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Comic Book / Hercules (2015)

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He's about to get Antiqual on your ass.

Hercules (2015) is the third ongoing series (and tenth series overall) featuring the Marvel Comics incarnation of the legendary classical hero Hercules, the god of strength, heroism and masculinity.

This series, written by Dan Abnett, marks a radical departure from Hercules's portrayal for the past fifty years of publication. In the kindest words, Hercules has always been a second-string character and mostly seen as a Boisterous Bruiser, Handsome Lech, Blood Knight, and drunkard both in-and-out-of-universe. In this series, Hercules decides that he's tired of playing around and decides to get down to serious business being a hero and to remind the world that he was one of its "first" superheroes. As such, he starts a heroic mercenary business where he is called upon to solve problems that most beings cannot.

In addition to his new attitude, Herc got a new look, including a more practical upgrade to his usual outfit, as well as an arsenal of modern weaponry to use.

He'll need them, because something has the various mythological and magical entities of the Marvel universe spooked, and it may be up to Herc to find out what's going on before it causes The End of the World as We Know It.

For more information, see the The Incredible Hercules page.

This series contains the following tropes:

  • And the Adventure Continues: The series ends with Hercules proclaiming that he's only just getting started in his new heroic life.
  • Badass Crew: Herc's "Gods of War", which includes himself, Gilgamesh, Theseus, Sigrun, Ire, Beowulf, and Lorelei.
  • Badass Normal: Sophia hits Horrorscope in the face with a frying pan to save Tiresias and Ire, and manages to hurts her thanks to Lorelei and Ire's spell.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hercules shows up to save Gilgamesh just before he's about to be sacrificed.
  • Blind Seer: In Issue 2, Herc visits Tiresias, who is an old man (in a woman's body) living in plain sight as a clocksmith.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: In addition to Super-Strength and his amazing fighting skills honed from centuries of combat, Herc also seems to have learned how to use modern weaponry, such as a taser, and implement it into his fighting abilities.
  • The Bus Came Back: Hercules was put on a bus following the end of his Herc series in January 2012, making a few cameo appearances here and there. This series became his first major role in about four years. Gilgamesh had disappeared for a similar time, last seen in Thor: The Deviants Saga in 2012.
  • Butterface: Horrorscope, a very sexy and attractive-looking woman dressed in nothing but a bikini, has her mouth covered by a surgical mask. When it's removed, we learn it's because she has no lips, but only grotesque, razor-sharp teeth.
  • Call-Back: The subtitle of issue #4 of Gods of War is "Assault on New Olympus". This calls back to not only the "Assault on New Olympus" arc during The Incredible Hercules run, but the original "Assault on Olympus" way back in the Bronze Age of the Avengers.
  • The Cameo: He appears (with non-speaking roles) in the first issue of Mockingbird, waiting inside a SHIELD health clinic, usually with an ice pack on his head, presumably because of injuries.
  • Cassandra Truth: Hercules is the only one who can see gods that appear to him in divine form, and other people think he's hallucinating or talking to himself.
  • Choice of Two Weapons: Herc uses multiple weapons for various purposes in a fight, each with an amazing amount of skill. In particular, he often alternates between firearms and melee weapons.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Ire plans to use Gilgamesh as a ritual sacrifice to banish the "Uprising Storm", and chooses to use a long and painful method to do so in order to make it that much more powerful.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Herc has always been known to fight dirty, but now he's curbing his usual Blood Knight and Boisterous Bruiser tendencies by using any weapons and tactics he deems necessary, including guns.
  • Deader than Dead: It's been predicted that something coming soon is going to kill Hercules, and that this death will be somehow worse than his previous ones.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Issue #3 reveals that the danger which is coming, that threatens all of the mythical beings, is a new type of "god" created by the modern age, formed from contemporary human sensibilities.
  • Designated Girl Fight: The final battle against the Storm has Ire, Lorelei and Sophia fighting against Horrorscope—all women. Tiresias, a man stuck in a woman's body, is involved as well.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When Hercules meets the Uprising Storm, he isn't impressed by their normal-seeming appearance. Ire is horrified that he's taunting what every god on Earth is so deathly afraid of.
  • Distressed Dude: After attempting to do heroism for the first time in a long while, Gilgamesh is led into a trapped and captured. Herc goes to his rescue when he finds out.
