- Hercules (Marvel Comics)
Infobox comics character
caption=Hercules drawn by
debut="Journey into Mystery Annual" #1 (1965)
Stan Lee Jack Kirby
species = Olympian
homeworld = Olympus
alliances=God Squad Secret Avengers Avengers Renegades Champions Defenders
Heroes For HireDamage Control Olympian Pantheon
aliases = The Prince of Power, Harry Cleese, Victor Tegler
powers = Superhuman strength, stamina and durability
Skilled hand-to-hand warrior
Hercules is a
fictional characterthat appears in comic bookspublished by Marvel Comics. Based on the demigodof the same name from Greco-Roman mythology, the character exists in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe. He was created by writer-editor Stan Leeand artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, and first appeared in "Journey into Mystery Annual" #1 (1965).
Fictional character biography
Hercules is first seen when
Immortuspulls him from the ancient past to battle Thor. [Comic book reference | Writer = Lee, Stan | Penciller = Heck, Don | Inker = Ayers, Dick | Story = The Avengers Break Up! | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 10 | date = November 1964 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] However this was subsequently ignored in his later appearances, such as in "Journey into Mystery Annual" #1 (1965), where he battled Thor in Olympus.Comic book reference | Writer = Lee, Stan | Penciller = Kirby, Jack | Inker = Colletta, Vince | Story = When Titans Clash! | Title = Journey into Mystery Annual | Issue = 1 | date = December 1965 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] The mini-series " Avengers Forever" (1998-2000) explained this by having the Hercules from "Avengers" #10 be a Space Phantomin disguise. [Comic book reference | Title = Avengers Forever| Issue = | Date = 1998-2000 | Publisher = Marvel Comics]
Hercules made several appearances in "The Mighty Thor" [Comic book reference | Writer = Lee, Stan | Penciler = Kirby, Jack | Inker = Colletta, Vince | Story = Thunder in the Netherworld! | Title = The Mighty Thor | Volume 1 | Issue = 130 | Date = July 1966 | Publisher =
Marvel Comics] , even defeating Thor in battle on Earth. ["Thor" #126 (March 1966)] He then unwittingly signed an "Olympian contract," making himself Pluto's slave; Thor rescued Hercules from Pluto's underworld. ["Thor" #127-131 (April-August 1966)]
Hercules then appeared in the "Avengers" during issue #38 as a thrall of the Enchantress, [Comic book reference | Writer = Thomas, Roy | Penciller = Heck, Don | Inker = Bell, George | Story = In Our Midst... An Immortal! | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 38 | date = March 1967 | Publisher =
Marvel Comics] but goes on to aid the team through issues #39-50 (officially joining in #45) against the likes of the Mad Thinker; the Sub-Mariner; Diablo and Dragon Man; the Red Guardian; Whirlwind and Typhon. [Comic book reference | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 39-50 | date = April 1967-March 1968 | Publisher = Marvel Comics(officially joining in #45)] During this time, it is revealed that he is estranged from his wife, Hebe, due to an argument that Hercules had with his father Zeus. ["Ka-Zar" #1 (August 1970)] Hercules later appears in the Olympian arc (#98-100) of the "Avengers", where he is captured by Ares' minions, and is rescued by the Avengers on Olympus. [Comic book reference | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 98-100 | date = March 1972-June 1972 | Publisher = Marvel Comics]
After that, he battles Thor again in Olympus, and contended with Pluto and Ares. ["Thor" #221-223 (March-May 1974)] With Thor, he battles the Destroyer and then battles
Firelord. ["Thor" #224-225 (June-July 1974)] Hercules and Thor then journey to Ego the Living Planet. ["Thor" #227-228 (Sept-Oct 1974)] Hercules is then menaced by the "Great Fear," who is actually the Dweller-in-Darkness. ["Thor" #229-230 (Nov-Dec 1974)] After parting company with Thor, Hercules helps form the Champions, who aid him in battle against Pluto, Hippolyta, and the Huntsman. ["Champions" #1-3]
