Strange Tales #147: "The Enemy Within!"

Strange Tales #147
"The Enemy Within!"
August, 1966

Script: STAN LEE
Pencils: DON HECK
Lettering: SAM ROSEN

Having shut down a top secret THEM android laboratory in the swamp, Nick
Fury and the S.H.I.E.L.D. task force are returning to the local SHIELD
headquarters.  Jasper Sitwell asks the director if he's going to write up
a report, but Dum-Dum Dugan finds that to be an unlikely event.

A three-star general and two brigadiers are on hand to receive the
Colonel's report.  Dugan watches and worries that the brass will try to
get some information from a tired Fury.  When he attempts to walk past
them, he is reminded of his rank.  As director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury
is completely autonomous.  He turns towards his men and tells them to
stand at attention.  The General sees that the fighting man is quite
adept at inspiring his troops.  Fury chomps on his stogie and gives each
agent a ten-day furlough.  Dugan instructs them to turn in their supplies
before they head off on their separate ways. 

Aboard the Heli-Carrier, the representatives from the Pentagon ask for
Fury's report, but the Colonel has already radioed in his report.
Sitwell wonders if the director knows what he's doing when speaking to
the general staff.  Nick says that if he knew what he was doing, he
wouldn't have taken the job in the first place.  When Dum-Dum tries to
agree with him, Fury tells the walrus to shut it.  He's ready to hit the
sack and sees that both men are still standing there.  Dugan is to get
some rest, while Sitwell needs to learn to pipe down a bit.  Seeing his
reaction, the Colonel tells him to stay at the ready if any trouble

Count Bornag Royale has arrived to demonstrate his bombproofing
technology aboard the Heli-Carrier.  With Advanced Idea Mechanics claims
to be able to protect cities from nuclear attack, the military is very
interested in an arrangement.  There is a problem... Nick Fury won't
allow the demonstration to take place.  The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have
confiscated the missile model to be used, as nothing with a triggering
device is allowed aboard.  A.I.M. is not impressed by the Colonel and his
ways.  The General is now eager to have a word with Fury in person.

The General is surprised to learn that he's been expected, but agents of
S.H.I.E.L.D. are supposed to know everything.  The military man goes
through an analyzer for chemicals and electronics.  A piece of shrapnel
is detected in the General's skull, but scientists believe that it could
be a transmitter.  He has received this particular "gift" at Anzio.  The
agents are satisfied that this is the real General and not an android.
The agents's orders come directly from the White House, and as director
of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury is a target for assassination at all times.
The General finds Fury taking a nap, but not for long.  Nick offers to
make some coffee.

The military man is unimpressed by the sight of the Colonel rising from
his bunk.  It is his responsibility to coordinate matters between
S.H.I.E.L.D. and various other agencies.  Nick learns that said agencies
are not too crazy about him being the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Foremost
among his critics is Count Bornag Royale, the emissary from A.I.M.
Advanced Idea Mechanics are interested in offering many defensive
inventions, but not while Fury is in charge.  Count Royale has already
returned to A.I.M., which is a branch of THEM.  They are ready for the
attack on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s New York City command post.  A captive
S.H.I.E.L.D. agent was unknowingly given a tracking device which has lead
them to the barber shop.  The raid begins with a gas attack inside the

Before he can succumb to the gas, the barber activates the hidden alarm
on his chair.  Hearing the alarm buzzer, Nick, Dugan, and Sitwell know
that the shop is under attack.  The General reminds him that as director
of S.H.I.E.L.D., he can't go off on potentially suicidal missions.
Knowing that this is a trap to get him dismissed as head of S.H.I.E.L.D.,
the three men agree to deal with A.I.M.'s attack.  The agents from
Advanced Idea Mechanics are caught off-guard by the sudden rush of air
which sends a barber chair upwards.  Nick Fury, Dum-Dum Dugan, and Jasper
Sitwell rise from the opening via their wind-jets.

