Issue by Issue – Hercules Unbound #9

Hercules Unbound #9Writer – David Michelinie
Artist – Walt Simonson
Inker – Bob Layton

The war games continue with Hercules and his friends caught in the middle. Their companion David whom they thought had died beneath the waves when they were attacked earlier is alive and well and seemingly the opponent of Lady Agatha. He is also the man whom they are tasked to stop. None of them wishes to fight for Lady Agatha and none of them wishes to battle their friend, but to do otherwise would invite harsh consequences. It is soon realized that David is not the actual player of the game, but a sentient computer who needs a human interface to launch a nuclear strike and eventually, our heroes do indeed put a stop to all the madness, but not before a truly tragic moment. What is quite magnificent about this series is the fact that it gets crazier as it goes on with storylines that are more complex than previously published. David Michelinie was definitely the right person to succeed Gerry Conway when he left the book as he has been taking Hercules and his friends and putting them in fantastical situations that require everything of them to extricate themselves from. This story might have wound up with this issue, but its consequences will be felt for some time to come and it explains at least in part, the origins of World War III. It is a truly stunning moment and at first you think that Michelinie is not going to explain just what happens as sometimes happens in comics with what seems like a throwaway panel.  You soon come to realize that it was one of the most important moments in the entire run thus far once you reach the end of the book. The story was packed with action that saw Hercules doing his thing, with Kevin doing little and David incapacitated. It also saw Jennifer take matters into her own hands after finding herself separated from the group and finally finding a purpose after feeling so helpless for so long. It was good to see and long in the coming for those that might have been wondering just when it was she would break out of her shell. With fantastic artwork by Walt Simonson and Bob Layton, the book not only read great, but looked great too.

4 out of 5

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