Comic books are getting darker and darker everyday. The battles are getting far more violent and graphic. When before they shot someone being shot, they wouldn’t show the person’s intestinal track bring blown apart. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve dropped pretty much everything. So this is when I look back through my older comics and remember what it was that I loved about comics.
That’s when I rediscovered the Incredible Hercules. Greg Pak, the brilliant comic book writer behind Planet Hulk and World War Hulk, had Hercules take over Hulk’s main comic line: The Incredible Hulk. I’ve never seen anything like it… Hercules taking over the Hulk’s comic. Greg filled every issue with magic and whimsy. It was.. my god.. it was indescribably good.
This was a story of Hercules and his sidekick Amadeus Cho (the 7th smartest person in the world). Herc was the brawn and Amadeus was the brains. Kind of. It read as two good friends who were on a fun adventure. I have a real weakness for buddy adventures. And with this, Pak found something special.
Pak took Hercules…. a demigod who existed in the shadow of everyone…. and made him relevant. He wasn’t as strong as the Hulk. He wasn’t as popular as Thor. He wasn’t a good leader like Captain America. He was laughable and ignored. Heck, they emphasized that in the comic. Take a look at the picture below for that one. Somehow he took this character and made him popular. Truly, actually popular.
There’s a lot to praise about this comic series. The art is exquisite. The coloring is vibrant. Heck, the sound effects! Oh man, they bring every scene to life. It carries the humor and power of the fights. I’ll show you my personal favorite picture montage of Thorcules (Herc dressed up as Thor) beating the crap out of Hercuthor (Thor dressed up as Hercules) that I think captures it perfectly.
First of all, Hercules has every reason in the world to be pissed off at Thor. Hercules is the anti-Thor. Where Thor is prim, proper, and noble… Hercules has boyish charm and cheats like a mother f*cker. Thor was always viewed as “better” because he fit the heroic mold far better. Worse, Hercules was forced to play at Thor’s sidekick and/or background character for decades! Decades!!! This series of pictures is Hercules letting off a hell of a lot of steam… and Hercules is fighting as only Herc can… by giving Thor a nurple!
But of course….
This wasn’t just Hercules’ story, as I said before. It was also Amadeus’ story as well. Amadeus started off in the gray area. He idolized the Hulk. People were afraid that he would end up emulating the Hulk’s worst characteristics. Him ending up with Hercules wasn’t exactly much better, as Herc had a slight temper problem as well. But as Herc found out, when Amadeus gets upset, he destroys just as well as the Hulk does.
We get to see Hercules become something of a mentor to Amadeus, teaching him what it means to be a man and a hero… in his own, unique way.
I’m trying to summarize what was an incredibly awesome journey. At the end of the journey, Amadeus was no longer the rage-filled kid that was a giant threat. He became a cool, confident hero that knew exactly what he needed to do to succeed.
I plan on revisiting this series to go through storyarc by storyarc. It’s good enough to deserve that. If you ever have a chance to pick it up, you definitely should. It’s The Incredible Hercules from issue 112 – 141. It’s one of the best, exciting, funny, and rewarding rides you will ever take in a comic book.