Being a fan of mythology I’ve been reading the Hercules mini series from Radical. A slightly different take on Hercules with him being more somber as these stories are set late in his life after his most famous adventures.
In this story Hercules and the band of mercenary/heroes he leads have gone to Egypt and landed smack dab in the middle of a civil war. Hired by the rightful pharaoh to root out enemy spies Hercules in this issue finds himself in battle with a foe even his great strength may not be able to defeat: a sorcerer capable of calling down enough lighting to destroy entire armies.
I think this issue was one of the best of the series so far. The last mini showcased the Greeks in an enviorment where the natives were savages. This time around they have been considered the savages by a culture so alien to them they can barely begin to understand it. However, this time around we see that if a culture is desperate enough they can sink to any level of barbarism as both sides are becoming increasingly desperate to win the civil war and gain control over Egypt.
The battle between Hercules and Khadis, the Lord of Lighting, serves as the climax of this issue. Hercules demonstrates he is the very least more than human during his battle. Autolycus’s plan for Hercules to wear the lion skin makes sense as it servers somewhat as Khadis’s god is lion-headed and Hercules surviving the lighting and being lion-headed makes it appear Khadi’s god has turned against her.
I think that is really one of the high points of this series. The writer and artist both bothered to do historical research. Not only is the story based on actual historical events, but the setting, clothing, everything looks like it should.
The only aspect of the story that interrupted the flow was a scene where Hercules is taken by the Pharaoh’s chancellor for torture and questioning. Though Hercules gets away due to having the Pharaoh’s scarab, a symbol of the Pharaoh’s power and whomever holds it being above question, I failed to see what the scene contributed to the overall story and it came across as space filler.
Artwise, I think the painted landscapes really work here. Not only is it unique to comics, but I did not see anything that appeared out of place. The one scene where Hercules is standing tall daring Khadis to strike him again and again while aglow with the lighting that is striking him is one of the most memorable splash pages I recall seeing in a long time.
Overall, if you like Hercules or Conan type stories I definitely recommend picking up Hercules and the Knives of Kush.