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Strange Tales 155
"Death Trap!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND April, 1967

(Originally Reviewed On 08/14/01)

DON'T YIELD! Edited By: STAN LEE (Marvel's James Bond)

Written and Drawn By: JIM STERANKO (Marvel's Man Flint)

Lettered By: SAM ROSEN (Marvel's Secret Squirrel) BACK SHIELD!

Reviewed By: STEVE CHUNG
(SAR's Austin Powers)

Within the Heli-Carrier, Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, is getting his kicks and chops by taking on three Hydra Agents in hand-to-hand combat!

The vorti-center has been contacted to receive suspension discs at levels one and two, while an agent tells Fury that in moments they'll be safely aboard the heli-carrier and need not worry about a sneak attack from Hydra, but Nick knows that things aren't going to be that easy until Hydra's head is behind bars, but unbeknownst to him, The Supreme Hydra is by his side, disguised as Agent Bronson! (Holy Secret Agent Man, Batman!)

The heli-carrier is aloft once again,. with Fury and the others onboard, as a giant gun is to be taken to weapons research for analysis, but first, The SHIELD director has a message on the vue-communicator! (Holy View-Master, Batman!) He reports to the president that the V.I.P's are aboard and the weapons test will take place on the Q-Ray machine! Professor Anton Trojak, the machine's creator tells the others that the device will be able to end all warfare! (Holy N.R.A., Batman!) Nick intends to make certain of the last minute security precautions, while Professor Trojak may have some surprises of his own!

After the check, Nick retires to his room for some shuteye, but he is roused at the almost imperceptible sound of a group of Hydra agents, who enter from the ventilation ducts, and as they ready their weapons, Nick strikes first, kicking one down while chopping the other! Knowing that they will be reaching for their guns in the next moment, he decides to turn on the infra-red light system, and since he is wearing infra-red contacts, he'll be able to see while they'll be in the dark!

Number 7 and Number 11 fail to shoot down the SHIELD director, while Nick groans about having to face the 7-11 of Hydra Agents! Another moment and Nick kicks up and at them, while the two gunflashes are about to pinpoint his position, and in letting them believe that they have him in a crossfire, he leaps over one agent and both Hydra agents are down for the count! The SHIELD director is grim since whatever their mission was, it has died with them!

Nick has called together Jasper Sitwell, Gabe Jones, Dum Dum Dugan, and Agent Bronson, with the task of protecting the 12 important men aboard and the gadget known as the Q-Ray, and he wants to know how the two Hydra Agents came aboard! Jasper reminds him that after The Dreadnought attack, security was tightened, while Gabe points out that those Hydra guys are smart and wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't one in the room right now, while Dugan is confident that they'll smash Hydra, and Agent Bronson reminds Nick that Laura Brown has been fingered as being The Supreme Hydra! Fury stares at Bronson for a moment and knows that things aren't adding up, and tells them to meet him in the testing room in half an hour, and at the moment he's on his way to the autofac chamber to resolve a hunch. Once he has left the room, Agent Bronson turns to the other men and shows them the stone on his ring... looking deeper... ever deeper! (Holy Jagger, Batman! No evil will escape Bronson's sight!)

In the autofac chamber, Trojek, who is actually a Hydra Agent, receives a message from the Supreme Hydra and orders Fury destroyed! With the honor of killing Nick Fury on his hands, Trojek sets up the live electrode to the autofac panel, and conceals himself while Fury arrives and steps onto the floor, where he receives a massive electrical shock! Trojek sees that he's still conscious and binds Fury to the Q-Ray Machine, which is actually Hydra's Aphonic Bomb! (Holy Hooked on Phonics, Batman!) Trojek is a member of Hydra's Annihil-Agents and is familiar with advanced methods of treacherous tactics and super-terror techniques! (Hmm, I bet he's also a used car dealer and I.R.S. auditor, too!)

