Friday, April 25, 2008

Hercules: The Thracian Wars #1(of 5)

Writer: Steve Moore
Art: Admira Wijaya
Colors: Imaginary Friends Studio
Letters Todd Klein
Radical Comics, due in stores April 30,2008
(PDF preview provided for Review)

Hercules and his band of friends have come to Thrace to train their army for war. When they find their reception to not be kind, they find themselves in a fight for their lives to survive.

I'm only vaguely familiar with the Hercules myth. Its been many years since I studied them in my younger days and while I remember liking them the details are sketchy. My most recent experience with it being the light hearted TV series starring Kevin Sorbo.

So I was a bit taken aback by the sheer brutality of this take on the series. Not that I was expecting light hearted fare, the detailed showing on page one of crows picking at dead bodies made it clear such would not be the case. Yet I was hoping for something to make me want to read more.

Especially give that the art by Wijaya fit the material well. There wasn't a ton of different facial expressions since everyone was in a bad mood. Yet there was a nice flow to the scenes and it showed the horror in vivid detail.

Still these heroes seem as reprehensible as those they fight. Be it slaying fleeing women who never bared a weapon, killing someone for being dismissive of them, or planning to eat the dead bodies of their enemies as one companion planned. I was left wondering why I should care if these characters lived or died.

Perhaps the intention is to portray a more realistic version of Hercules, and surely in a real world setting the characters would be very brutal and not likable as these were. Yet the take seemed quite cynical, and it just isn't to my tastes at least.

If someone is looking for a more brutal take on Hercules, in the vein of the harsher Conan stories, then this series could be the one for you.

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