HERCULES THE THRACIAN WARS #2
Written by Steve Moore and Drawn by Admira Wijaya
Published by Radical Comics
Issue two of HERCULES: THE THRACIAN WARS really stands up to the first issue and continues to thrill with astounding artwork and excellent writing. The book picks up right where it left off, namely Hercules and friends facing the real King Cotys and his army. Rather being pissed off at finding fifty of his subjects brutally slain (and thanks to Tydeus, partially eaten), Cotys congratulates them on a darn good slaughter.
Right away you start to get a sense of what kind of man King Cotys is. He doesn’t disappoint when he gleefully admits to arranging the situation in order to test Hercules and his followers, and he could clearly care less at the loss of his people. After he buys the band of Greeks with gold bars and hot chicks, Hercules becomes the honorary general and attempts to teach the brawling Thracians how to fight like warriors. Once Hercules whips Cotys’s men into shape, the King proceeds to unleash his army, and the Greeks in his employ, onto every unsuspecting (and unarmed) village of his supposed enemies he can find. Hercules and his band aren’t overly pleased with their situation, but they were hired for a job and intend to see it to the end so they can get paid.
We receive a character background story in the history of Atlanta and Meleager, her stalker. Hers is a tragic tale, of course, we are talking Greeks here. In Moore’s take on Atlanta’s mythology, she is an excellent hunter and once was a proud virgin devoted to Artemis, but her maidenhood was unwillingly taken from her through trickery and nefarious means. Now she hopes to die a glorious death in battle so she can return to Artemis with honor. Meleager, who is hopelessly in love with the girls-only Atlanta, is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen, and thus far appears oblivious to the fact Atlanta can’t stand him.
Moore’s dark sense of humor appears often throughout the book, taking form in witty narrative and twisted slapstick comedy. One memorable scene shows Tydeus, the cannibalistic Greek, tossing his cookies after he realizes he’s been eating the brain of an actor rather than a king.
The art continues to be fantastic, the pencils as crisp and attentive to detail as in the last issue. The colors plus the different angles Wijaya uses make the characters and the battles look outstanding.
Rape, murder and human sacrifices, there’s no short of brutality in this book, and though you can smell the cliffhanger ending from a mile away, HERCULES #2 is a strong second issue in what promises to be a very entertaining series.