Hercules as an Antagonist

#1 Edited by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio

Sometimes seeing our heroes as villains can be worth wile to contrast how heroic they are compared to how villainous they can be. At the very least, it can sometimes be a fun change of pace. The following are examples of Hercules as an antagonist if not an outright villain. What are your thoughts on them? Do you find any of them particularly more vile than the others? Do you like any of them? Any you wish had never been created? Any major ones I missed?

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: This show's version of Hercules was one of the most clear-cut morally upstanding so it is perhaps only fitting his evil version would be one of if not the most villainous. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Sovereign. Hercules's evil counterpart from a parallel world. A tyrant who made his best friend his court jester, tortured and executed people with ease, and poisoned Zeus to nearly become king of the gods. Trapped between worlds where he battled the good version of Hercules to a draw. Eventually, killed by Ares to reestablish the latter as a badass. Definitly, the most evil of the Hercules here. IIRC, in his favor he did care for his family and their deaths either made him a tyrant or made him worse.

God of War: A literal giant of a man. (Seriously, he towers over Kratos making him at least ten feet or more.) This Hercules is the strongest being in his universe and one of the few Kratos was hesitant to fight. Whether due to fear or a mutual history of being screwed by the gods is unknown. This Hercules resented Kratos being made into the greatest hero in all of Greece and a god while Herc was stuck doing labors he saw a beneath him. He desired to win Zeus' favor by killing Kratos and becoming the new God of War.

It is speculated he and the other Olympians became infected with various evils clouding their thinking. Herc was probably infected with jealousy/envy. Of course, Kratos destroying the world could have been enough for Hercules to try and stop him. He did win a temporary ko, but stopped to gloat instead of finishing the deed. Also, carries the lion motif as a side from the Cestus he considers the slaying of the Nemean Lion one of the few labors worthy of him.

I would say this Hercules is more of an antagonist than an outright villain.

DC Comics: Thanks to all of the reboots I don't know all the details about this version. I believe it is Post-Crisis that raped Hippolyta and was condemned by Zeus to hold up Themysicara until Wonder Woman freed him. What little I have read of him portrays him as an arrogant jerk with none of the charm of Marvel's version. He tends to be a petty schemer at times as well. For what little it may be worth, he seems to at times regret his evil actions and is trapped in a cycle of crime and punishment. In a way, he comes across as more stupid than anything by being constantly manipulated by others (Hera, Ares, Circe) into committing evil actions and then punished for his actions.

Did he have a Pre-Crisis version? And if anybody knows, if Hera was responsible for driving DC Hercules crazy to murder his family how in the world did Wonder Woman rationalize that action of her “beloved goddess?”

Heroes Of Olympus: The second book series by Rick Riordan featuring Greek mythology in a modern setting. It took them long enough, but they finally introduced their version of Hercules. This one tends to be very different than common portrayals. While we usually see him with a thick beard wearing the lion skin this one prefers robes and scruff, at least in modern times. Thanks to remaining almost unchanged from the transition from Greece to Rome he doesn't suffer the same multiple personality problems of the other gods.

He is more of a situational antagonist than a real villain. Imagine the crappy mortal life Hercules had and add on a crappy immortal life. Despite all this Hercules did it was never enough to live up to expectations as a son of Zeus. Upon death, Zeus made him a MINOR god. Dionysus was made into a major one. Zeus left him guarding the doorway to the ancient lands. (The gods move from country to country and by modern times are in America). So Hercules is stuck on a practically deserted island for all eternity with nothing to do but reflect on the failings of his mortal life and test the occasional hero who comes by. His legacy in the mortal world are (in his view) crappy movies, like a certain Disney one, or as some brainless barbarian with the other gods constantly looking down on him. To top it off, the only other inhabitant of the island is the river-god Achelous. Some god thought it would be good idea to put the two on the same island. Hercules reminds Achelous of his failing to win the hand of Deinara and save her and Achelous further reminds Hercules of his failings in life. Even Achelous admits the injustice of Hercules being made to pay for Hera's crimes.

In the book itself, Hercules is stated be the most powerful demigod who ever lived and to normally go easy on passing demigods due to his own experience with King Eurystheus. He only becomes more of an antagonist due to his hatred of Hera and the book's heroes unfortunately being forced to work for her.

All in all, you have a bitter, resentful half-insane demigod who hates Hera, finds Zeus annoying at best, looked down upon by the other gods, and stuck on a deserted island for all time save for a hated enemy. I can't really blame the guy.

So, how do they compare to the Marvel Hercules we all know and love?

#2 Edited by Wolfrazer (6725 posts) - - Show Bio

Tbh Hercules being evil...I just don't see as making sense. Unless of course its a parallel universe kinda thing or something, Hercules shouldn't be evil. DC's Hercules has been written pretty much all wrong, its odd seeing him as a douche and a jerk not to mention that DC severely watered down their version of Hercules which again is wrong. Am hoping in the New 52, if he appears that he is written as he is suppose to be...am not saying he has to be like mirror with Marvel's Hercules in personality...but he shouldn't be a douche or involved with crime or anything of that nature, the same with his strength it shouldn't be watered down either 

An evil Hercules would be fine just as long as its a parallel universe one or something, I don't see him actually being evil.

