Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1Review

Fall of an Avenger 1 b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Hercules: Fall of An Avenger

Issue #1

Written by 


Fall of an Avenger #1I have a confession to make: I really don’t like funeral issues in superhero comics. Back when you had guys like Captain Marvel or the Flash die, it was a big deal and warranted a special issue, but since the 1990s death has been way too common and resurrections far too cheap to create the feeling of emotional gravity to make such an issue work. So please keep this in mind as I critique Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1.

The issue is very much standard fare for a remembrance story, with a bunch of heroes gathering in Greece to tell tales of their experience with the Prince of Power. There’s a bit of a continuity gaffe as Amadeus criticizes Athena for smiling rather than crying when Hercules fell. This is way different from what we saw in The Incredible Hercules #141, where Athena wept openly despite being the real reason Herc bit the dust.

For a story that has a distinct lack of action, there are at least some fun moments to be had, such as the many lovers of Hercules (which apparently includes Northstar) remembering his…exploits. There’s also Thor remembering a drinking contest between Herc and the giants, which was equally fun. Bruce Banner, now depowered due to events over in The Incredible Hulk, is on hand not because he remembers Herc well (it was the Hulk who had most of their interactions) but to support Amadeus.

The art here is handled by Ariel Olivetti, whose style is something you either love or hate. I personally like it, but it is a break in style from the art on the previous series, so some people might not enjoy the more cartoonish look of the characters.

This series will get a second issue as Athena makes Amadeus the new head of the Olympus Group, which should be interesting. The virgin goddess has really gone all out to make sure Amadeus has all the tools he needs to become the new Prince of Power, but it’s only a matter of time before her treachery gets discovered.

For a change, the Agents of Atlas backup story is much more my speed, as Venus and Namora are tasked with consolidated Hercules’ assets and consoling his many lost loved ones. I think this is actually more powerful than the main story because instead of having a bunch of superheroes who can expect their buddy to come back any day now, we get the views of normal people who have lost Hercules for good. We also get to see Venus handle the fact that instead of just being the bringer of sweet emotions, she now has to handle all the aspects of love, including the sadness that comes from the loss of a loved one.

Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1 is standard fare for funeral issues, but it only really works if we as readers suspend our disbelief enough to buy into the notion that he’s really gone and not coming back (which we know to be false). The backup story has some good emotional weight to it, and the main tale has at least a bit of humor. Amadeus becoming Herc’s replacement should be interesting, so the story is at least going somewhere. I just hope it gets there before Herc’s inevitable resurrection.

Planet Hulk #2 Review

Planet Hulk 2 b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Planet Hulk

Issue #2

Written by Greg Pak and Sam Humphries with Art by Takeshi Miyazawa, Leonard Kirk, Rachelle Rosenberg and Jordan Boyd

Published: June 2015

Planet Hulk #2Planet Hulk #2 helps to ground us in Steve Rogers’ new reality since Doom reshaped the universe. We find that Steve was friends with Bucky but was not the first and only super soldier, instead joining a pre-established program at Bucky’s request.

Steve met Doc Green last issue, and we find out now that he’s got the same general personality as the Hulk we last saw in the Marvel Universe, albeit without the tendency to spout pop culture references. He seems benevolent enough, but also spends time tormenting a gammafied creature as part of what I assume to be a science experiment, much to Steve’s consternation.

The issue doesn’t explore the relationship between Steve and Devil Dinosaur, which I find to be quite a shame. I’d really like to know how the two got together as a team and why the dinosaur is so fiercely loyal to Steve.

Aside from some character interaction early on in the story, including some philosophizing from Doc Green about Doom’s origins, this issue spends a lot of time introducing us to the monsters of the Green. They are admittedly not terribly inspired, as they mostly seem to be normal animals pumped up on gamma radiation. On the other hand, their existence does mean that Doc Green and Steve get to outrun gamma bulls, so I kind of feel that the issue is worth it just for that bizarre image.

The issue does a good job of setting up the Green as a place that Steve wouldn’t be able to survive on his own, making it quite apparent that Doom sent him on a suicide mission. Whether he recognizes it or not, Steve states that he plans to eventually bring the fight to Doom. This would be a fun thing to see happen, but we again run into the problem that event comics face in that we know nothing earth-shattering is actually going to happen in a tie-in.

