Monday, May 26, 2008

Hercules The Thracian Wars #2 (of 5) - A Review

Hercules the Thracian Wars # 2 (of 5)
Publisher Radical Comics
Writer Steve Moore
Art Admira Wijaya
Colors Imaginary Friends Studios and Sixth Creation

In Comics Stores on May 29

Radical comics had forwarded preview copies of Hercules #2 and Caliber #2 coming out this week. If you missed issues #1, do not miss the second issues.

Comics are a visual medium first and foremost. Just like movies and TV you can’t help but notice the pictures first. If the art is bad it will take you out of the story and even the best writer with the world’s masterpiece of graphic fiction will not be noticed as well with poor visuals.

Hercules is blessed with some absolutely beautiful artwork. It is a realistic style that makes you feel like this people are very real. It is obvious that there is a lot of work being done via the computer, and sometimes it can make a picture seem almost too CGI for my taste, but this art has more or a painted feeling to it. Admira captures the grim and gritty feel to ancient Grecian times, as I imagine it would be.

Admira also has done some page designs that just really help to tell the story. There is one page where a battle is being fought and the leader is charging into battle yelling to send in the horsemen. The actual person charging is superimposed across three battle panels and the design is just breath taking.

Finally Admira captures both the blood and gore of the battles as well as capturing some of the quieter scenes with equal skill. I have to say I also feel sorry for Admira as they gave Hercules the lion skin to wear over his head and drawing that panel after panel has to be tiring, but it looks very cool. Admira is not a perfect artist by any means as there are some occasional poses or panels that don’t work for me, but the bottom line is that his work and the work of the coloring team makes this book stands out as an excellent looking visual. Seriously you could buy this book and just look at the pictures and get your monies worth.

The good news is you get a whole lot of story for your money also. I complain about many books that spread thing out and have issues where nothing happens. I could tell you the plot this issue is Hercules trains the Thracian troops and helps them in their campaigns to quell any rebellions in the countryside and then is lead into a trap. While that is the basic summary of the overall plot, it does not tell you how much information gets packed into this issue.

The scenes where Hercules and company are confronted by the real Thracian King and they learn that the hallway of men from last issue was a test, gives a lot of insight into how Hercules and the King think.

The actual training of the troops is also well done as Hercules and company give a graphic demonstrated to the Thracian army about what happens if you don’t do at they say. The battle as the the troops slaughter the villages does not leave a good feeling with Hercules, as it appears to be more then quelling a rebellion.

We also are getting the background story of Atalanta and Meleager, the “couple that works for Hercules. It is not only mixing in a lot of Greek mythology for us it also is giving us background on each one of Hercules' band.

Gwen (fellow blogger and my daughter) has long stated that super hero comics represent modern mythology for America. What this comic is doing is giving us the Greek myths in a graphic format and bringing it down to a more “true” level. Over time the myth of Hercules has grown and been made into more into what we have seen in comics today.

Grade A. Hercules delivers power, action, adventure, dynamite art and story.
Don't forget to pick up Caliber #2 - This is a strong book also and the re-telling of Camelot in the old west is as good as Hercules.
I hope to occasionally do a second post on Monday to give a preview review of a book that is coming out this week.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Thanks for the Memorial Day surprise. I loved the write up in the previous post but this just making Memorial Day the best.