Monday, 1 April 2013

Review Month - Fury Max.

Review Month Continues.

'What I do is survive the fuck-ups.'

Fury Max - issue 10.

Written by Garth Ennis.
Art by Goran Parlov.
Colours by Lee Loughbridge.

Published by Marvel Comics.

Before I begin, I have just heard that this book ends with issue 13 and that is a real shame.

This book is consistently my favourite book each month. It's written for adults and is a mixture of the 616 Nick Fury, war comics and spy pulp. And it works on all these levels. It focuses on people's ability to be cruel and brutal. Whilst also showing us duty and loyalty.

Written by Garth Ennis it takes the reader and a tight cast of characters through a number of post World War 2 conflicts and political situations in America's history. It begins in Indo China, takes in Cuba and Castro, back to Vietnam (with the best Frank Castle written in years) and it seems that this final arc is in the Reagan years and Nicaragua.

It oozes cool. It (from what I can see so far) weaves around actual events. It is sexy, violent, political and above all else intelligent.

Each event is from Fury's own point of view. In varying states of debauched indulgence he dictates his memoirs into a tape recorder. From a hotel room he is surrounded by empty bottles and knackered hookers.

He is dropped in like a good soldier and asked to fix problems. He doesn't always succeed. But like the grizzled old fucker that he is he survives to fight on in the next issue. This is about as far from his Avengers appearances as you can get. Real world violence.

Fury has always fascinated me since I saw the Sterenko issues. He is the soldier's soldier. This is how Ennis paints him. You feel the creak in his knees as he runs. You feel the bruises on his face as he is beaten and tortured (which seems to happen a lot).

Year after year. Conflict to conflict. He fights on. Not stupid no. He knows that much of what he is doing is underhanded and in some cases morally bankrupt. Three other characters are recurring. Pug - a politician with company connections. Shirley - Pug's wife and Fury's mistress and Agent Hatherly - Fury's right hand man. All breath and exist. Shirley especially is a joy to read. She sparks in every line of dialogue.

Issue 18 finds us in Nicaragua with the Barracuda helping to train / torture the local rebels. Ennis strokes the reader with a Barracuda / Fury bromance. They share a beer and seem kindred souls. But you know it won't last.

It will all go fucking wrong any minute now.

Why not. It is Reagan after all? One of the characters refers to the then President as a 'senile cocksucker'. Taunting his own quick death. In a torture scene that ends with a chainsaw being started.

The 80s were a cocaine world. The implications are here painted large.

The art is a big reason I love this book so much. Goran Parlov can do no wrong. Every page kills it. He understands the gritty. Fury is a stone faced icon. But he manages to display his flawed nature and his faults. Parlov paints the chaos of the battle especially well. You never know how each fight will end or who will end up dead and mutilated. I will happily buy anything this guy draws.

The covers by Dave Johnson also deserve credit. They really set the pulpy tone. They are like a gorgeous 1950s paperback cover often done in the style of a cool 'Wish You Were Here' postcard.

Three more issues. Say it isn't so! My commute won't be the same.

Read it!


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