Incredible Hercules #138

Following a "What Thou Needst Know" page, this story gets rolling. The build-up seems to have been lingering for months now, but this issue wastes no time sowing seeds and instead begins to reap the benefits of what has been set up.

Hera is ready to unleash the Continuum®, her attempt to scrub the world clean for a fresh start set in her image. Hiding behind the corporate façade of the Olympus Group, Hera and her cronies gather as the Continuum is readied. Under the guise of a Trojan horse, the battle is joined.

Pam and Van Lente provide a great story with lots of characters and plenty of action. (My CBR colleague, Dave Richards, sat down with the duo.) I find their "choice" of additional characters interesting. The entire issue I was wondering where Ares was, as this event would certainly affect him. The duo not only addressed that concern, but did so with a flair that makes perfect sense and plays to the personifications of these mythological characters, all the while bringing their treatment into a modern setting.

My twelve-year-old daughter has been reading the Percy Jackson books and regaling me with the modern spins applied to mythological characters. While I find a great deal of similarity here -- admittedly my daughter pointed it out to me -- I cannot help but think this is more a case of great minds thinking alike than it is of ideas being swiped or heavily borrowed from. In any case, the story itself is entertaining and the characters are engaging. The Percy Jackson novels don't feature Spider-Man tipping the cap to Chris Rock nor U.S. Agent getting in Hercules' face about the viability of the "gods" as they walk the Earth. This is what makes this book uniquely Marvel, and the fact that Van Lente and Pak continue to find ways make the myths of old feel like Marvel tales of yesteryear speaks volumes to their ability to spin a yarn.

Buchemi continues to soldier on with his art in this issue. Seems like every we get a new issue of Buchemi art every two to three weeks, which has been nothing short of phenomenal in and of itself. Granted, I am certain Buchemi had some lead time to set these issues in motion, but the fact that the issues are done and consistently released is noteworthy. Buchemi's art is as solid here as it was in "Hercules" #137, with the major exception being this issue has more than a few more characters hanging around.

The "Agents of Atlas" backup by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman is a great addition to a title that has already been a great monthly read. The biggest complaint I can offer is that the story is just that, a back-up. As the Agents' mission changes course in this issue, it points the Agents towards the same battlefield occupied by Hercules and his allies. What happens from here waits to be seen -- and should be seen -- by Marvel and mythology fans.

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