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Incredible Hercules: God Squad Assemble!

Writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente talk about Herc's upcoming adventures with the God Squad, Secret Invasion and more

Preview art by
Rafa Sandoval

By Marc Strom When the Skrulls planned their Secret Invasion, they probably should have said an extra prayer or two. Beginning May 21, writers Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak bring Hercules, Amadeus Cho and the newly formed God Squad up against some Skrull deities in INCREDIBLE HERCULES #117...but just because everyone wants to save the world, don't expect them to get along. While some of the members of the God Squad, thrown together by Earth's Council of Godheads after learning of the Skrull threat and charged with the mission of killing the invaders' gods, have more heroic resumes-as with Hercules or Alpha Flight's Snowbird-others have a bit shadier past, to say the least. With a membership including Hercules, Snowbird, Ajak of the Eternals, Demogorge "The God-Eater" and last but not least Amatsu-Mikaboshi, the deity responsible for laying waste to Olympus in 2006's ARES limited series, it should come as no surprise that Van Lente describes the group dynamic as "very tense!"

Preview art by
Rafa Sandoval

"Amatsu-Mikaboshi seems to enjoy undermining the team at every chance he gets in extremely subtle ways," Van Lente warns, "And he may have a whole other agenda Herc will have to deal with..." And on the other side of the spectrum, Van Lente places Demogorge, who "is in kind of a win-win situation, since whoever loses, he eats. [Which is why] Amadeus Cho has dubbed him 'Mr. Happy.'" With so many strong personalities on the roster, Pak says choosing his favorite member actually came as a surprise to him: "One of the most enjoyable of the characters to write is turning out to be Ajak, who's kind of the Zeppo [Marx] of the group, the closest thing the God Squad has to a straight man." But what about regular ol' Amadeus Cho, Athena's choice for inclusion in the God Squad? Pak notes that, in the past, "Amadeus has hung with the Hulk, gotten zapped by Zom, and shaken things up with S.H.I.E.L.D., but this time he's truly out of his league. Yet Athena seems convinced that he has a critical role to play, if he can just survive long enough..."

Preview art by
Rafa Sandoval

Since Pak and Van Lente started INCREDIBLE HERCULES in the wake of World War Hulk, they've established a unique dynamic between the titular hero and his human sidekick, one which Van Lente says parallels some of the Greek god's myths. "Hercules has had a long tradition of having young companions come along with him in his adventures," the writer explains. "Amadeus has the formal role of being Hercules 'arms-bearer,' which is the same job his young charge Hylas had when he went off adventuring with Jason and the Argonauts." "In fact," Van Lente continues, "There are a lot of parallels between this voyage and that of the Argo. Herc just hopes the grim fate of Hylas isn't shared by Amadeus..." Van Lente and Pak say that bringing Hercules' mythological history into the series has provided them the opportunity to explore previously unseen dimensions to the character. Or, as Van Lente puts it: "Who really wants to see Hercules beat up bank robbers?" "Stories and characters always work best if there are conflicts and contrasts," Pak elaborates. "So fun loving Herc becomes all the more compelling when his tragic and terrifying mythic past is brought to the forefront."

Preview art by
Rafa Sandoval

As for any other mythologies the writers would like to explore, Van Lente teases his desire to tackle "that guy with the hammer," while Pak thinks about getting in touch with his American roots. "I love John Henry," the scribe reveals. "Actually, it would be kinda cool to delve into those homegrown American mythical figures-John Henry, Paul Bunyan, Mike Fink..." And what about after the God Squad-hopefully-succeeds in their mission? Van Lente would only offer yet another question as way of a hint: "Why can't Amazons and Atlanteans just be friends?" The God Squad get together on May 21 in INCREDIBLE HERCULES #117. While you wait, read more adventures of Hercules on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
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