"I'll admit it it. I'm sick to death of World War Hulk and its many, many spinoffs that are only just now hitting the stands. I'd really like to put this event behind me and deal with the more important Skrull-related matters at hand. As such, I wasn't particularly looking forward to the new, rehashed version of Incredible Hulk, now with the demigod Hercules and impossibly smart Amadeus Cho in the lead roles. It struck me as a low-key mini-series that was shoehorned into an existing title to boost sales. However, I'm always happy to be proven wrong.
Soon to be titled Incredible Herc, this issue picks up immediately where the series' WWH tie-in left off. Cho and the Renegades are disillusioned in the wake of the war's end. Angel and Namora choose to turn themselves in to S.H.I.E.L.D., leaving their two comrades to run from the law. Yes, the parallels to Hulk's outlaw status are immediate and obvious. Where this issue succeeds in finding its own voice is in the examination of Herc's troubled past. Co-writers Greg Pak and Fred van Lente delve into the truth behind his 12 trials and the murder of his family, as well as his relationship with his brother Ares. As an Avenger, Ares is now charged, alongside S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Gabriel Jones, with bringing Herc to justice. The real joy of this issue is seeing the two quarreling brothers play off of each other. It's almost sad how much better the duo handle Ares in a few short pages than Brian Michael Bendis has managed in six issues of Mighty Avengers.
Herc rarely appears in any story these days with being accompanied by a healthy dose of humor. It made him endearing in Dan Slott's original She-Hulk run, and it works again here. I was a bit worried about the humor in this book considering Van Lente's last major work was the forgettable MODOK's Eleven, and Pak isn't really known for his humorous writing at all. Luckily, whether Herc is bombarding a helicarrier with wine or Ares is taunting his little brother, this issue is pretty darned amusing. Artist Khoi Pham is equally and pleasantly surprising in his work. I think Pham got a bad rap when he filled in for Pablo Raimondi in X-Factor recently. Raimondi is a tough cookie to follow, and the fan's were understandably unreceptive. Pham's pencils fit this book quite well, much better than the various WWH artists at any rate.
It's doubtful Incredible Hulk's new status quo will last for very long, so I'd strongly suggest hopping on board while the fun lasts. Who would have thought Hercules could carry the weight of a book like this on his burly shoulders?"
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