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Frank Tieri and Juan Santacruz team two of Marvel's best brawlers in WOLVERINE/HERCULES: MYTHS, MONSTERS & MUTANTS

By Kevin Mahadeo

When god and mutant meet this coming March in the limited series WOLVERINE/HERCULES: MYTHS, MONSTERS & MUTANTS, expect two things for sure: lots of action and even more of that hardcore, knock-them-down, butt-kicking action.

The upcoming four-issue series by writer Frank Tieri and artist Juan Santacruz unites the clawed Canuck and the Lion of Olympus against two of their oldest foes and legions of revived monsters of myth. Taking place on the anniversary of the death of Logan's love Mariko, the title follows up on a thread laid down during Tieri's tenure on the WOLVERINE ongoing series several years ago.

WOLVERINE/HERCULES #1 preview art by Juan Santacruz
"One of the things that we touched on [was that every year] Wolverine goes and takes a piece off of Matsuo, the guy who was responsible for killing Mariko," explains Tieri. "Well, that's sort of taken its toll on [Matsuo] and he's pretty much ready to pack it in for good. But then something unexpected happens, something that gives him a new lease on life.

"King Eurytheses and Achelous, characters we've brought back from my HERCULES limited series, approach him and propose a partnership: King E will show Matsuo the locations of the burial sites of some of the greatest figures from Greek mythology, and in turn, Matsuo and the Hand will resurrect them. So, what we end up [with] is this insane mix of East meets Greek with Wolvie and Herc duking it out with Hand assassins and resurrected myths like the Nemean Lion and the Cyclops from 'The Odyssey' and all sorts of mythological creatures large and small. We're talking about some big, crazy fun here."

However, along with the obligatory action and adventure, Tieri says that the title also explores the friendship between the two eponymous characters. The writer sees Wolverine and Hercules' relationship unique in the Marvel Universe and developed his views early on as a young comic reader. Although always a fan of the Incredible Herc, Tieri first discovered the character of Wolverine in the story "At the Sign of the Lion" [from 1986's THE INCREDIBLE HULK & WOLVERINE #1], which set the tone for how the writer approaches both characters in this series.

"The basic story was Herc and Wolvie meet in a bar, hit on the same girl the next thing you know, they're hitting each other," recalls Tieri. "But in the end, they sort of resolve their differences over a beer together. Whenever I would think of that story, I just always saw those two hitting it

WOLVERINE/HERCULES preview art by Juan Santacruz
off. That this one encounter could've sparked this great friendship that we haven't really seen before. I mean, think about it: They both like to drink. They both like to fight. They both like women. And maybe most importantly, they both have something else in common that is unique to them, something that not even their teammates or other friends can relate to: they're both essentially immortal. And that's something that very much comes into play in this story."

A longtime fan of Marvel's more physically imposing characters, such as The Thing and Thor, Tieri admits that he didn't immediately take a shine to Wolverine.

"When I first read that story, I was definitely a Herc guy," he says. "Hell, I didn't even know who Wolvie was at the time. So I'm reading this and I was like, 'Who the hell is this little guy with the claws and why isn't Hercules clobbering him?' It kind of annoyed me. So you might say my relationship with Logan got off to a rocky start. Though I think it's safe to say we've patched things up since then, ya know?

"Look, these are really two of my favorite characters in the world and I hope that comes across in this series. We've got a lot of big action, big monsters, big fight scenes. But at the core of all this chaos is the relationship between these two guys, their friendship. To me, these are the two characters you'd most want to hang out with in the Marvel Universe. The guys you'd most want to split a six pack with. We have these two characters with this long history of being alive on this planet and they're drinking buddies. What is that like? It was really fun to explore

WOLVERINE/HERCULES #1 preview art by Juan Santacruz
that. Like having these guys trying to top each other with their war stories. 'Hey, I ever tell you about the time I smacked around Hitler in Paris?' 'That's nothing. There was this one time with me and Marilyn Monroe at the Brown Derby...' That sort of thing.  The funny part is, their old war stories aren't just unique to anybody else's, in some cases, they're literally old war stories."


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