#3 Posted by PowerHerc (84031 posts) - - Show Bio

@Wolfrazer said:

Tbh Hercules being evil...I just don't see as making sense. Unless of course its a parallel universe kinda thing or something, Hercules shouldn't be evil. DC's Hercules has been written pretty much all wrong, its odd seeing him as a douche and a jerk not to mention that DC severely watered down their version of Hercules which again is wrong. Am hoping in the New 52, if he appears that he is written as he is suppose to be...am not saying he has to be like mirror with Marvel's Hercules in personality...but he shouldn't be a douche or involved with crime or anything of that nature, the same with his strength it shouldn't be watered down either An evil Hercules would be fine just as long as its a parallel universe one or something, I don't see him actually being evil.

I could not agree more. Well stated!

#4 Edited by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc: I agree, but at the same time one reason I can appreciate Marvel's Hercules more is thanks to the poor way DC had handled the character. Hercules from Hercules: TLJ contrasts with the Sovereign by showing what direction his life could have taken. The Sovereign is literally from a parallel universe. And as I stated with the other two they may serve the role of story antagonist, but they are not villains. In God of War Kratos comes off as so evil I tend to root for Zeus and Hercules. Hercules from Heroes of Olympus is not a villain either. At first he is portrayed as a nice guy until the subject of Hera comes up. Both of the latter two have plenty of reasons to find them likable as antagonists even over the protagonists of the story. I find it interesting how Hercules might have turned out if Zeus had been a bigger jerk than he normally is portrayed as being.

Ignoring the antagonist aspect for a moment is there anything about the designs you find intriguing or the different paths their lives took compared to Marvel's Hercules?

@Wolfrazer said:

An evil Hercules would be fine just as long as its a parallel universe one or something, I don't see him actually being evil.

And of these that is exactly what happened. The Sovereign is the only purely evil one and he is from a parallel universe. The other two are not evil. They had crappier lives than Marvel's Hercules so are more bitter about it. I find it interesting how their lives have gone different yet still for the most part they are heroic. They only serve as antagonist for story reasons. God of War Hercules to me is more admirable than Kratos. DC Hercules I do not count among these.

Speaking of DC Hercules was there a version that interacted with Superman? Was he more of a hero like Marvel's Hercules?

#5 Posted by PowerHerc (84031 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze:

I like Sorbo's "Sovereign" Hercules and I like Terry Dodson's design for DC's Hercules. The other two? Not at all. The God of War Hercules' helmet doesn't appeal to me and his huge over-sized fists look ridiculous and clunky. The small, beardless, shepherd boy-looking Hercules is terrible. The person who designed it must not like Hercules.

As for the storylines; anytime Hercules is reduced to a minor, supporting character or non-heroic character I don't like it and I certainly don't endorse it.

#6 Posted by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc said:

@seekquaze:

The small, beardless, shepherd boy-looking Hercules is terrible. The person who designed it must not like Hercules.

One can easily get that impression from the way Hercules is talked about in Rick Riordan's books.

@PowerHerc said:

As for the storylines; anytime Hercules is reduced to a minor, supporting character or non-heroic character I don't like it and I certainly don't endorse it.

Isn't that what happened to Hercules in the story of Jason and Quest for the Golden Fleece? Hercules appears in the story, but disappears about halfway through. IIRC, there are several other myths where Hercules plays a small, but vital role when someone else is the focus of the story. I can see Hercules at times having a minor, important supporting role or as a heroic antagonist in part because in the myths he appeared just about everywhere. The other is he can often contribute an important part to the story, but not be the focus of the story.

#7 Posted by PowerHerc (84031 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze said:

@PowerHerc said:

As for the storylines; anytime Hercules is reduced to a minor, supporting character or non-heroic character I don't like it and I certainly don't endorse it.

Isn't that what happened to Hercules in the story of Jason and Quest for the Golden Fleece? Hercules appears in the story, but disappears about halfway through. IIRC, there are several other myths where Hercules plays a small, but vital role when someone else is the focus of the story. I can see Hercules at times having a minor, important supporting role or as a heroic antagonist in part because in the myths he appeared just about everywhere. The other is he can often contribute an important part to the story, but not be the focus of the story.

Hercules supporting role as an Argonaut in ancient myth is fine with me. I don't like him being depicted shabbily or treated poorly in modern stories.

#8 Posted by TheAcidSkull (18032 posts) - - Show Bio

marvels hercules is still the best , he shouldn't be an antagonist, he SHOULD HAVE A better one himself.

#9 Posted by Wolfrazer (6725 posts) - - Show Bio

I wonder what went through the mind of whoever wrote DC's Hercules...

#10 Posted by PowerHerc (84031 posts) - - Show Bio

@Wolfrazer said:

I wonder what went through the mind of whoever wrote DC's Hercules...

I believe DC editorial staff made a conscious decision to use Hercules as a foil/heel against Wonder Woman to, by contrast, elevate her status/power in the DC Universe.

