Marvel Comics (January, 1999)
“Decisions” part 3: “Taking A Stand”
WRITER: Kurt Busiek
PENCILER: Mark Bagley
INKER: Scott Hanna
COLORIST: Joe Rosas
LETTERER: Liz Agraphiotis
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Every comic I have featuring the Marvel version of Hercules has him as a big jerk. I don’t like the guy. That said, he didn’t deserve the level of beating he got at the hands of Goliath. And he refuses to see Erik Josten as a potential hero, even if he goes by Atlas these days. He’s come to basically kill him, and the other Thunderbolts getting involved just makes him even more upset. It takes Hawkeye standing up to him (at the cost of their friendship) for the Thunderbolts to finally trust him (except for Moonstone, who doesn’t trust anybody and has to stop Songbird from revealing what happened in Kronos). So MACH-1 agrees to serve his time for murder, but the newspapers have gotten wind of Hawkeye helping MACH-1 and Songbird escape the National Guard…and the reporter assigned to the story makes it look like he’s joined the baddies, which drops right on the doorstep of the Avengers. [continued in Avengers vol. 3 #12]
What they got right: The fight is quite fun to watch (and yes, I’m still rooting for Atlas and the Thunderbolts given the last time I saw Hercules…the man needs to learn a little humility…not brain damage mind you but I’m talking about things he did AFTER those events–plus he called Jolt a “wench”, so he deserves a smack). Abe and Melissa have a great moment as he tries to convince her he’s doing the right thing. I’m so glad to see these two back on track and when he returns I want more of this!
What they got wrong: I know the point of him being here is to give Hawkeye a chance to prove to the Thunderbolts he means what he says about murder and heroes, but it just kind of feel like it came out of nowhere. I guess under the circumstances Erik is right and this encounter was inevitable if fans called Buisek or any writer after him out on that previous story but it is oddly timed.
Recommendation: I still fully support this run. Give it a read!