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Strange Tales 145
"Lo! The Eggs Shall Hatch!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND June, 1966

So Long As SHIELD Endures, Who Can Forget These Glory-Drenched Names...?
STAN LEE... Writer
JACK KIRBY... Designer
DON HECK... Penciller
MICKEY DEMEO... Inker
SAM ROSEN... Letterer
IRVING FORBUSH... Badge Polisher
STEVE CHUNG... Badge Reviewer

On the cover, Nick Fury has taken the shirt off his own back and uses the fabric as boxing gloves against the Druid; Dum-Dum Dugan is scaling the side of an egg and about to make a nasty omlette with a potato-masher; Jasper Sitwell is at the wheel of a S.H.I.E.L.D. car, with his feet on the floor, his hands full with an assault rifle, and two cannisters being ejected from the rear of the automobile; the remaining agents are duking it out with the Druid's henchmen!

The last of twelve Nick Fury robots has been prepared! The fully-operational minaturized T.V. viewer designed by Tony Stark is being placed into the robot's head!

The final Life Model Decoy is placed alongside the others by a pair of SHIELD technicians. The false Furys are eerie for their exact resemblence to the SHIELD director, and are to be used to find out who are behind the eggs which have attacked Nick Fury! In another part of SHIELD headquarters... the director is telling the "old walrus" to pipe down while he sends out some orders, but Dugan hasn't said a word! The tactical units are told to dispatch the robots, while Agent Sitwell is to report on the double! Dum-Dum wonders who's behind the eggs, and Nick tells him that the robots are serving as decoys for the makers of the deadly ovoids to show themselves! Dugan wonders what Fury would want with a junior agent like Sitwell... when he has an experienced combat-savy joe like him? As Dum-Dum reclines in the chair and places his feet on the desk, Nick tells him to get the shoes off'a there before Dugan squashes his ham sandwich! Sitwell arrives and offers suggestions on handling the flying eggs case! (Holy Encyclopedia Brown, Batman!)

He shows the two men close-up photos of the flying eggs, with Sitwell conducting himself in a manner befitting a SHIELD agent, while Dugan wonders if this is a joke, and they're all on Candid Camera! Nick approves of the shots and has them sent to the lab for a detailed analysis! Dum-Dum tips his hat in Sitwell's direction and offers some mock congratulations, which Sitwell takes quite seriously. Nick breaks up the chat and tells the two men to clear out! With Gabe Jones on vacation, Sitwell and Dugan are his main operatives. Outside the office, Dum-Dum notes that Fury hasn't mellowed with age, while Jasper is impressed by the forceful dynamics of the SHIELD director. The first of the Fury robots has met its "demise" after the flying egg has destroyed its car with a thermo-ray...SHHOOOOSH ZZZZZZZZZ

In another section of the city... the eggs continue to blast the booby-trapped LMDs and SHIELD still doesn't know who are behind the deadly devices. Outside of the city, the druids wait for the return of their flying globules to land in a wooded area... The men turn and bid for the tree of a thousand centuries rise... in the name of the Druid! Only a few among them know that the "magic" is actually founded on deception, and the tree's roots are in reality hydraulic lifts! Underground, the Druid's men retrieve a camera from the flying egg, and all attacks on Nick Fury are ordered to cease.

The Druid has seen for himself how the eggs have destroyed five Nick Furys...and knows that the bogus agents are robots... created to trap him. He sees no further need for hit and run tactics! With their great power, it is now time for them to reveal themselves... to make the director of SHIELD come to them! They strike at midnight! The Druid plans to offer SHIELD the greatest prize of all! He shall offer them... himself... assuming that their leader, Colonel Fury can beat him in mortal combat! The Druid's men do not want their leader to take the risk, but he is confident that he cannot fail! At SHIELD headquarters, the captured Fixer is placed in the truth-gas cage, and is asked about who is behind him! They were only known to him as...THEM! They bought him his supplies... helped him in obtaining his weapons...! When asked about THEM, the Fixer tells Fury that they kept their identities a secret, but they have limitless wealth... matchless power! (Holy Jemas, Batman!) He doesn't know if THEM has a flying egg gizmo in their arsenal, for if they had, he would have known about it.