He returns to the Avengers for the final issues of the "Korvac saga" (#173-177). [Comic book reference | Story = Korvac Saga | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 173-177 | date = July 1978-November 1978 | Publisher =
Marvel Comics] Hercules makes a guest appearance in issue #211, [Comic book reference | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 211 | date = September 1981 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] and aided in the battle against Surtur's legions in their invasion of New York City ["Avengers" #249; "Thor" #350-352] before rejoining the team on an ongoing basis as of issue #250. [Comic book reference | Story = The Fist Of Maelstrom! | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 250 | date = December 1984 | Publisher = Marvel Comics]
In the "Avengers Under Siege" storyline in "Avengers" #270-277, [Comic book reference | Story = Avengers Under Siege | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 270-277 | date = August 1986-March 1987 | Publisher =
Marvel Comics] Baron Helmut Zemo assembled a super-sized version of the Masters of Eviland courtesy of a pawn drug Hercules at a bar. Returning to the Mansion during the siege, a drunken Hercules ignores the Wasp and holds off the attacking Masters of Eviluntil being surprised and viciously beaten by Goliath, Mister Hyde, and the Wrecking Crew. Hercules falls into a coma as a result of his beating, and is eventually retrieved by Hermes and taken back to Olympus, setting the stage for the "Assault on Olympus" storyline, which ran from #280-285. He was awakened from his coma by Prometheus, but was temporarily insane; he fought his fellow Avengers until he was restored to sanity by Doctor Druid. [Comic book reference | Story = Assault on Olympus | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 280-285 | date = June 1987-November 1987 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] Blamed by Zeus for Hercules' condition, the Avengers battle the gods and finally Zeus himself.
Hercules was later defeated by the
High Evolutionary, and mutated "beyond godhood." ["Avengers Annual" #17] In time, he returned to his previous godly form. ["Thor" #407] He then assumed the secret identity "Harry Cleese." ["Thor" #408] He also had an encounter with one of his worshippers, Magma. ["New Mutant" #81]
Taylor Madison, and exile from Olympus
Back on Earth, Hercules falls in love with a woman named Taylor Madison. As their relationship starts to get serious, Hera shows up and attempts to kill her, for Hera and Ares had made a bet on who could hurt Hercules the most. ["Avengers" #349] However, Ares betrays Hera and alerts Zeus in an attempt to get back in his favor. Zeus defeats Hera, but then reveals that Taylor Madison is not a real human being, but a construct created by Zeus himself to lure out Hera. Zeus then removes Taylor from existence, which causes Hercules to lash out to his father. Angered by what he calls "his son's lack of respect", Zeus strips Hercules of his immortality and a great deal of his power, then forbids him from ever returning to Olympus. [Comic book reference | Title = Avengers| Volume = 1| Issue = 384 | Date = 1995 | Publisher =
The traumatized Hercules draws support from the Avengers, especially
Deathcry, whom he helps to return to her Shi'ar home-world. Upon returning from space, Hercules discovers that the Avengers have apparently sacrificed themselves to stop the being known as Onslaught. Distraught over the loss of his comrades, he takes to drinking, becoming an alcoholic.
Hercules travels in search of adventure, briefly serving with the
Heroes For Hire. When the Avengers and other heroes return from their exile, Hercules joins the reformed team, opting to be an inactive member rather than serve as an active member. Hercules also seeks out Erik Josten, now known as Atlas of the Thunderbolts, in order to exact revenge for the coma he had put Hercules in while Josten was Goliath of the Masters of Evil. Hawkeye, then leader of the Thunderbolts, convinces Hercules to stand down at the cost of their long friendship.
