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Comic Book / The Incredible Hercules

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Hercules (by Marvel Comics) is a comic book character based on the homonym Greco-Roman hero from Classical Mythology who first appeared in "Journey into Mystery Annual" #1 (1965), created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. At first Hercules was mainly used as a rival to The Mighty Thor, but he quickly became another well-established superhero. The majority of his appearances have featured Hercules as either part of an ensemble team (Such as The Avengers, the original Champions, The Defenders, and the Heroes for Hire) or partnered with some other hero as a Foil, most notably Thor and Amadeus Cho, but also Wolverine, Deadpool and Spider-Man.

Marvel's take on Hercules is that of a very rugged, boastful, and irresponsible Manly Man, usually with outdated morals - although, Depending on the Writer, he sometimes adapts much more quickly and happily to the modern world and its morals, to the point where it's a key point in Hercules (2015). His powers and personality allow him to easily be The Big Guy, The Wise Guy and The Lancer, and thus he's usually considered one of the Lighter and Softer Marvel characters.

Marvel has also published the character with a major role in a number of titles, such as:

  • Bob Layton's Hercules Trilogy:note 
    • Hercules: Prince of Power vol. 1 (1982)
    • Hercules: Prince of Power vol. 2 (1984)
    • Hercules: Twilight of a God (2010)

  • Miniseries:
    • Hercules: Heart of Chaos (1997) note 
    • Hercules (2005) note 
    • Ares (2006) note 

  • Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente's The Incredible Hercules run:
    • The Incredible Hercules (2008) note 
    • Hercules: Fall of An Avenger (2010) note 
    • Heroic Age: Prince of Power (2010) note 
    • Chaos War (2010) note 
    • Herc (2011) note 

  • All-New, All-Different Marvel run:
    • Hercules (2015) note 
    • Civil War II: Gods of War (2016) note 

  • Marvel: A Fresh Start run:
    • Avengers: No Road Home (2019) note 
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) note 


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    Tropes about his series in general 
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Greek gods are an archetypal example.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Every pantheon under the sun, to the point that Marvel released the Encyclopedia Mythologica, a special issue of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, to codify just how many active pantheons there are in the Marvel Universe.
  • Physical God: Most of the main characters.
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: Both Hercules and his partner Amadeus Cho are captured by the Greek god Hephaestus. The rooms they're trapped in both have a switch which will open the other cell's door and allow escape, but will flood the room of the person who pressed it with a gas that not even Hercules can survive. Once the countdown starts, both Herc and Cho press their buttons instantly, setting each other free.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Despite taking a lot from the original myths and adapting some of them many things have been changed:
    • Hercules being called Hercules instead of Herakles is actually explained as him taking the name to distance himself from both Hera herself, and more importantly his mistakes.
    • Pluto has gone from a neutral god ruling the underworld to actively trying to overthrow Zeus and conquer Earth.
    • In myth, Hercules and Hera made peace upon his ascension to godhood. Here she hates him more than ever despite Zeus' attempts to broker peace.
    • In myth, Zeus's thunderbolts are spear-like weapons forged by the Cyclopes. In Marvel, it is a power source that dwells within him.
    • In myth, Zeus is a much more controversial figure thanks to contrasting versions of stories, different translations, and values can easily come across as an evil serial rapist who demands mortals worship him, and unleashed the horrors of Pandora's Box upon the World for extremely petty reasons. In Marvel, while still a prideful, jerk some of his more questionable actions have either not been mentioned, dismissed as mistakes in the myth and Zeus's overall character more toward the benevolent side with allowing his worship to die out and keeping the evils of the more malevolent Olympians such as Hera, Pluto and Ares in check.
    • In-universe example: Some of the labors Hercules was attributed with were actually done by a similar immortal, super-strong hero: Gilgamesh aka The Forgotten One of the Eternals. Also a meta-example, as Gilgamesh is wholly unconnected to Greek mythology.
  • Tangled Family Tree: What do you expect from Greek deities which spend thousands of years mating with anyone? Of note, however, is the fact that due to Marvel's Gaea and Jord being the same person, this means that Hercules' relatives extend into other pantheons as well. For example, Thor is actually his great-uncle, since Gaea is Hercules's great-grandmother and Jord is Thor's birth mother.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe. Most Marvel gods talk this way, but Hercules (and the Greek pantheon) switched to modern English round about Civil War.

    Silver Age Hercules 

This section covers stories from his first appearance until his defeat of Typhon and the end of his exile from Olympus.

  • Badass in Distress: Thor even comments on the fact that he hates seeing a warrior like Hercules being made so helpless and powerless while captive in the Underworld.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: A variation in that Hercules challenges Captain America's right to give him orders, so he and Cap fight. Cap uses his acrobatics and martial arts skills to evade all of Hercules's attacks, and after a while, Herc is so impressed that he declares Undying Loyalty to Cap.
  • Distressed Dude: The Pluto arc in the pages of Thor had Hercules in need of a champion to fight for him and rescue him from a terrible fate. Even when captive, he fights every step of the way, but it was a lost cause.
  • Magically-Binding Contract: Disguised as a Hollywood director, Pluto tricks Hercules to sign an "Olympian Contract", which even Zeus is forced to abide by. When Hercules does something that breaks the rules of the contract, he becomes zapped by some sort of enchantment and stripped of his powers.
  • Mighty Glacier: In his fight with Cap, Hercules is too slow to hit the more agile fighter. But Cap knows that all Herc needs is one half-decent hit to instantly KO him. Fortunately for Cap, seeing his skill and bravery is enough for Herc to concede.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Hercules gives Typhon one of these at the conclusion of their first fight. The Avengers have to hold Herc back from continuing to beat him down, as Hercules didn't know he was knocked out.
  • Orphean Rescue: A variation; when Pluto tricks Hercules into taking his place as ruler of the Underworld, Thor has to travel to the underworld and fight as his champion.
  • Sixth Ranger: When Hercules first showed up in the book, it was as a "guest" of the team and not an actual member. He still went on missions with them, but more as a useful tagalong. He later joined the team proper and became a full Avenger.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: The first meeting between Hercules and Thor was treated as this both in and out of universe, with everyone eager to see just which of the two gods would win in a fight.

