The Asgardian Trade Commission 6/20/10

Posted on June 20, 2010. Filed under: Reviews |

Two new features in one week?  I spoil you guys.  But seriously, welcome to The Asgardian Trade Commission, where I take the time to review trades that I’ve read recently.  It started as an idea at last weekend’s convention, where I was able to acquire a wealth of trades at seriously discounted rates.  So, without delaying any further, let’s start in!

The Incredible Hercules – Against the World

Marvel Comics, $19.99, available for purchase here

Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Khoi Pham

Collecting Incredible Hulk #112, Incredible Hercules #113-115 and Hulk vs. Hercules: When Titans Collide

We’re going to start off with a godly trade, but since I don’t have any Thor or Asgardian collections, we’ll have to settle for the next best: Hercules and the Greek pantheon.  If you’ve been reading my regular reviews, you know that I’m loving Amadeus Cho in the Prince of Power mini that’s out now, and I’ve lamented the fact that I didn’t start reading Hercules when it first started, so I picked up this trade and several others when I saw them at the convention.  First thing: this book is totally worth the price I paid for it, and would even be worth full cover price.

Pak and Van Lente manage to take an Avenger who was always better as an ancillary character and put him in the forefront of his own book to spectacular results.  The cast of characters is a fantastic ensemble, with Amadeus Cho easily being in my top 5 favorite Marvel characters.  While Cho does a lot of the heavy lifting as far as the plot’s concerned in this book, Hercules is no slouch himself, and even their adversaries are are interesting, whether it be for Wonder Man trying to reason with Hercules throughout the book, of Ares and his mad determination to see the Lion of Olympus shamed, each character has awesome moments.

One of my favorite things about this story is how it takes Cho’s super-genius intellect and makes it a visually interesting power, all by showing how he calculates probabilities and uses the world to his advantage.  It’s something that couldn’t really be done as effectively in any other medium, although it would be very interesting to see on TV or in the movies.  That and other stylistic touches, like the recap pages, and the quiz that they put in the middle of the book just add to the fun.  I have to admit, I was a little disappointed to find that Pak and Van Lente didn’t start using humorous sound effects until later in the series, though.

Of special note is how Pak and Van Lente are able to weave actual mythology into the book.  I know I should expect no less when two of the main characters are Hercules and Ares, but in a lesser book they wouldn’t manage to do what they do here and keep it interesting.  It’s great that they manage to get these small things in and keep a sense of humor about the title, and yet not take that humor too far.  It’s a great balance between drama, comedy, action, and adventure.

The last thing I want to address in this is the art.  I’ve always enjoyed Pham’s style, and I think it’s put to great use on Hercules.  Pham’s able to make subtle changes, as it should be, between flashback scenes and all the others.  It’s also Pham that should probably get most of the credit for making Cho’s super-genius moments look so good, although comics are a collaborative medium, so maybe he was just doing as directed by Pak and Van Lente.

Ok, so, in summary, Incredible Hercules – Against the World is a fantastic book, with a great story, great characters, and great art.  If you’ve missed this series before now, or even if you love Cho in Prince of Power currently, this is really the only place to start to catch up with the character.  And for that, this trade receives

Odin’s Beard 5/5

And that’s it for this week.  Check back in next week for another trade review.  Got something you think I should read?  Let me know about it, either on Twitter or in the comments!

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erik Lewis and Erik Lewis, Erik Lewis. Erik Lewis said: New feature: The Asgardian Trade Commission 6/20/10: Come join me in reviewing the first Incredible Hercules trade! […]

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