This is one of my favorite miniseries–in fact, it’s one of the best miniseries of the ’80s.  In issue #1, we get the set up: Hercules acts like a sexist bonehead on Olympus, and Zeus is not amused.

So, he banishes his son–not to Earth, but to outer space. 

Why is this series so great?  Because it takes on Thor–remember, when he used to travel through space?  Hercules has always been a D-list Marvel hero, and the decision to do what Thor did–complete with a Rigellian Recorder robot (which Bob Layton portrays brilliantly)–was ballsy.

But it worked because it was genuinely funny!  Like this scene where he shouts into a God Horn to a spacecraft…

It’s also genuinely touching.  In the first issue, Hercules runs around looking for big people upon whom to bestow his “gift,” which basically means he punches them.  But when he finds the biggest, strongest alien in an outer space bar and hits him…

Everyone at the bar calls him a bully, which he is, and is furious with him.  And just when they are forcing him off the satellite, he has the chance to save everyone and becomes the hero.  Thus, he is learning the true meaning of heroism and humility.

Issue #2 picks up with Hercules is still on the space station (which is really a space community), but he’s out of money and needs to pay up after losing a bet.  He bet without having money because…

So, he decides to respond to an ad in which a space millionaire asks for help saving his daughter, who is being held hostage by an alien king.  We get some nice combat against robots, and Hercules has a creative way of destroying the king’s fleet so it can’t chase him by throwing a robot’s head through the ships.

Humor and action in one book!  Eventually, he saves the girl, who gets him a new costume.

He doesn’t actually wear this costume for the rest of volume one.  In Volume 2, though, it becomes his standard gear.

As it turns out she wasn’t a hostage after all, she just didn’t want her dad to know she was in love with an alien.  Hercules still gets the cash, though, and pays off his debt (there’s some pretty funny twists there, too).  Also, along the way, Recorder gets arrested and has this exchange with a junkie cellmate…

After joining in a space war in #3, we get to the big finale…

Hercules takes on Galactus, and his new herald.

Note the “snails” reference above: After traveling across the galaxy to find the best alcoholic beverage in the universe, Hercules finds out that the snail-like creators of the elixir are going to be eaten by the big G. 

Because his herald (and Johnny Storm’s ex-girlfriend) Frankie Raye, doesn’t like snails.

Hercules realizes he isn’t strong enough to beat Galactus.

Galactus’ eye blasts appear to have the power to “uncreate” Hercules and then create him anew.

I don’t think we ever see that power set again…

So Hercules pulls a switcheroo, inviting him to a drinking contest and pouring the strongest alcohol in the galaxy into Galactus’ drink. Bob Layton leads us to believe that Herc’s trick is working–Galactus is getting drunk and sleepy!

But it doesn’t work because Galactus is too powerful to get drunk.  He was just messing with Herc.

But it turns out, Galactus is grateful for the laugh.

Just how grateful?….

In the end, Galactus was amused enough to spare the planet, so Herc ends his miniseries being a hero! And takes Nova to bed.

3 thoughts on “HERCULES: PRINCE OF POWER #1-4 (1982)”

  1. I think D-List is an exaggeration. He’s been in over 700 comics, one of the first and longest serving Avengers and remained in publication consistently every year unlike Black Goliath or Machine Man. But I enjoyed this one too. It had a good mix of comedy and action with a good story to ground it. Also, it was one of the first limited series’ Marvel ever put out. Right after Contest of Champions. Great review!

  2. I agree with Mr. Jankovic- Hercules is a LONG way from being a “D”-lister. I would put Hercules on the “B”-list. ( the definition of an “A”-lister is a character that has sustained a regular, ongoing series since it’s outset- “B”-listers are characters like Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Angel, Iceman, Beast, Hawkeye, the Wasp, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision, etc.- great characters, but they could not sustain a regular monthly title ) Hercules is a “B”-lister. A great character who could make the “A”-list IF Marvel would just assign him the right creative team. Bob Layton could certainly do it. John Byrne could do it. John Byrne can do anything. Too bad he and Marvel have kissed each other off. But Hercules is, I believe, the world’s very first superhero! He makes a great Marvel character, too, in that he is flawed- his arrogance ( which was the premise of this miniseries ) and his frat-boy attitude towards his responsibilities prevents him from being a perfect superhero like Superman, the Silver Surfer, and the one guy he REALLY hates- his biggest and greatest rival: The Mighty Thor! I think Hercules wants very much to be the world’s greatest superhero, especially since he was also the first superhero, but he can’t BE the world’s greatest superhero, because THAT honor already goes to the Mighty Thor, who DOES take that responsibility VERY DEADLY seriously! Hercules tries, though, Great Zeus, does he try! When he gets that bug up his butt to be the Best He Can Be, he re-ups for another tour of duty with the Avengers, which really IS Hercules’ greatest opportunity to do something with his immortal existence. Also, it’s a great way to score some serious coinage and room and board down here on the mortal realm. ( even a demigod’s gotta eat and have a place to crash ) I like the way back in ‘Avengers’#173 when he hopelessly killed his dalliance with the Black Widow by making one poorly-judged off-handed remark to her about the fleetingness of mortal lives. Hercules does dumb shit like this all the time, because, as Galactus points out to the Lion of Olympus in this miniseries, he IS an “amusing buffoon”. But that, along with his insufferable arrogance, is what makes the guy both the perfect example of the flawed Marvel archetype, and the reason why when it comes to being the world’s greatest superhero, he will always come in at a number two behind the Mighty Thor! And that’s my thoughts! I give this miniseries a firm “A”!


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