Road Trip Nightmares

The Incredible Hercules co-writers discuss the God Squad's tour through Nighmare's realm, Skrulls and more

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INCREDIBLE
HERCULES #118
cover

By Marc Strom As far as road trips go, the God Squad could have planned their route a little better. The Squad, led by Hercules, makes a detour through Nightmare's realm on their quest to kill the Skrull deities in INCREDIBLE HERCULES #118, on sale June 18. And while you'd expect them to steer clear of the mystical villain, series co-writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente say avoiding him won't be much of an option for the Squad.

a page from
INCREDIBLE
HERCULES #118

"[Nightmare] has something they want—[something] they desperately need—to get to the Skrull gods, so he's in a unique position to play 'Let's Make a Deal,'" Van Lente reveals. More than that, Pak notes, "it's not every day [Nightmare's] in a position to acquire the oh-so-tasty fears of genuine immortals." While Nightmare will represent a giant, perhaps disastrous, pothole to the Squad, the scribes say things could have turned out differently.

a page from
INCREDIBLE
HERCULES #118

"When we started talking about gods who could join the God Squad," Pak explains. "I said 'what about Nightmare?' [In the end] we decided he wasn't really a god and didn't quite belong. But Fred came up with a pretty awesome way to work him in along the journey." Van Lente says his idea came from the Squad's divine transportation. "Since I knew the God Squad was going to be getting their ship from the Australian Aboriginal gods—specifically Altjira [the creator of the Earth]—to sail along the Dreamtime to get to the Skrull gods, it stood to reason tangling with Nightmare would be a good idea." For Hercules, this quest has more than a few resemblances to another of his past roadtrips, the legendary quest of Jason and the Argonauts for the Golden Fleece.

a page from
INCREDIBLE
HERCULES #118

"Like with the Argonauts, [Herc's] with a motley crew of heroes and rogues on an impossible quest," Van Lente says of the similarities. "Except this time he's the leader—and that makes him even more worried history might repeat itself." Unfortunately for Marvel's favorite demi-god, that quest ended with his former arms bearer's death. "Amadeus isn't Herc's first youthful sidekick," Pak continues. "The fate of young man named Hylas weighs heavy on Herc's mind as he begins this new adventure."

a page from
INCREDIBLE
HERCULES #118

The end of the previous issue, however, cast doubt on the identity of Athena, Herc's sister and the woman responsible for putting the God Squad together. "If [the Skrulls] can pass as resurrected ninjas and superhuman Inhumans, I don't imagine imitating an immortal Greek or two would pose that much of a challenge," teases Pak. "In the Marvel Universe, many heroes have the powers of virtual gods," Van Lente explains. "So hurling some thunderbolts out of their fingers and/or speaking in a Shakespearean accent is definitely not outside these super-Skrulls' abilities."

a page from
INCREDIBLE
HERCULES #118

With all threats within and without, making it to the Skrull deities seems the least of the God Squad's problems…but the real question remains: If the Squad ever went on a real road trip, who would get kicked out of the car first? "Amadeus, definitely," votes Pak. "Although Herc's unyielding enthusiasm for 'One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall' makes him a close second." "Or Demogorge, if he started eating the team," reasons Van Lente. Strap in and get ready to for a ride with the God Squad when INCREDIBLE HERCULES #118 arrives on June 18. For some instant Hercules action, head to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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