Before the post-Crisis/1987 WW reboot, WW was rarely shown to have strength on par with DC's top-tier strength characters such as Superman, Captain Marvel or their version of Hercules. Her reboot redefined the origin of the Amazons and squarely placed DC Hercules in the role of callous and underhanded oppressor instead of hero.

This is a role he consistently fulfilled then, as recently as a few years ago during the "Who is Wonder Woman" story-arc illustrated by Terry Dodson and various times in between. During this entire span of time, Wonder Woman was shown to be mightier/stronger than Hercules several times. It is also in the time of the '87 reboot, and ever since, that Wonder Woman has continually been shown to be not only stronger but also more righteous than DC Hercules.

#11 Posted by Wolfrazer (6725 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc said:

@Wolfrazer said:

I wonder what went through the mind of whoever wrote DC's Hercules...

I believe DC editorial staff made a conscious decision to use Hercules as a foil/heel against Wonder Woman to, by contrast, elevate her status/power in the DC Universe.

Before the post-Crisis/1987 WW reboot, WW was rarely shown to have strength on par with DC's top-tier strength characters such as Superman, Captain Marvel or their version of Hercules. Her reboot redefined the origin of the Amazons and squarely placed DC Hercules in the role of callous and underhanded oppressor instead of hero.

This is a role he consistently fulfilled then, as recently as a few years ago during the "Who is Wonder Woman" story-arc illustrated by Terry Dodson and various times in between. During this entire span of time, Wonder Woman was shown to be mightier/stronger than Hercules several times. It is also in the time of the '87 reboot, and ever since, that Wonder Woman has continually been shown to be not only stronger but also more righteous than DC Hercules.

Lame..
#12 Posted by PowerHerc (84031 posts) - - Show Bio

@Wolfrazer said:

@PowerHerc said:

@Wolfrazer said:

I wonder what went through the mind of whoever wrote DC's Hercules...

I believe DC editorial staff made a conscious decision to use Hercules as a foil/heel against Wonder Woman to, by contrast, elevate her status/power in the DC Universe.

Before the post-Crisis/1987 WW reboot, WW was rarely shown to have strength on par with DC's top-tier strength characters such as Superman, Captain Marvel or their version of Hercules. Her reboot redefined the origin of the Amazons and squarely placed DC Hercules in the role of callous and underhanded oppressor instead of hero.

This is a role he consistently fulfilled then, as recently as a few years ago during the "Who is Wonder Woman" story-arc illustrated by Terry Dodson and various times in between. During this entire span of time, Wonder Woman was shown to be mightier/stronger than Hercules several times. It is also in the time of the '87 reboot, and ever since, that Wonder Woman has continually been shown to be not only stronger but also more righteous than DC Hercules.

Lame..

I agree, though "Lame" is putting it more nicely than I would.

I call it Bull$h-t!

#13 Posted by Wolfrazer (6725 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc said:

@Wolfrazer said:

@PowerHerc said:

@Wolfrazer said:

I wonder what went through the mind of whoever wrote DC's Hercules...

I believe DC editorial staff made a conscious decision to use Hercules as a foil/heel against Wonder Woman to, by contrast, elevate her status/power in the DC Universe.

Before the post-Crisis/1987 WW reboot, WW was rarely shown to have strength on par with DC's top-tier strength characters such as Superman, Captain Marvel or their version of Hercules. Her reboot redefined the origin of the Amazons and squarely placed DC Hercules in the role of callous and underhanded oppressor instead of hero.

This is a role he consistently fulfilled then, as recently as a few years ago during the "Who is Wonder Woman" story-arc illustrated by Terry Dodson and various times in between. During this entire span of time, Wonder Woman was shown to be mightier/stronger than Hercules several times. It is also in the time of the '87 reboot, and ever since, that Wonder Woman has continually been shown to be not only stronger but also more righteous than DC Hercules.

Lame..

I agree, though "Lame" is putting it more nicely than I would.

I call it Bull$h-t!

That works too lol.
#14 Posted by PowerHerc (84031 posts) - - Show Bio

@Wolfrazer:

Lol!

#15 Posted by seekquaze (612 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc said:

Hercules supporting role as an Argonaut in ancient myth is fine with me. I don't like him being depicted shabbily or treated poorly in modern stories.

I agree Hercules should not be depicted shabbily or poorly in modern stories. I can see him having a major supporting role in stories where he is not the center, but again he should not be treated poorly.

@TheAcidSkull said:

marvels hercules is still the best , he shouldn't be an antagonist, he SHOULD HAVE A better one himself.

I do tend to like Marvel's version of Hercules better than other versions. I can see him as an antagonist, but only in stories where their are either extenuating circumstances like the Enchatress has put a spell on him or in stories where a villain fulfills the role of protagonist.

#16 Posted by PowerHerc (84031 posts) - - Show Bio

@seekquaze said:

I do tend to like Marvel's version of Hercules better than other versions. I can see him as an antagonist, but only in stories where their are either extenuating circumstances like the Enchatress has put a spell on him or in stories where a villain fulfills the role of protagonist.

That is exactly what happened when Hercules first met and fought the Avengers.

In cases of ensorcellment it's okay for almost anyone to become an antagonist. Even Hercules

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