. Though he was at first but an archetype — the two-fisted, tough as nails, cigar-chomping New Yorker with a fiery temper — he developed into something unique. Nick Fury is :

  • The best-known Marvel Comics World War Two Allied soldier and NCO (back then he was a Sergeant), with his Howling Commandos
  • a James Bond-like figure who fights global conspiracies and far-reaching villains, repeatedly saving the world
  • a governmental or quasi-government contact supporting super-heroes with intelligence, reinforcements, mop-up duties, etc.
  • a “stupid chief” figure who gets in the way of the stalwart heroes with pointless constraints and counter-productive regulations
  • a source of terribly flawed public projects gone rogue (such as psychotic cyborgs or traitorous super-agents)
  • the employer of some heroes (such as Quasar (Vendell Vaughn) early on, or the Secret Warriors)
  • an inscrutable master of espionage and manipulation – pulling the strings, knowing the secrets about how the world truly works, playing 11th dimensional chess and having decades of experience at it.

In a RPG context, he’s also a great excuse to hand a mission over to the Player Characters .


Background

  • Real Name: Nicholas Jacob Fury
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Jack Fury (father, deceased), Mrs. Jack Fury (mother, apparently deceased), Jacob “Jake” Fury (aka Scorpio I, brother, physically deceased), Dawn Fury (sister), Mikel Fury (Scorpio II, son)
  • Group Affiliation: S.H.I.E.L.D. ; former member of the Howling Commandos, US Army, OSS, liaison of MI5, CIA, original S.H.I.E.L.D., probably others.
  • Base Of Operations: S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier in its various incarnations ; an apartment in Manhattan
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 221 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown, white at temples


Powers and Abilities

Nick Fury is to professional soldiers and agents what Bruce Lee is to martial artists : a master, an icon and a legend. He could also be described as both Sergeant Rock and James Bond – rolled into one.

He’s been :

  • a stunt flyer, a parachute instructor, a professional soldier and commando leader since the 1940s
  • an intelligence agent since the 1950s
  • the director and best agent of one of the largest paramilitary/intelligence organization in the world since the 1960s

Fury was an heavyweight boxing champ in the Army, an early student of the martial arts (studying Tae Kwon Do and Jiu Jitsu in the 1950s and early 1960s) and has under his belt hundreds of hours of sparring with Captain America.

A combat vet of three wars and numerous grey and black ops, he’s extensively trained and superbly experienced as a paratrooper, Ranger, demolitions expert, vehicle specialist, Green Beret, Black Beret, CIA agent and super-operative à la Jason Bourne.

Nick Fury fighting androids while bare-chested

The experimental Infinity Formula that Fury first ingested during World War II greatly slowed his ageing. His body is thus that of a much younger man. Fury no longer needs to ingest the serum, as his body has started metabolizing it on its own.


Status of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The status of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics tends to be rather incoherent. Some writers depict S.H.I.E.L.D. as being basically a US agency, reporting directly to the POTUS, sharing intel and bases with US Armed Forces, and generally defending US interests.

Other writers clearly depict S.H.I.E.L.D. as the UN’s independent armed branch (without any equivalent in the real world). As such it is subject to all the friction that exists between the USA — especially during the Bush, Jr. administration — and the U.N.

With such a view of S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury remains a patriot but often has to act against U.S. officials and policies. However, he never acts against the interests of the country and its people.

Due to those incoherences, feel free to portray S.H.I.E.L.D. as whatever is the most useful and comfortable for you. From the President’s square-jawed G-Men to a truly international organization with a complex relationship with the US, but whose leadership happen to mostly be disillusioned Americans.


History

Nick Fury is the oldest of 3 children born to an American pilot who died in battle during the final year of World War I. He grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood of New York City, back when it was a particularly tough place. At the start of American involvement in World War II, Fury enlisted in the Army.

He underwent basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey under the command of Sgt. Charles Bass. Bass was a stern taskmaster who singled him out as the company scapegoat. In short order, Fury proved himself to be an excellent soldier and capable leader, and rose to the rank of sergeant.

Nick Fury tumbling on the floor, on white background

In the European Theater of operations, Fury led the Howling Commandos — a band of soldiers made famous by their foolhardy exploits. This unit often fought alongside Captain America, a frail young man transformed by the government’s Super-Soldier Serum into the United States’ Sentinel of Liberty.

