By Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente (writers), Clayton Henry and Salva Espin (artists), Raul Trevino (colorist)

Is it just me, or has 2008 been the year that Marvel Comics finally did right by their B-list characters? Incredible Hercules has by far been one of the most entertaining titles I’ve read this year, and I never thought I would say that about about a comic starring a man wearing a skirt and leather stockings.

This issue is part three of the “Love and War” storyline, which so far hasn’t been the strongest arc in the series.  Having just rescued his uncle Poseidon from a gun-toting Amazon with the help of Namor and Namora, Hercules learns the nature of Hippolyta’s plans against the world of man.  Meanwhile, Amadeus is still imprisoned on board Hippolyta’s submarine as she and her Amazons race towards the artifact that will grant them control over the axis of the world. However, that doesn’t stop him from finding the time to score with a youthful Gorgon.

Something about this storyline seems underwhelming, especially since Hercules just got done beating on a Skrull god in the earlier Secret Invasion tie-in issues. But I have a feeling that’s going to change soon when the cast finally reaches the Axis Mundi.  Even if the action is a bit more subdued, Pak and Van Lente still know how to pen a really entertaining story, and that’s where Incredible Hercules succeeds.

This is a title that delights in huge action and fantastic villains, where Hercules and Amadeus seek adventure with a wink and a smile.  Artists Henry and Espin perfectly convey that lighthearted tone with clean art that looks like animation and does a great job of expressing emotion.  What can I say? Incredible Hercules is a pleasure to read!

Grade: B+

-Tony Rakittke