While Planet Hulk #2 does a decent job of setting the mood and putting Steve to his mission in earnest, the book feels very light in terms of content. This is partly because there are a lot of panels with no dialogue in them. While action-packed art can work just as well as dialogue in some cases, this doesn’t seem to be the case here. Panels of Steve and Doc Green running through a jungle or jumping over an obstacle don’t seem to have much oomph narratively, which makes the whole thing a very short read.

All told, Planet Hulk #2 could have stood to include more substance. On the other hand, if you enjoy seeing gamma monsters (including a doozy of a beast at the end of this issue) and plenty of Devil Dinosaur, this is an issue worth checking out.

Planet Hulk #1 Review

Planet Hulk 1 b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Planet Hulk

Issue #1

Written by Greg Pak and Sam Humphries with Art by Takeshi Miyazawa, Leonard Kirk, Rachelle Rosenberg and Jordan Boyd

Published: May 2015

Planet Hulk #1Marvel’s Secret Wars event treads some dangerous ground because it directly invokes some of the biggest and most classic runs in the company’s history. That means the people following up on those runs had better do their best to live up to the classic stories. As a case in point, one of the mini-series associated with the event is Planet Hulk.

Planet Hulk is a modern classic that ran through 2006 and 2007, led into the World War Hulk event, and put writer Greg Pak on the map for a lot of people. The beginning was basically the Hulk tossed into the role of Maximus in Gladiator, but it dealt with a lot of aspects of the character and provided an experience that was unlike anything else the Hulk had been through.

Instead of Greg Pak and Carlo Pagulayan, this miniseries has Sam Humphries on writing duties and Marc Laming on art. And instead of the Hulk taking the lead role, we find Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, forced into gladiatorial battle alongside Devil Dinosaur. Make no mistake, though – the Hulk plays a role in this series, largely through the presence of a whole tribe of Hulk-like monsters that controls an area known as The Green.

The Gladiator vibe that kicked off the original Planet Hulk is definitely in full swing here, as we kick off with Steve Rogers winning a death match in an arena. The only thing that vaguely bugs me is that I miss the days when death wasn’t so common in superhero stories, and seeing Captain America killing people in an arena feels bleak to me on a meta level.

Steve is looking for Bucky, who has gone missing. His attempt to find him unfortunately winds up getting Doom angry, and thus he’s forced to go on a journey into the Green, “where all is gamma.” Once there, he runs afoul of some Hulks before making the acquaintance of a big green, highly intelligent Hulk. While this issue isn’t explicit about it, it seems highly likely that this is “Doc Green,” the original Hulk who theoretically died with the destruction of the multiverse at the start of this event.

The setup for this issue is pretty solid, with a quick introduction to the world and Steve’s situation without a lot of clunky dialogue or exposition needed to get us acclimated. By having Steve desperately searching for Bucky, whom we know of as somebody dear to Cap’s heart, the story doesn’t fall into the common trap of telling us how much an off-screen character means without actually showing us.

The art is likewise very solid. It doesn’t match the beauty of Pagulayan’s original arc, but it does the job well and gives us a gritty world where daily survival seems more of a challenge than a guarantee.

I’m not going to lie, though – for me, the real charm of this tale is Steve Rogers riding Devil Dinosaur through a world of Hulks. Planet Hulk drew a lot of inspiration from Robert E. Howard-style pulp fantasy tales, and this series looks like it will do the same.

The backup story in this issue is a bit weaker, despite being written by the original Planet Hulk scribe Greg Pak. This one is a different reality where Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho seem to be using gamma technology to make the world a better place. They wind up having to stop some gamma missiles here, and things go awry near the end of the issue. This is a zany and fun adventure, but it seems to be another platform for Pak to show off Amadeus Cho more than anything else.

With the pacing of modern comics, it’s tough to know whether a series will turn out solid after a single issue. Still, Planet Hulk #1 definitely leaves me with a good feeling.

Future Imperfect #5 Review

Future imperfect 5 b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Future Imperfect

Issue #5

Written by Peter David with Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard

Published: October 2015

Future Imperfect #5Future Imperfect #5 wraps up the look into the Maestro’s part of the Secret Wars world as well as his reign in Dystopia. The story is a little simplistic but does provide a lot of action and entertainment, not to mention a fun twist ending.

