Fury attends a funeral and has a chance encounter with a figure from his past in this final issue.
In this the last issue in the series, things come full circle. This title has never been lacking in emotional punch but this issue is a testament to both Garth Ennis’ skillful characterisation and ability to incorporate major themes and issues and Goran Parlov’s expressive art, the first two pages with an aged Shirley Defabio and a hospitalised Hatherly are just the opening salvo for what it is a soul wrenching journey for the reader.
It has to be reiterated just how much of an impressive feat Ennis has achieved writing a politically aware war story, in the guise of a Marvel comic. Whilst ‘Ultimate’ Nick Fury might be a film star now, it’s Ennis’ Nick Fury that has consistently amazed and My War Gone By ,a follow on of sorts from his seminal run on Punisher Max which also featured the weary old war horse Fury, matches that body of work for sheer power.
It’s so bleak in it’s portrayal of the way of things, that it’s easy to forget this is a Marvel comic. Fury and Hatherly found themselves going from Vietnam to Cuba to Nicaragua and plenty of other places facing corruption, drug smuggling, shady Government deals and the heinous disturbing side of humanity that most people can’t even contemplate, so to see Fury shunned by Hatherly’s family here is one of numerous emotional punches.
Fury’s drug of choice was war and this issue really hammers home the damage that this addiction has wraught.
Parlov aided by Lee Loughbridge’s subtle colours show two distinct images of Fury one as an older figure, still possessing the steely edge and fire of his youth even if time has been trying to wear it away and the other Fury as a haunted figure, in his dishevelled room confessing his sins into a microphone.
In an issue which is chock full of powerful scenes, Fury meeting an old enemy from his past at the war memorial and their conversation about the futility and pointlessness of war, really hits home.
Despite being a series which has featured numerous action oriented scenes this issue doesn’t suffer from a lack of them, with it’s pages taken up by scenes that all that action was leading up to. The work that has gone into building characters and their relationships comes to fruition here.
Unlike most Ennis has used the mature readers imprint to provide an adult story with adult themes that doesn’t pander to or patronise the reader or rely on shock tactics.
This issue closes out with a flashback to a scene featured in one of the earlier issues and it’s meaning is even more profound here and the last page has to be one of the most powerful images in comics.
Fury:My War Gone By is one of the best things Marvel has put out in years, a powerful examination of war, politics and relationships and stands as one of Garth Ennis’ best works in his career.