Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1

Issue Date: 
May 2010
Story Title: 
untitled (first story)

Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers), Ariel Olivetti (artist), Simon Bowland (letterer), Irene Y Lee (production), Jordan D White (assistant editor), Nathan Cosby (associate editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Amadeus Cho arrives at the Parthenon, calling on Athena and the other remaining Olympians to mourn their fallen brother Hercules, but gets no response, not from the Olympians at least, but from Hercules’ friends, teammates and lovers - including Wolverine, Thor, Snowbird, the Sub-Mariner, Archangel, Namora, Black Widow and several others. They exchange stories of their times with Hercules, and remember him as the mighty hero, god and lover that he was. However, Athena, with several other Olympians, soon arrives, and Athena declares Amadeus the new leader of the Olympus Group.

Full Summary: 

The Parthenon, Athens. Twenty four hours after the second death of Hercules, the Prince of Power. A large line of mourners queues to get to the Parthenon, many holding candles. ‘Somebody should say something, don’t you think?’ someone asks. ‘Sure. But it’s not like anybody here actually knew Hercules’ another replies. ‘Except him’ a man remarks. ‘Who’s that?’ asks a woman. ‘The smart kid, from America. Hercules’s friend. Amadeus’.

Amadeus Cho enters the temple to Athena, and someone remarks that maybe now someone will show Hercules the kind of respect he deserves - as Amadeus cracks open a can of beer and pours it onto the floor. ‘This one’s for you, Herc’ Amadeus remarks, before clenching a fist in a rude gesture and thrusting it into the air, exclaiming ‘And Athena…this is for you!’ Amadeus’ mind flashes back to recent events, and he exclaims that Athena was there when Hercules died in the final battle for New Olympus. ‘But when I turned to you…you just smiled…and left!’

Amadeus raises a hand into the air, shouting: ‘I call on you, Athena Parthenos! Here in your most sacred temple! Before the descendants of your most devout worshippers…if you ever loved him…show your face and give Hercules the tears he deserves!’

But Amadeus gets no response. And as day turns to dusk which turns to night, mourners come and go, until Amadeus is alone. ‘Fine’ he mutters as he prepares to turn and walk away, when, suddenly, there is a mighty KRAKOOM, and a noble voice calls out: ‘Don’t leave now, boy. The Gods of Olympus may have betrayed you…but the heroes of Earth have come to share your grief!’ declares Thor, his mighty hammer raised into the air, lightning crackles in the night-time sky as Wolverine, Snowbird, Namora, Archangel, the Warriors Three and others come to pay their respects.

‘How’s it going?’ Bruce Banner asks Amadeus. ‘Pretty crappily’ Amadeus replies. ‘Yeah’ Banner tells him. ‘But…thanks’ Amadeus replies. ‘For what?’ Bruce asks. ‘Come on, Banner. That’s your teleportation tech that brought everybody here. But you barely knew Herc…why do all this for him?’ Amadeus asks. Bruce Banner smiles as he tells Amadeus that funerals aren’t for the dead, but for those who loved him. ‘Hmp’ grumbles Skaar, while Volstagg of the Warriors Three hands out vases to drink from - Wolverine and Archangel have already started. ‘Gather ‘round, lift your cups…and give your ear to Thor, Son of Odin!’ Volstagg booms.

Thor raises his vase: ‘All hail the Lion of Olympus!’ he booms. ‘For without his mighty arm, saving this world countless times, not one of us would stand here today!’ Thor remarks, as he begins to mention previous battles Hercules fought in: ‘He broke the back of Surtur’s horde! He defeated the High Evolutionary himself! And he slew the Skrull God Kly’bn, saving this and untold other worlds from horrific destruction! For hours I could regale you with tales of his valor and our eternal debt to him’ Thor tells his companions.

Thor declares that to pay tribute to this great god, it is perhaps time for another kind of tale altogether, from when the world was young and not even they gods knew all the wonders that strode across mother Gaea’s rolling hills. Thor begins: ‘One fine winter day, a great tremor shook the Halls of Asgard. And Father Odin sent me out beyond the farthest mountains to spy out its source. I was still young and Odin enjoined me not to throw myself into battle alone…but to return to Asgard with whatever intelligence I could discover…such as the man-sized footprints leading to a broken runestone that once sealed the entrance to Jotunheim, Land of the Giants’.


‘What madman would dare break…’ Thor begins, before the Earth opens up, and he falls down a massive crevice. ‘Watch it, Strawhair!’ cries Hercules as Thor lands on him. ‘Hercules! You dare show yourself here?’ Thor asks. ‘Even as you dared to cross me at the bridge to Olympus not so long ago’ Hercules remarks, referring to their first encounter. Thor grabs Hercules’ strap and declares that it was he who broke the runestone holding back the Frost Giants from his father’s lands. ‘Why, you foolish oaf, I’ll -’ Thor begins, but Hercules grins: ‘Run home and tattle to your old man, Thunder whelp? Fine…leave the work of the day to the grown-ups’ Hercules declares as several giant ogres surround them.

