Hercules: The Thracian Wars #1


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Hercules: The Thracian Wars #1


  • Words: Steve Moore
  • Art: Admira Wijaya
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Imaginary Friends Studios
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Radical Comics
  • Price: $1.00

The legendary Hercules and seven of his equally legendary friends have come to Thrace to fight a war. But whose side are they on?

Writer Steve Moore goes back to the true roots of Greek mythology. This version of Hercules is not some thinly disguised superhero analog and the setting is not some pretty, clean, Disney-fied version of the ancient world. The original Greek myths and the people who told them were often lewd, crude, rude, violent and earthy… and so are all the characters here.

Iolaus – warrior, nephew, and friend to the mighty Hercules, arrives at the palace of King Cotys of Thrace. The king has asked for Hercules’ aid in a war devastating the land of Thrace. Despite this plea, Iolaus and Meneus find no welcome by Cotys’s court. When Hercules arrives with the other warriors – Atalanta, Autolycus, Amphiaraus, Tydeus, and Meleager – Cotys and his courtiers go out of their way to verbally abuse and insult the warrior. Too bad no one apparently warned them about Hercules’ temper…

Moore has certainly done his homework. Most of the time it has been the "cleaned up" versions of Greek myths that have been passed down through popular culture but in truth many of the original myths portrayed the gods and goddesses as petty, dark and capricious and the heroes as hardened and ribald warriors. That is the version of these myths that Moore has chosen to bring out here. Hercules does not seem particularly smart but he is strong and brutal… as are his companions; and the insults thrown about by Cotys and his courtiers are brutally rude. This is a darker, nastier world and Moore pulls no punches in describing it.

The art, provided by Admira Wijaya is truly art – each panel looks like a painting. There is also a nice sense of research into the time period as (for the most part) clothing, weapons, and settings look authentic for the time period. The problem is that some scenes, like paintings, have no sense of flow or movement. There is power aplenty here but the action seems dimmed. Is it possible for something to actually be "too pretty"? In this case that might be "yes."

Hercules: The Thracian Wars will be a must-have for anyone who is a fan of ancient mythology held close to its roots. Also, those who enjoyed Frank Miller’s 300 should find a lot to like here. This version of Hercules is a flawed hero, a legend who both does and does not live up to his hype, but above all else he is a warrior in a brutal time and place.

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