Strange Tales #166: "If Death Be My Destiny!"

Strange Tales #166
"If Death Be My Destiny!"
March, 1968

Editor: STAN LEE
Marvel's P.T. Barnum

Artist/Writer: JIM STERANKO
Marvel's Bad Boy Peck

Marvel's Huck Finn

Letterer: SAM ROSEN
Marvel's Little Lord Fauntleroy

SAR's Jasper Sitwell

The Yellow Claw has managed to elude SHIELD's dragnet in the sky.  Now,
its director has donned the H.A.W.K. (High Altitude Wing Kite) in hopes
of catching up with the mastermind's escape vehicle.

Two hundred feet below Nick Fury, the plane has begun emitting a smoke
screen to conceal his escape route.  The SHIELD director dives for it,
hoping that his suit will be able to maintain its magnetic hold onto the
wing.  The flagship of the Yellow Claw surfaces from the waters below,
with Nick continuing to hang on for dear life.

The impact with the water tears him away from the ship, and Nick removes
the H.A.W.K. gear.  The resulting whirlpool pulls him along with the
ship, but he has enough time to pull a dye grenade to let SHIELD know
where he's at.  As the escape vehicle heads for the underwater airlock,
the director marvels at the idea of a secret headquarters at the bottom
of New York Harbor.

In the air above, the engin-technos have activated the suspension beams
and vortex beam to hold the enemy ship in place.  The Claw's men have
been rounded up inside, while Dum Dum Dugan lights up a cigar, and knows
that his fellow Howler is working on the case, personally.

After setting up his air-recycler, Nick Fury uses a pyroband to make his
own entrance, and a lase-clipper to cut through the screen.

The Gaffer's training comes in handy when dealing with the monitor
circuitry.  The spy ray lens enables Nick to see through walls as if they
were made of glass.  The path before him is a veritable maze of death.
After taking two steps, the SHIELD director feels like he's walked one
mile.  With the painted walls casting optical illusions, backtracking
will be impossible.  THOOM!  An incendiary grenade clears up this
problem, and Nick is able to make his way through this not-so-fun house.
Darts with the persistence of heat-seeking missiles soon appear over the

By using a grappling hook to climb up some stairs, the director is able
to dodge the deadly darts, and an acid pellet gets him through the roof.
The walls within the next room begin closing in on Nick, but the magnetic
coils in his boots keep him safe.

On the lower east side of New York, Jimmy Woo is caught under gunfire.
With his panoramic glasses, the FBI agent is able to see the assailant
sneaking up on him.  One shot takes down the gunman, while his partner is
making a break for the subway.  As he corners his quarry, Woo doesn't see
the Claw's men making their way towards him from above.

In the underwater sanctum of the Yellow Claw, Suwan begs her uncle to
spare the life of Jimmy Woo, but all is silent when the young man appears
in the matter-warp apparatus.  The oriental mastermind insists that
revenge will be his, and they watch as the FBI agent is tied to the
Thermo-Frigid Intensi-Ray Machine.  He is to be polarized to death.

Not if Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD has anything to say about it.  Cursing
the foolish Fury for coming to his underwater citadel, the Yellow Claw
throws the switch.  It is now the Claw's turn to be surprised when he
sees his niece heading for Jimmy Woo.  The guards are ordered to stop
her, but three blazing nova bullets put the heat on them.

Both Fury and the Claw are grappling with one another.  The SHIELD agent
wishes to destroy the machine, while the uncle wishes to save his only
relative.  The FBI agent is untied and falls to the ground, but Suwan is
not as fortunate.  Caught in the path of the Thermo-Frigid Intensi-Ray
Machine, she is frozen for all time.  Cradling her body in his arms, Woo
vows revenge on both the Yellow Claw and Nick Fury.

Even when falling from the stratosphere, the SHIELD director still has
time for a stogie.

The gear gadgets of Jim Steranko are given a workout by Nick Fury.

The vortex beam has got a psychedelic sheen to it.

It's amazing how many items a SHIELD-issue battlesuit is capable of

The spy ray lens is slightly above in quality from the x-ray specs found
in the pages of comic book ads.

Jimmy Woo makes the mistake of removing his panoramic glasses before
chasing down the second assailant through the subway.

I think that the character was way cooler as a lone FBI agent than he was
as one of SHIELD's agents.

From the looks of it, the Thermo-Frigid Intensi-Ray Machine is also
capable of cooking waffles, too.

Steve Chung
"If Review Be My Destiny!"