While there are plenty of superheroes in the Marvel Comics Universe who have pledged themselves to save the Earth from a whole manner of threats, there is one organization who provide the backbone to that protection, using advanced technology to stop attacks before they happen.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is an organization committed to counter-terrorism and danger from around the world, infiltrating dangerous factions with their own brand of espionage and never shying away from a tricky situation. While you may think you know everything, we look at 10 things you didn't know about Nick Fury's extraordinary brand of law enforcers and special agents.
10 Many Organisations Operate Within S.H.I.E.L.D.
It's no surprise that S.H.I.E.L.D. has a lot of different organizations running within its ranks, all assigned to deal with the multitude of threats that exist within the galaxy. S.W.O.R.D. deals with extraterrestrial enemies, W.A.N.D. combats the magical elements, and A.R.M.O.R. monitors various alternate realities.
S.T.A.K.E. watches over the supernatural, while EuroM.I.N.D. is a subsidiary tasked with keeping an eye on European dangers, later being absolved by S.H.A.P.E. With every base covered, S.H.I.E.L.D. manages to keep a watchful eye on every possible act of defiance, even if it means the acronyms are a bit too over-the-top.
9 Nick Fury Didn't Start S.H.I.E.L.D.
When you think of S.H.I.E.L.D., you think of Nick Fury. The two are like bread and butter, but the organization was actually started without Nick Fury's knowledge. While Fury had the idea, it was kick-started after the United Nations put forward the idea to the U.S. government in an attempt to combat the villainous group Hydra.
Fury was soon handed the reigns, becoming Public Director, but it was Rick Stoner who was the inaugural leader until he was assassinated. Nick Fury often took an active lead on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s missions in the field, employing some of the people he worked with during World War II when he was a member of the Howling Commandos.
8 S.H.I.E.L.D. Had Famous Historical Members In A Very Early Incarnation
The most notable backstory for the organization was that it was formed shortly after World War II to combat Hydra, but S.H.I.E.L.D. has been around for centuries keeping Earth safe. Dating back to Egyptian times, it was formed by Imhotep to stop an attack from the insectoid race known as the Brood.
Other notable members joined in the following centuries, such as Archimedes, Galileo, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Sir Isaac Newton. Long before Iron Man, Nick Fury, and Captain America, the Brotherhood of the Shield stopped the likes of the Kree and Galactus from taking over the Earth, using their superior knowledge to protect the world.
7 S.H.I.E.L.D. Has Many Different Meanings
In the very beginning, S.H.I.E.L.D. stood for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, and Law Enforcement Division, but after the LMDs infiltrated them, the original organization was dissolved and reassembled as the Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage, and Logistics Directorate.
They've also been known as something else in one of Marvel Comics' alternate timelines. In the Mutant X event, they were known as Saviors of Humanity by Intervention in the Evolution of Life-Form Deviants due to their goal of wiping out mutants, thanks to Grayson Creed's twisted view on the world.
6 Bruce Wayne Was Once A Member
In the Amalgam Universe, Marvel and DC joined forces to bring us some interesting takes on famous superheroes and villains. Along with characters such as Super-Soldier (Superman and Captain America), Dark Claw (Batman and Wolverine), and Spider-Boy (Superboy and Spider-Man), S.H.I.E.L.D. gained a rather famous member.
Bruce Wayne: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 saw the billionaire playboy team up with Nick Fury to take down Hydra and the Green Skull. Bruce Wayne's parents were spies who were killed by members of Hydra, so he joined the organization to exact revenge on the ones who killed them.
5 S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier Was Created By Marvel Comics' Greatest Minds
The famous headquarters of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the helicarrier. Worried that a HQ built on land would be an easy target for Hydra, it was constructed to be the command center for the defense agency among the clouds with the hopes that it wouldn't be found by their enemies.
There have been plenty of helicarriers over the years, featuring various upgrades and purposes. But there was one planned by Stark Industries, designed by three of the best minds in the Marvel Comics Universe—Tony Stark, the mutant Forge, and lead member of Marvel's first family, Reed Richards—with its goal to be the base of operations for Nick Fury's intelligence organization.
4 S.H.I.E.L.D. Has Both Opposed Mutants & Been Led By Them
In the House of M event, S.H.I.E.L.D. was composed mainly of mutants, led by Sebastian Shaw—leader of New York's Hellfire Club and benefactor of the Sentinel Program. The elite unit within S.H.I.E.L.D. known as the Red Guard was run by Wolverine and included members like Rogue, Nightcrawler, and Mystique.
Mutant X sees another version become an anti-mutant organization put together by Grayson Creed, and once again led by Nick Fury. Its main goal was to rid the world of all mutants and super-powered humans. In this alternate universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for Saviors of Humanity by Intervention in the Evolution of Life-form Deviants.
3 They've Been Infiltrated More Times Than They Should've
For saying they're supposed to be leaders in defense AND intelligence, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by multiple enemies who have all been capable of outsmarting them numerous times. S.H.I.E.L.D. broke down after a team of life model decoys infiltrated them, as well as Hydra, but thankfully Nick Fury managed to beat them.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it was revealed that Hydra had been within their ranks for years. During the Secret Invasion story arc, the shape-shifting aliens known as the Skrull manage to pose as agents in an attempt to try and mine vibranium from the Savage Lands.
2 Norman Osborn Built H.A.M.M.E.R. From Their Ashes
We all know Norman Osborn is one of the most evil villains in the entire Marvel Comics Universe, but he's also one of the smartest. In the wake of the events during Secret Invasion, S.H.I.E.L.D. was disbanded by the President of the United States, which led to Osborn forming H.A.M.M.E.R.
He used his Thunderbolts to become the Dark Avengers, all becoming villainous versions of Earth's Mightiest Heroes including Venom, Bullseye, and Ares. Once Osborn's intentions became public after the Siege of Asgard, Captain America was able to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. once more, restoring the organization and creating the Secret Avengers.
1 Nick Fury Hasn't Been The Only S.H.I.E.L.D. Director
Not only does it take intelligence and strength, but it also takes a strong will and a thick skin to lead Marvel's top defense agency. But Nick Fury hasn't been the only top dog at S.H.I.E.L.D. since the agency was formed. Maria Hill once took over after Fury became a fugitive following his actions in Latveria when he hid an assault on the country from the U.S. government.
Tony Stark also took charge of the organization for a brief time, doing a pretty decent job and even creating a helicarrier that shared the red and gold of his famous Iron Man armor. After Norman Osborn failed while in charge of H.A.M.M.E.R., Captain America was responsible for building a new agency from the ground up.