Confronted by the Ancient One who happens to be a century-old Rick Jones, the Maestro finds, much to his surprise, that there is no test or battle awaiting him in order to get access to the Destroyer. Instead, Rick just hands over access to the god-killing robot. There’s just one catch – Doom is on the way to deal with the intruder.

Before Doom heads into battle against the Maestro, the big green guy enters the Destroyer. The result is a pretty cool redesign as we get a mashup of the Maestro and the Destroyer, ready to stomp Doom out of existence. And, surprisingly, that’s exactly how the battle goes – combined with the Destroyer’s might, the Maestro easily outmatches Doom. However, there is a twist.

I’m not going to give away the twist ending, but suffice to say that Doom isn’t as dead as he initially seems to be. That shouldn’t really be much of a surprise – nobody was going to kill the guy in a side book.

What I will say about the twist is that it is entertaining to an extent. On the other hand, it’s the type of twist that yanks the carpet out from under the readers, since we have to go through several pages before finding out that we haven’t really been seeing what’s happening.

One thing that definitely does bother me about this issue is the fact that the gang who have followed the Maestro on his quest, the folks who just watched a friend die in battle, just sort of walk away at the end of the story. These are people who were willing to try to overthrow Doom, but then they just cut bait and leave. Admittedly, they do get some degree of what they want, since the Maestro is no longer in their home of Dystopia, but it still feels like there should be some follow-up that isn’t happening there.

So where does this unexpected ending leave the Future Imperfect miniseries? Well, first of all, it’s a far cry from the original in terms of impact. Truly classic stories usually tell us something about ourselves. The original provided us with a nightmare scenario – imagine that you are destined to become a reflection of the worst aspects inside you. What would you do to stop that?

By comparison, this new Future Imperfect miniseries doesn’t tell us all that much, except maybe a well-worn parable about the dangers of hubris. This is not a story that people will be coming back to decades down the line. However, it is a tale that is entertaining as a whole. As long as you go into the series realizing that you’re about to invest $20 in an event comic that, due to the nature of tie-ins in the industry, won’t have any major impact on the actual event, you should be fine.

In the end, Future Imperfect #5 caps off a fun but ultimately imperfect miniseries. It’s good entertainment for what it is, but it’s a far cry from the deep and impactful tale that it takes its name from.

Future Imperfect #4 Review

Future imperfect 4 b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Future Imperfect

Issue #4

Written by Peter David with Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard

Published: September 2015

Future Imperfect #4Future Imperfect #4 highlights both the strong points and the few weak points that I think Peter David has as a writer. Make no mistake – he’s one of the top guys in the industry today. However, even the best have their flaws.

This issue is notable in that it’s one of the few times we’ve seen the Maestro as the protagonist rather than the antagonist. Sure, it’s all a part of his plan for universal domination, but he’s the one pushing the plot forward now instead of the obstacle the heroes must overcome.

The strengths of this issue are in the dialogue and character interaction. One specific great moment includes the Thing almost walking off the mission because the Maestro is foolish enough to believe that he can outwit Doom.

To take on Doom and conquer the universe, the Maestro needs the Destroyer. This is actually the second time he’s gone for the thing – he had previously used it to take on the Hulk in Peter David’s late 1990’s run. This time he’s got to go through Thor’s old foe Ulik, and boy does he ever.

The fight between the Maestro and Ulik is brutal and quick, with the Maestro dominating from start to finish. You could make an argument that the protagonist of the story shouldn’t be so invulnerable, but it also doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Maestro to have much trouble against a Hulk-level foe when he’s proven himself time and again to be stronger and more dangerous than previous incarnations of the Hulk.

Moreover, it’s necessary for the Maestro to trash his foes like this, because he’s being built up as the one guy who can take on Doom. That means he’s got to be formidable enough that he might be able to defeat the creator of the Secret Wars universe. So essentially, this issue is taking the necessary step of showing the Maestro as the number two baddie in all of creation.

One of the few real weaknesses of Peter David’s writing style, in my opinion, is his reliance on continuity that alienates some readers. We see this on display near the end of the issue as we meet old man Rick Jones from the Future Imperfect timeline. His appearance is handled as a cliffhanger, and it’s a big one to long-time Hulk fans. I do question, however, whether people who are less familiar with the original Future Imperfect story from the 1990’s would have any reaction other than, “Who’s the old guy?”

