Monday, October 1, 2012

Next Time, Listen To Your Goddess

Brawl of the Gods


Why Hercules and Thor Should Just Get A Room

A Review of the Battles between the God of Thunder and the Prince of Power

Hercules has kept a relatively low profile since the last time he and Thor clashed. But his relationship with the Thunder God ended up on solid footing. And when he was exiled from Olympus by Zeus, he was invited to join the Avengers. (What is it with these, um, "god-fathers" always exiling their sons on Earth, anyway? Granted, we're no Olympus or Asgard--but no god is going to be sulking in our neck of the woods when we've got enough war and conflict and debauchery to make their stay as exciting as it gets.)

Herc stayed with the team until the Avengers came into conflict with Typhon, a Titan from Olympus, who had attacked that kingdom and won. When Hercules defeated Typhon, what do you know--Zeus then decided he was an honorable son after all, and welcomed him back. Sound like another spiteful king of the gods you know?

So once Zeus welcomed him back into the fold, Hercules thereafter stayed in virtual comics limbo in Olympus. But a certain Asgardian came gunning for him within those lofty halls:

Apparently, due to a deception caused by Pluto (the Olympian god who held dominion over Hades), which made it seem as if Pluto and Hercules were in alliance together, Thor was under the impression the two had lured an Asgardian girl, Krista, to that nether world in order to torment her. Thor, enraged at Hercules' seeming betrayal, wants to go to Olympus to find out what's up--and Odin decides to send him, rather than an armed party which might make matters worse. Unfortunately, it looks like Thor has left his diplomacy in his other cape:

And, putting it mildly, tempers take awhile to cool.

At this point, we find out a little more about what's happened to Krista, and how she was spirited away from Asgard. Sif implores Thor not to fly off the handle--reminding him of his friendship with Hercules, and telling him that he needs to calm down and think about the situation before he does something he'll regret.

Honestly, Sif--didn't you look at the cover of this issue?

You may recall that in the last battle between these two, artist Jack Kirby gave Thor a beautiful full-page rendering, showing the Thunder God giving Hercules a reason to visit the dentist when the fight was over. This time, artist John Buscema returns the favor, when Thor invites Hercules to stand down, and Herc telling Thor thanks and that he'll think about it:

Okay, Herc, we gave you that one. We're on your turf, after all. But any long-time reader who remembers the rug being pulled out from under them by the outcome of the last battle is probably not going to stand for this battle ending in any way other than Thor decisively laying this guy out. So you'd better believe that Thor has a few more punches to throw:

Yes, that's party pooper Zeus standing above Herc in that last panel. And you know what that means: fight's over. Because he's overheard Thor's declarations about Hercules and Krista and Hades, and he realizes that Thor may have been duped. Of course, Sif tried to tell him that in so many words--but let's face it, Sif, Zeus has a little more clout. Everyone comes to the realization that Pluto only made it seem like Hercules was in on the kidnapping, in order to get this battle to take place. Now that the jig is up, Thor and Hercules shake hands and join forces against Pluto, in order to rescue Krista.

After that's settled, Hercules spends a good deal of time hanging with Thor for several more issues and adventures. And in a year (comic book time), Herc joins a new superhero team--the Champions. But these two haven't buried the hatchet yet, at least as far as Marvel is concerned. History has another battle between Thor and Hercules waiting in the wings.

No comments: