The eldest of three children, Nicholas Joseph Fury grew up in Depression-era New York City with his brother Jacob and sister Dawn. Fury's mother died while he was very young and his father Jack Fury, an American pilot who joined the British war effort during World War I, remarried and the children were raised by his stepmother in lieu of Jack Fury's own early death. It wouldn't be until Nick Fury became a solider himself overseas that he would learn of his father's military service. Living in the tough streets of Hell's Kitchen, Fury soon became fast friends with Red Hargrove, whom he helped keep out of trouble. Fury himself was no stranger to trouble, but more than often confined it to the boxing ring where he would bout, or in the Police Athletic League where he became one of the finest marksman.
World War II
Fury and Hargrove caught the eye of Lt. "Happy Sam" Sawyer who enlisted them for a special mission in Holland. On this mission Fury made the acquaintance of his future life-long friend, the circus strongman Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan. Seeing the Nazi menace firsthand, Hargrove was moved to say he would enlist and Fury said he would follow him. However Fury didn't enlist until 1941, where he received nine weeks of basic training at Fort Dix without Red Hargrove, hoping to ride out the wave of unemployment in the States. Eventually Fury reunited with Hargrove, both getting stationed at Pearl Harbor.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Fury was spurned on by the death of Hargrove during the attack to join the U.S. Rangers, and was eventually recruited and reunited with Captain Sawyer who assigned him command of the First Attack Squad; aka the "Howling Commandos," a specially-trained band of soldiers who undertook some of the most dangerous missions of the war. Together with Dum Dum Dugan as his second in command, Fury led Gabe Jones, Robert "Reb" Ralston, Dino Manelli, Eric Koenig, Izzy Cohen, Percival Pinkerton, and Jonathan Juniper against the likes of Red Skull, Baron Heinrich Zemo, and other Axis villains, fighting alongside such war heroes as Captain America and Bucky. As leader of the Howling Commandos, Fury struck blow after blow against the Nazis and their allies through missions that ranged from deep infiltration missions behind enemy lines to undercover work and even some home front action.
It was during the war that Fury first crossed paths with his most dangerous foe, Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker. Strucker's humiliating defeats at the hands of Fury would drive Strucker to devote a lifetime seeking revenge. Among the formative events during this period of his life included the friendships made with Dum Dum Dugan and Gabe Jones (both of whom would follow him into SHIELD), and fighting alongside fellow war hero Captain America. Also during the war, Fury met Lady Pamela Hawley, who would become his first (and some say only true) love. Tragically she died before Fury was able to propose marriage to her. During his relationship with Hawley, they crossed paths with Doctor Strange in a taste of his future strange and extraordinary adventures. During the war Fury and his Commandos faced super-powered menaces that included vampires and other-dimensional beings.
Two serious injuries sustained during this time would have a serious impact in his later life: a grenade blast that began the slow deterioration of his sight in his left eye, and a landmine accident that led to Fury being inoculated with the Infinity Formula by Professor Berthold Sternberg in France.
The Infinity Formula substantially slowed his aging process, and Fury was thrust with a double edged sword: although his life was saved, the consequences of the Infinity Formula would haunt him throughout his life as he would see many friends age and die, as well as become the target of various villains seeking his secret. Dr. Sternberg himself was not immune to taking advantage of Fury's delicate situation, basically holding Fury's life for ransom starting in 1946, every year through 1976 by charging Fury a high fee for more of the serum.
For most soldiers, after V-J Day the war was over it was time to go home and live a normal life again. This was not the case for Nick Fury. Following a number of "mop-up" missions with the Howlers, Sgt. Fury was reassigned and left his wartime comrades behind in France, heading for Okinawa. His skills were quickly put to use with the growing intelligence community. The Office of Strategic Services had recognized Fury's potential during the war, using him for a few missions into German-occupied France, and based on this he was officially recruited by Colonel Tom Lynaugh in 1954. He was flown to Langley where he began training as an agent for the Central Intelligence Agency, serving through till his appointment to SHIELD.
During these cloak & dagger years, Fury saw action in the Korean War, briefly reuniting with some of the former Howling Commandos who reenlisted. On one particular mission, the Howlers joined Fury and Colonel "Happy" Sam Sawyer for a covert mission to destroy a MIG airbase, a mission that earned Fury a long-deserved brevet field commission to Colonel. Fury also became involved in fighting Communist Chinese forces.
Within the last 30-35 years, Nick Fury recruited Richard Parker into the CIA.
Foreshadowing his heavy involvement with super-powered beings as director of SHIELD, Fury recruited the then still new Fantastic Four to investigate goings-on in what would reveal itself to be a master plot by the Hate-Monger. Fury's eye began to finally fail around this time.
In the early 1960's Fury was contacted by the Board of Directors of the newly organized international espionage organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division) and offered directorship by Tony Stark. (An alternate theory adds that the Deltite LMD manipulated events so that Fury would be chosen).
