Monday, November 27, 2017

When the Gods Appear

Hercules Unbound #11 (DC, June-July 1977, 35 cents)
"The Dark Side of the Gods" Words: Cary Bates, Pictures: Walter Simonson, Colors: Jerry Serpe.

Jazzed about the too-soon-ended return of Hercules in the recent run of Wonder Woman, I was hopeful we might be treated to a return of the DC Hercules. I still am, and I turned to Hercules Unbound to satisfy that yen.

Drawn by Walt Simonson—cover and interiors!—before his characteristic style had fully gelled (his dinosaur-shaped signature still graces the cover), the comic is visually intriguing, particularly when the gods appear on p. 10.

Garbed in new armor, Hercules rescues his friends—including the Atomic Knights—from a collapsing foundry in Detroit. Kevin endangers the Knights, as well as their headquarters, before Hercules short-circuits Kevin's power. A fire-breathing dragon appears, and Kevin runs off, revealing his true identity. The action is a bit linear and meaningless, and there's not much to recommend in the issue other than Simonson's art and the late Atomic Knights appearance.

The series itself lasted only 12 issues, five of which featured Simonson. Interestingly, before Simonson took on the art, this series featured late-career work by Wallace Wood.

Read Also: Hercules Unbound #1.

Availability: Hercules Unbound #11-12 were collected in The Art of Walter Simonson.

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