Captain America and Nick Fury- Otherworld War
By Peter Hogan and Leonardo Manco
Otherworld War is one of those oddities of comics that is seldom talked about. Written by Peter Hogan, a writer at the time of publication mainly known for a Hellblazer mini-series and drawn by Leonardo Manco who was still associated with several outstanding Marvel Comics minis, the prestige format one-shot passed by many readers unnoticed. It’s a shame that it has not been reprinted since as Otherworld War is an interesting story that features some of my favorite characters interacting in a unique setting, WWII.
The story of Otherworld War centers on Nick Fury and Captain America who team up with Doctor Strange’s mentor to thwart the Red Skull’s attempt to gain access to otherworldly powers from another dimension. The battle is met in another realm that brings the dread Dormammu into the fold and also the Ancient One to make the conflict even. What follows is an unlikely Marvel Team-Up of epic proportions on several levels.
The adventure plays out both in the vintage war realm and on a higher metaphysical plane of consciousness made flesh by the great Steve Ditko back in the day and imitated since. That is not a slight to Manco who delivers solid artwork throughout what is obviously a challenging work, but more of a nod toward Marvel Editorial who have apparently recognized that the depiction of the magical realms by Ditko is so inspired that it should be treated as a road map to that other realm. The practical and grizzled Sgt. Fury from his Howling Commandos days is paired up with Captain America who at the time was regarded mainly as an urban myth mixed with a publicity stunt by the Army to encourage the US troops and scare off the enemy. As the WWII adventures of Sgt. Fury and his howling mad commandos arrived long after the Captain America yarns were penned, it is interesting to see the two characters mix at such a seminal point in their lives.
The artwork by Leonardo Manco is quite stunning and fits the level of drama perfectly as Hogan’s script is both entertaining and subtle, providing the ideal setting for these three unlikely cast members of the Marvel U to team up during the 1940’s. The imagery of the Red Skull is especially chilling and should serve as reference material for the current Captain America: The First Avenger feature film.
I stumbled upon the Otherworld War one-shot by accident. At the time, I was more attracted to comics that were shall we say more on the periphery of the mainstream. The teaming up of Fury and Cap intrigued me as I had enjoyed both characters in their interactions from the 1960’s by Steranko and Kirby. As it turns out, the purchase was a unique find and continues to this day to be a hidden gem in the annals of comicdom.
The recent Captain America specials published by Marvel have plumbed the possibilities of war-time adventures for the star-spangled Avenger, but Otherworld War is definitely an early contributor to such an edition. Still uncollected to my knowledge, if you happen to find a copy, make sure to pick one up!