  • Divine Date: In issue #1, Hercules fights against an Urmut demon that was courting a hapless young woman because it wanted to breed, since magic is "dying out".
  • Easily Forgiven: Gilgamesh doesn't hold a grudge against Ire torturing him as part of a sacrificial ritual. Part of this is because she was doing it for a cause that he can agree with, and part of it is because he's endured worse.
  • End of an Age: According to several warnings, it seems magic is "dying" in the Marvel universe, and this doesn't bode well for the world.
  • Enemy Mine: A group of centaurs agree to put their differences with Hercules aside to deal with the mutual threat to both of them.
  • Fan Disservice: The reveal of Horrorscope's face shows that her mouth is a grotesquely deformed and mutilated set of razor sharp fangs with no lips.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The giants in issue 2 are essentially refugees from the Underworld, because something forced them out.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: In Gods of War #3, Hercules reveals this to be what the Uprising Storm are. Though they may carry the demeanor of Visionary Villains, in reality all they really want is chaos and destruction with no greater plan than that.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Many of the hostile magical entities Hercules fights have glowing eyes of various colors.
  • God in Human Form: The Uprising Storm have a far more "mundane" appearance than most of the "old" gods. Justified in that they're gods for the modern era; at one point, gods like the Greek pantheons wore what were "normal" clothes at the time.
  • Going Native: Herc's new policy is to conform to modern standards since humans have moved on.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: The final battle against the Uprising Storm has all of the male Gods of War (Hercules, Gilgamesh, Sigrun, Beowulf and Theseus) invade the Storm's hideout. Lorelei and Ire, on the other hand, stay behind to cast a spell that will weaken the Storm's powers. The two of them only get involved with the fighting when Horrorscope teleports to their location.
  • Here There Were Dragons: A plot point is that magical beings were once plentiful but are now scarce in the Marvel Universe. Many of them are unhappy with this development and are pushing hard so that The Magic Comes Back.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Discussed Trope. Hercules has abandoned relying solely on antique weapons and has begun using firearms, explosives, and more advanced weaponry. He is called out for this by many other characters, who claim he isn't acting very heroic or honorably. Herc then scoffs at this accusation by saying that this is no different from using a club in one era and a longbow in another.
  • Heroic Resolve: During his battle against Catastrophobia, Hercules is worried about being outmatched, but states that it doesn't matter because fighting without thinking is what he's best at and thus he'll never give up.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • Not to Spider-Man levels, but the impetus for this series is that civilians are significantly dismissive of Hercules.
      • Ironically, a random bystander in Issue #2 tells Hercules that people want their heroes to be more responsible—like Spider-man. Herc's reaction sums it up completely.
    "...Well that puts things into perspective."
  • Hired Guns: A heroic example, since Herc allows his strength and skills to be hired to solve problems. And now he uses literal guns.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Hercules, a mythological being who now spend his time protecting humans against other mythological beings so that humans can be free to live as they wish.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Herc says this to a group of giants. He wanted to hear their side of things and know why they were rampaging. When they ask how do they know he won't just kill them, Herc says that if he wanted to, the fight would have gone very differently.
  • I Have Many Names: According to this series, Hercules has been known by thousands of names over the millennia, but he goes by "Hercules" because it's the most famous.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The Avengers and the other Gods of War try to snap Hercules out of his Storm-cursed insanity. Notably, however, the Avengers at first think it's a case of Get A Hold Of Yourself Man as they can't see the Storm and think Herc is just acting out somehow.
  • Invisible to Normals: Athena appears to Hercules several times, but always in her 'divine" guise (basically a faceless helmeted specter), and not the attractive, buxom woman portrayed in older series. Hercules is the only person who can see her, which makes the Muggles around him think he's even more crazy.
    • Likewise, the Uprising Storm appear to taunt Hercules this way. Since no one else is aware of their presence, they make it look like he's ranting and punching at nothing.
