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Hercules: Good Night Sweet Prince

Writers Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak examine the Prince of Power’s legacy and what lies in store for Amadeus Cho

HERCULES: FALL OF AN AVENGER #2 preview art by Ariel Olivetti
By Marc Strom

Even gods die eventually.

At the conclusion of "Assault on New Olympus," Hercules met his final fate saving the world, and now his best friend, Amadeus Cho, will take on his mentor's role in May 12's HEROIC AGE: PRINCE OF POWER #1. Before Cho goes about his new duties, however, he has to wrap up some old business in HERCULES: FALL OF AN AVENGER #2 by writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente with artist Ariel Olivetti on April 21.

"We knew the ending of INCREDIBLE HERCULES would be pretty devastating in a number of ways, and it's important sometimes to let the characters breathe along with the readers," says Van Lente of this two-part series' origins. "Like any funeral, it's meant to bring a sense of closure for the loved ones [of] the departed. And we needed to set up Amadeus Cho for his new role in HEROIC AGE: PRINCE OF POWER-and he's going to have to fight a lot of gods, heroes and monsters to secure it."

"HERCULES: FALL OF AN AVENGER and PRINCE OF POWER together form part seven of our first gargantuan eight-part storyline," adds Pak. "So it's pretty major stuff, setting up the giant climax."

FALL OF AN AVENGER #1 featured a number of Hercules' super-powered friends and allies share memories of their fallen comrade, but the second issue will shift its focus to the Greek pantheon to see how they've dealt with their recent losses.

"The gods throughout their history have been an impulsive and squabbling bunch," Van Lente notes. "Don't forget the 'Assault on New Olympus' was very costly to them-they lost not just Hercules, but also Zeus and Hera. Furthermore Ares, the eldest legitimate son of Zeus and

HERCULES: FALL OF AN AVENGER #2 preview art by Ariel Olivetti
Hera, died during the Siege of Asgard. So what you have is a massive power vacuum in which various gods are scrambling for top position. Athena has initially claimed that role because she's inherited Hera's thunderbolt, but she's going to discover [that's] not without opposition from her brother Apollo, god of the sun."

"In short, the gods, being gods, have largely skipped straight past denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance into the little-known sixth stage of grief known as 'fighting over the spoils,'" jokes Pak. "There is one goddess, however, who might have a very different take on all of this. Hint: It isn't Athena."

Throughout INCREDIBLE HERCULES, Athena has acted as a sort of guide to Amadeus Cho whether he's liked it or not. Given her recent actions, though, that relationship could become even more volatile in the future.

"Athena has managed to alienate a lot of people with her mechanizations, even though people don't know as much as you readers do about the full extent of what she's done, [like killing] Hercules," remarks Van Lente. "Amadeus wants to quit being Athena's champion, but Apollo has sicced his champion on him-Phobos from the Secret Warriors, god of fear and son of Ares! Amadeus has no choice but to fight back if he wants to save his own skin."

The conclusion to HERCULES: FALL OF AN AVENGER will lead directly into next month's HEROIC AGE: PRINCE OF POWER #1, which Van Lente and Pak will also write as they continue to unfurl their epic story.  

"There's a twist ending to this issue that will reveal Amadeus' true motivations, and I think will motivate everybody to be excited about HEROIC AGE: PRINCE OF POWER," promises Van Lente. "I can say no more here under threat of death."

Pak, who co-created Amadeus Cho more than four years ago in AMAZING FANTASY #15, always felt the character had the potential to grow into his

HERCULES: FALL OF AN AVENGER #2 preview art by Ariel Olivetti
current position in the Marvel Universe.

"From the beginning, I loved that Amadeus had ridiculously big character flaws," remembers the writer. "All that cockiness and the complete lack of impulse control made him hugely fun to write and gave him tons of room to grow. So yes, there was always going to be a big character arc and learning curve for Amadeus, which also formed a big part of my love of the character. He's a moving target, always learning and growing in surprising ways.

"Although it's worth noting that just 'cause he's called the Prince of Power doesn't necessarily make him a hero. You know what they say about absolute power."

Until then, fans will also get a healthy heaping of fisticuffs in addition to their grieving.

"The Namor/Skaar throwdown in FALL OF AVENGER #2 has to be seen to be believed," proclaims Van Lente.

And for even more Amadeus Cho, Pak points readers to the character's very own Twitter feed.

"If you want to get an impression of all of this from someone who's even more invested than Fred and I, be sure to check out Amadeus Cho on Twitter.


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