With the dissolution of the Avengers during the "Disassembled" storyline and the destruction of Asgard, Hercules falls to old habits, frequenting bars and putting forth the image of a drunkard. With Hercules in a vulnerable position, Hera decides to strike with a new set of Labors. To this end, she utilizes
Eurystheus, now the head of a modern company, to film a reality television show of Hercules completing new Labors, updated for the modern age. During the course of his labors, Hercules finds forgiveness from Megara, and returns to defeat Eurystheus. In a concluding conversation with Hades, Hera confirms that the myths were correct in assuming that shew caused her step-son to slaughter his family, but apparently not to Hercules knowledge. [Comic book reference | Title = Hercules | Volume = | Issue = 1-5 | Date = 2005 | Publisher = Marvel Comics]
Hercules goes on to fight and seriously injure the Constrictor, a supervillain who then sues Hercules, sending him into financial ruin. After helping Zeus and Ares unite the gods to defend Olympus against invaders, Hercules once again returns to Earth and rejoins Damage Control, with whom he had previously performed community service as a result of his drunken stupors. This time, however, he is an employee, working in construction and demolition. Hercules recovers, however, when he participates in a poker game organized by the Thing and wins much of his fortune back from the Constrictor.
In the 2006 Marvel Comics crossover event Civil War, Hercules is shown as an early opponent of the Superhuman Registration Act, and calls the pro-registration heroes as "traitors". He takes the alias "Victor Tegler", an IT consultant, as cover to hide from pro-registration forces. In the final battle ["Civil War" #7] , he defeats the
cyborgclone of Thor, smashing the clone's head with his own Mjolnir hammer, screaming 'Thou art no Thor!' World War Hulk
Issue 106 of The Incredible Hulk ends with Hercules and Archangel meeting with
Amadeus Cho, one of the Hulk's allies. They agree to help the Hulk, but, upon encountering him, the Hulk savagely charges them, and Hercules is forced to defend himself, but is severely beaten after he stops fighting the Hulk to prove that he is not there to hurt him. Hercules' reason for aiding the Hulk is simple: both men, despite all of their strength, have lost their queen and family. In addition, Hercules wishes to make up for an altercation between the Hulk and the Champions years earlier. He and his team, the newly formed "Renegades", briefly appear in " World War Hulk" issue 2. The group is comprised of Hercules, Amadeus Cho, Angel, Namora, and the female Scorpion. During the action, Herc and Namora shared a kiss. When the conflict ended, Hercules was the only renegade to stay with Amadeus.
The Incredible Hercules
Marvel has confirmed that the "Incredible Hulk" series has changed its name to "Incredible Hercules" from #113 onwards, and will feature Hercules and Amadeus as main characters. [ [http://www.marvel.com/news/comicstories.1870.Hercing_Out][ [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12985 GREEK WEEK Part IV- Pak & Van Lente on Herc's Past & Future] ,
Comic Book Resources, March 20, 2008] In the aftermath of the war, Hercules, against Amadeus' wishes, agrees to turn himself in. However, after learning that he will be working under his brother Ares, he escapes, taking Amadeus with him. After finding brief shelter in a refugee camp outside of New York, Hercules speaks with Athena, who is living in Vermont, to try and seek shelter. However, after being shot by Ares' "Hydra blood bullets", he is driven into a psychotic rage, and begins seeing Amadeus Cho as Iolaus, his nephew and ally from Ancient Greek times. Cho decides to take advantage of the situation, by getting Hercules to attack a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. However both men were stopped by the Black Widow, who knocked out Cho, accidentally breaking the back of Cho's puppy, and cured Hercules of his rage. Out of respect for Hercules, Natasha lets Hercules go, with her claiming he knocked her out. He reunited with Cho, who captured a S.H.I.E.L.D. mobile base and was willing to destroy all of S.H.I.E.L.D. governmental facilities. Ares followed them, but with some heavy lifting and some tales of his greatest myths, Hercules was able to defeat Ares and convince Cho to halt S.H.I.E.L.D. destruction. Hercules and Cho teleported to where Athena was hiding out, and she warns them of the Secret Invasion.
In the tie-in to the
Secret Invasion, Hercules gathers a team of gods to battle the pantheon of Skrull gods. ["Incredible Hercules" #117] This "God Squad" consists of Snowbird, Ajak, Amatsu-Mikaboshi, and Demogorge, and are set to oppose the Skrull gods led by Kly'bn and Sl'gur't. [ [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12995 GREEK WEEK GREEK WEEK Part V: Enter the God Squad!] , Comic Book Resources, March 21, 2008] After the group is forced to experience their worse fears by Nightmare, Snowbird and Hercules make love, after she confesses to him that she doesn't want to be alone anymore. ["Incredible Hercules #118"] Soon after a Skrull that had been with them since the end of World War Hulk reveals itself and is quickly dispatched. The issue ends with an impending battle between gods Hercules and Kly'bn, who states "He hears you" "and he loves you". However, Hercules and Snowbird together manage to slay the head god of the Skrulls, destroying the very inspiration for the ongoing Secret Invasion war. Meanwhile Mikaboshi has managed to overcome Sl´gur´t, and apparently assumes the position of leader of the Skrull pantheon, all according to Athena´s plan. ["Incredible Hercules #120"]
Powers and abilities
Hercules possesses the typical powers of an Olympian, including superhuman speed, durability, and reflexes. His primary power is his superhuman physical strength; Hercules is physically the strongest of all Olympians. His strength is sufficient to lift and hurl a giant
Sequoiatree, drag the island of Manhattanback into place, ["Marvel Team-Up" vol.1, #28] and lift the Marvel Comics version of Godzilla. While the limits of Hercules' strength have never been measured, he has been strong enough to stand toe to toe with Thor and the Hulk.Comic book reference | Writer = Lee, Stan | Penciller = Kirby, Jack | Inker = Colletta, Vince | Story = When Titans Clash! | Title = Journey Into Mystery Annual | Issue = 1 | date = December 1965 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] [Comic book reference | Title = Tales To Astonish | Volume = 1 | Issue = 79 | date = May 1966 | Publisher = Marvel Comics]
At times, Hercules has been punished by Zeus, a punishment marked by a "lightning bolt" tattoo on Hercules's shoulder. As a result, Hercules' powers, particularly his strength and immortality, were weakened considerably. However, in the recent "Ares" limited series, Hercules is shown fighting on behalf of Olympus with Zeus' blessing, and it has been officially stated that his full strength and godly attributes are restored to their usual levels.Comic book reference | Writer =
Ronald Byrd& Anthony Flamini| Penciller = Scott Kolins| Inker = Scott Kolins| Story = | Title = Civil War: Battle Damage Report | Issue = 1 | Date = March 2007 | Publisher = Marvel Comics| ]
At his full power, Hercules is functionally immortal, as are all Olympians, being immune to all known diseases, and his godly life force renders him capable of recovering from any conventional injury that does not severely dismember or disintegrate his body, but this was reduced at the time of Zeus's punishment. ["Hulk: Hercules Unleashed] Hercules is immensely resistant to physical injury and has withstood the impact of high caliber machine gun shells, falls from tremendous heights, exposure to temperature extremes and powerful energy blasts without sustaining injury. It took two point-blank blasts from the god Michael Korvac to bring Hercules to the point of death. [Comic book reference | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 177 | date = November 1978 | Publisher =
Marvel Comics| Page = | Panel = ] Similarly, Hercules proved able to survive a vicious beating from several superhumanly strong supervillains, including the Wrecking Crew and Mister Hyde, although he fell into a comaand very nearly died. [Comic book reference | Title = Avengers | Volume = 1 | Issue = 274 | date = | Publisher = Marvel Comics| Page = | Panel = ]
Hercules is an accomplished boxer and Greco-Roman wrestler. He is highly skilled with all forms of weaponry used in ancient Greece as well as the unarmed art of
Pankration, which he is reputed to have created. His weapon of choice is his enchanted Adamantine "Golden Mace," forged by Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods. The mace is known to be as durable as Thor's mystical Uru hammer, Mjolnir,Comic book reference | Writer = Lee, Stan | Penciller = Kirby, Jack | Inker = Colletta, Vince | Story = When Titans Clash! | Title = Journey Into Mystery Annual | Volume = | Issue = 1 | date = December 1965 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] and to strike with equivalent force. ["Avengers" vol.3, #3] He is an extraordinarily gifted archer, as well as an extraordinary hand-to-hand combatant. He was educated by tutors employed by his foster father, Amphitryon.