A minature brain was found on the Fixer, and he was captured by SHIELD before he could learn what to do with it. To Nick Fury, it looks like there's no connection between the flying eggs and THEM! BAR-OOM! The blast came from the outskirts of town, and Fury's specially-built Porche 904 covers the distance in minutes... The authorities note his arrival and are aware that the Colonel out-ranks everyone but L.B.J.! The police are placed on full alert, while the agents of SHIELD investigate the gaping hole an exploding egg left in its wake. Dum-Dum Dugan figures that this is one egg that failed to do its work, but Fury knows otherwise, and Sitwell figures that it was programmed to lure them here. When Jasper tells Nick that he shouldn't be out in the open, Fury tells him that he has to earn his pay somehow, and to clam up while he thinks. A hand appears from nowhere, with Dugan preparing to shoot, but the Colonel tells his men to hold their fire. Dugan reminds him that they haven't fought any invisible men before!

Nick asks who has an infra-red blaster on him, and Sitwell swiftly produces one... ZZZZZ They see their foe is wearing a prototype light-absorber, which removes all light in the normal spectrum... except for infra-red! Fury thanks Sitwell for the info, and wonders if he knows who the guy is, too!! The Druid introduces himself, and announces his plan to destroy every law-enforcement agency in the land! Nick is unimpressed and plans to settle the score for those flying eggs being dropped all the time. The Druid removes his now-useless light-absorber and warns that he has other devices, while Fury tells him that the only device he better have is a fully covered Blue Cross policy! (Holy H.M.O, Batman! I didn't know SHIELD was so acronym-happy!) The Colonel sounds confident, and the Druid is determined to change that. Nick is aware of the combination of druid mysticism and solid scientific know-how, while the villain boasts of spreading his druid revival across the nation like a flood! (Holy Woodstock, Batman!) RRAK! Nick scrapes his fist against the Druid's skin, which has been coated with a special substance... (Holy Selegue, Batman!)

His hand feels like it's been against liquid sandpaper... THWOK! The Druid has taken an elixir which enables him to deliver a blow with the force of a pile-driver! Nick tries to stay out of his way, while removing his own shirt! FTAK! As he wraps the torn fabric onto his fists, Fury is struck by the Druid! He must get up... he must! Even if he is beaten...SHIELD will continue the fight... and they'll beat him in the end, but... if he can beat him now... he'll be saving lots of lives! He can't let them down...! Dugan sees that Nick is fighting unarmed, while the Druid is using all sorts of tricks against him! Sitwell wants the Colonel to give the word for them to join the fight, but Nick wants to go it alone... in his own way! He knows that the Druid's men are probably watching, and must have Dum-Dum and the others zeroed in! The villain moves in for the kill... boasting that all will bow to him, and Fury points out that if talkin' won fights, the Druid would be king o' the hill by now, ya creep...!

He knows that it takes more than a big mouth --! One of the things ya gotta do is... never count a guy out while he's still with it ---! WHUPPFF! As Nick delivers this point, he lands a left to the Druid's bread-basket! BOK! The SHIELD director wonders wants the Druid's attention while he's talkin' at him! The villain is down... but what about his men?? Inside his car, Jasper Sitwell has come to the same conclusion that the Druid's men must be in the woods surrounding them! He activates the mine-thrower vehicle by ejecting the dummy-top! PTOOM! PTOOM! Both cylinders fire off simultaneously and Sitwell shouts, "Don't Yield!! Back SHIELD!!" In seconds, clouds of thick gaseous smoke pours through the wooded area on both sides of the road... (Holy Kerouac, Batman!) The sensi-gas is seeping into the woods, where it will be sure to flush out the Druid's men!