S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new air guns knock two of the A.I.M. agents into one
another.  A shot takes the air-gun from Fury's hand, but his steel mesh
clothing prevents the next shot from killing him.  The three agents of
S.H.I.E.L.D. have got a trick or two up their collective sleeves, but
prefer to use hand-to-hand combat on their opponents.

Sitwell is the next target for A.I.M.'s guns, but the young agent manages
to distract them with some hot towels, and some fast-talking.  An A.I.M.
agent is surprised when he removes Dugan's fedora to hit him with a
bottle, but finds a steel skull cap protecting his noggin.  The former
circus strongman places the surprised advanced idea mechanic into a
barber chair, then takes him for a spin.

ZZAKK!  When Nick Fury tries to bruise his knuckles on the last A.I.M.
agent, he is caught off-guard by a hidden vibroshock transmitter.  The
THEM council member turns up the dial, protected by anti-vibration
defenses, and catching Fury, Sitwell, and Dugan in the bad vibrations.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. director reaches for a hidden stun grenade, then tosses
it at their attackers.

WHOOM!  Now it is A.I.M.'s turn to feel the pain, with one agent trying
to sneak up on Sitwell, but the young agent gives him a kick in the head.
The barber staff are found tied-up in the broom closet, with the
decision to personally lead raid no doubt in the back of the director's

The barber is ungagged and echoes Sitwell's sentiments that A.I.M. might
have just won the war.  Slim hopes that the top brass at headquarters
won't be looking for Fury to be replaced.  The manicurist agrees that
there must be a large scheme to get the Colonel out of the way, then asks
why Sitwell is taking so long to untie her.  Dum-Dum figures that the lad
was mesmerized by her perfume, then gives the manicurist a kiss.  Now it
is Dugan who is running for his life from the frenzy of the mad
manicurist.  Jasper wishes that he had the nerve to give her a kiss, and
the barber admits that the agent probably wishes the same, too.  Count
Royale has been observing the raid and sees that Nick Fury has won the
battle, but lost the war.  The Count knows that the director of
S.H.I.E.L.D is the only one to suspect the threat of A.I.M., but Nick
Fury will soon be out of the way.

On the cover of Strange Tales #147, A.I.M. sends some bad vibrations
towards Nick Fury and his agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

"The Enemy Within!" was also the title of an episode from Star Trek: The
Original Series.

Don did a heck of a job over Jack's layouts.

The inking by Mike Esposito was most distinct.

The lettering by Sam Rosen was second only to Artie Simek's.

Nick Fury has got a distinctive persona, but you must admit, he's not
gonna bore ya.

Jasper Sitwell is one eager beaver.

Senator Byrd makes a one-page cameo in this story aboard the

I wonder if Stan was influenced by Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" when
naming the Count?

With the possibility of being assassinated, it's a wonder that the
S.H.I.E.L.D. can catch some shuteye, if any.

If Advanced Idea Mechanics came up with those yellow uniforms and the
peripheral vision helmets, I'd love to have seen what Primitive Idea
Mechanics had built, too.  (Holy Fifth Wheel, Batman!)

I wonder why only Nick, Dugan, and Sitwell raided the barber shop.  Were
all the other agents on ten-day furlough or what?

If Fury wears steel mesh clothing, what's to keep A.I.M. from using an
electromagnet to give the S.H.I.E.L.D director a heckuva wedgie?

Jasper Sitwell talks a good fight, but how much you wanna bet that the
A.I.M. agents take a dive in order to avoid a prolonged conversation from

If Dum-Dum wears a steel skull-cap under his fedora, I'd hate to see what
else lies beneath. 

With the vibroshock transmitter, were Advanced Idea Mechanics pioneers in
the field of rap music?

Is there anything more humiliating than being the A.I.M. agent who was
sneaking up on Jasper Sitwell, only to be kicked down, and not have a
chance to use your official T.H.R.U.S.H.-style rifle.  Good thing they
wear those helmets.  Never let them see ya sweat or blush with

Steve Chung
"The Review Within!"