By Steve Moore (writer), Admira Wijaya with Imaginary Friends Studios (art)

Until now, Hercules has been restrained, a demi-god coming off more as a mortal with mythical stories behind his strength. Yet, as battle has shown, he is a master at the art of tactics and combat training. But his signature brute strength was never shown or even hinted at until now. When Hercules is finally unhinged in this issue, both Steve Moore and Admira Wijaya take the gloves off and launch our hero into a torrent of violence, blood, and rage. Readers who’ve been patiently waiting for Hercules to erupt into “300“-like violence will walk away satisfied with the amount of gore on display here. And you know what? It’s satisfying on every primal, sadistic, and perverse level.

This is easily the best issue of the series. What surprised me is how the story plays out. It seems like the type of story that would stay on course and deliver a “by the numbers” finale after Hercules discovers Cotys’ plan to attack Greece. But such is not the case. With every anticipated turn, the story goes in a completely different direction and that is damn impressive. Steve Moore does a fantastic job of scripting a fresh and unpredictable tale. Even more impressive is the amount of ground that’s covered in 24 pages; this issue goes through a lot of twists and turns all while simultaneously setting the table for the series’ undoubtedly bloody finale.

There’s been a lot of people trying to compare this book to Frank Miller’s 300. Even Radical’s marketing team is guilty of this. But other than both using Greek characters and violence, there’s really no comparison. Apples and oranges. If I could only read one, I’d easily take this series. Superior art, a color cast of characters, and an original (and more stronger) story wins out here. (Grade: A+)

– J. Montes