Before attaining godhood, Hercules employed arrows dipped in the lethal blood of the Lernaean Hydra, and wore the virtually indestructible hide of the Nemean Lion. Hercules sometimes rides about on chariot built by Hephaestus, which is drawn by enchanted Olympian horses which can fly through space and into other dimensions.
Relationships with other mythical characters
The Mighty Thor
Thor and Hercules are close rivals, but neither has hesitated to help the other if needed. The second meeting between the two gods was recently chronicled in the six-part series "Thor: Blood Oath" (2005). [Comic book reference | Writer =
Michael Avon Oeming| Artist = Scott Kolins| Title = Thor: Blood Oath | Issue = 2-4 | date = December 2005- January 2006 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] The third meeting takes place in "Journey Into Mystery" #125 and "Thor" #126-130, when Thor battles the minions of Pluto to save Hercules from being trapped in the underworld forever. [Comic book reference | Writer = Stan Lee| Penciller = Jack Kirby| Inker = Vince Colletta| Story = | Title = Journey Into Mystery | Volume = 1 | Issue = 125 | date = February 1966 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] [Comic book reference | Writer = Stan Lee| Penciller = Jack Kirby| Inker = Vince Colletta| Title = Thor | Volume = 1 | Issue = 126-130 | date = March 1966-July 1966 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] Hercules has returned the favor and assisted Thor on several occasions, a notable example being the final battle against the Dark Gods in "Thor" (vol. 2) #10-12. [Comic book reference | Writer = Dan Jurgens| Penciller = John Romita, Jr.| Inker = Klaus Janson| Story = The Dark Wars | Title = Thor | Volume = 2 | Issue = 10-12 | date = April 1999-June 1999 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] He also mentions that he is a friend of Thor and destroys the Thor clone in his name in "Civil War" #7. The two characters seem to regard each other as equals and have a deep amount of respect for each other.
For all Zeus' gruffness, "Hercules" volume 2 #4 shows that he regards Hercules as his favorite, [Comic book reference | Title = Hercules: Full Circle | Volume = 2 | Issue = 4 | Date = 1984 | Publisher =
Marvel Comics] much to chagrin of the other Olympians — with the exception of Hercules' half-brother Apollo. Both Ares and Pluto are Hercules' mortal enemies. [Comic book reference | Writer = Stan Lee| Penciller = Jack Kirby| Inker = Vince Colletta| Story = The Power of Pluto! | Title = Thor | Volume = 1 | Issue = 128 | date = May 1966 | Publisher = Marvel Comics]
During the Marvel/DC crossover "
JLA/Avengers", Wonder Womanbelieved Hercules to be a villain, assuming he had raped his dimension's version of her mother, Hippolyta; however, Marvel Comics' Hercules had simply seduced Marvel Comics' Hippolyta with her consent. Ironically, the Marvel Universe version of Hercules is a hero while Hippolyta is a villainess, closely allied with her father Ares, whose counterpart is Wonder Woman´s archenemy. However, this presented some continuity problems as Diana and her mother had already accepted their incarnation of Hercules' forgiveness, and Wonder Woman had not yet reverted to any previous incarnations.