‘Ages ago, I helped my own father slay rebellious giants on the slopes of Olympus…’ Hercules reveals. ‘Odin’s beard!’ Thor gasps as he sees the ogres. Hercules continues, explaining that rumors reached them from their place of imprisonment in gloomy Tartarus that their cousins in a far off Godland would finish the job for them, and wipe men from the face of the Earth. ‘When I met you and heard of your realm, I knew where the giants’ kin must lurk’ Hercules reveals, adding that Zeus, ever contemptuous of the problems of others, forbade him to come. ‘But I gave his sharp-eyed eagle the slip…so here I am to save your pale skin’.

‘You disobeyed your father?’ Thor asks, surprised. ‘Get behind me, lad. The giants told me they were out to eat manflesh today. I’ll not have you tempt them before I’ve shown them the error of their ways’ Hercules boasts. ‘Thor stands behind no man!’ Thor booms, pushing Hercules aside. ‘And what do you bring to the battle?’ Hercules asks. ‘You know full well, buffoon, my arm is the strongest of the Aesir’ Thor boasts. ‘That’s all well and good…but what of your liver?’ Hercules asks as the ogres sit down at a table lined with bottles of alcohol. Both men smile, and begin to drink their way through the myriad alcohol bottles before them, until they and the ogres pass out - before several female ogres take Thor and Hercules away.


‘I know not how the swarthy intruder had arranged the contest…and all my father had ever taught me told me to distrust him and his braggart’s swagger…but someday, every son must stray far from home. Can a man become a man…without making his own mistakes. Well…perhaps…but how much fun would that be?’ Thor concludes.

Namor the Sub-Mariner frowns, so Thor tells the King of Atlantis that the floor now belongs to him. ‘I gather there’s part of the story you’re not telling?’ Namor asks, noticing Thor’s grin. ‘Ah, no. Herc loved drinking, eh? Now go on’ Thor replies. ‘Heh. A prince of the blood never bandies his words. So I tell you flatly: Hercules was a fool’ Namor declares. Everyone frowns, but Namor raises a fist into the air: ‘A fool who dared challenge me three separate times - in the ocean! Where no one, not even the Hulk himself can hope to defeat me!’. ‘All right, Namor. That’s enough’ Bruce Banner - the Hulk’s alter ego - mutters. ‘You’ll have your say, Banner. But now you’ll hold your tongue…while Namor tells you of the battle that revealed the true face of Hercules!’ Namor exclaims.

The Sub-Mariner reveals how he had been cast from Atlantis, stripped of his title, and exiled from his people. ‘I sought nothing but silence and time alone to reflect - and that insufferable lout attacked me - unprovoked!’ Namor boasts that he soon showed Hercules that his old fierce self was not far distant, only to learn that this was Hercules’ intention all along, and together with their then teammates - Captain America, Captain Marvel and the Black Knight - they gathered round a small fire on the beach under the moon-lit sky. ‘For Hercules later told me that he only picked the fight to snap me out of my long-faced reverie. The “gift of battle” he called it’.

‘And no matter how he infuriates me, time and again…I know that in his own mind, he is merely bequeathing that gift again’. Namor looks sad for a minute, and corrects himself: ‘…was. Was bequeathing’. Suddenly, someone punches Namor hard in the face, knocking him to the temple floor. ‘And the gift keeps giving’ Namor mutters, rubbing his chin. ‘Go on, cousin Namora. I trust you have your own tale to tell?’ Namor asks his cousin. ‘Aye, Prince. Though you may want to cover your delicate ears’ the sultry Namora declares, hands on hips.

Namor stands beside the sultry Snowbird, the deadly Black Widow and Alflyse, the Queen of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. ‘For now we women will speak of what truly matters’ Namora declares, asking her friends to present themselves. They do so, and Namora points out that although they come from vastly different nations and races, each of them has stood with Hercules.

‘And lay with him’ Snowbird announces, smiling, before declaring ‘Now come. I know there are others in the crowd who should join us…don’t be shy’ the goddess of the north declares. The Sub-Mariner looks confused, while Snowbird’s fellow former member of Alpha Flight - Northstar - exclaims ‘Is that the time? Gotta go!’ and speeds away.