The ending may seem to be a bit anticlimactic for people who don’t know what old man Rick Jones looks like, but otherwise this is a solid issue. There’s not much drama to the fight, but it does go a long way toward establishing the ultimate confrontation, which will be the Maestro taking on a Doom with god-like powers.

Future Imperfect #2 Review

Future imperfect 2 b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Future Imperfect

Issue #2

Written by Peter David with Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard

Published: July 2015

Future Imperfect #2Dr. Doom may have created a brave new multiverse, but as we find out in Future Imperfect #2, the Hulk and the Thing are still a main event. The fight also ends in about as predictable a format as one can imagine, with poor Ben Grimm getting clobbered again.

Well, that’s not entirely true. See, the Thing in Dystopia isn’t Ben Grimm. Instead, it’s Thunderbolt Ross.

Personally, I’m happy that Ross isn’t the Red Hulk here, although I’m not sure turning him into the Thing was really all that necessary. Yes, there is a certain iconic nature to the Hulk fighting the Thing, but disassociating the puny rock-man from Ben Grimm is like presenting us with a Superman that isn’t Clark Kent.

Aside from my misgivings on that point, the issue focuses first of the origin of this new Thing (which is basically just the Fantastic Four’s origin but with Glenn Talbot and Thunderbolt Ross sitting in the place of the traditional foursome), then moves into a massive battle that has all the power and impact that you’d expect out of these two super-strong bitter enemies.

For the second issue in a row, the art is pretty solid. There are certain points where Greg Land’s flaws shine through, but overall his pencils work pretty well. The colors are terrific, giving us a real sense of the wasteland that Dystopia is even when the barren landscape isn’t featured on panel.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot else going on here. It seems like in an older era, this whole fight would be done after about four or five pages. Instead, we get a lot of splash pages and very little story, which can be a bit much for a book that costs $3.99.

On the bright side, the end of the issue is something that catches the audience’s attention – the Maestro is interested in more than just squashing a rebellion. He actually wants to recruit those rebels in an attempt to take down Doctor Doom and become the ruler of this Battleworld. That motivation, combined with the glimpses of the upcoming Contest of Champions series which features the Maestro in a major role, adds some intrigue to the coming issues. And with Peter David at the helm, the story is almost certainly going to have a pay-off.

In the end, Future Imperfect #2 is a decent action piece, but I don’t know that it provides enough entertainment to justify the cover price. However, the story is good enough so far to give a little benefit of the doubt, especially considering Peter David’s reputation and his ability to spin excellent and intriguing plots. It’s very likely that this series will continue to be one of the best things coming out of the Secret Wars event.

Future Imperfect #1 Review

Future imperfect  b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Future Imperfect

Issue #1

Written by Peter David with Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard

Published: June 2015

Future Imperfect #1Marvel’s “Secret Wars” event is all about drawing upon the strength of the great stories of the past, and there are few Hulk stories greater than Future Imperfect. This two-issue miniseries featured a reverse-Terminator scenario where the Hulk was pulled into the future to face off against his evil alternate self, the Maestro. In a frightening and powerful story, we got to see the Hulk face his worst nightmare: a future where he becomes the monster everybody says he is.

It’s natural to want to go back to that well, and who better to do it than the guy who wrote the original series and who spent more than a decade telling classic Hulk stories? Peter David is back with Future Imperfect #1, which brings back the Maestro’s Dystopia with one important change: there’s no Hulk here to try to break the evil ruler’s grip on civilization.

There is a resistance, led by Rick Jones’ descendant Janis, who is a welcome sight who had previously fallen off the face of Marvel Earth when Peter David quit the Hulk’s main book more than a decade and a half ago. We don’t learnt too much about the rebellion, though, because most of their time is spent with the Maestro crashing the party and smashing everybody in sight.

The Maestro manages to show off his brains to infiltrate the rebel base, and it almost seems too easy. Without giving up too much about his plan, it’s important to note that this is a thinking Hulk – one with Bruce Banner’s intelligence and the ability to transform back and forth at will. Despite that, most people who see the Hulk see a powerful green monster who loves to smash – who would expect subterfuge from a guy like that? By using this perception, the Maestro is able to make the infiltration seem easy, but it never seems unbelievable to the audience.