Fury served as SHIELD's director throughout the 1960's, 70's, and 80's. At his side were fellow Howlers Dum Dum Dugan and Gabe Jones, as well as long-time love, the beautiful agent Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. His command of SHIELD coincided with the ascension to Supreme Hydra by Fury's old WWII nemesis, Baron Von Strucker. The Cold War ignited with a war between HYDRA and SHIELD, resulting in a near fatal blow at Hydra Island, where Fury sunk the base with its leader locked inside its atomic core, left for dead. Fury served the original incarnation of SHIELD both as administrative head and as field commander. His fearless leadership saw the organization through myriad crises and helped it rise to become the world's premier covert-operations agency. Fury and SHIELD thwarted numerous major threats to the world's freedom launched by such groups as HYDRA and the Zodiac - headed at one time by Fury's brother, Jacob. Fury also assisted Earth's superheroes in cases, and SHIELD spearheaded Earth's defenses during many of its worse crises, including the alien Dire Wraith invasion, attacks by the likes of the Yellow Claw and Loki and hunting down creatures such as Godzilla and the Hulk.
After the final strike against HYDRA, SHIELD gradually grew to a vast international network the likes of which not even Fury could personally oversee entirely. Thus in 1988 the Deltite Affair erupted, in which a group of rogue LMDs revealed that they had been manipulating SHIELD, HYDRA, and even Roxxon Oil in an attempt to take over the planet. The most important phase of the plan involved replacing agents with advanced LMDs. This brought an end to SHIELD and sent Fury into self-imposed exile. This included traveling the world, shutting down rogue SHIELD bases and decommissioning their equipment.
A year later, events engineered by both the late Baron Strucker and the Yellow Claw, brought Fury back out of his exile and thus a second S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate) was commissioned under a United Nations charter with Fury once again as its director. This incarnation of SHIELD struggled to gain its footing with resentment from other espionage agencies and the task of assembling enough resources and manpower to combat the growing international threats.
One of these threats was once again HYDRA, lead by a resurrected Von Strucker, whose plans to cripple the first SHIELD were successful enough to allow a HYDRA retaliation against the new, but weaker agency. The attack leveled SHIELD Central, killed 1,500 agents, and left Fury bitter and vindictive. Eventually Fury managed to defeat Von Strucker and put an end to his existence.
With Von Strucker seemingly gone at last, Fury still did not feel a whole man and his disillusionment with SHIELD continued. Fury found himself siding against his friends more and more, including Captain America during the Genoshan Crisis and being used as a pawn to collect "rogue" elements like Cable and Ghost Rider for subversives within the government. Worse still was having to hunt his own son, Mikel, who once again donned his Scorpio identity to fight in a civil war in Carpassia.
Fury faced internal strife as the defection of former KGB interrogator Dimitri Panshin instigated a rogue faction within SHIELD to make Panshin pay for his crimes. Fury and Captain America joined with Titanium Man and AIM to stop the renegades. Likely as a result of the rogue agents affair, SHIELD faced severe cutbacks in funding. With a scaled-back SHIELD, Fury was glad to be reunited with his son Mikel in 1995. Together, father and son helped thwart a revenge scheme by the ex-wife of the head of HYDRA's NYC cell, involving a mini-neutron bomb. Later they stopped a black-market arms racket funding the local street gangs in Hell's Kitchen.
As the 1990's and his fourth decade as director drew to a close, Fury had Tony Stark construct a "perfect" L.M.D. (perhaps based on the Deltite LMD) which took Fury's place while he investigated a message from his predecessor as director. His investigations took him once again to the lower levels of what was once SHIELD Central, finding himself caught in a trap that housed him in a pocket dimension. In a stroke of luck, the use of the LMD Fury coincided with an attempt on Fury's life by Spook, a subversive seeking control of SHIELD. This resulted in a brainwashed Punisher bringing about the "death" of Nick Fury for all the world to see.
Brought back from the pocket dimension by former agent Sharon Carter, the real Nick Fury once again attempted to set SHIELD straight; uncovering an unauthorized NEMESIS project by EXTECHOP and later taking a short leave of absence from the directorship to investigate the disappearance of agent David Ferrari. Fury tried to take charge of an agency that had once again grown too large for him to handle.
Perhaps the greatest threat to SHIELD came with the hijacking of the helicarrier by the Red Skull, leading to a hunt which culminated in a battle with the a new Hate-Monger and the Skull.
Following the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11th 2001, Nick Fury and SHIELD found their roles expanded to deal with the ever-growing terrorist threats and the stronger tactics being employed by both superheroes and supervillains alike. Recent assignments have included dealing with the Fantastic Four in a post-Doom Latveria, weather attacks on the United States by a rogue SHIELD agent, and safeguarding Tony Stark from assassination attempts.
When the Red Skull was killed, and Nick sent in Captain America and Agent 13 to investigate. The three began a relentless quest to track down the person responsible, and to obtain the powerful Cosmic Cube. This brought them into conflict with General Aleksander Lukin and the mysterious Winter Soldier.
