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Incredible Hercules: Cho Alone

Fred Van Lente talks about Amadeus Cho striking out on his own in INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133 preview art by Rodney Buchemi
By Tim Stevens

Developmentally, teenagers must take advantage of opportunities to press boundaries and attempt tasks on their own to reach adulthood in a psychologically sound case. For Amadeus Cho, such an opportunity arrives on August 26 in INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133.

Following the events of INCREDIBLE HERCULES #131, Cho and Hercules' partnership has been torn asunder. While the event came as a surprise to many, series co-writer Fred Van Lente points out that the split had been coming for a while.

"It's been building for some time that Amadeus has been losing more and more trust in the Olympians he's been palling around with," he says. "For one thing, the Olympus Group, the mortal corporation that is the seat of the Greek gods' power in the Marvel Universe, owns Excello Soap, the company that sponsored the 'Brain Fight' Internet quiz show that anointed Cho the seventh smartest human in the world immediately after which his parents were blown to smithereens by persons unknown. Amadeus has decided that Athena is purposefully concealing from him the full truth about his parents' death and he can no longer confide in her and, by extension, Hercules."

Free of those he had grown to distrust, Cho has immediately committed to solving the mystery that has long plagued him: the exact nature of his parents' death. The first destination he has in mind, a town in the

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133 preview art by Rodney Buchemi
southwestern United States with a very distinctive name, Excello, Utah, may bring Cho face-to-face with far more than he expects.

"Amadeus is heading to the company town where Excello Soap is headquartered and is plunged into adventure and intrigue, as well as some mind-blowing death traps, as is only fitting in a titanic struggle between two cosmic-level geniuses," Van Lente reveals.

The second of these masterminds goes by the name Pythagoras Dupree and might quickly leave Amadeus feeling severely overmatched.

"He can wield his 'brain equations' in ways that put our dear Master Cho to shame," Van Lente admits.

Keen minds also might wonder if Excello could be a hint for certain other parties from the Marvel Universe becoming involved in Amadeus' story. These readers would be very much on the right track.

"Is there a connection between [THE TWELVE cast member] Master Mind Excello and the sponsors of 'Brain Fight?'" Van Lente ponders rhetorically. "Why yes there is, and you'll find out the details [in INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133], with cameos by Master Mind and some of the other members of the Twelve."

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133 preview art by Rodney Buchemi
Luckily for Amadeus, he needs not face all these new people and challenges on his own. A familiar face from Cho's past pops up in #133 as well.

"Agent Sexton, the mysterious government agent who first tried to help him way back in AMAZING FANTASY v2 #15 [returns]," promises Van Lente. "We'll learn way more about her in this arc, too."

He also reassures readers that they should not write off this quest as a summer fling of fancy on the part of the character or the creative team.

"You could almost call this a Hero's Journey," Van Lente explains. "That resonance between Amadeus and the great heroes of the past, as unassuming as this youth may seem on the surface, is a major part of this arc. And the person Amadeus may find the most connection to is Hercules, even in his absence, and just what that connection is may prove the most shocking discovery of all.

"Forces beyond our comprehension appear to be grooming Amadeus for a major, important role in Marvel Universe sooner rather than later, and this arc introduces him to what his true destiny may be-and it is a hell of a ride, for him and us!"

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