Comic Book Review: Incredible Hercules #122

The Revolution finally gave Incredible Hercules a chance and absolutely fell in love with this title. I went to my local comic book shop and bought all the back issues of Incredible Hercules and read them in one sitting. I was hooked and quickly added this title to my permanent pull list. There is no doubt in my mind that Incredible Hercules #122 will be another fun read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Pencils: Clayton Henry
Inks: Salva Espin

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Namor attacking Hercules. Hercules thinks that Namor is attacking him because Herc is shagging Namora. Namor responds that he could care less about who his cousin sleeps with. Namor states that he wants to know what the Olympians are doing with Namor’s god: Poseidon.

Hercules and Namor begin brawling. Namor says that Poseidon has disappeared and now the Amazons, Herc’s fellow Olympians, have attacked Namor’s soldiers. And now Namor finds Hercules lording over the wreckage of an Altantean ship.

Hercules responds that he has not quarreled with his uncle Poseidon since Herc saved Poseidon’s son, Theseus, from the pits of Hades. Hercules says that he is honor bound to Poseidon to save him if he has been captured. However, Hercules says that he has never said “No” to a fight before.

Hercules continues to brawl with Namor. Their fight takes them under the water where Namor boasts that no one can beat him. Namora then streaks into the water and punches both men and tells them to stop fighting. Namora tells Namor that the Amazons attacked Hercules as well and abducted Hercules’ companion, Amadeus Cho. That the two men are on the same side.

Namor is stunned and looks at Hercules and asks him why he would waste time trading blows with Namor. Hercules smiles and shrugs it off saying that Cho needs no rescuing once he figures out what the Amazons have planned for him.

We cut to Triton Station, the Atlantean base that the Amazons took over in the last issue. We see Delphyne warning Cho that Amazons slay their paramours after they mate with them. Delphyne says that she is Artume’s handmaiden and that she can help Cho escape.

Cho ignores what Delphyne says and insists that he and Artume have created some real chemistry and that she likes him a lot. Cho says that he is the seventh smartest person on the planet and that he knows what he is doing. Delphyne busts out laughing at Cho’s statement about his intelligence. Cho is embarrassed when Delphyne asks him who told him such a thing. Cho sheepishly responds that it was a soap company contest.

Artume then enters the cambers and instructs Delphyne to leave. Artume then asks Cho if he can translate a tablet that she found in this Atlantean base. Cho cockily says that he can translate it quickly since he is built for speed. Cho then pauses and stammers that only in certain areas is he built for speed and not in others.

We shift to Hercules, Namor and Namora arriving outside of Triton Station. Namor readies his soldiers to storm the station and take out the Amazons. Hercules then offers the idea that they can catch more flies with honey and that Hercules should go in alone and that the lovely Queen Hippolyta will talk to him.

Namor asks Namora who is Hercules’ honey. Namora smiles and says that it is sweet enough. Namor tells Hercules that he has fifteen minutes and then Namor and his soldiers will attack and unleash the tempest.

Hercules zips off to enter the Triton Station and thinks how the tempest would scarcely match the storm that he and Hippolyta once made. We zip back in time to Themiscrya in the year 1270 B.C. Hercules’ ninth labor was to go steal Hippolyta’s girdle. (So was this the ancient Greek version of the modern day panty raid that college fraternities engage in?)

Hippolyta caught Hercules trying to steal her girdle. The minute the two looked at each other a fire sparked and they proceeded to have sex. Hera became jealous since she created the labors for Hercules to fail. Hera took the form of an Amazon and came to Earth and informed the Amazons that their queen was being abducted by Hercules. We then see a naked Hercules running from the island with his clothes in his hands as an army of Amazons chase after him.

Hercules arrives outside the window of Artume’s chambers. Cho spots Hercules out of the corner of his eye. Hercules gives a big goofy smile and a thumbs up sign. Cho gives Herc an irritated look and turns away from the window. Cho then continues to translate the tablet for Artume. Cho says that the tablet is telling the location of some unknown item. Cho says that the item is located under the water.

We see Hercules sneaking aboard the Triton Station. Hercules enters a large room where he sees Hippolyta’s head cut off and stuck on a pike in the middle of the room. Delphyne suddenly appears on the scene and attacks Hercules. Delphyne’s snakes in her hair bite Hercules’ eyes. Delphyne then states that Hercules is a seducer, a rake and a wife-killer. Delphyne then orders the rest of the Amazons to attack.

Hercules has been blinded due to the snake bites from the gorgon, Delphyne. Hercules continues to brawl with the Amazons. We cut to Artume’s chambers where Cho is showing the location of the item from the tablet on a large ocean map. Cho marks the spot on the map and then asks since they got this out of the way if it was time for some sugar. Artume responds by punching Cho and knocking him out.

We cut back to Hercules battling the Amazons. Hercules roars that it does not matter that he is blind. That the Lion of Olympus bows to no man or woman. Suddenly, Namora bust into the room and takes out all of the Amazons. Hercules asks if his fifteen minutes are already up.

We then see Namor and his Altantean soldiers entering the Triton Station. Namor radios Namora and informs her that the guards who were stationed at Triton Station have all been killed by the Amazons. One of the soldiers triggers a booby trap and a huge explosion takes out the Altantean soldiers.

We see Hercules and Namora entering Artume’s chamber and finding it empty. Namor then busts through the floor of the chamber. Namor is pissed and says that his soldiers have been killed by Hippolyta and her “she-terrorists.” Namor screams out for Hippolyta to show her face.