Injured on a mission in France, Fury came under the emergency care of Professor Berthold Sternberg, who first inoculated him with the age-retarding Infinity Formula. Fury consumed the serum annually for decades. Due to its cumulative effect, he eventually stopped needing it.

Fury remained on active duty through the Korean War, during which the Howlers reunited to surreptitiously cross the 38th parallel and destroy an enemy MIG base. This mission garnered Fury a battlefield commission and promotion to second lieutenant.

Spying for the French government in Việt Nam during the 1950s, he achieved the rank of colonel. Fury later earned a full-time appointment to the CIA. There he associated with various agents, including Carol Danvers and Logan.

After several years with the CIA, Fury was recruited as director of the newly organized international-espionage organization S.H.I.E.L.D.. This was a worldwide intelligence and peacekeeping directorate dedicated to protecting the planet from any and all security threats.

Nick Fury in a SHIELD parka

Don’t yield – back S.H.I.E.L.D. !

As S.H.I.E.L.D.’s highest-ranking agent, Fury supervised daily administrative affairs and served as supreme field commander. But he also extensively worked in the field, often as a solo agent.

His leadership saw S.H.I.E.L.D. through countless crises, and was instrumental in thwarting major threats to world freedom launched by such subversive organizations as Hydra, Zodiac and A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics).

The S.H.I.E.L.D.’s destruction of the post-war Hydra is probably its most noteworthy achievement. That conspiracy, headed by the genius war criminal Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, was the most powerful threat against peace from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. For years, it had seemed invincible and withstood all efforts by less powerful law-enforcement agencies.

Despite some fierce attempts and the inspired leadership of von Strucker, Hydra never managed to quite recover its status as #1 worldwide menace. S.H.I.E.L.D. also repelled the Yellow Claw, destroyed a highly successful Dire Wraiths invasion, and stopped many giant monsters such as Godzilla.

As S.H.I.E.L.D. grew into a vast international network it is today. Regional directors and subversives within the organization began to undertake questionable operations without Fury’s authorization or knowledge. Former agent Barbara Morse, a.k.a. the costumed adventurer known as Mockingbird, was pivotal in revealing to Fury the corruption within S.H.I.E.L.D.

Ultimately, the organization was destroyed from within by rogue LMDs  (robotic impersonators developed by Tony Stark back when he was building weapons) called the Deltites.

Nick Fury in the Oval Office of the White House

While recovery seemed impossible, Fury and a small cadre of highly dedicated S.H.I.E.L.D. agent managed to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. and lead it back into action.

Years later, S.H.I.E.L.D. evolved again, becoming more firmly aligned with the UN and less with the United States of America. The acronym changed from the original Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage & Law Enforcement Division to Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage & Logistics Directorate.


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

Fury is a proud, upright soldier who for decades has proven his integrity, honor and resourcefulness. He’s so used to be in charge that he tends to take control of any situation he’s thrust into — unless some leader for whom he has great respect, such as Captain America, is also present.

Fury is quite independent, preferring to solve problems on his own or with a small team of friends. The classic Fury mostly acts like an heroic, gung ho sergeant in an old war movie and/or a super-spy from a 1970s film.

Fury can be trusted, and is quite wise. For instance, unlike many members of the military establishment, he’s sympathetic toward mutants and trusts the X-Men, recognizing heroes when he sees them.

He also tends to speak like he did in the 1940s and the 1950s, with a noticeable working class New York City accent. His cigar-chomping, poker-playing, man-of-the-people manner make him quite charismatic for non-snobbish persons. In non-comics-code books, Fury talks like any drill sergeant, lacing most sentences with a significant amount of manly profanity.

Nick Fury smiling

For decades Fury was slightly out of his depth with superhumans, being too set in the normal world to easily handle that kind of weirdness. Still, he usually managed to pull his own weight, though he was clearly not Batman. Fury became increasingly adept at managing superhuman crises, though.

Fury is well known for his explosive temper. He’s also something of a he-man (even leaving asides numerous barracks rumours as to the effects of the Infinity Formula on his sexual prowess) and is the epitome of old skool.

