Marvel Blurs The Lines Between Film and Comics

We have all been used to watching comics influencing film, but now film is influencing comics continuity. Agent Coulson and the Samuel L. Jackson portrayal of Nick Fury (well sort of) have crossed over into the print world. So how did it happen?

The African-American version of Nick Fury goes back to Marvel’s re-imagined Ultimate universe in 2001, ultimately becoming based on Jackson in time for Mark Millar and Brian Hitch’s awesome Ultimates stories.

When they decided to introduce Nick Fury into the cinematic Marvel Universe, it was natural that Jackson would be playing the role of everyone’s favorite SHIELD director, much to the delight of everyone.

So how did the traditional Marvel Universe wind up with a black Nick Fury?

As a spin-off from the Fear Itself storyline, Battle Scars chronicles the adventures of Army ranger Marcus Johnson setting off to find the Nick Fury hating villain Orion from the Secret Warriors series who had killed his mother. This was an elaborate plot by the villain to lure out Marcus in an attempt to get his blood, which contains the same Infinity Formula that keeps Fury young.

By the end of Battle Scars, Marcus loses an eye and shaves his head to look like Samuel L. Jackson, dons Steve Rogers’ director of SHIELD costume he had while Bucky was Captain America and finds out the reason he has the Infinity Formula in his system–his mother was a spy, Fury is his father and his real name is Nick Fury Jr. Oh yeah, and his friend Coulson and him both wind up joining his father’s family business as agents of SHIELD!

So what do I think about this?

Well, I’m all for Agent Coulson being properly brought into the Marvel Universe. I love how they’ve been using Maria Hill and Viktoria Hand the last few years as non-super heroes working alongside their powered counterparts. If they keep him like the way Clark Gregg has portrayed him in the Marvel films, this will be awesome.

As for Marcus, I’m still having mixed thoughts about the execution of the character. I like how this adds an extra part to the Nick Fury mythology. He’s been around since World War II, so having him have a long-lost (more so neglected) son come into his life is an interesting dynamic. Him following into his parents’ career path makes sense.

The one thing that I’m not sold on is how they’ve made him look exactly like the Ultimate and movie versions of Nick Fury. It seems like it’s a huge burden in developing this character, as he’s going to be constantly compared to the other characters. I would have much rather enjoyed them calling him Marcus Fury and allowing the character to have its own identity, not to mention his own look not based on Samuel L. Jackson. They can keep the eye patch; there’s a certain humor that every Fury man winds up losing an eye.

Will they make Marcus replace his father as Nick Fury in the comics? Who knows. At the very least, I would love to see David Hasselhoff make a cameo as Fury’s father in one of the movies!