    Bronze Age 

Tropes gathered from Herc's sporadic appearances between his return to Olympus and the "Dark Age" incarnation of the Avengers starting from issue #355.

  • Call-Back: When Hercules meets Wonder Man for the first time, he hears that Simon is more interested in being an actor than an Avenger, so he tells Simon he has contacts in Hollywood. This is a nod to a few Silver Age stories which showed that Hercules sometimes did acting roles.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Subverted trope. In Thor #221, Thor attacks Olympus thinking that Hercules has kidnapped the Asgardian goddess Krista. Hercules has no idea why Thor is calling him out, but (as Herc does) decides to punch first and ask questions later. Zeus then breaks up the fight and hears Thor out, before explaining that Hercules is innocent because he's been at a festival the whole time.
  • Frame-Up: Ares tries to frame Hercules for the kidnapping of the goddess Krista in order to get Thor and Herc to kill each other.
  • Honey Trap: Tanya Sealy (aka "Black Mamba") seduced Hercules and took him drinking so that he'd be too inebriated to fight the Masters of Evil, just as Zemo planned.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: During the "Under Siege" storyarc, a drunk Hercules refuses to wait for Wasp and Captain America to come up with a plan to retake Avengers Mansion from the Masters of Evil and not only gets his ass kicked, but also those of the Wasp and Cap when they try to save him.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Thor storms Olympus to fight Herc (whom he believes is a traitor), but Zeus later sets things straight. Then the two start fighting again over who will rescue Krista and a stupefied Zeus just tells the two of them to stop acting like idiots and team up.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Hercules's brief reappearance in The Avengers after returning from Olympus has him running in fear of an opponent named "The Huntsman" (Zeus's personal tracker/assassin). This is the first time Hercules is ever shown running from, or avoiding, any sort of fight.
  • Token Minority: Lampshaded. At one point, he's upset that he was called to stand in for Thor during an awards ceremony, calling himself the "Token God" of the team.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Zeus calls out both Thor and Hercules after they start fighting each other again over who gets to rescue Krista—right after he just stopped them from fighting only a few minutes ago.
  • World's Strongest Man: Issue #222 is the one which established that Thor and Hercules are equals. The two men (the strongest gods of their respective pantheons) arm wrestle each other on Mount Olympus. The contest ends in a draw when the table shatters under the weight of such manliness.

    Dark Age 

This section covers Hercules following Avengers #355 until "Heroes Return".

  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Hera, who plots to kill him alongside Ares, only to be betrayed by Ares at the last moment.
  • Birds of a Feather: Herc became friends with Deathcry, when he realized that they both no longer had any other home than the Avengers Mansion.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Zeus created Taylor Madison in order to foil Hera's attack on Hercules, and when Herc finds out and then watches Zeus unmake her, he is pissed. Zeus is offended that Herc doesn't appreciate his "help" and strips him of his immortality.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In the end, we never know if Hercules and Deathcry ever slept together—but she certainly wanted it, and they were alone in space for a long time.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Throughout this era, Hercules was in love with a woman named Taylor Madison, to he point that he became lovesick when she suddenly stopped seeing him and promised to forsake all other women for her.
  • The Lost Lenore: Taylor Madison became Hercules's lost love later during this era.
  • Loving a Shadow: Hercules was in love with a woman named Taylor Madison—except that was exactly the role she was intended to serve, as a false construct created by Zeus to be Hercules's "perfect woman".
  • Survivor's Guilt: Hercules is horrified when he finds out that the other Avengers died fighting Onslaught, as he was in space with Deathcry at the time.

    "Heroes Reborn" Age (1997-2008) 

This section covers Herc's disparate appearances between Heroes Return up to the start of World War Hulk.

  • The Alcoholic: After losing Taylor Madison, his immortality, the disbanding of the Avengers and the apparent death or Thor and the entire Asgardian pantheon, Hercules, who was always a big partier, degenerates into a full-blown one.
  • Badass Crew: Hercules, Thor and the Destroyer team up to save Asgard. It's as awesome as it sounds.
  • Broken Pedestal: Learning that mortals no longer respect him is what prompts him to go on his new labors.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Hercules is torn between attacking Thor on his father's command for the apparent destruction of Olympus or believing that his friend is innocent. He chooses the latter, to Zeus's disappointment.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: Artume, a villain is an obvious take-off on Wonder Woman. Like Diana, she's the daughter of Hippolyta, who is an Amazon, and was animated from lifeless material (stone rather than clay). Also like Diana, she rebels against her mother. Unlike Diana, she's a treacherous megalomaniac, and her version of being an Amazon involves taking Does Not Like Men to genocidal levels. For extra points, both characters are named after the same goddess (the Greek Artemis/Roman Diana).
  • Drowning His Sorrows: Hercules' way of coping with the loss of Thor and the dissolution of the Avengers.
  • One-Hit KO: Hercules defeats Hulk's nemesis, the Abomination, in one hit.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Erik Josten (Atlas) apologizes to Herc for almost killing him so long ago, but Herc is having none of it.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When he finds out that the Thunderbolts are the same Masters of Evil that beat him in a coma years ago, Herc goes into a rage for revenge.
  • Undying Loyalty: Hercules chooses his loyalty to Thor over his loyalty to Zeus.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Hercules reappears in his original costume, with all of his godly power intact with no explanation aside from the implication that he's on speaking terms with Zeus again.
  • Titanomachy, Round Two: In one Hercules/Hulk crossover, a fight between the two strongmen is interrupted when Cronus escapes from Tartarus along with other titans and other creatures. Though the duo beat back the escapees, the bloody and merciless slaughter upsets the Hulk, who sees a lot of himself in these fellow "monsters". Hulk thus leaves Mount Olympus in disgust.
  • With Us or Against Us: Zeus gives Hercules this ultimatum and bids him to attack Thor. Hercules refuses, and Zeus banishes him once again.

