Saturday, July 3, 2010

Marvel Graphic Novel #37: Hercules

Clearly, I should have re-read Bob Layton's first Hercules stories before I just plowed into this one. I really don't remember most of the characters involved, but there are a ton of callbacks to the previous limited series.

I love the idea that an an immortal demi-god, Hercules is going to keep on having crazy adventures way into the future. He's the same guy he's always been, regardless of the time period. I dig the red and black costume, although those 80's style curls are sort of hard to get used to. Herc travels around the galaxy with a Skrull sidekick and the Recorder robot, who is not quite C-3PO, but they share some traits.

This graphic novel has Herc discovering that the egotistical warlord conquering the galaxy happens to be his son. There are some neat moments as Herc figures out how to handle someone who has been trained to hate him. I'm not sure this story deserves a big, fancy "graphic novel" treatment, but that was true of the She-Hulk GN I read recently too. Maybe I'm wrong about the whole idea behind these things. Was this just another format for regular, non-event stories? This is the last in the series, but not I want to go back and check out the others I have on my bookshelf (Emperor Doom, Cloak & Dagger, and God Loves, Man Kills for certain).

Layton's art looks fantastic on the big pages. Layton's Iron Man always impresses me with those little glints that always show up on the armor. Iron Man doesn't appear in this, but there is enough smooth metal on the ships and soldiers' armor to make sure I have a lot of that little detail. Hercules' hair looks silly, as I said, but heck; this guy has been around long enough to get to pick and choose what era of haircut he's going to sport.

This is hardly essential reading, but it is pretty fun. I grabbed this for 3 bucks, and it is totally worth that price. I'd even say that fans of Layton's art should seek this out, it does have all the things he does best (ships, armor, and smashing!)


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