Hercules Unbound #1, November 1975
Cover: José Luis García-López, Editor: Joe Orlando
Writer: Gerry Conway; Penciler: José Luis García-López; Inker: Wally Wood
Hercules awakes four weeks after World War III. He broke free of his enchanted bonds to rescue a blind teenager, Kevin, and his dog Basil, who were being terrorized by an enraged sea creature.
Kevin tells Hercules about the nuclear devastation of Greece, the death of his brother and his and Basil’s escape in their family sloop. Hercules decides to accompany Kevin to Rome to find Kevin’s father.
Ares, meanwhile, looks upon the fighting in Rome and laughs. He then commands the military forces back into a hopeless battle.
Hercules and Kevin make it to Rome. Hercules recounts his capture and imprisonment by Ares in aulden days. They fight off minotaur-like demons and battle-crazed citizens. He spots Ares and challenges him to battle. Ares responds by siccing the red-hued Smasher on Herc. Kevin and Basil help Hercules defeat the monster that Ares created.
After the battle – Kevin recognized Smasher as his own father.
The letter column gives a brief origin to the classical Hercules and introduces us to Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez and Wally Wood. It also hypes Claw the Unconquered #4 and Stalker #3.
An interesting beginning leaving many questions – which entices us to keep reading obviously… So far we see only a bit of Hercules’ famed strength and not much of his personality (by this time his Marvel doppelganger’s braggadocio is legend). Perhaps DC is avoiding the obvious comparison by pulling back the man-god’s traditional vanity. His shock at being in the modern world is non-existent – perhaps the post-apocalyptic world is more familiar to him.
The mystery of Kevin’s powers is canny for comics of the time (not meant as a criticism). He brings us the only real emotion of the comic – it’s only been a month since nukes flew and destroyed everything! Plus his brother was killed and he discovered his father was made into a nuclear monster! He MUST have great inner strength to handle this!
The art is fabulous – but even Lopez’ art is nearly swallowed by Wally Wood’s stylish inks. Regardless, every page is beautiful.
About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped. Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!