    The Incredible Hercules (2008-2015) 

Tropes from the Pak/Van Lente run of Hercules, starting with World War Hulk up until Hercules (2015).

  • Aborted Arc: A big Wham Line came late in the series when Amadeus learned that his little sister was still alive. This was never resolved in The Incredible Hercules, although she later turned up as an important supporting character in Amadeus's solo series Totally Awesome Hulk.
  • Accidental Marriage: Hercules, while disguised as Thor, accidentally becomes consort to Alflyse, the queen of the Dark Elves. Note that Herc is already married.
  • Act of True Love: Hephaestus captures Herc and Amadeus and puts them each in a cell with a button. If one pushes his button, he will die but the other will go free. If neither of them push the button, they both die. What happens? They both attempt Heroic Sacrifice: they push their buttons immediately at the same time. They both go free.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: While not aliens and also not likely to steal cable (they can certainly afford it), it's strongly suggested that the various Greek gods got up to speed on modern culture by watching movies and television. The Prince Of Power miniseries suggests that the Norse gods (or Thor at least, who admits to watching videos on YouTube) did this as well.
    Hercules: The difference between us is, I make this look good.
    Amadeus: Where did you even see that?
    Hercules: Netflix!
  • All Myths Are True: Hercules once tried using a story from his life to teach Amadeus only for Amadeus to retort it contradicted the more established version of events. Hercules counted that myths were not facts to be checked in a ledger so they do not have to always make sense. Thus, contradicting myths may be true. Add on that Hercules regularly had dealings with gods from mythologies and you have an "all myths are true" situation.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Princess Artume is totally not Wonder Woman.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Every night terror that ever lurked the darkness" includes, amongst its numerous Eldritch Abominations, an IRS agent, chocolate, and a Rubik's cube.
  • Assimilation Plot: The Skrull gods' justification for their universal holy war.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Athena's ascension to Skyfather status is signalled by Zeus' thunderbolt descending to her, freeing her from her stone imprisonment, upon which she proclaims herself "Athena Panhellenios".
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Amadeus.
  • Badass Bookworm: Again, Amadeus.
  • Bat Family Crossover: Chaos War, which spawned a few tie-ins that confirmed Hercules' status as one who connects the Gamma side (Incredible Hulks), the mythological side (Chaos War: Thor mini-series, Chaos War: Ares one-shot) and the typical superhero side (Chaos War: Dead Avengers and Chaos War: X-Men mini-series, Chaos War: Alpha Flight one-shot) of the Marvel Universe.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Athena's plan for getting Hercules and Cho to meet consisted of sending Herc back to Earth and waiting, under the assumption that as the champions of two different eras, they would eventually run across each other.
  • Bed Trick: Hercules sleeps with (and ends up in an Accidental Marriage to) Alfyse, Queen of the Dark Elves by pretending to be Thor. He didn't start the facade specifically to sleep with her, and part of his intention might have been to invoke a Sex–Face Turn (which he eventually does). Further, she didn't fall for him because he was Thor, but because of Hercules's own charm and personality. Still, a lie is a lie, and she didn't know who he actually was, and might have even trying to seduce him right back so that she could marry Thor and thus legitimately invade Asgard.
  • Big Bad: Hera, briefly ousted by Typhon. Amatsu-Mikaboshi takes Hera's place after Assault on New Olympus.
  • Blah, Blah, Blah: Amadeus, in Hercules' Imagine Spot.
  • Brains and Brawn: The main duo. Though Hercules, with his long life and great experience, often has to be the Wisdom to Cho's Intelligence.
  • Broken Aesop: At the end of Chaos War, Hercules says that truly benevolent heroes show the way that gods should be, as they recurrently sacrifice everything to protect, help, and heal others; whereupon he expends his full power to restore all the people that Mikaboshi murdered. That's probably a message that we can all get behind. However, for some reason he also restores all the destroyed demons, afterlives of eternal torture and damnation, and Eldritch Abominations in the universe...enforcing the type of setting that basically fits his definition of the way a deity shouldn't be. This is pointed out right after the event, when Bruce Banner says that Herc fixed everything but forgot to fix the Hulks. Herc replies that he was "guided by wisdom beyond our ken", but even he understands that he screwed up and apologizes. Later, it's even revealed that even Kyknos (Ares's son) was brought back because of this.
  • Brother–Sister Incest:
    • It's Greek myth; most relevant to the main character, Hercules' wife is his half-sister Hebe. Other gods tend to bring up this tendency of the Greek pantheon whenever they get too snippy.
    • Snowbird mentions it to him after they have sex, acknowledging that as gods, their kind sleeps with anyone, almost with pride.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Losing his powers forces Herc to showcase that he's still one of the greatest fighters the world has ever known.
  • Brought Down to Normal / Back from the Dead: Hercules sacrifices his All-Father powers to restore the Earth and he's basically mortal again, but when's that ever stopped him? Also Alpha Flight get a new lease on life.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Cho has little choice but to embark on a life of adventure when villains murder his family.
  • Cape Snag: When battling against The Sentry, Hercules temporarily disposes of the more-powerful hero by dodging an attack and tossing him by his cape. Herc cites this trope as the reason he stopped wearing the Nemean Lion skin. (Although, his outfit in Chaos War featured a cape.).
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Amadeus is incredibly smart, but he is technically a normal human being. All of his power results from being able to do precise calculations very quickly.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The series makes great use of the principle, which becomes very apparent when reading the trades. Every myth flashback has one of these.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Athena.
    • The villain Malekith the Accursed tries to be one of these, but it goes badly.
    • Pythagoras Dupree is one of these, but it still ends up going badly.
  • Classical Mythology: mostly of the Ancient Grome variety.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Lampshaded and invoked on several times that Hercules loves to fight dirty. This results in an absolutely hilarious battle between Herc and Thor when the two of them are disguised as each other (It Makes Sense in Context) and Herc (as Thor) has to urge Thor (as Herc) to "fight more like me." Cue Groin Attack.
  • Companion Cube: Delphyne has a Death Scrunchie for her snakes.
  • Continuity Porn: As per Greg Pak's style, the story makes numerous Call Backs to prior stories.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Omphalos Stone, the marker for the axis mundi, can be used in an Atlantean magic ritual to rewrite the world according to the users wishes.
  • Costume Copycat: Herc temporarily dresses up like Thor to fool some Asgardian villains; Thor returns the favour.
  • Crisis Crossover: Subverted. Chaos War is a large, multiversal-threat event and Hercules gathers all of Earth's heroes to fight Chaos King, but at the end of the first issue almost all of them are moved out of the equation by being comatose, leaving only a small number of gods and dead superheroes to fight him.
  • Cute Monster Girl / Gorgeous Gorgon: Delphyne.
  • Death Is Cheap: Lampshaded in Hercules's visit to the underworld. Since Pluto is too busy trying to take over the criminal "underworld" of Earth, the superheroes in Hades gamble for the right to come back from the dead.
  • Determinator: Subverted in Chaos War. Hercules, the patron god of the Attack! Attack! Attack! strategy, gets told flat out by Amadeus and every other surviving ally that attacking the Chaos King is pointless. Hercules refuses to listen or to give up, no matter what... but he eventually comes to realize that everyone else is right.
  • The Dog Is an Alien: We find out that Kirby, the coyote pup that Amadeus Cho had adopted, had been long-replaced by a Skrull imposter. While the real coyote was safe and unharmed, the Skrull!coyote had accompanied Cho for the better part of a year before The Reveal.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: As Hercules is being killed during the "Assault on New Olympus" storyarc, Namora (in a side story) is fighting just on the other side of an impenetrable barrier, but able to see what's going on thanks to the powers of her teammates. She desperately pounds away at the barrier screaming Herc's name but fails to break through. As she slumps to the ground, defeated, she whispers "...I love you." Hercules does not survive the battle, nor did he hear her declaration.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Hercules, unwittingly. Turns out Herc has made many good investments (among which was purchasing stock in a just starting out company called Stark Enterprises) which resulted in him being filthy stinking rich and owning a lot of property but never realized this himself as he never bothered to keep tabs on them.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Chaos King, who is the void that existed before the birth of the Universe.
  • Enemy Civil War: Hera vs. Norman Osborn.
  • Erastes Eromenos: Most of the Greek gods assume Hercules and Amadeus have this relationship, even referring to the latter as Herc's eromenos. Amadeus always angrily corrects them.
    Amadeus: I am not his eromenos!
  • Evil Is Sexy: invoked Lampshaded with Alflyse, Dark Elf Queen of the Eastern Spires.
    Zeus: Are the wickedest queens always the comeliest?
    Hercules: Usually.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Athena.
  • Flashback: The series loves these; most issues have a flashback to Herc's mythic exploits.
  • Fountain of Youth: Zeus gets turned into a kid, and has his memories stripped from him, by drinking from the River Lethe.
  • Gambit Roulette: Athena's vague master plan will likely be this.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Amadeus needs sugar to have his brain run at full capacity.
  • Girl of the Week: Or arc; among them, Black Widow, Snowbird, Namora...
  • God Was My Copilot: Athena takes two different guises to influence Cho's life at various points; she did so more extensively in the life of Pythagoras Dupree, to less positive results.
  • Good with Numbers/Hyper-Awareness: How Cho's super-intelligence manifests.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Delphyne. Every other Gorgon shown as well.
  • Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: Mikaboshi speaks purely in haiku. He doesn't seem to have any particular reason for doing so, as he's fully capable of speaking normally.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Alflyse, the blue-skinned queen of the Dark Elves.
  • Groin Attack: Hercules is a big fan of this move. He used it against the Sentry, and on seeing Namora's use of it against Atlas he was moved to propose marriage; Thor gives Hercules a particularly painful one as well.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Zeus actually manages to get Hera to back down after giving her a Kirk Summation. However, Typhon takes control of Continuum and kills both of them to try and make The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Delphyne; though she goes back to being a heel, albeit reluctantly due to The Chains of Commanding.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Herc and Cho. Fall of an Avenger solidified it.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Whenever Herc does something, really.
  • Idiot Hero: The popular image of Hercules is played with here; Herc's not a genius, but he can be very eloquent.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Pythagoras DuPree gives Amadeus a gun and challenges him to a duel centered on this. As they both have the hypermind power, they continually calculate what the other is thinking of, trying to figure out a shot that they cannot predict or cannot deflect. Amadeus wins, in a way - DuPree fails to account for the fact that Amadeus has no reason to even stick around, so he leaves rather than submit to any more mind games.
  • Imagined Innuendo: Herc says "Is that what they're calling it now?" when Namora puts him in an "Atlantean crab hold" during a sparring match. Namora shoots back an Ironic Echo later, when Hercules suggests using an Olympian eagle strike in combat.
  • Jerkass Gods: Zeus justifies his legendary dickishness by claiming that he's there so that people will have someone to blame when something goes wrong, because without him they have no one to blame but themselves.
  • Joker Jury: Zeus is put on trial by Pluto with a jury of dead supervillains, including the Armless Tiger Man.
  • Jury of the Damned: See Joker Jury above.
  • Kill All Humans: Hera wanted to do this, saving only her followers.
  • Lady Land: Artume retroactively turns the planet into one of these for an issue.
  • Lady of War: Athena.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Death Is Cheap is mocked repeatedly when Herc and Amadeus go into Hades to rescue Zeus.
  • Living Is More than Surviving: Herc tells Amadeus something along these lines. We All Die Someday, but not everyone gets to live.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: During a spat with his divine wife, Hebe, Hercules confesses that he'll never be a domsticated husband. Hebe slaps him and says that that's exactly why she loves him. (In fact, see the trope image.)
  • Meaningful Name: Kerberos is a triple-header. He's named after both the authentication protocol and the mythical guard dog of Hades, and he's called Kirby for short.
