Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente & Rafa Sandoval
This is one of those straight-forward superhero books that's really fun to dive into. The story begins with Hercules driving to see the sleeping Celestial in California with Amadeus Cho (one of the smartest people in the world) and goddess Athena, the latter of whom speaks to the gods of the different cultures of the world to appeal to them to aide Hercules on a quest. Aware of the invasion of skrulls on Earth, Athena proposes that they send champions to fight the skrull gods Kly'bn and Sl'gur't, reasoning that by destroying the deities, the will of their followers will also be destroyed. These skrull gods are pretty bad-ass, having defeated tons of other gods (who are slaves, behaving as broken satellites, revolving around their fortress), and Kly'bn turns out to be the god whom the Skrull Queen (who impersonated Spider-Woman during the invasion) follows, and whose prophecies she read and interpreted to come up with this invasion in the first place. I guess I never really realized who the "He loves you" all of the skrulls quoted referred to until Kly'bn said "I love you."
Hercules ends up going to confront the skrull gods with a team of gods, which I thought was really neat: a god squad from different cultures, including Snowbird, Ajak, Demogorge the god-eater and Amatsu-Mikaboshi, with Amadeus and his puppy along for the ride. At one point the group confronts Nightmare as they kind of stop to ask for directions, and of course that doesn't turn out well, but it led to some interesting dynamics between the team, particularly between Hercules and Snowbird who, together, defeat Kly'bn in the end. There are a lot of cool moments throughout this book and plenty of smart uses of powers and prophecy. I guess I wasn't really expecting much in terms of characters with a big oaf of a strong man taking center stage in this title, but Hercules is kind of lovable in a dopey sort of way, and the secondary characters play off of him very nicely. Sandoval did a pretty amazing job of penciling the book - there were a few scenes where I really admired his renditions of Snowbird (who I think is one of the best designed superheroes period). I didn't have any problems following this story without having read the initial arc of the book, and rather enjoyed the quest aspect of this chapter of The Incredible Hercules.