  • It's All My Fault: Sophia feels bad about pushing Gilgamesh into doing something heroic, which leads to his capture and torture. She at first offers to go help rescue him, but Herc tells her to check on Tiresias instead. This saves Tiresias's life just in the nick of time.
  • It's Probably Nothing: After being "branded" by Cryptomnesia, Hercules is left with a painful green handprint made up of circuitry. Several people, including Iron Man, note that the wound doesn't seem to be healing and probably holds something nasty with all that tech involved, but Herc repeatedly insists that he's fine and that his Healing Factor will take care of it—which it isn't.
  • Jaded Washout: Gilgamesh. Supposedly, he's out of shape, smelly, and does nothing but watch television all day and eat Herc's food. He laments that the world has changed, that he's forgotten, and that other heroes have come along to replace the mythical ones.
  • Let's Get Dangerous! : According to the writer, this series asks the simple question: "what if acting like a buffoon for centuries was Hercules' idea of retirement?".
  • Magic Versus Science: A plot point, since Hercules believes that the best policy is to fight old magic with new weapons and advancements. The gods of the Uprising Storm take it even further, as their deific abilities have a distinctly modern and technological flavor.
  • Manly Man: The Greek god of manliness, and a fearless, powerful superhero. That's Hercules in a nutshell.
  • Meaningful Name: Two of the Uprising Storm:
    • Cryptomnesia: The recollection of some piece of information that was forgotten and now seems like new information to the person. He acts as messenger of the Storm and dresses like a huckster. His power is to "rebrand" things—in other words, reintroduce old things by pretending it's something completely different. It's implied he can use this to invoke some manner of control on others.
    • Catastrophobia: A fear of disasters or catastrophes, being "branded" by the Storm as their God of War. He has the ability to use his own personal Kill Sat in combat.
  • Modernized God: The "Storm" that threatens the old world of mythological beings turns out to be a trio of "new gods" born out of modern society's flaws and obsessions. They are Cryptomnesia, god of data and information with a constant access to the entirety of the Internet and all communication devices ; Catastrophobia, a modern-day god of war using targetting missiles and explosions ; and Horrorscope, the manifestation of toxic self-image and narcissism as a plastic surgery model.
  • More than Mind Control: The Uprising Storm "brand" (a more modernish version of a curse) Hercules so that none of his fellow allies or Avengers will think he's sane. Their goal is to isolate him from everyone he trusts as it twists his mind into joining them as their God of Chaos.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Herc is a Walking Shirtless Scene and pretty much leaks manliness wherever he goes.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Horrorscope of the Uprising Storm wears nothing but a string bikini. Ire wears almost as little, but is closer to a Nubile Savage.
  • Multi-Melee Master: The cover of the second issue feature Herc squaring off against a giant with a sword in one hand and a mace in the other. He does the same thing in issue #4.
  • Muggles Do It Better: This is Hercules' reasoning for using modern weaponry; it's time to acknowledge that Technology Marches On and to change with the times.
  • The Musketeer: At the end of issue 1, we see Herc charging into battle with a spear in one hand and an assault rifle in the other. We never get to see this in action.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In issue #4, Hercules rushes to Gilgamesh's rescue and stops him from being sacrifice. Said sacrifice was an attempt to save the old gods (and probably the world) from the Uprising Storm, so stopping her gives them enough time to intervene and put a stop to things.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: By allowing Herc to go insane and become their "God of Chaos", the Uprising Storm not only gave him insight into what their plans were, but also let him know where they were.
  • Not Himself: When the Avengers arrive to stop a berserk Hercules in Gods of War #3, they quickly realize that not even Herc at his most drunk or most Jerkass levels, would behave as recklessly and callously as he is.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The first issue has Hercules decide to take a job from two boys that's on the way to another job. The job the boys ask help with is saving the sister of one of them from her boyfriend who is a monster in disguise. A fight ensues and Hercules vanquishes the demon, just to rush off to the original job—which is fighting a massive sea monster. This fight we don't get to see, although it certainly impressed the local news.
