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Hercules #5: Review

Sep 2005
Frank Tieri, Mark Texeira

Story Name:

The New Labors of Hercules Part 5

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Hercules #5 Review by (October 11, 2023)

Review: And the comedic tale turns bittersweet in the final chapter. The little-known chapter in Hercules’ mythic saga involving his murder of his wife and children comes to light and it shakes all of Herc’s supporters and admirers. Herc needs to seek forgiveness not just for himself or the show, but for all those who would call him a hero. It’s not the usual definition of hero which would have been amply covered by everything Herc did in the first eleven labors. No, this is the harder definition of hero that involves dealing with the consequences of one’s actions. Which doesn’t always fit into a standard comic book. Three cheers for Marvel for putting Hercules, an “old school” guy if there ever was one, into a place where he needs to learn how to function as a real human being.

Comments: Eurystheus and Achelous return in WOLVERINE/HERCULES: MYTHS, MONSTERS & MUTANTS. Pluto, tired of jokes about the cartoon dog, has changed his name back to the Greek Hades. Sole Marvel Comics appearance of Megara. Iron Man wonders if Tiberius Stone will next create mind-altering TV, which is a reference to their first encounter in IRON MAN (1998) #37-41. Other guests at the final party include Iron Man, Spider-Man, Mole Man, Shanna, Ka-Zar, Nick Fury, and someone who resembles the Sub-Mariner who is otherwise not mentioned in the miniseries. Appearing in captivity are Lockjaw, Zabu, Dragon Man, and the Doombot. Passing references to Nick Nolte, O.J. Simpson, Shaft, Tony Bennett, TALES FROM THE CRYPT, and Jim Henson. Colors by Raul Trevino and Tatto.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Hercules #5 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Hercules has vanished after learning the nature of the final labor assigned to him; Robert and Jimmy search the city for him without success. Then they wonder if he would have gone back to the Extra Points Bar where he wore out his welcome and they arrive there just as Herc throws another bouncer through the window. They sit with him and he explains that he murdered his wife and children while drunk. An angry Gordon Allworth arrives and berates Hercules for walking out; he confesses Herc was his hero but has now learned what a drunken cowardly blowhard he really is. Gordon goads Hercules into trying to defeat Eurystheus by confronting his victims because that’s the only thing to make Herc a hero in Gordon’s eyes. And Herc responds…by admitting that Gordon is right and admiring his courage. Herc heads back to the studio and Gordon faints….

Hercules and Jimmy go to a restaurant in Little Italy which is actually the gateway to the land of the dead, presided over by Hades, resembling the Godfather. Herc asks permission to enter his realm; Hades grants it, adding that in the future he may ask Hercules for a favor (like the Godfather)….

1      12th Labor: Hercules, accompanied by Gordon, Robert, and Jimmy, enter the underworld, ferried by Charon—whom Robert has managed to insult. The arrive at the gates of Hades and Hercules knocks; Cerberus comes out barking and Herc punches its lights out. The group is surrounded by guards who hold them as Megara and the children approach. She wonders if Hercules’ happy and carefree persona is but a mask to hide his sorrow. Megara does not require an answer, his tears are enough. She grants her forgiveness and gives him the flower from her hair. As they leave, the three TV men are crying but Herc insists that Megara’s words were just a misguided theory and he smashes Jimmy’s camera….

Hera takes a call from Hades, reporting the outcome; she is surprised at Megara’s reaction even though she didn’t know Hera was behind the murders. She walks out on Eurystheus and Achelous, leaving them to face Herc’s reactions to her miscalculation. Herc arrives and battles the two villains, who, rushing to kill Hercules, end up piercing one another with their weapons…and then a sword mounted on the wall falls, decapitating Eurystheus once more….

Later, all concerned are holding a party at the Extra Points Bar where Tiberius Stone expresses disappointment that the completed Hercules reality show wasn’t what he wanted but he is satisfied with the ratings. Captain America asks for all the stuff collected by Hercules to be returned. Wolverine tries to pick up the lady manager but she reveals she is dating Hercules, who had someplace he had to be…

…which we see is in Greece, tearfully placing the flower on Megara’s grave….  

Mark Texeira
Jimmy Palmiotti
Mark Texeira (Cover Penciler)
Mark Texeira (Cover Inker)
Mark Texeira (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Randy Gentile.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Achelous, Charon, Eurystheus, Hera, Pluto (Hades), Tiberius Stone.

> Hercules: Book info and issue index

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