BOOM! RRRRRR CHUG CHUG CHUG! SSSSS PAKKA! PAKKA! THOOM! THOOM! An armada of surface-eggs come forth, each looking deadlier than the other! (Holy Easter Parade, Batman!) The SHIELD agents fall back with their rifles, while Dum-Dum rushes forward... PTOW! BAM! THAK! THIK! FTOOM! BTOW! He rushes for the noisy egg tank and its multi-turrets! Dugan attaches a plastic bomb on its side, and mutters that he hates carrying it because it makes his pockets bulge! KA-BOOM! Covering his ears, Dum-Dum has mock regrets over what's left of the egg tank.

TH-POW! The other agents assemble their bazookas and recoiless rifles from concealed components in their well-stocked cars! (Holy NASCAR, Batman! Is this another division of SHIELD?) One agent removes a cannon from the trunk of his car, while another comments that the Tony Stark designed weapon makes SHIELD the fastest-moving, most heavily armed law enforcement task force there is! After patting themselves on the back, they prepare to use this baby! THOOM! THTAK! THAKKA-THAKKA! The Druid see their leader has been beaten, and the Sam Rosen sound-effects are coming a trifle too close for their comfort now! Jasper Sitwell, now carrying every weapon he possibly can, leaps from a tree, and onto a passing Druid egg-shell tank... FOOF! He uses a simple smoke grenade and comments that this won't cost the taxpayers as much as a noisy, explosive grenade! As a guardian of the public trust, he must ever have the citizen's interests close to heart! He orders the men to come out in the name of Jasper Sitwell, agent of SHIELD!

Whether it is because of the smoke or his name, the agent is startled when the Druid's men comply! They see no reason in fighting now that the Druid has been beaten! With him gone, who will pay them their salary this week? They wonder if they will be eligible for unemployment insurance! The men are taken away, while Fury removes the Druid's hood, and the villain boasts that they haven't found his main headquarters yet! Nick isn't planning to lose any sleep over it! Ya seen one hangout, you've seen 'em all! He reminds the Druid that it's still open season SHIELD... but they haven't been beat yet... and they won't be as long as he's leading the outfit! Sitwell tells the Colonel that they haven't uncovered the Druid's true identity yet, and Nick suggests that he do just that! He suddenly realizes that Sitwell is certainly an eager-beaver, and he may become his boss before he knows it! As Jasper heads for his car, Dugan asks for Nick's thoughts, and Fury tells him that he's wondering how he'd feel... if they ever tried to replace him... with a younger guy!

On the cover, we see that Nick Fury is the kind of guy who won't hesitate to take the shirt off his own back... and use it to punch out the other guy!

This story shows the life model decoys getting a rough work out from the flying eggs! (Holy Hard Day's Night, Batman!)

Dr. No was a villain who would use native superstitions to keep people away from his secret headquarters on Crab Key. The Druid uses deceptive magic to conceal his headquarters in the woods.

Mentallo and the Fixer had attacked SHIELD in Strange Tales #141 - #143.

The mysterous group known as THEM would later be revealed to be A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics).

In 1966, The Sub-Mariner would become a pawn of the Secret Empire, while their operative, the Bombastic Boomerang, would cross paths with the Incredible Hulk in the pages of Tales To Astonish.

Also in 1966, the Super-Adaptoid would emerge as one of A.I.M.'s greatest creations, and would return to battle the likes of Captain America and the Avengers over the years to come.

If Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD were to have been a prime-time TV series, I would like to have seen William Shatner as Nick Fury, James Doohan as Dum-Dum Dugan, and Wally Cox as Jasper Sitwell.

Jack Kirby was the designer for this story, while Don Heck did a heck of a job on the main characters, which were ably embellished by Mike Esposito (Mickey Demeo), and Sam Rosen socked it to 'em with superb sound effects, which were second only to Artie Simek's.

This Review Is Dedicated To The Entire SAR List
Honorary SHIELD Agents all!

Steve Chung
"Lo! The Reviews Shall Hatch!"