Mythology and Science/Fantasy go hand in hand. Titan Comics’ HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS #2 proves this statement thoroughly as the series continues. As a refresher, HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS, written by JD Morvan and illustrated by Looky and Olivier Thill, is a futuristic take on the 12 Labors of Hercules. The first issue covered his first labor, slaying the Nemean Lion. This iteration of the classic monster was a robot created by an alien refugee to harvest organs — an interesting fusion of old and new.

HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS #2
Image courtesy of Titan Comics

The Beginning of the Next Quest

HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS #2 begins somewhat differently than I expected. Rather than doubling down on mythological themes, this issue begins with a classic sci-fi set up. The raging experiments of a secret prison on Herne break out and kill armed guards. It’s a classic start. While it has little to do with the 12 Labors, I do appreciate the appearance of the guards. The crests on their helmets evoke a Greco-Roman aesthetic that manages to tie this story thread into the main plot.

READ: Need to catch up on the first issue? Read ComicsVerse’s review of HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS #1 here!

We then get an interesting scene at a space brothel — a space station consisting of a giant penis surrounded by giant naked women. All in all, it fits pretty well with ancient Greece and Rome. Hercules ambushes King Eurystheus to turn in his first mission. However, Hera appears to give Hercules his next task. To get the hero to follow orders, she leverages the souls of his dead family. She reveals the reward for his strife — the return of his wife and kids. The illustrators excelled at portraying his reaction to hearing that and bending the knee to Hera. You can really see him swallow his pride while tentative hope flashes on his face.

HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS #2
Image courtesy of Titan Comics

A Traditional Meeting With a Fresh Coat of Paint

After Hera orders Hercules to deal with the prisoner outbreak on Herne, he meets up with his nephew Iolaus. Iolaus is traditionally Hercules’ sidekick in the original myths and seeing him appear assuaged my fears about the plot diverging too much from mythology. Traditionally, the second labor of Hercules was slaying the Lernean Hydra. So far it didn’t seem like HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS was following that. In mythology, Iolaus helped Hercules slay the Hydra, so his appearance in this issue reassures me the plot is going in the right direction.

We also see Athena exposit on the prison and how she will protect Hercules since they are half-siblings. I really liked the characterization between these three characters. This scene simultaneously introduces a personality for the often forgotten Iolaus, while also invoking the classical personality of Athena. The goddess is the guardian of heroes and seeing her depicted correctly made the classicist in me happy.

READ: Interested in more Greek mythology in comics? Check out this review of KILL THE MINOTAUR!

The Armaments of a Hero

Lastly, as Hercules and Iolaus prepare to tackle the dungeon, we get a flashback of a blacksmith forging the remains of the Nemean Lion into Hercules’ iconic club and lion head armor. I can’t wait to see him fight with it in the next issue. Too many times in modern media, Hercules is depicted without his gear, which is honestly one of the most important parts of the hero. You can always tell if a figure in ancient artwork is Hercules if he’s got a club and lion head.

Final Thoughts on HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS #2

HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS #2 is a great follow-up to the premiere issue. It walks a fine line between the classical and the modern that would be really easy to mess up. However, I’m happy to say that from both a classicist and a sci-fi nerd’s point of view, this series is holding up.

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HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS #2 by JD Morvan and Looky & Olivier Thill
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
HERCULES: WRATH OF THE HEAVENS #2 diverges somewhat from the traditional layout of the 12 Labors of Hercules. However, it is still steeped in knowledge and respect for Greek Mythology.
91 %
A Great Followup to the First Issue
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