The Hero: Book 1

David Rubin. Dark Horse, $24.99 (280p) ISBN 978-1-61655-670-9
The story of Heracles (aka Hercules) gets a blistering new workout in Rubin’s (Aurora West) gutsy reimagining. Eurystheus and Heracles are brothers: Eurystheus is doomed to become a tyrant; Heracles, younger, is destined to be a great hero. As the boys age, Heracles takes on the 12 Labors with brawn and the occasional bit of brain, while Eurystheus lives it up as an ever-more demented and sadistic Nero-like figure. Heracles’s adventures vigorously fuse a dark appreciation of the original mythology’s twisted nature with Rubin’s sly, off-kilter surrealism. Swords and sandals share these lavishly oversaturated pages with video monitors and classically nuanced dialogue laced with modern-day obscenities. Heracles takes on hydras, elephant-sized boars, and metal-plated birds and has a titanic lovemaking session with the goddess Diana, all with the same gleeful determination, as Rubin sprinkles in thoughtful notes on the true nature of heroism and the fine line between real courage and tragic obedience to a higher power. A muscular epic that actually questions what it appears to be celebrating. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/06/2015
Release date: 07/07/2015
Genre: Comics
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