Written By: Dan Abnett
Art By: Goran Sudzuka & Delibor Talajk
Colors By: Guru Efx
Letters By: Vk’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: 4/13/16
l said it in my review of the previous issue and I’ll say it a thousand more times Hercules is my favorite new title from all new all different marvel. Hardcore marvel fans should at least be somewhat familiar with Hercules. He’s been on several teams like the avengers and the champions, and he also had a fan favorite solo run post civil war. Throughout his whole time in the marvel universe Hercules essentially became the Lindsey Lohan of the superhero community. He spent most of his time drinking, partying, and sleeping around. The legendary Hercules became nothing but a joke. When this series came around Abnett decided to change all that. He took Herc’s character and brought him into the modern age while still keeping his core in tact. Hercules has really been getting his act together, and as a fan of his character seeing this huge amount of growth for him has really made me happy. That’s why I get scared every time someone mentions that this series might get canceled. Well that’s enough gushing about Hercules for now don’t you think? Let’s get down to the real review shall we, and don’t worry this long intro talking about Herc’s history will make more sense in a second I promise.
Hercules and the gang just won a major victory in a battle against the storm last issue. You know what that means right? It’s time to celebrate. Celebration for warriors means tons of food, some good friends, and maybe a drink or two. Hercules has been sober for a good ten months now, one little victory drink couldn’t hurt right? This is a big choice for Herc. Can he handle drinking in moderation, or will one drink be all it takes for him to slip back into his old ways? See, now you should understand why I did that long intro on Herc’s background. I told you it would make sense in a second.
Hercules’ land lady Sophia fixes up Herc and the gang a big dinner to celebrate their victory in their battle against the storm. Everything is light, happy, and fun that is until Gilgamesh and some of the others start pouring drinks and he tries to convince Hercules to join the toast with just one drink. Sophia is angered by this and snaps on Gilgamesh. She says that he is a bad influence on Herc because he reminds him too much of his old ways. She also reminds Herc that his sobriety is a condition of his living agreement and if he falls back into his bad habits she won’t hesitate to kick out both Herc and Gilgamesh. Herc assures her that he will keep his promise to Sophia. However Gilgamesh just won’t let this go, he continues to instigate raising tensions in the apartment and further stressing Herc. Since he doesn’t really feel like dealing with all this right now Herc just decides to step out for some air. He then texts an old friend to meet him on the roof of his apartment to have a conversation. The friend that Herc decides to talk to is a fellow avenger who knows just as well as Herc what it’s like to run away from your problems at the bottom of a glass. Hercules has a heart to heart with old shell head himself. Iron Man. I don’t know about you guys but after watching Daredevil Season 2 I am all for hero to hero deep conversations on rooftops.
This part of the issue is where the story really shines. Abnett is a master of character driven dialog. We all know that Tony is no stranger to the negative party boy reputation, so it makes a lot of sense that Herc would want to talk to him. If anyone can understand what Herc is going through it would be Tony Stark. Hercules begins to really open up to Tony. At first he talks about how back in his day revelry was just an average part of a hero’s life, but after he completed his labors he started to feel entitled. He felt that after everything he’s been through he deserved a break, so he started drinking, partying and sleeping around more just for the hell of it. Hercules then tells Tony about how his habits have effected his relationships with some of his other friends and former teammates. He mentions that the champions, a team that he was a founding member of refuse to contact him or invite him to their annual reunions. Tony is really sympathetic to the big guy’s problems. He’s been there and done that more than his fair share of times. The conversation itself was really sweet. It honestly felt like two bros just helping each other get through a rough time. One small moment that I really appreciated was when Herc asks Tony to lift up his face plate because he wants to talk to his friend Tony not Iron Man. It truly shows the bond between these two heroes.
However the heartfelt bro talk quickly turns sour when Tony of all people begins to lecture Herc about self control. Reading this was honestly heartbreaking, because you can see on Herc’s face how deep each of Tony’s words is cutting him and yet Tony just keeps going. At one point I started yelling at my comic as I was reading it. I mean come on Tony the pour guy is trying his best and he’s gotten a lot better cut him some slack, damn. That’s just an example of some of the things I was yelling at my comic during this conversation. I probably seem like that one crazy guy who always yells at characters in horror movies in the theater, and you know what I’m okay with that you guys because Tony was being a real jerk to Hercules and deserved to be yelled at by someone.
After Tony leaves Herc is really disheartened, and can you really blame him? One of his close friends who he thought would understand his struggle and give him the encouragement he needed pretty much said that he was a lost cause. Little does Herc know that wasn’t the real Tony, that was actually the leader of the storm using a glamour to appear to Hercules as Tony. Hercules is so emotionally distraught by his conversation with Tony that he goes to the last place any long time Hercules fan would want this new more responsible Hercules to go…a bar. Once again when I got to this page I started yelling at my comic, except this time I was yelling no Herc don’t do it man you’ve come too far to just go right back. I’ve gotta say as a huge Hercules fan that was one hell of a cliffhanger. I’m sure you guys can relate. It hurts when you see someone that you care about that’s been doing really well trying to get their life together start to slip back into their old bad habits. That’s what it felt like for me seeing Herc sitting at that bar ordering a bottle of whiskey.
If any of you read my recent review of Spider-Gwen #7 yesterday you would know that I’m not usually a fan of when one artist that does really well on the series isn’t on their book and a new artist steps in. Well believe it or not this time I’m totally fine with the different artists on this issue. Don’t get me wrong I love Luke Ross’ art on this series and I hope he does come back soon, but this art style just complimented the tone of this issue so well. Ross’ art is really dynamic and fits perfectly with the fun, fast paced, action packed tone of the first 5 issues, but Sudzuka and Taljk’s artwork is much better suited for this more slower paced talking heads issue. Their attention to detail with the characters’ facial expressions made the dialog have much more weight to it. They also do a great job with conveying body language. Each of Tony and Herc’s small subtle movements really displayed their frustration, especially when the conversation got more heated. Guru Efx also does an excellent job with the colors. The detail and subtle changes in the backgrounds really makes everything seem more intimate and personal, and that’s exactly what you need in an issue like this. Hats off to the whole art team.
You know only I can think of a handful of writers that can make a talking heads issue just as or even more interesting than a big battle issue. Three writers that I know can pull that off are Mark Waid, Brian Michael Bendis, and of course Dan Abnett. Honestly, going into this issue I thought this would just be a filler. The plot sounded simple enough, the team just one a major victory against the bad guys but the bad guys are still lurking in the background. It turns out that this issue was one huge character piece looking at Herc and all his progress as a character. As a long time Hercules fan I really enjoyed it. All the emotional moments really hit me. In the end if you’re a hardcore Hercules fan or just a fan that’s been enjoying this new series so far then I highly recommend that you go pick up Hercules #6. If you’re a fan of greek mythology, magic, monsters, and character driven hero stories and you haven’t given Hercules a shot yet I think you should. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy reading Herc’s journey from zero to hero. Sorry for the bad disney pun, but since they own marvel it’s okay to do that right? All jokes aside, this series is great and definitely worth checking out.