Nick revives to find himself bound spread-eagle on the machine and tries to force himself onto the edge to get some slack, and remembers Trojek's ramblings! Now free, he uses a lighter torch to cut through the floor, and fall through, just as the bomb goes off, but there's no sound to this explosion, as it is a new type of bomb! (Holy Light My Fire, Batman! Those cheroots must be hard to light, not to mention a soundless explosion meaning less work for Sam Rosen!)

With his electronic absorber in his pocket, he was able to survive the electrical jolt, and now knows that the Q-Ray Machine was bigger than a horse, not to mention actually being a Trojan Horse! As he makes his way down the halls, and thinks about the government men in danger, a trio of Hydra Agents unleash a gas grenade, with Nick losing his sense of balance, and when his vision focuses he sees that Gabe and Dum Dum are holding him, while Jasper Sitwell prepares to shoot him down! (Holy Greenjeans, Batman!)

As he prepares to pull the trigger, Sitwell begins to sweat, his will fighting the hypnotic programming, but as it grips him once again, Nick tells him to pull the trigger, while on the outside of the weapons room, Agent Bronson waits for Trojek to activate the Q-Ray machine and slaughter the government men, while he makes a quick getaway! Believing Fury to be finished, he remembers how he switched places with the real Bronson after using the E-M machine (Epiderm-Mask), just as Trojek demonstrates how the device can break down the molecular structure of any object, scattering its atoms, and giving them the privilege of being its next target! (Holy Christopher Chance, Batman! They're going to be human targets!)

Crashing through the dome of the research room, Nick Fury tells Trojek that no Hydra Agent will succeed while on his watch (and all this before landing on the ground!) while Trojek wonders how he escaped the trap and his fellow hypnotized agents! Since they are loyal agents of SHIELD, they would not betray the organization, much less kill him! Trojek tells him that once the Q-Ray is activated, it cannot be stopped! Nick brushes past him and overloads the device's circuits! ZZZZZZZZZZFFFFFTTTT!

The heli-carrier begins to wobble, as Nick boxes with Trojek, and The SHIELD director is knocked aside while the hull begins to buckle, and Trojek whoops a "HAIL HYDRA!" KA VROOOM! The Q-Ray machine explodes, knocking Nick back like a leaf in the wind, while the heli-carrier begins to capsize, and the engine room begins to report loss of power, as crash velocity is building up... Nick grabs a headset and tells the engine room to activate the vortex beam and set it for full reverse!

A triangle of vortex beams cut a swath and holds the heli-carrier aloft, while the generators are to be repaired! A technician reports that full power will be restored and that Laura Brown's body was found in the autofac room! Nick has her unconscious form in his arms, intending on taking her to an emergency room for treatment, and knows that things aren't adding up with her wearing a Hydra uniform! A call from the president tells Nick that he's confined to quarters, and as he tells the commander-in-chief that Laura need medical attention, he is told that Agent Bronson will take her in the saucer ship, while Jones, Sitwell, and Dugan are currently unfit for duty! Nick knows that this attack was just a prelude and Hydra is setting them up for a large assault, one which is beyond their reckoning!

A captivating cover, as Nick Fury shows Hydra that he won't give up the ship!

This was the first appearance of the vortex beam, and luckily for Nick , this wasn't the last time!

Thanks to a red light bulb, Nick Fury is able to beat two agents of Hydra!

Villainous Hydra agents seem to prefer sunglasses,not to mention hypnotic rings!

The soundless explosion would seem to fit in with December's Silent Night plans which Marvel has for its writers, and more importantly, its letterers! (Holy Orzechowski, Batman!)

Jasper proves that even under hypnosis, he won't give up his ideals and kill his friend! He is the counterpart to Jimmy Olsen, who also has been hypnotized by The Phantom Zoners to kill his pal, Superman, with identical results!

Laura Brown certainly looks good in a Hydra uniform!

This Review is dedicated to Tom Orzechowski Top SHIELD Agent in their Cryptography Department

Steve Chung
"Death Trap Review!"