  • Off the Wagon: Subverted Trope. After being sober for months, issue #7 ends with Hercules drinking at a bar. Gods of War #1, however, reveals that he didn't actually drink what he ordered. His habit is to buy a drink and stare at it to build his Heroic Willpower.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-universe. Herc speaks modern English when he has the chance, but every once in a while, he'll slip back into Ye Olde Butchered English.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Issue #2 has Hercules tussling with a group of rampaging giants. The advice Gil uses is to "punch them really hard", but Hercules opts for a Grenade Launcher filled with smoke to soften them up...and then punch them.
  • Poisonous Person: Horrorscope has a touch that burns.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: Goes along with his more "serious" approach to battle.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The cover of issue #6 features Herc standing beside Gilgamesh, Sofia, Ire, and Tiresias's dog.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Hercules gets verbally lambasted by Iron Man about how he doesn't fit into the modern era, that nobody will give him a pass if he engages in some post-victory debauchery, and how irresponsible he is for thinking he can handle the Uprising Storm without backup. Except it's actually Cryptomnesia in disguise, as the real Iron Man is busy in Japan at the time.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The minions of Ire have glowing red eyes.
  • Retired Badass: Herc's roommate is Gilgamesh, the Forgotten One. A hero as strong as Hercules, but now retired from heroism (despite Hercules's protests).
  • Shapeshifting: Horrorscope of the Uprising Storm can change her form to blend in with Muggles.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Hercules now has an arsenal of firearms he uses along with more traditional weaponry.
  • Super-Strength: Naturally, Hercules has it (being the literal god of strength and all), but other characters also possess impressive levels of it as well. Gilgamesh has been depicted as Herc's equal in past stories (although here he admits to being out of shape) and Ire managed to not only briefly battle Herc in fisticuffs, but actually managed to hurt Gilgamesh when he hit her. And finally, Catastrophobia's strength is great enough to make Herc worried.
  • Those Two Guys: Herc and his roommate Gilgamesh like to act this way from time to time.
  • Totally Radical: Cryptomnesia speaks using internet jargon and slang from The New '10s in virtually every sentence.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Solicits for Hercules #6 features a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits standing alongside Hercules. Amongst them are Gilgamesh (indicating that he survives his ambush, contrary to the cover of issue #4, Ire (indicating an Enemy Mine situation), Tiresia's dog, and Sofia.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Ire and Lorelei are the only female members of the "Gods of War".
  • Unwanted Assistance:
    • Hercules uses his Super-Strength to help his landlady move a new washing machine into her basement before being called away to a mission. She insists that she doesn't want the help, and when Herc asks his buddy Gil to take over, she says she especially doesn't want his help. Gil finishes the job anyway.
    • Later in the same issue, the mission Herc was called away for (rampaging giants in New York City), the crowd is significantly less than thrilled the hero who showed up to save the day was Hercules.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: All the mythical creatures keep playing the pronoun game with Herc and telling him that "something" bad is on its way. Herc starts to get pretty annoyed that no one can give him a straight answer.
  • Walking Armory: Justified Trope. Since Hercules is one of the strongest people on Earth, he can carry around a huge dufflebag full of weapons.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Herc's regular outfit is just a strap across his chest that does noting to cover his flesh. He is also not above walking around shirtless in his home.
  • Wall of Weapons We get a glimpse of Herc's arsenal. He's got everything from handguns, assault rifles, shotguns, as sniper rifles, as well short swords, long swords, polearms, shields and maces from various cultures. He even has a medusa head (UNCOVERED!), what looks like the helmet and shield of his sister Athena, and what looks like a cosmic cube!
  • We Can Rule Together: After Cryptomnesia brands Hercules, he and the rest of the Storm offer him a place in their pantheon as a God of Chaos.
  • We Help the Helpless: Herc can be hired to help solve problems if mortals come to him for aid. The best thing is, he doesn't even ask for money—just something the mortal themselves considers valuable as "tribute".
  • What You Are in the Dark: Hercule's Kirk Summation at the end has him state that his Fatal Flaw in the past has always been prioritizing having the reputation of a hero over being a hero. When Athena tells him that no one will know what he and his team did to save the world, he says that it doesn't matter. Being a hero is its own reward.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: More like "your costume is hot", but the same principle applies. A random pretty jogger asks Herc whom he's "supposed to be", and when he tells her, she compliments his "cosplay" and jogs off.