The Daily Review: Hercules: Fall of an Avenger by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente

The Incredible Hercules was one of the best books Marvel put out in the past decade. That isn’t hyperbole- the book was simply that good. A brilliant buddy book with Hercules and Amadeus Cho’s friendship taking center stage as they dealt with mythological mayhem. The book ended recently with the death of Hercules. It turns out Herc was the hero of a previous age and his patron, Athena, now queen of the gods of Olympus, was ready for a new hero, one of intelligence. That’s to be Cho, who is none to happy is friend is dead. So, we’re relaunching a solo Amadeus Cho book and this is our set up.

Summary: Athena shows up and claims to be queen of Olympus. Apollo doesn’t dig that idea so they set up teams to battle. Apollo picks Phobos son of Ares, Skaar son of Hulk, and Nightmare, Lord of the Dark Realm. Athena picks Amadeus Cho, Namor, and Bruce Banner. Athena’s team is in control when the teams decide to work together and, in the process, Athena informs Cho that he’s going to rule the Olympus Group and control the gods fate on Earth. Cho disagrees and with his new friends’ help decided to go bring Hercules back from the dead. Herc, of course, isn’t in Pluto, so Cho decides to change the rules, taking Athena’s offer of rulership to bend all of his resources to saving Hercules… and thus our new status quo.

There is also a Agents of Atlas backup, which sees Paul Tobin take a crack at that teams Namora and Venus as they travel the world telling those Hercules touched of his death. They find Hercules charities and decide that they will keep them going. It’s a simple, cute story that’s exactly what you’d expect of Tobin from reading his excellent Marvel Adventures work.

Thoughts: The front story is a lot of fun, as usual. Cho is stubborn and out-thinks everyone. Banner and Cho are always great together, as well. Athena has gotten a bit overbearing a bit too quickly, but everything else really worked. It is, as usual, good fun superhero comics that doesn’t lose sight of how much fun the book is, even in the face of a character’s death. There are a few questionable dialogue choices here (notably Phobos asking Cho if he should “hit it” which comes off awkward) and a strangely placed time jump towards the end (from the realm of Pluto to the Olympus Foundation headquarters). The art of Ariel Olivetti here is … not good. He’s in a number of historical locations and seems to have used a ton of photo reference that doesn’t really work. The characters are mostly good, but the backgrounds lost me quickly.

The backup was very much fun and helps carry the $3.99 price tag. I especially am fond of seeing Venus come to terms with being the goddess of love and the subtle manner she’s changing. There’s not a lot here, but what there is makes me curious to see more of Tobin with these characters… no easy task since Jeff Parker is usually so amazing with them.

Rating: 7/10 – A good story with some hicups and weird art, I’m really looking forward to the ongoing Heroic Age: Prince of Power #1 which promises the quest to find Hercules!

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