I've yet to read any of the "Fear Itself" comics, although I'm hoping to finally sit down with the first two issues before too long. So when I saw the huge "Fear Itself" blurb plastered across the cover of "Herc" #3, I'll admit I was a tad worried. Turns out it was all for nothing.
Following on from the first two issues, Hercules adjusts to his new status as protector of Brooklyn, which is more interesting than it might sound. I like the idea of a meet-and-greet where the locals can tell Hercules their problems; if nothing else, it has strong story potential in the future for how problems come to his attention. But the issue in general feels a little slow paced in places. It's a fairly boring fight scene, one that feels more like padding than interesting reading. (Compare it to the first two issues, where his duel against the Hobgoblin is funny and also clearly advanced the overall plot.) By the time Kyknos and Hecate make their appearances, the fun of this issue has definitely subsided.
Neil Edwards and Scott Hanna do their usual nice job with the art. Man-Bull manages to actually look dangerous, which is no small feat considering this is a character called Man-Bull. I'm less crazy about their depiction of the Griffin, who seems more humanoid than I remember from back when I saw the character in John Byrne's "Namor" series, but I'm perfectly willing to admit that it's been 20 years since then and a makeover could have happened since then. But while characters like Hecate look creepy and menacing, Hercules' new outfit is rather dull and pedestrian. I get that they're trying to avoid the overall "skirt" look but this is so generic it's painful.
As for the "Fear Itself" tie-in? Aside from an explosion at the super-criminal prison of the Raft, beats me. (And considering criminals seem to break out of the Raft every other day, it's hardly a tie-in worthy event.) I suppose I should be happy that it will draw in some more readers, although since this is the least interesting issue of "Herc" so far I hope they stick around past "Fear Itself." Overall, it's a perfectly fine issue of "Herc," but I'm expecting great, not just good from this title. Here's hoping for a stronger fourth issue.