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True Loyalties

January 25, 2010

     In the penultimate chapter of Incredible Hercules‘ biggest arc, Assault on New Olympus, Hephaestus’ automatons steal Athena’s petrified body, and Delphyne helps them escape.  Hercules and Amadeus Cho quibble about going together after Athena, but they end up going together because they have little other choice.  Hephaestus gives a monologue about his creepy obsession with Athena and reveals to Delphyne that he plans to make an automaton in her likeness for Hera’s new world.  While traveling to Hephaestus’ “lab,” Cho gives Herc a bottle filled with the waters of the River Lethe.  Then, they get trapped in one of Hephaestus’ traps, one that forces them to pick between of each other of who will live.  However, Herc and Cho press the buttons releasing each other at the exact same time, saving them both.  Delphyne turns on Hephaestus, refusing to allow him to hurt one of her sisters, even one she hates so much.  Then, Continuum starts activating, and things start disappearing as they are replicated in the other world.  Young Zeus convinces Hera that she does not need a whole new universe when she has a new him.  As Hera collapses in happiness, Typhon reveals his treachery, now free of Pluto’s controlling band, and kills her.  He then revels in his evilness, wearing the Aegis on his chest.  Then, in the Agents of Atlas backup, the team beats their enemies and watch in on Hercules’ confrontation with Hephaestus just as things start disappearing.  Then, Venus’ powers start getting everyone to fall in love with each other, and Aphrodite comes in to confront her doppelgänger.

     In retrospect, I probably should have guessed that Typhon would betray Hera, what with him being a Titan, and her being a Greek god.  My mistake.  And yet, the person I feel the most revulsion for is Hephaestus.  You could argue that he’s being subjected to the stereotype of “ugly people” (hunchbacks, albinos) being evil, but there are myths indicating that he had unrequited love for Athena.  I think Greg Pak and Fred van Lente are just giving greater personality to the Greek gods who didn’t have much in previous comic books.  I’m glad that all the assisting Avengers are given a VERY minor role in this issue, letting the real stars of this book shine.  I love the awkward bromance of Herc and Cho (shown best in the button scene), and I love how morally confused Delphyne can be.  Rod Buchemi’s art in this book is still as good as ever, though his scene with Herc and Cho jumping down makes Cho seem WAY younger than a teenager.  But other than that, it’s good.  I really like his stark raving mad Hephaestus especially.  And Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman’s Agents of Atlas backup is still fine, even though it certainly has less of an emotional impact for someone who has never read any of the previous series.  I still doubt that Herc is actually going to die, or at the very least, stay dead, but I am very excited for the ending to this crazy tale.  And isn’t Amatsu-Mikaboshi still out there?

Plot: 9.0      Art: 8.9      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 9.0

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