  • The Mentor: Herc(in a rare main character example) was this for Amadeus. His conventional wisdom and kindness transforms Amadeus from an arrogant Jerkass who is willing to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. for the hell of it to a true hero who gladly carries on Herc's legacy after he seemingly dies.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: According to Athena, Hercules was to be a victim of this; ultimately, she was the one who ended up doing it.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Internet rumors suggest that Amadeus is Hercules' Eromenos, which Amadeus repeatedly denies when he's kidnapped by Amazons.
    Amadeus: I am not his eromenos!
  • The Mole: In the Secret Invasion crossover, Kirby is actually a Skrull.
  • Mood Whiplash: For the first several arcs of the series, Herc's womanizing ways are a comic highlight; then all of a sudden we're confronted with his distraught wife Hebe, who has been told the failure of their marriage is her fault and can't understand what she did wrong.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: Chaos King; according to Cho's calculations, his rampage at the end of Chaos War annihilated 90% of The Multiverse.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Amadeus and his sister, Maddy (Madame Curie Cho).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the Chaos War event, Hercules manages to lead the Chaos King right to the council of gods.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: Against Kl'yrt, the Skrull god, Hercules believes that every other member of his God Squad team has died (including Amadeus) and after Kl'yrt tries using a Breaking Speech on him, Herc unleashes his full strength against him, saying that now he's finally ready to "Play god".
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Chaos King who existed as the primordial darkness and chaos before the universe began wishes to return it to that state.
  • The Plan: All of the events of the seriesnote  were manipulated or orchestrated by her to come to the exact moment where the Chaos King has destroyed the entire multiverse and Herc (with Athena and Amadeus as advisors) holds nigh-omnipotent power to recreate reality to his liking, creating a better world that Athena envisions. It gets derailed at the last possible instant where Herc simply uses this power to hit the Reset Button and put things back the way they were before Mikaboshi destroyed it.
  • Overcome with Desire: During Hercules' Ninth Labor, he snuck into the Amazon's domain and into the tent of Queen Hippolyta to steal her girdle and complete the labor. However, she woke up during the attempt and pulled a knife on him. However, they both fell victim to Love at First Sight and began having sex right then and there. This pissed off Hera, who then disguised herself as an Amazon and falsely raised the alarm that Hercules was assaulting the queen, forcing him to run away with the girdle and Hippolyta to become a broken-hearted Woman Scorned. Hercules's recounting of the event acts as the current page quote.
  • Polyamory: In addition to his actual wife, Hebe, and his many Friends with Benefits, it's revealed after Hercules's death that he has actual semi-steady girlfriends all over the world. Women who love him so much that they are absolutely crushed when they receive news that he has died.
  • Powerful, but Incompetent: A problem with the Olympians is they are so used to dealing with regular mortals that they do not use their powerful to its full extent especially in battles:
    • Zeus in theory can do nearly anything yet fights his battles almost exclusivley with thunderbolts. If the first ones do not work he resorts to ever more powerful ones. If he does not have access to them or in a situation where thunderbolts do not work he is at a loss of what to do. Being blinded by pride and rage does not help.
    • Ares has a formidable level of strength, healing factor, combined with general mastery of all forms of combat and a master tactician. He also has some magical abilities and a wide range of magical weapons. People under his command often have a large set of powers or abilities. He refuses to use any of it unless he absolutely must due to preferring brute force. He pretty much loses any fight he is in even againts opponnets he should be able to beat due to being outfought, outsmarted, or outpowered. He loses pretty much any battle because he refuses to employ any strategy besides charging head on.
    • Hercules has often been written as this type of character. As the Olympian god of strength, Hercules has physical might roughly equal to that of Hulk or Thor, in addition to several skills and abilities of his own. However, he's also a drunken, misogynistic, quick-tempered Manchild and Blood Knight. On more than one occasion, his failure to stay sober, take orders or plan properly has led to humiliating defeats and even endangering other members of any team he's on. Later depictions of the character have him come to understand that his behavior is unacceptable for "heroes" of the modern day and try to clean up his act. Even so, when Hercules shows up to a team or crisis, many of those in attendance groan and desperately wish that there were someone else to ask for help.
  • Previously on…: The Incredible Hercules recap pages are, quite frankly, hilarious.
    • And actually included in the trade paperbacks, which is a rarity.
  • Public Domain Character: The various Greek gods.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Delphyne is just doing her job (plus she's not a fan of Athena).
  • Questionable Consent: Hoo-boy.
    • The "Dubious Consent" version of the trope applies when Hercules has sex with Snowbird at one of her most vulnerable moments, while she's breaking down over the deaths of all her old companions in Alpha Flight. Hercules, apparently aware of this, asks her if this is really what she wants at the time, and she answers with a passionate kiss. So potentially averted or not, depending on your interpretation of it.
    • Also downplayed when Hercules admits to tricking Namora into giving him an Underwater Kiss during their time as the Renegades by pretending to run out of air.
    • Herc seduces Alfyse while pretending to be Thor. While she seems to fall for him because of his own personality and charm, the only reason she even gave him an audience was because she thought he was Thor.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Pluto succeeds in forcing Zeus to drink from Lethe and ascending to the throne of Olympus but, without Zeus' power behind him to enforce his rule in Hades, he's vulnerable for all the dead villains to take their revenge against him as their torturer.
  • Really Gets Around: Hercules has had a huge number of lovers through the centuries.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Herc has gotten a number of these; in the case of one given by Ares, Herc interestingly admits that most of what Ares says is true, but that he's still better than Ares anyway.