Peter David has a certain writing style that you either love or hate. However, since he is the creator of the Maestro, he’s also very comfortable with the character’s voice. He shows us a deadly, intelligent, and murderous Hulk that can be truly frightening, and he slides into the writing style he established for this character more than 20 years ago with practised ease.

On the art end, we’ve got Greg Land doing the pencils, which is a far cry from the terrific work that George Perez did on the original miniseries in the 90s. Although I’m no big fan of Land’s work, he seems to have picked up his game for this series. There are a few panels where a character’s expression is obviously traced from somewhere else (which is the main critique of Land), but for the most part the art works well and provides a good feel not only for the setting but also for characters like Janis who have a well-defined look from previous stories.

The bulk of Future Imperfect #1 is spent setting up a fight between the Maestro and this universe’s version of the Thing, but this is a well-paced opening issue that introduces the setting very well without relying on clumsy narration or exposition.

Whenever Peter David gets writing a version of the Hulk, it’s very much worth checking out. Future Imperfect #1 sets the stage very effectively and gives hope that this is going to be one of the better miniseries to come out of “Secret Wars.”

The Incredible Hercules #140 Review

Herc 140 b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

The Incredible Hercules

Issue #140

Written by Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak with Art by Gabriel Hardman, Guillem Mari, Rodney Buchemi and Will Quintana

Published: February 2010

Hercules #140The Incredible Hercules #140 continues the struggle against Hera’s machinations and ups the stakes even further with treachery, obsession, and the impending apocalypse. Hercules and Amadeus have a reunion of sorts and Delphyne shows her true colors, switching allegiance to protect the person she just turned to stone.

As soon as Athena is petrified, Hephaestus sends his minions to collect her so he can make a mold of her body and create an automaton in her image to serve as his bride in Hera’s new world. Coming to her rescue are Hercules and Amadeus, still quarreling but also cooperating in an attempt to save the virgin goddess.

My personal favorite part in the story is when Hephaestus traps both our heroes and presents them with the classic prisoner’s dilemma – they each have a button that will kill them but release the other. The plan goes awry when both Herc and Amadeus immediately punch the button, freeing both of them. That’s why you always need to cheat when you run these dilemmas.

Delphyne, despite being the person who turned Athena to stone in the first place, is horrified at the idea of the goddess being turned into a mindless drone that will serve Hephaestus and turns against him. Good on her, I guess, but I still don’t see how she’s that compelling a character, since her every action so far has been defined either by rage or the odd way in which she’s presented as Amadeus’ love interest.

By the end of the issue, our reality is unravelling while Hera’s new world gets going. Even Hera wants to stop this, though, as Zeus manages to convince her that she doesn’t need a new world now that she has a new husband, able to age into the faithful spouse she’s always wanted. Unsurprisingly, the titan Typhon, created to destroy the gods, betrays his mistress, killing her using Athena’s aegis and putting our heroes in a very bad place.

The Agents of Atlas backup is defined almost entirely by a fight between the heroes and the guardians of New Olympus. Near the end of the story, everybody becomes oddly love struck, which means only one thing: Aphrodite has arrived to take on Venus. This still seems tangential to the Assault on new Olympus story, but it’s getting more interesting with the appearance of Aphrodite.

There are a lot of twists, turns, and betrayals in this story, but it doesn’t feel overly convoluted. The Greek characters still have an unnatural tendency to recite their history every few pages, but at least in Hephaestus’ case it has a firm connection to the main plot. Overall, The Incredible Hercules #140 is another excellent issue that manages to handle a big world-ending threat with enough human drama and interesting character twists to keep the audience engaged in the characters’ personal stories.

The Incredible Hercules #138 Review

Herc 138  b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

The Incredible Hercules

Issue #138

Written by Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak with Art by Gabriel Hardman, Guillem Mari, Rodney Buchemi and Will Quintana

Published: January 2010

Hercules #138The Incredible Hercules #138 gets the “Assault on New Olympus” story arc in full swing with lots of actions and a huge cast of characters. Despite having a lot going on, the story never feels like it’s tripping over itself and it feels like both Hercules and Amadeus are getting the proper amount of character development.