He likes his troops to be rough, intense and no-nonsense, as well as very much capable of initiative and intelligent improvisation – the picture of the idealised American soldier from WWII. He is a veteran warrior, and his tolerance for bean counters, arse kissers and appeasers can be remarkably low.

Nick Fury splash art by Jim Steranko

As time goes by, Fury becomes quite cynical, jaded and even bitter. He trusts no master — even his superiors in the U.N., as in his opinion the U.N. are corrupt and inefficient — but still remains the lesser evil and the least worst solution for the world.

He knows very well how destructive and bull-headed American agencies can be, and makes no mystery of the fact that he completely distrusts them – he was once an Agency man, after all.

Fury is quite wary of his own services – the rich history of S.H.I.E.L.D. traitors, rogue services, double agents and inside menaces made sure of that. He sees his job as a killer and master manipulator with distaste, but he knows that *someone* has to go out there and solve problems.

He’d much rather do it himself or with his boys (who include a fair amount of girls) – because he’s sure that, this way, it will be done *right*.


Quotes

“A’right, you yahoos !”

Fury : “And so he used this Native Indian mumbo-jumbo.”
Dum-Dum : “Native American, Nick.”
Fury : “Whatever.”

“You’re not listening, boy. I *am* S.H.I.E.L.D.”

“You work for S.H.I.E.L.D., not the Light Brigade. So long as you can do your job, you can ask all the questions you want.”

“It’s time to save the world.”

“We’ve always been on the same team, Cap. I just play by different rules.”

“I don’t think I like you, Garrett. I know for a fact that I don’t like your report… so you’re filing it all over again for me — point by point. This time out, I don’t want to hear about any super-powered ninja.”

Fury : “Don’t bust my chops, girl. I’m not impressed. I knew guys in the war – could take a bazooka up the keister and still figure out how to finish their mission.”
SHIELD agent : “And which war was that, sir ?”

Fury : “Who knows ? One of ’em. I lose track.”

“I’ve lived a good, long time on this godforsaken planet and the *only* thing that keeps me up at night is the idea that, during the war, I could actually have killed Hitler. Found my way into his bunker, stuck a revolver into his mouth, and ended the war two years early. But this howling commando was too damn short-sighted – too naive – and just too good a soldier to see the bigger picture. But now I’m a whole lot older and just a teensie bit wiser. And the hell if I’m going to sit on my ass and wait for an order to be given that is so logical it’s silly. So if hiring someone like you under the table gives me a way around that fucking mountain of red tape that the world of global politics has become… If hiring you might have saved thousands of innocent lives… Then I don’t give a fuck what you think of me. Of my worthiness. Or my honor.”


DC Universe History

In the DCU, he would have worked with Sorcerer of the OSS (perhaps replacing Falcon in the DCU continuity), would have been one of the mysterious leaders of Task Force X and might have then replaced the leader of the CBI, becoming King Faraday’s boss.

After the Janus Directive, he silently backed Amanda Waller on the Suicide Squad dossier while fighting solo against minions of Kobra. He could also easily have been the director of the first version of Checkmate, making it more important and successful than it was in the actual DCU.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Nick Fury

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 07 Occupation: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Inf: 08 Aur: 06 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 014
Init: 024 HP: 075

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing)*: 07, Artist (Actor): 05, Charisma*: 08, Detective (Counterfeit recognition, ID systems, Legwork)*: 07, Martial artist*: 07, Military science: 10, Military science (Blitz): 05, Thief*: 07, Vehicles*: 07, Weaponry: 08

Advantages:
Credentials (S.H.I.E.L.D., High ; U.S. Intelligence, Low ; U.N., Low), H.Q. (Expansive, Helicarrier), Iron Nerves, Leadership, Omni-connection, Slowed Ageing

Connections:
S.H.I.E.L.D. (High), Captain America (High), Thing (High), Wolverine (High), Avengers (High), US Military (Low), US intelligence (Low, from Credentials), X-Men (Low), United Nations Security Council (Low, from Credentials), White House (Low), Black Widow I (High), Warbird (aka Carol Danvers, Low)

Drawbacks:
Authority figure, MPR (injured, practically blind eye)

Equipment:

  • Fury will often wear a S.H.I.E.L.D. UNIFORM [BODY 08, Flame immunity: 03, Radio communications: 05, Skin armor: 02, Limitation: Skin armor only vs. piercing and edged attacks]
  • Combat knife [BODY 08, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 08 w/Martial Artist)] sheathed in the boot
  • His choice of handguns might include WWII stuff, such as :
    • Vintage Colt M1911A1 .45 [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo 07, R#2]
    • Captured 9mm Parabellum Mauser (aka “Luger”) [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo 08, R#2]
  • Cold War stuff, such as :
    • 9mm Walther PPK [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Range: 03, Ammo: 06, R#2, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, use the listed Range instead]
    • .45 Ingram M10 [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 06, R#2, Advantage: Autofire]
  • Or more modern stuff such as a Colt 2000 [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 15, R#2].
  • Futuristic weapons from the S.H.I.E.L.D. armories might include :
    • Custom .15 needle gun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 30, Advantage : Autofire]
    • Bulky .30 S.H.I.E.L.D. machine pistol firing APDU rounds [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Sharpness (projectile weapons): 01, Ammo: 06, R#3, Advantage : Autofire]
    • The infamous S.H.I.E.L.D. plasma pistol [BODY 03, Energy blast: 07, R#4]
  • On a full-fledged military op, he’ll often carry an intimidating S.H.I.E.L.D. heavy assault rifle/light machinegun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 07, Ammo: 12, R#2, Advantage : Autofire]
  • Other gadgets are too numerous to list ; just add one 7 APs ABC omni-cigar (often an explosive) and two 5 APs ABC omni-gadgets. During the 1960s, Fury was king of the gadgets and could easily have three or four Omni-Gadgets ; nowadays it is likely that he only has one – and it might not even be his cigar.

Signature Porsches

Fury is a big fan of the infamous S.H.I.E.L.D. flying cars – especially when they have a Porsche body, preferably in a loud colour. Those heavily armed and well-armoured cars fly via turbines hidden in the hubcaps – the wheels pop out and swivel, then act as vectorized thrust engines.

The flying cars sport a 20mm chaingun that pops out from the front, and a pod with a 30mm cannon and four air-to-air missile tubes that pops out from the trunk.

S.H.I.E.L.D. FLYING CAR [STR 05 BODY (Hardened defenses) 08, Flying: 10, Radar sense: 16, Radio coms (scrambled): 12, Running: 07, Swimming: 00, R#02, Note : Swimming models a pair of pop-out outrigger flotation devices, Advantage : Chaff ejector] armed with :

  • 20mm CHAINGUN [BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 09, R#02, Advantage : Autofire]
  • 30mm CANNON [BODY 05, Projectile weapons (area of effect 1 AP): 09, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 01]
  • AAM (x4) [BODY 02, EV 10 (Area of effect 2 APs), AV 04, Flight: 12, R#02, Drawback : Grenade drawback, Heat-seeking ; Limitation : Flight can only be sustained for five Phases (-2)]

Nick Fury assembles a time bomb, by Jim Steranko


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Although Fury will rarely hesitate before working solo, heroes will normally encounter S.H.I.E.L.D. agents before they encounter any of its leaders or Fury himself. WORG includes several writeups for individual S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (and the infamous S.H.I.E.L.D. ninja unit) . The following are stats for a good, experienced agent with solid combat experience :

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Uphold Good
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 013 HP: 010

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Detective (Police procedure): 04, Martial artist: 04, Military science (Demolition): 04, Thief (Stealth, security systems): 04, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 04, Weaponry (Firearms, heavy): 04

Advantages:
Credentials (S.H.I.E.L.D., Low)

Drawbacks:
None

Equipment:
S.H.I.E.L.D. agents nowadays will almost always pack serious equipment, unless undercover. A classic set of gear would be :

  • a S.H.I.E.L.D. UNIFORM [BODY 08, Flame immunity: 03, Radio communications: 05, Skin armor: 02, Limitation: Skin armor only vs piercing and edged attacks] with a Combat knife [BODY 08, EV 03 (04 w/STR] sheathed in the boot
  • a S.H.I.E.L.D.plasma pistol [BODY 03, Energy blast: 07, R#4]
  • and a Beretta 92 [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo 15, R#2] in a pec holster.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Marvel universe

Helper(s): History lifted from Marvel.com with various edits. The Angel, Mark Ayen, Andrew Lee, Jackson, Max Maloney. Some placeholder banner illustrations from comicvine.

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