Labors of Hercules


The Incredible Hercules #137

This issue focuses on Amadeus Cho, Hercules’ former sidekick and the seventh smartest person in the world, in his struggle against Pythagoras Depree, the sixth smartest person in the world. In fact, a lot of it is told in flashback, as we learn about what happened the day Amadeus learned he was a super-genius and his parents were killed. We also get a short life history of Dupree, an abused orphan who was briefly championed by Athena, goddess of wisdom. And finally, Dupree challenges Amadeus to one final game — the winner gets to walk away with the knowledge that he’s the smartest. The loser doesn’t get to walk away at all. Can Amadeus hope to prevail?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art and dialogue. Nice manipulations by Athena, but that’s what we expect from gods, right? Brilliant game-playing strategy by Amadeus, too. All-around wonderful issue.


Assault on New Olympus #1

And the followup brings Hercules and Amadeus back together, though they’re still not seeing eye-to-eye. Hera is running a giant megacorp called the Olympus Group, and she’s crazy enough to have decided that she wants to destroy the world so another, more awful god can’t do it instead. The monkeywrench that gets thrown into the works is Hebe, the goddess of youth and the long-neglected wife of Hercules — she’s working at a homeless shelter run by Aunt May, and she’s off on a date with Peter Parker! But when Herc finds out abou the date, he’s not happy, and Spider-Man isn’t really tough enough to go toe-to-toe with a god. And in the backup story, the Agents of Atlas try to prevent the mentally dominated Venus from leading multitudes of hypnotized people into the mouth of a horrific squid-god named Phorcys.

Verdict: Another thumbs up. Basically, this is a bonus issue of “Hercules,” so if you love that comic — and you should — then you’ll love this one, too. The one-sided battle between Herc and Spidey is pretty amusing, though you gotta wonder if a notorious womanizer like Herc would really get so bent out of shape about his wife, who he hadn’t seen in 3,000 years, kissing someone. And the Agents of Atlas story is also pretty good, with Phorcys making a truly horrific opponent.

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