If you missed the prologue issue to the story arc, the important thing is that Herc is back together with his wife Hebe and that he’s assembled a group of Avengers to take on the Olympus Group, which, at Hera’s behest, is planning to destroy all life so the gods can give this whole creation thing a second go.

Hera’s plot sort of comes from the cardboard cutout school of villainy, but she does at least have an understandable motivation – specifically, Zeus was the only thing that made her give a darn about mortal existence, and with him gone she has no real attachment to life as we know it. This gives her plan a bit of weight, since her alienation from others gives her a reason to want to end it all and start over.

Amadeus puts together a solid plan to get the group inside Hera’s headquarters, and he does it with his customary sense of humor, writing the word “Trojan” on the side of the ambulance the Avengers use to sneak into the building. From there it’s fisticuffs and smashing, with Herc leading the charge against both gods and titans.

The one part of the story that falls a little flat for me is the ending, where Thanatos, the titan of death, appears. He does so in a typical big splash page, and it seems like we’re supposed to be on the edge of our seats, but there’s no real reason to think he poses any greater danger than the dozens of other dangers in the battle. Yes, he represents doom, but death is not a very permanent thing when it comes to superheroes.

The backup story presents us with the Agents of Atlas as they continue to fight against Porphyrion. The battle is a little too run-of-the-mill for my liking, with the good guys breaking through a mind-controlled Venus with words and ending the threat. However, they do track things down to the Olympus Group, which connects them with the main story. But since they’re probably destined to fight in another part of the building for this story, it doesn’t seem likely that the two stories will intersect in a meaningful way.

Overall, The Incredible Hercules #138 is a good issue with some excellent art and a strong feel for the major characters. While the ending feels like the writers are trying too hard to force a cliffhanger, the story as a whole does at least feel like it’s building up to something big. “Assault on New Olympus” gets started off on the right foot here.

Assault on New Olympus Prologue #1 Review

Assault on Olympus b

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Assault on New Olympus Prologue

Issue #1

Written by Fred Van Lente, Jeff Parker and Greg Pak with Art by Gabriel Hardman, Rodney Buchemi and Guillem Mari

Published:January 2010 

Assault on New Olympus #1Sometimes, Marvel’s event timing requires the release of a one-shot like Assault on New Olympus Prologue #1. This storyline would fit best within the bounds of The Incredible Hercules ongoing series, but got shifted over to a one-shot for reasons I can only assume have to do with the timing of crossover events.

The “Assault on New Olympus” storyline in The Incredible Hercules required that Norman Osborn still be a major player in the US government, and 2010’s “Siege” event ended his reign. It also had to forecast the “Chaos War” event which began in late 2010 and involved several other books. I can only guess that somebody looking at the tight schedule realized that Herc’s monthly adventures would throw the timing off, so they ordered a one-shot.

The story itself fits almost seamlessly into The Incredible Hercules, with Herc fresh off his ridiculous adventure in which he pretended to be Thor. He leaves immediately to find his wife Hebe, who departed from the Olympus Group after getting tossed out a window by Hera. Hebe is on a date with Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, and this naturally results in a big brawl.

The story as a whole has spectacular art and the same snappy dialogue that Fred van Lente and Greg Pak have provided throughout their run on The Incredible Hercules. It also involves Spider-Man getting smacked around a lot, which makes me happy because this was the “Brand New Day” version of Spidey, who was a self-absorbed entitled jerk who deserved a punch now and again.

Spider-Man isn’t the bad guy here, though. Hercules shows some old-timey Greek values in which he refers to Hebe as his property, which reflects how marriage in his day worked. Despite this, he does show some genuine caring toward Hebe (though probably not enough to stop his womanizing ways in the future), and the issue wraps up with a splash page kiss between the two – all while Spidey is left buried under a pile of cars.

The backup story here is a preview of sorts for The Incredible Hercules #138 and involves the Agents of Atlas facing off against the monster Prophyrion. As is the case with so many backup stories, it’s not going to hook new readers unless they’re already fans of the Agents of Atlas. But at least Namora’s there, which might interest some readers of The Incredible Hercules.

Overall, Assault on New Olympus Prologue #1 lives up to its billing as a prologue. The story here is most certainly not self-contained and would have fit better in the regular Incredible Hercules series. Viewed as part of that series, though, it does its job well and gets Herc out of Thor’s helmet and back into his familiar man-skirt.