Nick Fury has been a central figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2008; however, Secret Invasion is the first entry to focus on his life and survival tactics. In one episode, we discover that Nick Fury has tombstones all over Earth. This is not surprising, considering he previously faked his own death in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In fact, faking death is nothing new for Nick Fury. He did it Marvel Comics and will likely do it again in the future. So, in honor of his penchant for faking his death, here’s all the times Nick Fury has done it in the Marvel Comics as well as the MCU.
Every Time Nick Fury Faked His Death in the Marvel Comics
Strange Tales #148 (1966)
Nick Fury’s habit of faking his own death goes back to 1966’s Strange Tales #148, by Jack Kirby, Don Heck, and Sam Rosen. Fury got caught in an explosion and the Howling Commando, Dum-Dum Dugan, saved and rushed him off to surgery. To Dugan’s surprise, a perfectly healthy Fury popped up behind him, explaining that the body in front of them was a Life Model Decoy (also known as an LMD). Fury used the LMD with a remote control in order to question prisoners, without putting his physical self at risk. The LMD appeared indistinguishable from the real Fury. This set the stage for Fury’s future use of LMDs.
Strange Tales #156 (1967)
The next year, Nick Fury used a more elaborate plan to fake his own death. Fury was confined to his room while aboard a SHIELD helicarrier in space. At the same time, another ship, a Dyna-Soar, launched from the helicarrier. Unbeknownst to the SHIELD agents, an undercover agent of HYDRA piloted the Dyna-Soar. When the Howling Commandos went to visit Fury, his room abruptly exploded, leading them to believe that he had perished in the inferno. Luckily, Fury broke out of his room and snuck aboard the Dyna-Soar, just in time to foil the HYDRA agent’s plans.
Agent of Shield #15 (1969)
In Agent of Shield #15 (by Gary Friedrich, Herb Trimpe, Dick Ayers, Sam Grainger, and Jean Izzo), Nick Fury gave readers his most puzzling fake death yet. While out and about in Central Park, a villain named Bullseye (not the Daredevil villain) shot Nick in the head. Nick seemingly dies, but the next issue of the series picks up as if nothing had ever happened. A completely different creative team did the next issue, suggesting that this fake death was for generating interest rather than have permanent repercussions. In fact, the cover of issue #15 advertises it as “The Assassination of Nick Fury!”
Double Edge: Omega (1995)
Fury’s LMDs would make another appearance in Double Edge: Omega, by John Ostrander, Kim Yale, Doug Wheatley, Jimmy Palmiotti, John Kalisz, and Jim Novak. It spun out of the events of the Punisher’s series at the time. Fury and the Punisher were locked in conflict, as Frank Castle believed that Fury was responsible for ordering the hit that wiped out his entire family. One night, Fury burst into Castle’s room, where the two exchanged gunfire until Castle seemingly killed Fury. However, once the smoke cleared, Fury’s “body” was an assortment of robotic parts, revealing him to be an LMD. The robot’s final words taunted Castle, saying, “SHIELD has a warehouse full of [LMDs], along with other weaponry. So long as the LMDs exist, you will never be sure you have truly killed Fury.” This marks the first time that Fury’s fake death is primarily for tormenting an enemy.
Original Sin #3 and #4 (2014)
Nick Fury escaped a gory death at the hands of the Winter Soldier, thanks to another LMD. In Original Sin #3 and #4 (by Jason Aaron, Mike Deodato, Frank Martin, and Chris Eliopoulos), the Winter Soldier decapitated Fury while investigating the murder of the Watcher. The Winter Soldier had suspected that Fury had been an LMD, and thankfully, he was correct. The real Fury then revealed that he was an old man. He had used hordes of LMDs that posed as his younger self for years. This countered the established explanation for Fury’s inability to age in Marvel Comics. Previously, his slowed aging was the result of a serum that he took. Original Sin, however, showed that the serum had eventually lost his effects on Fury, leading him to use LMDs to maintain a façade to his allies and enemies.
Every Time Nick Fury Faked His Death in the MCU
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
In the MCU, Fury was famously “killed” in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when he visited Steve Rogers’ apartment. HYDRA agents shot into the apartment, striking Fury several times. Fury was able to fake his death by taking a drug that slowed his heartbeat to one beat a minute. It was enough to fool Steve Rogers, Maria Hill, and Black Widow. By faking his death, Fury could covertly work with Captain America to bring down the infiltration of HYDRA agents into SHIELD.
Secret Invasion (2023)
In Secret Invasion‘s fifth episode, “Harvest,” Fury tells Sonya Falsworth that he has tombstones for himself all around the world. He does this in order to keep the Avengers’ DNA stashed safely away. He doesn’t attribute a specific event to each of these deaths. But these tombstones do bear his full name on them. This moment doesn’t pack the same dramatic punch as his fake death in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But it makes us question just how many fake graves he has around the world.
Nick Fury is one of the most prominent non-powered humans in the Marvel Universe. His fake deaths reflect the vulnerability that he has while entangled in crises far beyond the average person’s imagination. Within the comic book medium, Fury’s fake deaths play with reader expectations because of its serialized form. They’re indicative of his “five steps ahead” mentality, outsmarting both his enemies and readers in the process. Even without using his Life Model Decoys from the comics, it’s clear that this element of Fury’s survival tactics will continue to shape his MCU characterization in the future.