5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
When Radical Comics debuted last year I looked at their books and said, "Wow! This is beautiful stuff...there's no way these guys will last!" That wasn't meant as a slight against them but the Comic Biz is tough. Would they be able to maintain this level of quality and still deliver a product for a good price and be competitive? Well so far Radical has done just that. Hercules the Thracian Wars collects the entire mini series into a gorgeous hardcover edition, which features a cover and other designs by none other than the legendary Jim Steranko. In the tale, Hercules and several other Greek mercenaries are hired by the King of Thrace to train his troops for an upcoming battle. Now this isn't your Kevin Sorbo or Marvel Comics Hercules. This is a Demi-God who has lived an arduous life as the whipping boy of the Gods. He's ruthless and often barbaric and not the heroic figure of myth.
The battle scenes are savagely gory and well constructed. The characters are very brutal but lively and entertaining. Admira Wijaya's art is magnificent! Where did they find this guy! I'm down with anything involving Steranko. This was a darker look at Greek Mythology. We need to keep an eye on Radical!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If you like gritty, thoughtful, real-world stuff, this is the Hercules story you've been waiting for. Steve Moore's been writing comics since most of the current comic readership's parents were born, and he's not a guy who spent those years not figuring out what makes good writing. He's created the most real-life look at Hercules yet. Instead of DC's once-upon-a-time Planet Apes meets Kamandi series in the late sixties & early seventies or Marvel's formers purely superhero Hercules (1970s - 80s) or their now ultra-cool Big Jim-Hip Godster Herc (2004 & beyond), you get a look at what Hercules might have been had he been real and dominating the Greek Bronze Age. Thus stories circulate about his legendary birth including the bawdy tale of Alcmene's three-day heavenly (not) rape at the hands of Zeus and Herc's infant snake-killing feats (laughably apocryphal to the average Thracian on the street in the time of this comic); tales abound about his murderous, mindless rages in which he supposedly kills his own children, but when he gets to town he says not a word about them, merely finding the best deal for a professional mercenary bent on doing his job and doing it well. That's the background to a story in which Hercules's seemingly simple desire to make lots of money training and serving in the Thracian army turns into a king's devious plot to undermine if not utterly destroy Greece. I don't want to say more in fear of destroying the story, so suffice it to say that it's a grand tale that is 100% all-out action, intrigue, suspense, and plot reversals. You get an amazing group of characters alongside Hercules: Iolaus (the young but worldly wise narrator), Meneus (the youngest of the group; perhaps Hercules's male lover), Autolycus (supposed son of Hermes, thief extraordinaire), Atalanta (a raging woman with a suicide wish that no man can fulfill), Tydeus (an absolute psychotic nut of a killer who, in some bizarre ways, provides lots and lots of bloody comic relief throughout the series), Amphiaraus (a hawkeye archer of a prophetic seer). As to the trade and hardback edition, everything is reproduced here: all the covers, the complete series, all the advertising and prototype art. You also get a rather nice interview with Steve Moore explaining why he chose the Bronze Age for this tale and why, even though the comparisons will be inevitable, he didn't and won't see or read Frank Miller's 300. This tale reflects Moore's desire to make this as historically accurate as possible, so all the details are true: the pictures of shields reflect real, Bronze Age shields, as do the crowns, cups, belts, weapons, etc. But that doesn't touch the absolute beauty of the artwork. The art here is astounding. Every single artist used for the covers seemed absolutely inspired at the prospect of drawing a realistic Hercules and crew. And for the series, Admira Wijaya did such an unbelievably fine job, he'd be "Admirable" Admira Wijaya were he in Stan Lee's bullpen instead of Nic Simmons's. This is truly one of the best comic series of the year, and if it's an indication of where Radical Comics is going, be ready for that comic to shoot off like a rocket. This tale has already been optioned for a movie, so get your first editions while you can.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2009
Saw this hardcover at Books Kinokuniya in Bangkok. Dont usually read material from Radical, and this book was shrinkwrapped so I couldnt preview. But cover art looked good, so I thought what the heck.
It was a rather good read! Pretty simple story by Steve Moore (and thats a plus - no continuity problems as with most other titles out there), great art by Wijaya. Dark humor/ violence abounds (Tydeus made me crack up).
Nice twist to the Hercules myth (after years of hearing about versions of the character from Marvel and DC) - made him more, well, human (though towards the end...well, that would spoil the fun).
Get this, if you're a fan of "group of great warriors against hordes of enemies"-type movies/stories like 7 Samurai, 13th Warrior etc. Plus sword and sorcery fans who love Conan, Red Sonja, etc. Worth the investments. Cant wait for the next Hercules: Knives of Kush installment
on August 14, 2014
I have not seen the movie yet but I thought I would give the comic a read. it is wonderfully drawn and well plotted. the author's notes in the end made the book for me.
The author noted how his intent was to not have hercules take on an anachronistic tone, the 21st century man in ancient times. Instead he strives to have the main characters act and embrace the ancient world as they would have at that time. They don't have contemporary morals or ideas, they accept the pagan gods and the value of life at that time, i.e. life is short and brutal and not romanticized.
on July 8, 2014
An interesting take on Hercules. We pick up Hercules' story well after his 12 labors and he has become a tragic character. A wanderer doomed by Hera to be unlucky in love. He takes up with a bunch of mercenaries and heads for Thrace for booty and adventure.
I loved the consitency with the standards of the times. The characters are rooted in their eras, like Conan, and do not have contemporary cynicism for the myths and gods. It is an interesting story with fantastic artwork. A little more character development would have been good. There is not enough about why Hercules is a soldier of fortune now. Not enough about what drives him. Is he motivated by honor? Money? He seems lost.
I got these for my son who is twelve. The themes are rather adult so I think a more mature audience was intended.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2013
The story is great, but the first time I open the book pages just started falling out. It was shipped poorly in a yellow envelope with no kind of protection. So the only reason I'm giving it 2 stars is because the story and art was great.