The first three issues of Fury Max saw Colonel Nick Fury fighting alongside the French during the French Indochinese War, witnessing the end of French colonialism and an absolute bloodbath. He barely survived, walking through the jungle possessing only his life and his sanity. This latest issue finds Fury playing an integral part in the buildup to the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion, training Cuban dissidents to overthrow Castro. Written by Garth Ennis (Preacher) and featuring artwork by Goran Parlov (Punisher MAX, also written by Ennis), Fury Max is a clever series, featuring great characterization, excellent artwork, and a clever use of historical events. It’s also quite violent and sexually explicit, with Fury copulating in a fashion usually reserved for James Bond.
Like the first issue of Fury Max, this latest installment focuses more on exposition, with Fury and Agent George Hatherly training Cuban soldiers for their insurgency in communist controlled Cuba. Working under the command of the highly ambitious Congressman Pug McCuskey, who’s using his anti-communist public profile to land himself a Senate nomination, Fury is already noticing the flaws in the CIA’s plan. He’s also losing his long time casual lover Shirley DeFabio (McCuskey’s secretary) to the Congressman (as she says, “I’m thirty-six, I’m not getting any younger”). Basically, everything is looking pretty bleak for Fury.
Like mentioned before, this issue isn’t very action packed but that doesn’t mean it isn’t excellent. Ennis has a way of writing dialogue, with characters engaging each other in a realistic fashion and with believable voices. The beginning of this series started slowly but by the end of issue two the action was intense; by issue three people were dying left and right, with body parts flying, bullets shredding bodies, and decapitated heads on pikes. If the last three issues are any indication of where Ennis is going I’m certain the Bay of Pigs fiasco in the upcoming issues will be extremely violent and highly enjoyable.
Ennis’s use of historical situations for the characters to play in is used well, with the story avoiding banality. Unlike the recent Before Watchmen: Comedian series, where Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy’s (John, Robert, and Jackie) are incorporate poorly into the story, Ennis has avoided the traps BW writer John Azzarello fell into. Ennis treats history with reverence, incorporating Fury into the underbelly of the event; he also displays a clear anti-authoritarian attitude, exploring the blunders of colonialism and American imperialism during the Cold War. If you’re looking for an intelligent comic book that doesn’t shy away from criticizing America’s foreign policy, while at the same time filled with enough sex and violence for any 21st century American male, Fury Max is the series for you.
**On a site note: I didn’t review issue three of Fury Max because of multiple reasons (mostly work related). It’s good. Really good. I’d suggest reading all of them, then checking out Preacher and Ennis’s tenure on The Punisher, which is probably the best Punisher run ever.**