Friday, July 18, 2008

The Incredible Hercules #119 review

Contact (Sacred Invasion part three)'

We start the issue with the Skrull queen quoting a prophecy from the Skrull Book of Worlds stating that our heroes will be "undone by the least among them." From there we flash back to a scene taking place right after World War Hulk with Hercules surrounded by soldiers and Amadeus Cho being escorted away. BUT! Cho is gassed and presented to a Skrull masquerading as a SHIELD agent. This is where we find out that the Skrull agent has replaced Pup with.....himself! Back to our intrepid crew, they are now in the Skrull Dreamtime, the world where the remains of fallen deities of alien cultures remain. While Skrull Pup is alone, he morphs into Amadeus, distracting Atum away from the wheel of the ship long enough to take control and smashing it into the Dreamtime. Regrouping after Snowbird retrieves the map of the Dreamtime, Atum graps Pup and rips him apart, revealing him to be a Skrull. This causes chaos in the ranks as Hercules attacks Atum accusing him of being a potential Skrull (but hard to argue since most of the gruop is composed of shapeshifters). After calming down, the group is then attacked by a swarm of alien gods. After much back and forth in battle, they seem to gain the upper hand until they are caught in the mouth of some giant bastard alien god. At this point, Snowbird sacrifices herself as she transforms into a great beast called Neooqtoq, the Ravager. She bids everyone to escape, as her transformation will kill everything around her, including them. Her transformation succeeds, but floats off into the endless void of space. Though she had the map of the Dreamtime, the issue ends with the group coming face to face with a Skrull deity.

It's been pretty obvious that I'm a huge fan of this series, and I really look forward to each issue that comes out, but this is first issue that I've really been disappointed in. This issue, everything feels forced and contrived. Pak and Van Lente are trying to hit all the right story beats, but with this issue it feels.....not cynical, but it's like they're doing it...just cause. For instance, every issue has a scene of Herc flashing back to his younger days and this issue it has no place, serves no purpose. When all that was introduced, it helped drive the story forward and this issue they did it cause I guess they felt they had to.

Also, I suppose cause it's only a four part story, the big sacrifice of Snowbird? Just...nothing. It does nothing. There was the last issue where they slept together that I suppose was meant to give Herc some grounding in his mission, some sort of attachment and create this big emotional thing when she disappears, but...nothing. Nothing. Totally pointless. I will say, the highlight of the issue was the post coital banter between the two. That was cute. The big reveal and death of Skrull Pup.....again, nothing.

I wish I could say something nice about the art, but the action comes across as a cluttered mess during the big action sequence.

I don't know. This issue was a real let down. I can't see this arc finishing well either. I mean, there's still the thing about Amadeus Cho and him doing some great big thing, so I still got something to look forward to next issue. But as I think about it, I think the strength of this book lies in having a small cast. With this story, The Incredible Hercules takes on the tone of a team book. Very much not a team book. Too many characters, not enough time to concetrate on a single one. Once this story ends, it needs to go back to Herc and Cho (and bring back Pup!).


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