Current Reviews


Incredible Hercules #118

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2008
By: Paul Brian McCoy

Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente
Rafa Sandoval (p), Roger Bonet (i), Martegod Gracia (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Incredible Hercules #118 arrives in stores tomorrow, June 18.

"Dream Time: Part Two of Sacred Invasion"

This is the second issue in a row to end focused on a character's oddly green eyes, implying that they may be a Skrull in disguise. Well, I'm sick of it already. Especially if the character hinted at being a Skrull this issue really turns out to be all Skrully. That will suck. I like this character a lot and losing them in a plot twist will make me sad and mad at the same time.

But enough about that. What about the rest of the issue, you ask?

Excellent. As usual.

So far, just about every tie-in to Secret Invasion that I've read has been as good or better than the actual Event. And with each passing month the tie-ins just seem to get better and better while Secret Invasion threatens to go flying off the rails with each turn of the page. But of the tie-ins, Incredible Hercules and Captain Britain and MI:13 are the best. And, as such, are also some of the best books Marvel is currently producing.

This issue brings us Part Two of the "Sacred Invasion" storyline, where Hercules and a group of other gods from a variety of pantheons have been tasked with killing the Skrull gods. To do this, they need to traverse the Dreamtime (the collective unconsciousness of all sentient beings) and find the Skrull Pantheon. Which means they need a map. And who's in charge of the Dreamtime? No. Not that big haired, pale-skinned fellow. The other one. Nightmare.

Nightmare strikes a bargain with our heroes (each of whom has a fancy collectible trading card on the recap page), but he's a bad guy, right? You know he's got something up his sleeve.

Pak and Van Lente continue to do excellent work here, utilizing Hercules' mythic past to draw parallels to the current story. This time out, it's the search for the Golden Fleece with Jason and the Argonauts. And as is Herc's wont, there was tragedy involved that is echoed in the dangerous events of this story.

This comic is doing something that I've been wanting to see in a Marvel comic for years. One of my earliest, and fondest, memories of reading Marvel comics as a child was stumbling across reprints of Thor's space adventures. You remember? The ones where he and a gaggle of other Asgardians and an alien robot called The Recorder, traveled through space having adventures, all written by Stan and drawn by Jack? That was mind-bending stuff for me. Especially when suddenly you'd turn the page and there would be a full page photo montage of crackling crazy-ass galactic weirdness.

Well, this Incredible Hercules arc is bringing all of that back. There's even a fantastic, nearly half-page panel of Eternity, filled with beautiful computer art stars, planets, and galaxies. Which brings me to the other thing about this comic that makes it so freaking great.

The art of Sandoval, Bonet, and Gracia.

They work together like a big, purring, machine sort of thing. Um. Well, you know what I mean. Every page is a pleasure to look at. On a purely technical level, the layouts are clean and clear, the action flows smoothly from panel to panel, the angles chosen are dramatic and provide insight into the moods and personalities of the characters, and the panels, while sometimes a little busy, always maintain a consistent sense of depth and proportion. When there is exaggeration, it is usually for comedic effect, and it is so organically blended with the panel to panel style of the artists that it doesn't seem out of place at all. If anything, the art could be called entirely appropriate to the material. Maybe even perfect.

I couldn't be happier with both the art and the story. They work hand in hand to create one of the best current Marvel runs I can remember. It's consistent, too. This is a title that everyone should be reading.

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