  • Refusal of the Call: Pythagoras Dupree not only refused the call, he went out of his way to kill anyone else who might possibly answer it.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Plenty, but perhaps most prominently, and recurrently, during the "Chaos War".
  • Seductive Spider: In one issue Hercules is one of many heroes in New York who wind up with the same powers as Spider-Man, but under the mental control of a villain. He further mutates into a Spider Person while fighting the X-Men, only for the Greek goddess Arachne to come to his rescue. After taking a look at Herc in his new form, Arachne becomes VERY aroused and the two begin mating right on the spot, in full view of the webbed-up X-men.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Hercules finds it hilarious that Thor has been exiled from Asgard for killing his grandfather, and cheerfully Lampshades how often similar killings have happened in his family.
  • Series Continuity Error: After Herc and Amadeus go their seperate ways after their trip to the underworld, Amadeus reads a book about the Hero's Journey and thinks about how it applies to his life. When the book describes how a great enemy he may have encountered will often be a villainous shapeshifter, he incorrectly identifies Kly'bn, the god of the Skrulls, in this role while conveniently forgetting that Kly'bn was not a shapeshifter. Point of fact, it was explicitly his schtick as a god. Since the Skrulls are a shapeshifting race, he represents "The you that will always be you."
  • Shoot the Dog: Athena sacrifices Hercules in the series' final issue essentially Because Destiny Says So.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Some Leg: During the third and final challenge, Hercules is attacked by multiple foes until Alflyse hike up her dress and flash some leg causing Hercules to ogle her losing the challenge (however, Alflyse declares him the winner anyway and starts flirting with him amorously).
  • Shown Their Work: Particularly as regards classical mythology and Marvel continuity. While Hades being kinda evil isn't part of the original myths, it is how he's portrayed in the Marvel universe.
  • Single-Power Superheroes: Pretty much the one reason why he almost always falls behind Thor, he can't even fly.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Amadeus and Delphyne; after she tells him that she fatally poisoned Herc (true, as far as she knew), he angrily lunges at her, but then they start making out.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: the recaps.
    But whilst Hercules endeavors to convince Cho to let his ire go, let us not forget that Ares, brother of Hercules and GOD OF #%*&IN' WAR waits to strike...
  • Spin-Off: Dark Avengers: Ares was supposed to be one for Dark Avengers, but featuring Herc's flagship enemy and referencing several plot points from The Incredible Hercules including bringing back a villain introduced in one of the series' flashbacks makes it more a spin-off to this.
  • Stalker Shrine: Hebe has one of Herc.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Hephaestus.
    • A mild subversion with Hebe, who is a stalker and madly in love with Herc, but also his legitimate wife.
  • Straw Feminist: Artume, who is the Alternate Company Equivalent of Wonder Woman, with just as much dislike of Man's World, but none of the desire to redeem it.
  • Super-Deformed: Herc, Cho and Delphyne appear as cute chibi versions of themselves in Cho's fantasy world.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • Invoked by Amadeus in his final confrontation with Pythagoras Dupree; Dupree doesn't take it well. Lampshaded by Thor in Fall of an Avenger:
      Thor: What would Hercules do? When confronted with a task beyond the ken of mortals or gods, change the rules of the game.
    • Spoofed when Hercules is challenged to three-storied chess by the Dark Elves, with another lampshade hanging and a Shout-Out to Star Trek.
      Thorcules: The only way to win an unwinnable scenario is to change the rules of the game!
      Alflyse: Brilliant!
      Elf advisor: But ... that wasn't unwinnable. All you have to do is move the rook —
  • Team Dad: Athena, rare female example.
  • Teen Genius: Amadeus.
  • Theme Naming: Athena uses two aliases in the series: Miranda Minerva, where the theme is obvious, and the surname Sexton, which is more obscure.
  • There Can Be Only One: Athena is quite certain that the status of Prince of Power works like this.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • By the Chaos War mini, Herc has gained nigh-infinite power.
      Eternity: Little Hercules. You've grown.
      Hercules: So did my enemies.
    • Hebe is either this or Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass - compare how she is at the beginning of the series (where she's accident-prone and looks like she's afraid of her own shadow) versus Assault On New Olympus or after (being willing to take a point-blank thunderbolt from then-pantheon head Hera and showing nerves of steel from that point onward).
  • Unsound Effect: The Incredible Hercules loves this trope; Pak and Van Lente credit World War Hulk editor Nate Cosby for starting this off. Examples include KRAKINAJAA for somebody getting kicked in the jaw, and GODATHUNDAA for Herc hitting Thor with Mjolnir.
  • Visual Pun: Charon's ferry is an actual ferry, more specifically a modern cruiseboat where the souls of the dead hang out. Furthermore, Charon himself is dressed in a modern ferryman's uniform, complete with a coin changer.
  • We All Die Someday: Provides the trope image. Hercules isn't afraid of death; he's afraid of dull life.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Hera, the original wicked stepmother, to Herc and Athena.
  • Will They or Won't They?: It took a lot of time and even more trouble before Amadeus and Delphyne became an actual couple.
  • Xanatos Gambit:Chaos King used one in Chaos War, taking over Zeus' body and attacking Hercules and the God Squad. He either would have killed them or, the one he deployed, used the dying Zeus to convince Hercules to contact the council of gods, leading him to their hideout.
    • Athena's behavior in Chaos War was essentially this. Either Chaos King would destroy the Universe and a new one would be born to take its place, or he would do enough damage before being defeated that the gods would have to rebuild it from scratch.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: At the end of "Sacred Invasion", Athena's plan has the unexpected consequence of putting omnicidal dark god Amatsu-Mikaboshi in command of an army of hundreds of intergalactic slave-gods. This is good news, apparently.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: "Why do you persist in talking in old-timey Shakespeare talk?! We're from Greece! From two thousand years before Shakespeare! IT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE!"
    • It is made even funnier because Hercules is punching the crap out of the guy.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Chaos King to Athena, despite the fact the only thing she did was to remind him that it was her plan that made his assault so successful and that he still needed her. He disagreed and ate her.

