Son of World War I pilot Jack Fury, Nick Fury became a legendary hero in the early years of World War II, taking missions into Europe alongside his friend Red Hargrove, under the command of Lt. Samuel Sawyer. During a mission in Holland, Fury, Hargrove and Sawyer befriended circus strongman Timothy "Dum-Dum" Dugan who became a close friend. Hargrove was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor that led the US to officially enter the war on December 7, 1941, Fury fought the Nazis in Northern Africa, then was reunited with Captain Sawyer, who made Sgt. Fury the leader of the US Rangers’ First Attack Squad, soon nicknamed the “Howling Commandos” for their boisterous battle cry. Dugan served as Fury’s second-in-command and became his closest friend. The Howlers occasionally worked alongside Captain America (Steve Rogers) and Bucky (James Barnes), who became significant allies. During one mission, Fury’s left eye was damaged by a grenade and his lack of medical care eventually aggravated the wound. At one point, Professor Berthold Sternberg gave Fury the “Infinity Formula,” which retarded Fury’s aging process, although it required him to take regular injections to stay alive. Late in the war, Fury joined the OSS and with the war’s end joined their post-war CIA agency.
In recent years, Fury was selected as director of SHIELD, an international intelligence agency equipped with state-of-the-art technology by Tony Stark. Fury recruited many of the Howlers to the organization, notably Dum Dum. As leader of SHIELD, Fury faced the likes of Hydra, AIM, Scorpio (his own brother Jacob) and the Hate-Monger (Adolf Hitler’s clone). Fury was reunited with Captain America, who survived years in suspended animation, and the two rekindled their friendship. When SHIELD was beset by a conspiracy at its highest level by the Deltite, Fury allowed the organization to disband and later rebuilt it as a smaller unit he could more closely monitor. Fury also discovered he had a son, Mikel, who took the identity of Scorpio at first, but later joined SHIELD. When Fury learned of a conspiracy by Latverian Prime Minister Lucia von Bardas to equip super villains with specialized weaponry, he led a team of super heroes into Latveria for a first strike. Von Bardas survived the attack and in retaliation assaulted Manhattan with an army of super villains whose combined technology created an anti-matter bomb, which Fury’s superhuman protégé Quake (Daisy Johnson) stopped. Disgraced for his actions, Fury went into hiding and soon learned of a Skrull invasion which had infiltrated even the ranks of Earth’s heroes. Needing people he could trust, Fury recruited Quake and various other young superhumans into his Secret Warriors and helped defeat the Skrulls. In the battle’s aftermath, Norman Osborn gained mastery of SHIELD and replaced it with his own agency, HAMMER. Fury kept his Secret Warriors together to combat HAMMER and uncovered data alleging SHIELD had been a pawn of Hydra since its inception. Dum Dum gathered many of the ex-SHIELD agents loyal to Fury into the Howling Commandos Private Military Company and Fury helped set them up as his personal army.