Tuesday, October 18, 2016
ICYC, def CTO
Ire, a priestess of a tribe of supernatural beings dating back to the Stone Age, has taken it upon herself to challenge a pantheon of new gods named the Uprising Storm--current-day usurpers who, in her words, are "whelped by this new age... bred from depravity and poison... cast in the blast furnaces of the cities, conjured by incessant tides of data." Ire has pretty much blamed the coming of the Storm on anyone who can't stop looking at their smart phone for two minutes; but be that as it may, she's involved Gilgamesh, a friend of Hercules, in a gruesome blood rite that will sacrifice the hero (and former Avenger) in order to cleanse the world of the Storm.
To Gilgamesh's rescue comes Hercules, who, in the modern world, has become an example of irrelevant celebrity and has sought to turn his situation around and restore his reputation. Tracking Gilgamesh to a construction site in Queens, he engages Ire and her brood in battle--but his foes are strong, and he faces superior numbers. It seems his efforts to rescue Gilgamesh have proven to be in vain--until he and Ire are interrupted by the mocking arrival of one of the Storm, an unassuming threat who uses the language of the day (God help us) to stop everyone in their tracks and assert the position of his pantheon.
To show you how clueless I am when it comes to text message acronyms and the shorthand of social media interaction in general (in fact, ICIHICPCL), the banter of the Storm's apparent spokesman, Cryptomnesia, had me checking a comprehensive reference list of such jargon so that I could keep up with the subtleties of the banter. Fortunately, his bruiser-in-tow, Catastrophobia, is the strong, silent type, so it's only Cryptomnesia whose language we have to sift through. And as self-assured as this young man might appear to be, Hercules will discover that Cryptomnesia has every reason to feel like his victory is a done deal, with such a powerful enforcer at his side.
Clearly, Hercules, who has dealt with a variety of powerful threats in his immortal life, isn't the type to fold in the face of either naked power or arrogance. Still, he has a fight on his hands. Thankfully, with a smack that had me virtually breaking out in applause, Hercules removes Cryptomnesia from the fight, while Herc is joined by both Gilgamesh and Ire in taking on Catastrophobia. At the end of this no-holds-barred battle, their tall foe escapes--but Cryptomnesia, who has witnessed the battle along with another of his pantheon, Horrorscope, is more than ready to continue the fight on a different front.
Part of the 2015-16 six-issue series, Hercules, the story of the Uprising Storm continues and escalates in the subsequent series Gods Of War, part of the Civil War II event. That should come as no surprise to those of you who by now know the drill in today's Marvel: circle back to #1 issues, and by all means include a cross-over event if at all possible. Nevertheless, it's a fresh take on Hercules that shows a more mature side to this god who always made a beeline for the nearest tavern following a victory that inflated both his ego and his reputation, but who now takes stock of himself and struggles to reconcile his old ways with the new path forward he wants to build. (Though it's regrettable that the continuing story has to be diluted by the Civil War sales juggernaut, IYKWIMAITYD.)