New Readers

Civil War (Civil War #1-5) - The superhero community is torn apart as the U.S. Government mandates that all superhumans register their identities and powers under government authority. Hercules joins the anti-registration group and is arguably it's most powerful member. Hercules plays a key role in taking down the pro-registration team's secret weapon in the climactic final battle.

World War Hulk (Incredible Hulk #106-112) - Hercules, and others, are recruited by Amadeus Cho to aid the Hulk upon his return to Earth from his exile on Sakaar. Here the nobility and loyalty of Hercules is put on display as he befriends young Cho, defends innocent civilians and takes the Hulk's side when the rest of the world stands against him.

Against the World (The Incredible Hercules #113-116) - This story-arc shows Hercules being true to his nature and doing what he believes is right no matter what the authorities say or popular opinion dictates. In the wake of both the Superhero Civil War and World War Hulk, he is a fugitive from the law and comes up against his half-brother Ares, God of War.

Smash of the Titans (Hulk vs. Hercules: When Titans Collide) - This one-shot gives insight into Hercules' mind and motivation via flashbacks to a time he fought the mindless Hulk on Olympus in the service of Zeus. Herc's characterization as a loyal son, the champion of Olympus, a battle-loving brawler and a good guy is on display and fun to see.

Love & War (Incredible Hercules #121-125) - Returning from the Skrull Gods realm, Hercules and Cho take a vacation with Namora, whom Herc hooks up with, to unwind. The relaxation doesn't last long, though, as they are attacked by Artume, daughter of Amazon Queen Hippolyta, whom seeks to take over the world. This story has a great mixture of Greek myth and modern superhero mythos. It's here where Hercules meets in modern times one of his ancient strength-rivals; the titan Atlas.

Must Read

Sacred Invasion (Incredible Hercules #116-120) - Hercules takes the fight to the Skrull Empire as he takes on a role he has never before had; Leader! Hercules leads a small force of Earthly immortals called the God Squad against the Skrull god Kly'Bn. This story has action, humor, excitement and romance.

Hercules: The New Labors (Hercules: The New Labors #1-5) - This mini-series explains much about Hercules' original twelve labors from ancient myth while also showing him performing a more modern, Marvel twelve labors. The Avengers have disassembled and Thor is seemingly dead so Hercules is at loose ends and sinks into over-indulgence in alcohol. His foes Hera and Eurysteus feel the time is ripe to gain revenge on Hercules and seek to destroy him and his reputation for all-time by setting him up with new labors he can't possibly perform. Hercules must overcome some of his personal demons as well as revisiting the most terrible sin of his life in this tale of redemption.

Further Reading

Champions (Champions #1-17) - The entire run of the Champions team book is worth reading for a true Hercules fan if only to contrast how far the character has come from being an overbearing oaf most of the time to being a lovable rogue these days. Hercules fulfills the role of strongman/powerhouse in this formulaic Bronze Age series. Hercules Olympian heritage and "devil-may-care" attitude is highlighted at the beginning of this series as he is shown fighting the forces of Hades, pleading with his father Zeus, reacquainting himself with his fellow Olympian deity Venus, dealing with his mortal agent Richard Fenster and even his fellow teammate the Angel. This series is also where Hercules and the Black Widow first become an item. This series features artwork by the likes of Don Heck, Bob Hall and John Byrne and writing by the very underrated Tony Isabella.

Thor vs Hercules (Trade Paperback) - This trade collects many of Hercules' battles with his friend and rival Thor, God of Thunder. This volume includes the first meeting and battle between Hercules and Thor back in the Silver Age of Comics (originally published in 1965) and proceeds through the decades right up to the Modern Age. Whether or not all of the battles reprinted here were among the best between these two warrior-gods is debatable but there is no doubt most are indeed worthy choices for this volume. This volume features artwork from all-time greats such as Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Jackson Guice, Don Heck, Ron Frenz, Scott Kolins and Reilly Brown.

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