The Chaos King has begun his assault upon the universe. By snatching the power from Nightmare, the Chaos King is able to impact all mortals within in his reach and send them into a “waking sleep.” The unaffected must rally behind Hercules and gird their loins for battle with the Chaos King.
Yeah: gird their loins.
Hercules seeks allies to stand with him and finds a few worthy. Those few are not the expected Avengeriffic characters, but an assemblage of gods and demigods. The collection of characters — Thor, Amadeus Cho, Venus, Silver Surfer, Galactus, and Sersi — is an odd lot to say the least, but the lot has potential for engaging and entertaining stories ahead. With Pak and Van Lente scripting their adventures, this group is certain to deliver stories to thrill and enthrall. Pak and Van Lente pepper this issue with their trademark humor-infused big screen action. The scope of the story is mammoth, and the threat is equally gigantic. Pak and Van Lente manage to keep the tale contained in this series, however, but set up the tales of risen dead for the next issue and the multitude of spinoffs. The vibe I get from this issue is that those spinoffs truly are supplemental — a smorgasbord of stories that feature fan-favorite characters — designed to enhance the main story.
The main — heck, only — story in this issue is Hercules and company struggling to ready themselves for a battle of epic proportions. While I love Pham’s figure work, I’m puzzled by the continued plasticized appearance of all of the characters in this book. I’m not sure how much blame goes to Tom Palmer as inker or to Sunny Gho on the colors, but the end result is a distraction more than an enhancement. The plastic facades on everything make this story seem as though it is the adventures of some highly polished mannequins posed, not poised, for battle. I can understand the desire to make this book visually distinct, but this seems like different for different sake, rather than being different-looking art driven solely by the story. It is a distraction from Pham’s work. Pham’s work is strong enough to carry through the sheen, but it certainly deserves to stand on its own merit. Pham does a great job of staging his page composition. Galactus’ appearance and Sersi’s deception are just two instances that illustrate the ability Pham brings to this story.
“Chaos War” has been an interesting story to this point. Although dubbed the Chaos King, Mikaboshi is attacking with an order and a purpose that puts the “God Squad” up against significant danger and seemingly insurmountable odds just in time for a cliffhanger ending. November seems to be a big month filled with a great deal of “Chaos War” related offerings, but this issue is a brilliant primer for whatever comes next.