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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the most delightful surprise from Marvel in recent years.
Hercules is the original Western hero, and I've always referred to him as the original superhero; his mythic exploits have entertained generations of young people (usually in heavily-bowdlerized form, removing such issues as his pederasty, adultery, and overt bloodymindedness). Since he's been in the public domain for millenia, Both DC and Marvel Comics have versions of...
Published on September 20, 2008 by Sean Curley

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed beginning
I'm of mixed opinions here. On one hand, Greg Pak (with this and Hulk) has lately proven himself to be Marvel's slyest action writer, and the addition of Action Philosophers' Fred Van Lente is a stroke of genius. The scene in #115 of Hercules fighting Ares on top of a giant jet, with the two of them grabbing missiles out of the air and throwing them at each other, is...
Published on November 2, 2008 by Ryan Bonneville


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the most delightful surprise from Marvel in recent years., September 20, 2008
By 
Sean Curley (Charlottetown, PE, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Incredible Hercules Vol. 1: Against The World (Paperback)
Hercules is the original Western hero, and I've always referred to him as the original superhero; his mythic exploits have entertained generations of young people (usually in heavily-bowdlerized form, removing such issues as his pederasty, adultery, and overt bloodymindedness). Since he's been in the public domain for millenia, Both DC and Marvel Comics have versions of him; DC's is a minor villainous figure in the "Wonder Woman" mythos, while Marvel's Herc has been a dependable supporting cast member for "Thor" and "The Avengers"; he debuted in the mid-1960s as a foyle/ally for Marvel's chief mythic hero, Thor, and has since turned up frequently as a team-member or guest star, occasionally getting his own spotlight (most notably a pair of well-regarded miniseries by Bob Layton in the 1980s which followed his adventures in an alternate future). The last few years have been pretty good for Herc; he got a major supporting role in Marvel 2006 mega-event "Civil War" (including the final issue's Big Damn Hero moment), and then was drafted into "The Incredible Hulk" as a supporting castmember, before taking over the title, beginning with #112, which is where this collection picks up.

To set the stage, "World War Hulk" (the Hulk's misguided revenge spree that ended in his defeat) is over, and Hercules, together with boy genius Amadeus Cho, find themselves on the losing end, and must decide what to do next (their companions, Angel and Namora, depart quickly, but one suspects we'll be seeing more of the latter). Herc wants to make peace with SHIELD, trying not to make the same mistakes he tends to make (picking the wrong side, as his brother Ares puts it), while Cho, who blames SHIELD for the Hulk's fate, and generally as a part of the military-industrial complex, is more interested in destroying the world's premiere anti-terrorism agency. Herc changes his tune when he finds out that his brother Ares, God of War, now a member of Iron Man's Mighty Avengers, has authority over him, and he and Cho end up on the run together, making for Herc's sister Athena's house in Vermont, with Ares, Wonder Man, and Black Widow (one of Herc's ex-girlfriends) on his tail. Herc just wants to reach his sister, while Cho is out to cause havoc, and Ares is out to abuse his newfound authority to settle some very old grudges. Also included is the "Hulk vs. Hercules: When Titans Collide" special, which relates an old encounter between the two, and develops some interesting contrasts between the two.

Writers Greg Pak (formerly the solo writer of "The Incredible Hulk" and "World War Hulk") and Fred Van Lente ("Action Philosophers", "Marvel Adventures Iron Man") produce a wonderful story; in just four issues, this series rocketed to the #2 spot on my monthly comics list (#1 being "Captain America"). Their writing is a masterful blend of classical mythology of the Greeks and the modern mythology of superhero comics; Herc's ancient history and his Marvel history have never been so well-integrated as they are here. Each issue is anchored around some comparisons between old exploits and his modern character, and there's a sort of humourous, intelligent didacticism at work that is incredibly appealing. The writers expertly capture the character of Hercules, who is usually written as a goofy counterpart to Thor, but, as they acknowledge, also has more than a little tragedy in his life (look for a major, surprising revelation near the end about his past history). Ares is a magnificent villain; frequently hilarious, but also written with the dignity of a god, and when he starts explaining his reasons for hating Hercules, one can sort of see his point. Amadeus Cho, a character I found to be incredibly annoying in past stories, gets much, much better here, as Pak and Van Lente finally give him something of a humbling. The art is principally by Khoi Pham, with Reilly Brown, Bob Layton, and a few others contributing to the "Hulk vs. Hercules" special; it is all very well-done.

