Strange Tales #136: "Find Fury Or Die!"

Strange Tales #136
"Find Fury Or Die!"
September, 1965

Script By The Unpredictable STAN LEE
Layouts By The Unmatchable JACK KIRBY
And Introducing The Latest Talented Returner To Mighty
Marvel-- Back From The Golden Age Of Comics To The Magnificent
Modern Marvel Age, We Proudly Present That Sensational Stylist...
Art By The Unbeatable JOHNNY SEVERIN
Lettering By The Unsinkable ARTIE SIMEK
Reviewed By The Unstoppable STEVE CHUNG

Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been spotted on the intersection of
59th and Madison.  An assassin squad has been dispatched to the area and
it is thought that S.H.I.E.L.D. will be unable to save their director.

The Hydra-Hunter is keeping tabs on Fury so that he will lead Hydra to
S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters.  Hydra-Hunter 14 on the decoy repair truck
reports that Nick Fury has just walked by their checkpoint, but even they
do not suspect that the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is using his throat-mike
to contact the barbershop crew.  As a customer buys a newspaper from a
vendor, Nick finds the sight highly suspicious since there's never been a
newsdealer at this location.  Since no one has opposed him, the director
knows that Hydra must want him to reveal his headquarters's location.
The customer picks up his change and reports on the dime communicator
that their target has just entered the barber shop on the corner.

The staffers are smiling as Nick Fury enters, and watch as he throws his
hat towards the manicurist.  Since he wants the works, they know that
there's trouble on the way.  The director checks his hat and coat, with
the attendant reading the message inside the hat.  The next two customers
to walk through the door are from Hydra.  In the well-guarded building
which houses Hydra Headquarters, the members believe that Nick Fury has
been found at last.

The Supreme Hydra asks the agent in charge of the mission to remove his
hood and hand it to him.  This is so that the agent will not be able to
hide if he should fail.  The unmasked Hydra-Hunter hopes to obtain
advancement if he should topple S.H.I.E.L.D.  In the Hydra training area,
men are battling on a tightrope above roaring flames, a new armor is
being tested under flamethrower, a unknown interrogation helmet is being
tried on an agent, and an underwater mine is being planted by a
scuba-diver.  With S.H.I.E.L.D. gone, there would be nothing to stop
Hydra from taking over the world.  Section Leader B orders his agents to
proceed with their plan.

The assassination team fly via experimental jet-pack from an
ordinary-looking barge in the East River.  As the assassins take their
positions, the vendor and his customer enter the barber shop.  The barber
greets his new customers, who just want a shoeshine and a manicure.  As
Nick Fury tenses in the chair, the barber hands the director the

One man sits on the shoeshine stand, while the other man attempts to make
conversation with the manicurist.  Slim presses a button which binds and
gags his customer, while the manicurist does the same at her table with
her client.  Nick aims the new hypno-beam at the two men and orders them
to believe that they've just shot him.  They are to tell their fellow
agents that the barber shop is not the main headquarters and that the old
warehouse is the actual headquarters.  The manicurist sees that the Hydra
assassination team are heading their way, and the director orders the two
"customers" to be released.

The two do as they are told and lead the squad away towards the
warehouse.  As soon as they are gone from sight, Slim and the barber
lowers a hardware store facade onto the barber shop front.  As things are
swept up, Nick sits again on the barber chair, and is lowered into the
main headquarters.  With the staff well-equipped to handle anything, the
director of S.H.I.E.L.D. alerts his fellow agents with the condition red.
All is in readiness at the warehouse.

The wooden surface of the warehouse door reveals a solid steel center.
The portable x-ray scanner is set up and reveals a bank of electronic
computers along the walls inside.  The signal for the Hydra-Ram is send
and the craft descends to the ground in seconds.  The battering ram
attack is coordinated and the Hydra agents hope to enter before they can
be seen.

WHAM!  The thick steel door is able to hold off the battering ram.
ZZZZZZ  The laser-ray is able to cut through and an electro-magnet is
used to pull the door away.  Inside the warehouse, there is nothing to be
found.  S.H.I.E.L.D. had taken the precaution to clear the area and is
now ready to activate Operation Lock-Up!  The street walls switch is
thrown and steel walls rise to surround the Hydra horde.

A sticky fluid comes shooting from the walls and soon hardens into
cement. With the Hydra agents stuck, the Hydra-Ram tries to get clear,
but is pulled down into the fluid.  As some more agents make their way
into another chamber, they find themselves caught in centrifugal force.
In the next room, four more agents are unable to break free from the
electrified room.  The last three agents have found a window to smash
through, but the street scene on the other side is a painting on the

Section Leader B knows that with the failure of his agents on this
mission, his own life will be forfeit.  The Supreme Hydra demands that he
pay the price for his inability to defeat Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.  Now on
his knees, the Section Leader begs for another chance, and is given the
one granted to those who have failed.  As he recoils from the Supreme
Hydra's panther, he is surrounded by eight Hydra agents, and is told that
if he picks out his unarmed replacement, he will live.  The Section
Leader sees that all but one has a bulge beneath the robes they wear, and
then points towards his choice.

The chosen agent's weapon is hidden within the palm of his hand.  As the
Section Leader cries out over the deceit, he is shot down.  The
replacement Section Leader B removes his hood and takes the undying oath
from the Supreme Hydra.  "Hail Hydra!  Immortal Hydra!  We Shall Never Be
Destroyed!"  Cut Off A Limb And Two More Will Take Its Place!"  "We Serve
None But The Master -- As The World Shall Soon Serve Us!  Hail Hydra!"
As the Supreme Hydra dismisses the new Section Leader, the captive Hydra
agents are lead away from the warehouse.  The S.H.I.E.L.D. director knows
that today they've won the battle, but they haven't met the true head of
Hydra.  Nick Fury knows that only his group stands against the threat,
but as long as he lives, S.H.I.E.L.D. will continue the fight until one
of them is gone.

On the cover of Strange Tales #136, the hordes of Hydra are conducting an
aerial search to "Find Fury Or Die!"

The Kirbyesque layouts and Severin pencils provide a strong visual for
Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The lettering by Artie Simek presents a distinctive introduction to
readers of the Marvel Comics from the Silver Age.

It would have been nice to have seen Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. as
one of the cartoon features on the Marvel Super-Heroes show from the

Thanks to Hydra's spy technology, the customer can drop a dime on the
director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The staff at the barber shop are a cut above the rest.

Slim sees that his boss is quite adept at keeping a secret under his hat.

The Hydra agents wearing jet-packs look like they are carrying vacuum
cleaner hoses around their neck.

The barber shop devices assure that the customers won't stiff the staff
on their fees and gratuities.

The Hydra Battering Ram looks like it would have been a fun children's
toy to play with.

You'd need an entire warehouse to contain a complex of giant electronic
computers back then.

Section Leader B fights one last, desperate battle of the bulge with his
fellow Hydra agents.  (Holy Comics Code, Batman!)

The Hydra oath is a nice visual and reminds me of a competitive Motown

An untold Silver Age story I would love to see would be S.H.I.E.L.D. and
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents vs Hydra.  There was a Not Brand Ecch parody, but
such a meeting would have been quite an event.

Steve Chung
"Find Review Or Die!"