Jim Starlin’s First ‘Infinity’ Comic Solved Nick Fury’s Timeline Problem

This is “Provide Some Answers,” which is a feature where long unresolved plot points are eventually resolved.

When Nick Fury was introduced in 1963, there was nothing weird about it. It was just Marvel’s answer to DC’s popular line of war heroes…

However, something that became an issue is that both Reed Richards and Ben Grimm were established as having fought in World War II. In Fantastic Four #21, Reed even meets back up with his old war buddy, Nick Fury!

(Reed has been exposed to the Hate-Monger’s hate ray, which is why he’s acting like such a jerk. The whole team was exposed to the ray).

Fury cleverly manipulates the rest of the team to go join Reed, as Fury is doing the CIA proud by being very manipulative.

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Fury then got his own series in the present day in Strange Tales, as the new head of SHIELD…

Obviously, you all get the problem. Nick Fury wasn’t a young man in the 1940s and now it’s 20 years later and he barely seems to have aged. That was a bit odd in 1965, but as time went by, it got weirder and weirder that Nick Fury didn’t age. Marvel’s solution for Reed Richards and Ben Grimm was to just ignore the problem.

For Fury, though, Jim Starlin came up with a solution in 1976’s Marvel Spotlight #31 (art by Howard Chaykin).

In the issue, we learn that Fury had been exposed to the “Infinity Formula” (Starlin’s very first Infinity-branded comic book item, unless I’m missing something from his Marvel Cosmic work in the 1970s). It saved his life during the war, but now he needs to be re-exposed to it every year or he will automatically age into his 80s…

Some bad guys, though, took over the formula and now are blackmailing Fury. However, the bad guys ALSO lose the formular. Fury beats up the head bad guy, who turns out was also exposed to the Infinity Formula…

As Nick is about to die from his ultra-aging, his girlfriend, the Contessa, shows up and it turns out that SHE stole the formula and so now Fury has a ready available supply of the Infinity Formula to keep his aging under control from this point on…

This was all retconned itself years later, but that’s another story. ANOTHER story for another day (let’s say later today, even!) is the fact that Stan Lee really did not like this comic book.

Anyhow, Starlin successfully saved Nick Fury’s timeline with this move!

If anyone else has a suggestion for a comic book plot that got resolved after a few years (I tend to use two years as the minimum, as otherwise, you’re probably just in the middle of the actual initial reveal of the storyline, ya know? But I’ll allow exceptions where a new writer takes over a storyline and has to resolve the previous writer’s unresolved plots), drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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