This comic has it all: great action, utterly hilarious humour, and a lot of intelligence. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, February 15, 2009
This review is from: Incredible Hercules Vol. 1: Against The World (Paperback)
Incredible Herc: Against the World is one of the best trades I've read in the past year. It is action packed, includes some wonderful nods to the Bronze Age--including The Champions AND the Behemoth Helicarrier from the Godzilla comics of the late 70s!--and it's also freakin' hilARious!

Pak writes Ares, brother and nemesis of Hercules, in a way that is both full of the aforementioned hilarity and yet also full of the douchbaggery that we have come to expect out of the god of war. His speech-as-narrative-field-report is particularly funny; he has a way of yelling his alibi out loud as he breaks the law, oversteps his Initiative mandates, and even attacks his own teammates, in pursuit of his brother Hercules. It's great! The recap pages are also an unexpected source of humor. Pak's use of Olde Tyme English to catch readers up on the modern happenings of this comic book always results in more than a few laughs.

I highly recommend Incredible Herc: Against the World to anyone who likes comics and may not have yet checked it out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hercules past and present makes for a funny, smart read., November 18, 2009
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This review is from: Incredible Hercules Vol. 1: Against The World (Paperback)
This volume collects The Incredible Hulk 112, The Incredible Hercules 113-115, and a Hulk vs. Hercules one-shot. Now, I will limit my rant about the crazy numbering system Marvel Comics is regularly using to this sentence; despite my pet peeve about changing the name and focus of a comic but keeping the numbering system, the Incredible Hercules rocks.

With smart writing by Greg Pak--who got me back into comics after a long drought with his Planet Hulk story arc--and Fred Van Lente, the Incredible Hercules focuses on Herc and Amadeus Cho, and switches between Hercules' mythical past and the world-upside-down present. This story arc finds Ares, the God of War, using the chaotic aftermath of World War Hulk to pursue his own vendetta against Hercules. It also involves Amadeus Cho trying to bring down S.H.I.E.L.D. and balancing on a knife point between becoming an evil genius and a, well, good genius.

I can't say enough good things about how this comic is written, and the pencils by Khoi Pham are solid as well. Pick up this graphic novel. `Nuff said.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Make some popcorn and enjoy., August 14, 2014
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This review is from: Incredible Hercules Vol. 1: Against The World (Paperback)
Pure and simple, this is a really fun comic series and story arc. The humor is genuinely funny, the action big and dumb and fun, and the interplay between Herc and Amadeus Cho is witty and touching. If this were a summer movie, I'd say two big thumbs up. Since it is a seemingly out of print comic TP, I'll just give it four stars as pure, unadulterated fun. Make some popcorn and enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very fun reading, June 20, 2011
This review is from: Incredible Hercules Vol. 1: Against The World (Paperback)
Great continuation of Herc from the World War Hulk aftermath. Good writing and character development. Great artwork. I can't say much else other than this was extremely fun to read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed beginning, November 2, 2008
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This review is from: Incredible Hercules Vol. 1: Against The World (Paperback)
I'm of mixed opinions here. On one hand, Greg Pak (with this and Hulk) has lately proven himself to be Marvel's slyest action writer, and the addition of Action Philosophers' Fred Van Lente is a stroke of genius. The scene in #115 of Hercules fighting Ares on top of a giant jet, with the two of them grabbing missiles out of the air and throwing them at each other, is such madcap brilliance that it's hard to actually convey it.

On the other hand, the attempts at emotional closure, the growth of Amadeus Cho, moral lessons, etc., come off as fairly meh. The characterization of Athena just plain doesn't work, and the Hulk vs. Hercules one-shot manages to miss on virtually every cylinder.

There's a lot of potential to this, and Pak and Van Lente are more than good enough to deliver. I think it'll be worth sticking around for a little while yet.
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Incredible Hercules Vol. 1: Against The World
Incredible Hercules Vol. 1: Against The World by Fred Van Lente (Paperback - October 1, 2008)
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