By Steve Moore (writer), Admira Wijaya (artist), Imaginary Friends Studios & Sixth Creation (art assists, colors)
Alright, so the overall plot’s become a tad more predictable with every passing issue. Big deal! Just because we know where the story’s going doesn’t mean this book’s not one heck of an entertaining ride. Much like Hercules’ skill as a tactician and warrior, this the script is refined and well-paced.
The Hercules portrayed in this book isn’t a young fool with a barbarian’s instinct, nor is he pure warrior with unbound skills. He is a hardened war general that’s seen it all. The way Hercules commands his army and assesses the battlefield is brilliant. I’d even go as far to say that given what I’ve read and seen, this would be a heck of a movie. It’s like the best parts of Oliver Stone’s Alexander but on a smaller scale, with a pure focus on war.
What also makes this book enjoyable is that the story isn’t just focused on Hercules, but on his supporting cast as well. Though each character isn’t completely fleshed out, personality-wise (even Hercules’ stoic visage prevents him us from learning more about him) we get a true sense of who they are and what their stake is within the story. Ironically, perhaps the most engaging character isn’t Hercules at all, but rather the fury warrior, Tydeus – a murdering cannibal who’s allied himself with Hercules for the simple pleasure of gutting people. There’s some excellent interplay and chemistry between these characters and I like how Steve Moore constantly tests their loyalty towards Hercules.
The artwork by Admira Wijaya once again dazzles the eye. But it’s not just his compositions or the coloring by Imaginary Friends Studios that makes this book look so incredible – it’s the creative choices in panel layout that allow the eyes to track the story so easily. The bloody brutality of war has never looked so beautiful.
This issue is as near flawless as they come. Each month, I put off reading this comic until the last minute and each month I kick myself for not reading it sooner. Don’t be like me. Do yourself a favor and play catch up with this series. You’ll be glad you did. (Grade: A)
– J. Montes