In a more recent story this contrast appears deliberately spoofed, as Hercules is attacked by amazons led by Hippolyta´s daughter, "Artume" (the Etruscan match for Rome's "Diana"), a fanatic warmonger, in comparison with Wonder Woman´s mission of peace. Additionally, Hippolyta states "I made you from..." (presumably "clay") before being cut off as Artume murders her for being 'lovestruck' and 'too soft'. ["Incredible Hercules" #121]
Hercules also stars in two miniseries set in the 24th century. [Comic book reference | Title = Hercules: Prince of Power | Volume = 1 | Issue = 1-4 | Date = 1982 | Publisher =
Marvel Comics] [Comic book reference | Title = Hercules: Full Circle | Volume = 2 | Issue = 1-4 | Date = 1984 | Publisher = Marvel Comics] In a bid to teach his son humility, an offended Zeus banishes Hercules. Loaned Apollo's chariot and steeds as a means of transportation, Hercules explores the cosmos. He encounters and befriends a Skrull named Skyppi and the Rigellian Recorder #417, woos various ladies (one of whom would give birth to a son who would become emperor of a planet and bitter towards his absentee father), fights assorted aliens, and, hopelessly outmatched against the World Devourer Galactus, only succeeds in amusing him. This, however, proves to be enough, as Galactus forgets his hunger and spares the planet Hercules is defending. After numerous encounters with a variety of other beings, Hercules returns to Olympus to confront Zeus.
Once at Olympus he finds that Zeus has apparently slain all the other gods and now waits for Hercules in order to battle him as well. Zeus orders Hercules to fight, only to have him refuse. Zeus then strips Hercules of his immortality and forms it into a pearl, which he places in an altar fire. He states that now Hercules has something worth fighting for, and attacks him with a war ax. Greatly wounded, Hercules manages to use all his strength to defeat Zeus in single combat. At the end, Hercules has the ax and yet refuses to slay his father. At that point Zeus reveals that it had all been a sham designed to test Hercules strength of character, and that he had been exiled in order to learn humility. Zeus had known that the time of the gods was nearing an end and that Hercules was destined to found a new race of gods for another world if he so chose, but Zeus had to assure himself that Hercules was actually worthy of the honor. Zeus assures Hercules that the Olympian gods are not truly dead, but instead have gone on to another level of existence. Hercules reclaims the pearl of his immortality and journeys to the heavens to find his dynasty.
In the world of the
MC2Universe, Hercules is one of the last remaining Avengers alive and has bore a son named Argo the Almighty, who has aided the next generation of Avengers.
The zombie Hercules investigates the prone form of the zombie Hulk during the
Silver Surferfeeding frenzy. He peers into the Hulk's mouth, noting the Surfer's head. The Hulk smashes Hercules' head between his hands. However, as seen with Colonel America, massive brain trauma does not always stop the zombies.
Hercules is also seen in the Marvel Zombies crossover with the Ultimate Fantastic Four. When the Ultimate
Reed Richardsvisits the Marvel Zombies dimension, She-Hulk and Hercules try to eat him. Reed escapes unharmed.
* He was a regular character on the Mighty Thor segment of "
Marvel Super Heroes".
* He also made cameos in the Fantastic Four episodes "To Battle the Living Planet" and "Doomsday" along with the other Avengers.
*Hercules was featured in Hasbro's premiere series of
Marvel Legendsaction figures. He came with the left wing of Annihilus.
* There is a trading card of Hercules in the
Marvel Trading Card Game.
* [http://www.marvel.com/universe/Hercules Marvel.com Bio of Hercules]
* [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12939 GREEK WEEK Part I -Pak & Van Lente talk Hercules' Past] ,
Comic Book Resources, March 17, 2008
* [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12950 GREEK WEEK Part II- "Hulk vs. Hercules: When Titans Clash"] ,
Comic Book Resources, March 19, 2008
* [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12970 GREEK WEEK Part III: Artist Rafa Sandoval] ,
Comic Book Resources, March 19, 2008
* [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=17945 Love, Olympian Style: Pak & Van Lente talk "Incredible Hercules"] ,
Comic Book Resources, September 4, 2008
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