Back when I was in high school, a friend of mine had just discovered "The Avengers." Specifically, it was the storyline where the Avengers travel to Olympus and fight the Greek Gods. I can't help but think that my friend needs to be reading "Incredible Hercules" this month, because it's got that same level of fun as mythic meets superheroic.
The new installment of "Assault on New Olympus" picks up where last month left off, as the New and Mighty Avengers start fighting Hera's team of Greek mythical characters. Greg Pak and Fred van Lente have clearly had fun coming up with the match-ups. Some are obvious, like Spider-Man versus Arachne. Others reach a little bit, like Dr. Pym versus Argus, or Wolverine versus Cephalus. But each character acts as a good sparring partner for the other, and while the Avengers group is getting thoroughly trounced, I think we all know that the next chapter or two will turn the tables.
What I found more interesting, though, was seeing Amadeus Cho and Delphyne finally reunite while on opposite sides. Amadeus's anguish over seeing his potential girlfriend working for Hera is well articulated, even as is Delphyne's reasoning for agreeing to fight against Athena. You can see where she's coming from, even as you know that she's working for the villain in this story. I appreciate that villains in "Incredible Hercules" aren't mustache-twirling baddies that are evil just for the sake of being evil, but instead have actual motivations and often exist in shades of gray. It makes the conclusions of the stories much more interesting, and with any luck that'll be the case here as well.
Rodney Buchemi and Reilly Brown are doing a good job here. Their art reminds me of Clayton Henry's work on the book, and he's been one of my favorite artists to tackle Hercules and Amadeus. The knowing grin that Zeus and Quicksilver share cracks me up, and the sadness on Delphyne's face as she explains why she needs to work for Hera helps accentuate Pak and Van Lente's script. "Incredible Hercules" doesn't seem to hang onto artists for more than one story arc, but if this book sticks around, I'd like them to do so.
Speaking of which, it's looking like "Incredible Hercules" might come to an end in 2010. I hope that the book gets a reprive; this is a consistently fun and entertaining title, without a single dud issue to date. Hopefully there's a way to save the title, because I find myself looking forward to it every month.