    "Secret Wars" Era (2015-2019) 

    "No Road Home" Era (2019-) 

    Earth- 829 Limited Series 

This section covers the Hercules limited series trilogy by Bob Layton.

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence:
    • The fate of the Olympians, after Zeus determines that mankind has evolved beyond the need for gods.
    • Also the fate of Hercules himself, who becomes a successor to Galactus named Cosmos.
  • Ax-Crazy: Zeus, father of the gods, with an actual ax.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Played with somewhat here. Hercules travels the galaxy in a golden sun chariot bequeathed him by his half-brother Apollo, god of light. It can not only fly fast enough to enter hyperspace, but also apparently generates an aura that protects its passengers from space's freezing temperatures and contains an apparently limitless oxygen supply. Whenever a character quite reasonably asks how the hell this is possible, Herc always blithely replies that "it is the Will of Zeus!" Hercules at one point engages an enemy spacecraft by leaping from the chariot and breaching the ship through the cockpit, dispatching the pilots and rushing to the airlock to commandeer the vessel, noting internally that his superhuman physiology enables to survive the vacuum of space for only a brief period outside the chariot's magic aura.
  • Beware the Superman: Arimathes, Hercules' bastard son by Layana Sweetwater, is the realization of this trope, at least in the beginning. He has all the power and inhuman durability of his father, and, misled by his vengeful, power-hungry mother, uses his gifts to violently carve out an empire for himself.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Hercules comes from one, and later, through Arimathes and his progeny, becomes the patriarch of his own. Downplayed as Arimathes' sons and daughters, aside from being somewhat hot-headed and reactionary (like their grandfather), are pretty well adjusted and stable, but their grandmother Layana continues to be a source of strife and discord, even into her declining years.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Recorder. Throughout the course of the first limited series, he loses a hand, then his legs, and he's arrested for being a Peeping Tom.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Skyppi chews out Zeus, the Father of Gods and Men himself, for murdering his progeny and threatening to do the same to his remaining son Hercules. The King of Olympus does not take this well.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Even in dangerous situations that don't affect him directly, Hercules, a lover of combat and adventure, is often and always compelled to jump in and strike a blow for justice.
  • Con Man: Skyppi, out of necessity and love of money.
    • Alpo and Clyde, who cheat to beat Herc in a space race, and later run a galaxy spanning scam to loot whole unsuspecting worlds.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Or perhaps "filial devotion", in this case. It takes Hercules defeating Arimathes in a devastating battle for the son of the Prince of Power to see the error of his ways and seek the counsel and love of his father.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Hercules attempts to deck Galactus, who responds by summarily reducing the Lion of Olympus to protoplasm, before mercifully turning him back.
    • Decades later, Hercules faces off with Galactus once again in defense of a planet. Enraged at the Devour of Worlds' seeming ignoring of him, an enraged Hercules leaps up to Galactus' face and unleashes a thunderous blow... that literally knocks the air out of the giant, causing him to deflate and fly off (it was a balloon decoy)!
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Hercules tries to defeat Galactus by drinking with him (with spiked liquor), only for Galactus to be so amused by the attempt that he declares a fondness for Hercules.
  • Fantastic Racism: In a galaxy filled with all types of weird, humanoid, non-humanoid, organic and non-organic alien beings, the Skrulls are still the most universally feared and hated race of all.
  • Fish out of Water: WOW. Not only is Hercules a native of Earth travelling through far-flung alien galaxies, he's also from a race of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens whose fame and overall influence peaked around three thousand years ago.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Arimathes, upon losing to his father Hercules in a duel and undergoing a Heel Realization, becomes a wise and beneficent ruler from that point on.
  • Heel Realization: Hercules, upon encountering a huge, massively-muscled and intimidating looking alien called a Pheragot, Hercules, despite the creature making absolutely no hostile moves, immediately strikes the Pheragot with a tremendous punch. All in attendance are shocked and repulsed, as the Pheragot race is known as the most benign, peace-loving species in the known galaxy. Hercules himself is deeply ashamed, especially when the Pheragot makes no move to defend himself and merely sits on the floor, sobbing and weeping. It is at that point that the Lion of Olympus begins to see that his Jerkass Blood Knight behavior needs to be seriously toned down, and he genuinely starts to think before he acts and consider others' feelings.
