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Marvel Graphic Novel #37: Review

May 1988
Bob Layton, Bob Layton

Story Name:

Hercules, Prince of Power: Full Circle

Review & Comments

4 stars

Marvel Graphic Novel #37 Review by (September 21, 2021)

Review: Extra-long epic returns us to the world of Bob Layton’s futuristic Hercules series and it is a worthy entry in the saga. Still the same sense of humor, with Recorder’s and Skyppi’s antics but adding a bit of serious subject matter as Herc wants his son to be a worthy ruler. That happens a little too neatly (and quickly) but the story includes a giant inflatable Galactus so it all evens out.

Comments: Marvel calls this world of 24th century Hercules Earth-829. Alpo and Clyde, Layana and Igwanus were introduced in HERCULES: PRINCE OF POWER (1982) #2; Herc encountered Galactus in issue #4 of that miniseries. The book includes an afterword with Bob Layton’s thanks to his cheering section. Arimathes and the others return in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #39-41 in a three-part vignette by Bob Layton and (much later) HERCULES: TWILIGHT OF A GOD, Layton’s 2010 return to his beloved Hercules series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Graphic Novel #37 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

On the planet Wilamean, in the capital city Port Anteris, Emperor Arimathes learns from his spy that the Hercules currently visiting the planet is the same Hercules who was there thirty years earlier and sends his guards to arrest him….

Hercules is arm-wrestling against two burly challengers at once, and easily beating them, while Recorder 417 keeps timing and score and Skyppi the Skrull, disguised as a little human girl, takes the bets. An alarm sounds: Galactus’ scout ship has appeared in the sky and everyone panics. And suddenly the World-Devourer is standing atop the tallest building. Herc and Skyppi go out to confront Galactus (the latter very reluctantly); after an attempt to talk, Herc loses his temper and punches Galactus in the face—and then they discover that their giant-foe was a huge inflated balloon when it flies off, leaking air. They take the chariot out to the scout ship and find that to be a huge mock-up, hiding a much smaller ship within. Herc breaks his way in and finds the crooks Alpo and Clyde who are in the business of faking the threat of Galactus to cause planets to evacuate so they can loot the place. Herc hands them over to the authorities, who then escort Herc, Recorder and Skyppi to the Emperor. After questioning Herc, Arimathes determines that Hercules is his father and orders him subdued with a paralyzing beam and placed in the stasis chamber along with Skyppi and Recorder….

Herc and his pals find themselves on stasis beds, able to move only their heads; they make the acquaintance of Mallax Fortnite, a rebel leader who fills them in on the political situation. Herc receives a visit from the Emperor Mother who renders everyone else unconscious before she explains that she is Layana Sweetwater, grown bitter at having been seduced and abandoned by Hercules thirty years earlier and with his child, the emperor, who will now kill his father and conquer the universe….

The Emperor and his mother review the massive space fleet with which Arimathes will conquer the neighboring Omacron Star System so beloved by Hercules. Arimathes is attacked by Gegku revolutionaries and he takes them on single handedly, killing them all. He then orders his guards to round up all remaining Gegku and put them to death. Meanwhile, Herc meets the blind slave who feeds the prisoners intravenously and discovers he is the former Count Igwanus, whom Layana avenged herself upon after her son seized the throne. Herc persuades him to free a small party to help Herc bring justice: Recorder, Skyppi, and Mallax Fortnite who recruits an old pirate friend, Lucynda Thrust, an attractive woman starship thief. The Skrull takes on the form of the Emperor Mother and they make it into the palace, disguised as her prisoners. Recorder also manages to force the computer to reveal the access codes by threatening to have Herc smash it to pieces. As the conquering fleet takes off, Herc and company hijack a ship, Herc knocking out the crew and Lucynda hot-wiring the thing and they join the expedition. But while all the others want to escape and join the rebels, Herc sees it as his duty to save the Omacron System and discipline his wayward son. The Omacron fleet is vastly outnumbered but intends to go down fighting. But Herc has Skyppi, disguised as Arimathes, order his ships to stand down, while Herc talks to the real Arimathes, challenging him to single combat for the throne and the mad king agrees. Herc and his son face one another on a nearby planetoid, with Herc praying to Zeus he has the strength and wisdom to let Arimathes defeat himself. And Herc blindfolds himself to make the contest fairer. The following battle is brutal but Hercules stands triumphant; he tells Arimathes that his mind is clouded by arrogance and his mother’s lies. When the young man humbles himself to learn from his father, Hercules declares him the new King….

With his second chance, Arimathes returns to Wilamean, has his mother locked up and institutes a series of reforms, giving our heroes new jobs and Hercules takes pride in being the father of the finest ruler in the galaxy….

Bob Layton
Bob Layton
George Roussos
Bob Layton (Cover Penciler)
Bob Layton (Cover Inker)
George Roussos (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: John Workman.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Plus: Arimathes, Recorder 417, Skyppi.

> Marvel Graphic Novel: Book info and issue index

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