By Jim Beard
Itching for a fight? Hercules and Namor sure have been.
Herc's been holding a giant-size grudge against the Prince of Atlantis ever since their near-battle in the opening days of World War Hulk. Now in INCREDIBLE HERCULES #122, on sale October 15, titans will clash.
"Alas, when we last saw Hercules at the end of #121, he was floating in the middle of the ocean," notes series co-writer Greg Pak. "Which makes him a bit like Bluto about to fight Popeye in a spinach field..."
In the second part of Pak and partner in crime Fred Van Lente's "Love and War" storyline, the Lion of Olympus takes a slight detour from the ongoing Atlantis/Amazon war—and his friend Amadeus Cho's romantic musings—to get in the Sub-Mariner's face. As Pak tells it, Herc really has no other choice.
"Amadeus follows his...er...nose into the delightful but deadly den of the Amazon princess Artume," the writer says. "And Hercules can only save him if he makes it past the pounding pugilistics of Namor, Prince of Atlantis!
"These guys seem to be pretty much up for a tangle any ol' time—but in a funny kind of way, that very willingness to scrap can be a bonding thing for them. One of my favorite Herc and Namor stories of all time is an old AVENGERS issue in which Herc picks a fight with Namor—in order to snap Namor out of a mope. The gift of battle, indeed!"
Marvelites know full well that Namor and Herc both represent quintessential Type-A personalities, two ne'er-do-wells simply dripping with testosterone—but how do their scribes stack up them up in terms of their motivational drives, dealing with humanities, and depth of feelings?
"Both of these guys have had to come to terms with being ridiculously super-powered creatures in a world of puny humans—and Atlanteans, natch," explains Pak. "And both have risen to the responsibility—but in very different ways. Namor is a monarch responsible for a nation of millions. He must weigh every decision he makes based on how his actions will affect his people.
"Herc, on the other hand, may be a god, but as we explored in the 'Sacred Invasion' story arc, he's seldom been had to be a real leader or ruler. So while Namor has to think through the ramifications of every action, Herc typically just goes with his gut."
Essentially, readers should see some similarities in the two but brace themselves for the inevitable dichotomy.
"Both men are fundamentally heroes," Pak concludes. "But in a given instant, they're capable of making completely different—even diametrically opposed—decisions."
Speaking of "Sacred Invasion," interested readers may wonder if Hercules' recent clashes and confrontations with diverse deities could factor into his upcoming skirmish with the Avenging Son.
"All will be revealed in the fullness of time," says Pak. "But there's one deity in particular with pretty major connections to both Hercules and Namor..."
"And here the big overreaching mega-arc of INCREDIBLE HERCULES, last hinted at in the conclusion of "Sacred Invasion", begins to reveal itself," offers Van Lente.
Wait—what about Amadeus Cho? Will his amorous adventures with alluring Amazons mean missing out on a pool-side seat at the Battle of the Century?
Preview art by
"If there's one thing Amadeus has learned from Herc, it's how to turn a small problem a very, very, very big problem," Pak assures. "Let's just say that Amadeus will play a huge role in the story—but not necessarily to Herc's benefit."
"Or his own!" Van Lente adds.
Join Herc, Cho, Namor, Pak, Van Lente, and artist Clayton Henry on October 15 in INCREDIBLE HERCULES #122 for a pounding neither you—nor its participants—will soon forget! For more of Herc's adventures, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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