  • Honey Trap: How Layana Sweetwater manipulates Hercules into "rescuing" her from a supposedly forced wedding to Count Igwanus.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Hercules almost pleads this in battle with his apparently genocidal father.
  • I Owe You My Life: Hercules finds himself in opposition to a supernatural Skrull slayer calling himself the Red Wolf, who is determined to kill Skyppi, Hercules' companion. When their battle breaches a spaceship's hull, Hercules manages to anchor and save himself, but the Wolf is not so fortunate, and is on the verge of being sucked out into space. The son of Zeus rescues Red Wolf, and in gratitude, the slayer drops his vendetta against Skyppi and helps Hercules and his band escape the authorities.
  • Last of His Kind: After Hercules' father Zeus and the rest of his extended family move on to a new dimensional afterlife, the Lion of Olympus is left as the sole survivor of the Greek Pantheon.
  • Locked into Strangeness: At one point, in a fit of seeming madness, Zeus, king of Olympus, calls back the godly powers of all his children, including their immortality . This causes his son Apollo to die of old age, and Hercules, who dreamt of this event, wakes from his seeming nightmare with streaks of white in his mane of otherwise reddish-brown hair. (He gets better.)
  • Monumental Theft: A group of religious zealots who worship Galactus use advanced technological means to entrap and steal entire planets for the World Devourer, serving as sacrifices to atone for the sins of their race. Hercules puts an end to this.
  • My Beloved Smother: Layana Sweetwater poisons her and Hercules' son Arimithes' mind with hate and eggs him on to become a galactic tyrant.
  • No-Sell: Hercules, literally one of the strongest beings in Creation, unleashes a thunderous punch upon Galactus. The Devourer doesn't even blink, but is pissed enough to turn Herc into goo.
  • Prematurely Grey-Haired: Happens to Herc (and Apollo) when Father Zeus revokes their immortality.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hercules, because of his brash, thoughtless, reckless nature, is on the receiving end of quite a few of these throughout the series,
    • Herc gets to return the favor after defeating his errant son Arimathes, setting him on the path to redemption.
  • Reduced to Dust: The method by which Zeus (apparently) slaughters the other Olympian gods, starting with Ares.
  • Robot Buddy: The Recorder, left in Hercules' custody by the Rigellian empire to document his adventures.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He slays a new version of the Silver Surfer after witnessing the murder of his son, so enraged that he breaks the Surfer's board and beheads him with it.
  • Secret Test of Character: Zeus subjects Hercules to one to see if he's matured enough to be the progenitor of a new race of gods.
  • Space Is Noisy: Played with. When Hercules shouts through the magical Horn of Zeus, his voice booms clearly through the void of space and is received by all passengers of spacecraft in the immediate area.
  • Taking You with Me: When the Surfer gloats that Galactus will soon arrive and devour their planet, Hercules proclaims that if that's true, then Surfer himself won't be alive to see it and then beheads him with his own board.
  • The Trickster: Skyppi the Skrull. It's how he and Hercules first meet, and his hat for the entire series.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Hercules first meets Skyppi (a Shapeshifting Skrull) when the latter is disguised as a beautiful and underdressed woman. He wasn't too thrilled about the revelation.
  • Unstoppable Rage: In his duel with Zeus, Hercules is extremely hesitant to strike his father, even in self-defense against a maddened King of Olympus. But when it appears Zeus has slain the aged Skyppi, Hercules snaps and unleashes a colossal pummeling upon the crazed immortal.
    • When pissed, he dishes out a beatdown on this universe's Silver Surfer, breaks his board in two, and then decapitates him with it.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Several characters, at many different times throughout the series, use obvious but cloaked swear words like "fropp" (for "shit"), or "blavlak" (for either "bastard" or "asshole").
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In the second issue of the second Hercules limited series, Skyppi chews out the utter stupidity of the eponymous protagonist for suddenly and recklessly bailing out on the Golden Chariot, resulting in the Recorder becoming disabled.
  • Wunza Plot: He's the Prince of Power! He's the Seventh Smartest Man on the planet! They fight crime!

Now come, Tropers. Let us partake of wine, song, and the company of fair maidens (or men, if preferred)!

Alternative Title(s): Incredible Hercules