The Black Widow smiles as she announces that when she first met Hercules, the second, third and fourth words that came to mind were “stupid”, “sexist” and “pig”. ‘But the first was…hot’. ‘Hot’ Namora agrees, smiling. ‘Hot’ Snowbird exclaims, remembering her encounter with Hercules. ‘Hot’ Alflyse agrees, adding that although he was bumbling and callow and full of lies as any man she ever led to her bed, there was something else. ‘How can I best… Ah. Let me tell you…of the Elven Tickler…and his mastery thereof’. Wolverine and Fandral look amazed as Alflyse begins her story…

…and twenty eight graphic minutes later, Snowbird, Thor and Fandral are all smiling, while Namor looks horrified. ‘All right, little man…top that’ Alflyse tells Bruce Banner. ‘Heh. I wish I could…but I barely knew Hercules’ Bruce replies, announcing that he is standing here only because Hercules fought for him - or the Hulk, anyway, during the war in Manhattan. ‘He’s one of the only people on the planet who had a prayer of taking out the Hulk on his own. But instead he let the Hulk give him the worst beating imaginable…to show him that he still had friends’ Bruce reveals. ‘Herc took the Hulk’s side in a fight he was doomed to lose. Just because it was the right thing to do’.

‘Turns out it wasn’t. The Hulk…I was wrong. But that’s another story altogether. All that matters today is that because of all that craziness…Hercules met a kid named Amadeus Cho, together they took on SHIELD, they fought the gods of the Skrulls, they saved the world from an insane Amazonian Queen. And they thwarted a Goddess’s plot to annihilate our world’ Bruce declares.

Thor turns to Amadeus and tells him that it is time, that the final word belongs to him. Everyone gathers around Amadeus, who hangs his head. ‘Okay. Okay. He…’ Amadeus begins to cry, and wipes the tear away, ‘…he was my best friend’ Bruce puts a hand on Amadeus’ shoulder telling him that it is all right, when, suddenly, there is another mighty KRRRAKOOOM, and everyone turns skyward - were Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Poseidon and Pluto, followed by several other Olympians, appear. ‘Finally…Athena. You’ve come!’ Amadeus exclaims.

‘Aye. But the time for mourning is over’ Athena declares. ‘Father Zeus and Mother Hera also died in the battle that took Hercules. Now we Gods must decide who will lay claim to the throne. So wipe away your tears, mortals…and get out of my temple!’ Athena booms, as everyone else is knocked backwards. Athena lands and declares that she wishes to speak to the new leader of the Olympus Group. ‘You, Amadeus Cho!’ she announces….

Characters Involved: 






Black Widow



Bruce Banner



Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg (all Warriors Three)

Amadeus Cho

Apollo, Athena, Artemis, Pluto, Poseidon (all Olympians)

Various civilian mourners

In Amadeus’ Flashback:



Amadeus Cho


In Thor’s 1st Flashback:



High Evolutionary

Surtur’s horde

In Thor’s 2nd Flashback:




In Sub-Mariner’s Flashback:

Black Knight IV, Captain America, Captain Marvel II, Hercules, Sub-Mariner (all Avengers)

In Black Widow’s Flashback

Black Widow & Hercules

In Namora’s Flashback

Namora & Hercules

In Snowbird’s Flashback

Snowbird & Hercules

In Alflyse’s Flashback

Alflyse & Hercules

In Bruce Banner’s Flashback



Amadeus Cho




Story Notes: 

This issue features a back up Agents of Atlas story in which Namora and Venus inform various women that Hercules has slept with of his death.

Hercules died in Incredible Hercules #141, the conclusion to the “Assault on New Olympus” story, and the final issue of the series.

Hercules battle Surtur’s horde in Avengers (1st series) #249.

Hercules fought the High Evolutionary in Avengers Annual #17, part of the “Evolutionary War”.

Hercules led a group of gods, including Snowbird, to battle the Skrull gods in “Sacred Invasion” (a “Secret Invasion” tie-in), but he hardly defeated Kly’bn alone, Snowbird was a key player in the gods’ death also. [Incredible Hercules #117-120]

Thor and Hercules’ first encounter was in the classic Journey into Mystery Annual #1.

Namor and Hercules’ battle occurred in Avengers (1st series) #262.

This issue hints that Hercules and Northstar have had sexual relations. They have met each other on at least two occasions - in Avengers (1st series) #272 / Alpha Flight (1st series) #39, and in Alpha Flight (1st series) #98-101.

The Black Widow and Hercules’ attraction was in the early issues of the Champions series.

Namora and Hercules slept together in Incredible Hercules #121 (not #118 as mentioned in a footnote this issue).

Snowbird and Hercules slept together in Incredible Hercules #118 (not #121 as mentioned in a footnote this issue).

Alflyse and Hercules slept together during Incredible Hercules #134.

Hercules and the Hulk battled in Incredible Hulk #107.

Hercules met Amadeus Cho in Incredible Hercules #112.

Hercules and Amadeus thwarted Artume’s plan in Incredible Hercules #122-125.

Hercules and Amadeus took on the Olympus Group in Incredible Hercules #138-141.

In Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #2, the Olympians and their champions - Amadeus, Bruce Banner, Skaar, Sub-Mariner , Nightmare and Phobos - battle it out. Amadeus takes up as the role as leader of the Olympus Group.

Quicksilver and Hank Pym appear on the cover to this issue only.

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