This week’s Black Widow #8 contained a surprise cameo from a major Marvel character who has only been seen rarely in the last few years. Combined with other recent teasers, could this classic character be poised to make a full-scale comeback?
Spoilers ahead for Black Widow #8
Couched in a story about Natasha rescuing and deprogramming several young Dark Room assassins, the final page of Chris Samnee and Mark Waid's Black Widow #8 gives a glimpse of none other than Nick Fury, Sr. in an apparent tease for the next arc.
Once the premiere Marvel espionage character, Fury has been relatively missing from the Marvel Universe since the end of Original Sin since he took the place of the Watcher, wandering the moon as “The Unseen.” Original Sin also included some major revelations about his character, including his role as the “Man on the Wall” who secretly protects Earth from cosmic threats, and his true, aged body, hidden by years of reliance on LMD’s on Earth.
Fury was previously spotted as the Unseen in The Unworthy Thor #1 - fitting, since it was also in Original Sin that Fury uttered the still unknown words that cause Thor Odinson to become unworthy of Mjolnir, allowing his mantle and powers to pass to Jane Foster. He’s also been teased for an appearance in February’s upcoming Occupy Avengers #4 (though that could be some kind of imposter).
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the mainstream Marvel Universe, Fury’s son and successor Nick Fury, Jr. has largely been absent in recent months as well, and it looks like next year, S.H.I.E.L.D. will have an opening for a new director after Maria Hill is court martialed (as specified in the solicits for February's Captain America: Steve Rogers #12). What are the chances an appearance in Black Widow could kickstart Nick Fury’s return to the Marvel Universe, and possibly even as director of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Whatever the case, the next arc of Black Widow - entitled “The Soldier in Winter” - will likely contain some long awaited answers about Fury, and about the man who replaced him as “Man on the Wall,” Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier.
Black Widow #9 is due out on shelves December 28.