At about the same time, SHIELD was dealt a huge blow by The Hand and HYDRA. Fury and Elektra worked at bringing a brainwashed Wolverine into custody. They succeeded, but not before Elektra was killed and resurrected by The Hand. Wolverine's brainwashing was reversed just in time to help fend off the dozens of brainwashed mutants attacked the Helicarrier and SHIELD bases around the world. The Helicarrier was destroyed, SHIELD was shattered, and Nick was left in critical condition.
Fury eventually uncovered that many tech-themed criminals were being supplied high technology through the Latverian prime minister Lucia von Bardas. He presented the evidence to the President, who decided to do nothing about it. Apparently, because the U.S. government had funded the restoration of Latveria since Doom's fall and were afraid of it backfiring on them. Realizing that the President turning a blind eye would cost lives, Fury gathered Captain America, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Wolverine and Daisy Johnson into mounting a "Secret War" against Latveria. Because simply assassinating von Bardas would not stop the impending attack against the States, Fury needed to send a message to her cohorts -- by bringing down Castle Doom down upon her. He then some how managed to cover all of this up. He then brainwashed everyone but Widow and Johnson into forgetting what happened.
A year later, von Bardas is found to be alive and sends tech-theme villains against the participants of the Secret War. She then linked all of the tech together to create and antimatter bomb capable of destroying the States. However, only Daisy's timely intervention halted her insane plan. Fury then explains to the Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men about the Secret War. In fact, a Life-Model Decoy was in his place, which he uses to explain that he's going underground and hopes that they will one day understand why he did this.
In the aftermath, Fury is no longer in charge of SHIELD, replaced by Maria Hill, someone known not to favor superheroes as he generally did. Fury's old supporters such as Dum Dum Dugan were marginalized as much as possible in an attempt to put a gap between SHIELD and costumed vigilantes.
With the outbreak of the superhero Civil War, Nick remained in hiding, using old decommissioned SHIELD safehouses, the locations of which were known only to him. Fury allowed Cap and his Secret Avengers to use one of these as their base, and helped their cause, most notably the efforts of the reformed Winter Soldier.
Following the Secret War Nick Fury had planned out, he went into hiding but still assisted the heroes during the Civil War. However, he was long aware of the Skrull plans before the Skrulls even revealed themselves, after an impostor posing as Contessa de la Fontaine attempted to seduce him and extract S.H.I.E.L.D. passcodes from him. He became suspicious and killed her. He subsequently went into hiding and began assembling a new team of Howling Commandos, composed of unregistered superpowered teenagers, personally trained by Fury himself, to combat this threat. He also assigned Jessica Drew to be his mole in both Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D.. However, the Hydra doctors who attempted to restore her powers were actually Skrull agents, who used her DNA so that their queen Veranke could take her place.
Fury brought his Commandos directly into the fray in New York City, helping evacuate civilian and downed heroes when the invasion began. He brought the recovered heroes into Central Park where the rest were gathering. After a brief discussion with Norman Osborn, Iron Man, and then a direct encounter with the Skrulls about their God, Fury stated that his God, Thor, had a hammer. The battle between the entire Skrull army and the gathered heroes and villains ensued.
After the battle was over, Iron Man and other Avengers took down the fleet and Iron Man brought down a ship carrying the original heroes who were replaced with Skrulls including Dum Dum Dugan and a number of SHIELD Agents. Once they recognized Fury, he teleported his entire team away.
With Fury as, on a technicality, a government fugitive for his Secret War, it was presumable that his team was also aiding and abetting a fugitive and may also be warranted for arrest. Their existence has been made public and the team's objective of defeating the Skrulls has been achieved, their current purpose is unknown.
Fury investigated a covert SHIELD base in Chicago that didn't exist in official databases. Analyzing its contents, Furye discovered that SHIELD was, and always had been controlled by HYDRA, which also had connections to the security departments of the American, Canadian and Russian governments. Realizing that all his work had been a big lie, he gathered his Commandos to prepare to counter the renewed HYDRA threat and to overthrow the corrupt HAMMER agency - created by former Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, having been given national mandate by the government after killing Queen Veranke - that replaced SHIELD. But to defeat two opponents controlling massive armies, Fury needed an army of his own. He hired the services of the Howling Commandos PMC, led by Dum Dum and 1200 SHIELD agents refusing the automatic transfer to HAMMER, before stealing three decommission Helicarriers and convincing 3000 HAMMER agents to join him.
Fury reactivated the services of John Garrett, needing his help in determining the allegiance of a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Seth Waters. Garrett returned from a successful mission, determining that Waters was working for an unknown group who was highly connected in the government. Therefore, Fury broke into Avengers Tower, where he was coerced by Osborn himself into interrogating Waters. He then escaped with the data, learning that there was a group called Leviathan, much like Hydra, which was founded by the Soviet government.
A month later, Fury had his army assembled. He introduced Daisy to other team leaders, Alexander Pierce and Mikel Fury. He told them that their teams would work together for the coming storm.