Hercules tells Namor to calm down. Hercules says that if Hipployta has done what Namor claims then she has already paid for it. Namor mutters that they should go check the brig. The three heroes storm to the brig and Namor rips open the large locked vault door to the brig.

Namor is stunned at what he sees. We see Poseidon chained up in the brig with an Amazon standing next to him. The Amazon places a gun up to Poseidon’s head and tells our heroes that if they take one more step then she will blow Poseidon’s brains out of his head. End of issue.
Comments
The Good: Incredible Hercules #122 was a blast to read. This title is nothing but pure fun and that makes it a real breath of fresh air from the typical doom and gloom that we seem to be getting on the majority of the comic books currently on the market. Van Lente and Pak do a great job capturing the essence of Hercules from his ancient tales and placing them into a modern context.

Incredible Hercules #122 was a nicely plotted issue. The writers keep the story focused and moving with a clear purpose while introducing several neat plot twists and turns along the way. We got the stunning reveal that Hippolyta is dead. This was well done as the sight of her severed head was in stark contrast to Hercules’ fond memory of his tryst with Hippolyta.

We also got another twist in the plotline involving Artume as it is revealed that she is after a mysterious ancient Atlantean artifact. I am sure that this mysterious item is going to turn out to be some terrible weapon. The writers continue to do a fine job fleshing out the contentious relationship that the Atlanteans and the Amazons have had through the years.

I dig the flashback scenes that the writers continue to give us in every issue. This is an effective literary tool to give more back-story about Hercules to newer readers. It gives readers a better feel for Hercules’ personality and why he acts the way that he does. And best of all these flashback scenes are done in a fashion that does not interrupt the flow of the story. The transitions to and from the flashback scene are nice and smooth.

Incredible Hercules #122 was well paced. This is a quick read, but not rushed. There is a pleasant flow to this issue. Incredible Hercules #122 certainly supplies tons of action as the reader never has to go more than a couple of pages without getting an action scene. Yet, at the same time, this issue is not a mindless brawlfest. This is a very hard thing to do but Pak and Van Lente manage to pull it off.  Also, a writer always earns bonus points in my book when they can work a sound effect like “Crakkajamma!” into a fight.  Classic.

Van Lente and Pak whip up plenty of great dialogue. Each character has a nice external voice. I absolutely love the fantastic sense of humor that the writers deliver in this issue. There are numerous moments that make the reader break out into a smile or chuckle. These moments are littered throughout the issue.

Some examples include Delphyne’s laughing at Cho’s statement that he is the seventh smartest person in the world according to a soap company contest was great. The moment when Hercules spies Cho in Artume’s chamber and Herc gives Cho a big cheesy smile and a thumbs up sign. And Cho’s irritated reaction was perfect. Cho’s nervous fumbling around Artume was funny and well done. It was great watching Cho trying to impress the Amazon and failing miserably at it.

And of course, my favorite which was the scene where Namor and Namora discuss just exactly how good Hercules’ honey is. The humor is nicely integrated within the context of the story and never feels shoehorned or out of place. All of the humorous moments are properly done without Hercules #122 de-evolving into a simple “Bwa-ha-ha-ha” issue.

The reader is treated to some solid character work. Up until now, I have always found Hercules to be a somewhat boring character. Often, Hercules came across a bit generic and nothing more than a poor man’s Thor. Not anymore. Pak and Van Lente have done an amazing job with Hercules and have made him an extremely fun and charismatic character. It is hard not to love this version of Hercules.

I dig that Van Lente and Pak are playing up Hercules as a simple minded brawler who loves a good adventure, drinking and bedding women. Hercules is rather hedonistic and it fits his character perfectly. This is a refreshing change of pace from your typical modern day comic book hero who is either damaged or traumatized in some way or they have a Spartan view of life and do not allow themselves to indulge in the riches of life.

Van Lente and Pak end Incredible Herc #122 with a great hook ending as we see that the Amazons have captured Poseidon and are about to kill the sea god. This certainly sets the stage for what should be another exciting and action packed story in the next issue.

Clayton Henry and Salva Espin combine to deliver plenty of solid artwork. Henry and Espin have a nice clean style of art that effectively conveys the story to the reader. Plus, Henry is great at nailing the facial expressions of the various characters.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: Incredible Hercules #122 was a fun romp. This is a great action adventure comic book that offers something different from your typical dark, moody and somber comic book that dominates the market. If you prefer titles that deliver more serious and intellectually engaging titles then Incredible Hercules #11 will probably not appeal to you.

Van Lente and Pak are not trying to re-invent the wheel with this title. They are not attempting to craft some literary masterpiece or deep story with this title. Instead, they are simply providing the reader what comic books were originally intended to do. And that is to give the reader a fun and entertaining diversion from the real world.

1 Comments

  1. I have to say, incredible herc is one of the best books that marvel is putting out, its up there with brubakers work on cap and daredevil. Sure, the story is not going to win any awards for literary greatness but it is just so much goddamn fun. I loved the panel where herc hits namor and the sound effect is CRACKAJAMMA! herc is like the older brother to cho, and it is hilarious. The thumbs up he gave him when he saw him with artume was perfect. If you had read the sacred invasion arc, their obligatory tie-in, then you would have seen that amadeus and herc really are best buddies and do care for each other alot, herc has alot of issues with amadeus joining him on his adventures, as his squires in the past have tended to meet ugly demises. The thing that makes amadeus different though is although he certainly looks up to hercules, cho is probably alot more mature and capable than his brawler of a best mate.
    -hobosk8er

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