This week’s entry, just in time for the upcoming “Avengers” movie, is Nick Fury. That is, the Ultimate Marvel universe version of Nick Fury, not the long-running Marvel character in mainstream continuity.
This version of Nick Fury was introduced in “Ultimate Marvel Team-Up” #5 in 2001, and was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Allred. Based on the mainstream Nick Fury, the main changes for the Ultimate version include being African-American and having a personality based on actor Samuel L. Jackson’s “tough guy” film persona (supposedly with Mr. Jackson’s permission). Otherwise, Ultimate Nick has some similarities to the “regular” Nick—an eye patch, being long-lived, and being the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., the top US government espionage organization/military law enforcement agency in the Marvel Universe.
The most popular treatment of Ultimate Nick’s been in non-comics media; there, he’s become the default version of Nick Fury used across movies and animated television series. At this point, the Ultimate Nick is probably the version most familiar to the general non-comic-reading public. Of course, having Samuel L. Jackson play Fury in the various recent Marvel movies (including “Captain America: The First Avenger” and the upcoming “Avengers” movie) doesn’t hurt. Besides the movies, Nick’s also appeared in several recent Marvel TV cartoons, including “The Super Hero Squad Show,” “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” and “Ultimate Spider-Man.”
Nick Fury’s longevity (having served in World War II) is due to having received (as an unwilling test subject) a version of Captain America’s famed Super Soldier Serum. This gave him peak human strength and endurance, along with greatly slowing his aging and thus lengthening his lifespan. (In the regular Marvel Universe, Nick Fury had taken something called the “Infinity Formula,” which conferred similar longevity/health benefits.)