Review: the Incredible Hercules 3-for-1

Out of a bit of pseudo-laziness I’m combining a few reviews here.  So this will cover the Secret Invasion, Love and War (which I read in the Sacred Invasion edition), and Dark Reign collections of my current favorite Marvel book, the Incredible Hercules.  The book is just more fun, and (now that Jason Aaron has left Ghost Rider) more inventive than anything else on the stands.

At its heart this is a buddy book featuring Hercules (whose desperate to retain his classical loutish ways while being constantly forced into the role of responsible adult) and Amadeus Cho (a Korean American teenaged genius with a slightly skewed sense of morality).  Together they get up to trouble and occasionally run missions for Hercules’ older sister Athena.  

It’s a cute set up that co-writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente milk for all its worth in the three stories collected here.  First up is the tie in to Marvel’s Secret Invasion event (in which shapeshifting aliens invade the Earth).  For their part of the crossover Herc and Amadeus join up with the God Squad (a misfit collection of fairly obscure Marvel deities) to hunt down the Gods of the alien invaders.  Then in Love & War the duo fall in love, in the midst of an attack by a band of Amazons (not to mention a revenge crazed, Washington Monument wielding, Atlas).  Finally there’s Dark Reign, in which Hercules has to descend into Hades in an attempt to rescue his father Zeus from Pluto.

The stories may not sound like much, but there is just so much joy invested in the book by its creators.  From the occasional meta comentary (Hercules pondering why he used to be portrayed as speaking in Shakespearean English when he’s Greek) to Joe Caramagna’s puckish lettering (sound effects used include “bichslapp”, “brakkitupp”, and of course “sisy-poof”), to its inconceivable plot twists (the puppies a traitor?) this is the most enjoyment you may ever get out of a comic.

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