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Saying Goodbye

April 8, 2010

     The Lion of Olympus is dead, and in Hercules: Fall of An Avenger #1, his friends come to the Parthenon to mourn his passing.  Amadeus Cho insults Athena, since she smiled and left just after Hercules’ death.  He calls on her to come, but the ones who respond to his call are, as Thor says, the heroes of Earth.  People including Bruce Banner, Skaar, Thor, the Warriors Three, Wolverine, Angel, Namor, Namora, Snowbird, Black Widow, and Alflyse arrive and tell their stories of how Hercules touched their lives.  Thor tells of a time when the two of them were in a drinking contest with giants, and Namor tells of the time when Hercules attacked him to break him out of his exile-induced stupor.  Namora, Snowbird, Black Widow, and Alflyse speak of their love for Hercules (and a certain panel intimates that Hercules even slept with Northstar), followed by Bruce thanking Hercules for what happened back in World War Hulk.  When it’s Cho’s turn, Cho can only just cry.  Then, Athena pops up and kicks everyone out of the Parthenon, only to hail Cho as the new head of the Olympus Group.  Then, in the Agents of Atlas backup, Venus and Namora go across the world to check up on Hercules’ odd business ventures and ownings.  Venus discovers that she now has to focus on all kinds of love, including the bad parts of love.  Then, while checking out what is supposed to be a children’s hospital, they get attacked by monsters.

     Although this story was amusing in many aspects, I was a bit disappointed overall by how Greg Pak and Fred van Lente chose to tell it.  For one, essentially none of this issue served to push the plot forward (the one exception being the last page or so).  It looked entirely at the past, and while that brought back some fun stories (though they accidentally switched around the issues when Hercules slept with Namora and Snowbird), it wasn’t as dynamic as Pak and van Lente’s usual work with Hercules.  I’m also a bit confused by the cover, which features Quicksilver and Wasp, neither of whom were there, and Athena, who didn’t mourn even for a second.  Anyway, I was expecting something a bit more forward-looking with a bit more character work, so that was disappointing.  The Agents of Atlas backup did a lot more of that with Venus, and I found it overall more satisfying than the main story, even though the only Agents of Atlas stuff I’ve read are these backups.  Jeff Parker has truly made me want to go back and pick up all of those trade paperbacks.  Ariel Olivetti’s art in this book is really hit or miss, as in some panels, characters look really chiseled and well-defined, while in others, the tops of their heads are massive.  In particular, Olivetti struggles with Cho, who, rather than look realistic, just looks like Olivetti was taking a certain stereotype about eyes too seriously.  By contrast, Reilly Brown’s work in the Agents of Atlas book looks great.  The emotion he infuses in every drawing of Venus is particularly powerful, wonderfully reinforcing the script.  So, I’m a tad disappointed.  To be honest, it won’t be that big a deal if the next issue is more of this, since I love Hercules and will continue to read his stories anyway.  It’s just too bad that Pak and van Lente couldn’t make this eulogy as exciting as the normal series.

Plot: 7.2      Art: 7.9      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 7.2

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