When Barry Levine, a well known face in the music industry, announced that he was creating a new comic book publishing company called Radical Comics, everyone must have thought that he was stark raving mad. However, when you take a look at the quality material that Radical Comics is pushing out, you just might just want to put those thoughts on the back-burner for now. With a focus on publishing high quality, softcover bound comic books that are printed on the best high quality glossy paper you can find, together with fully painted interior artwork for all their initial titles, Radical Comics is most certainly one of the new kids on the block worth keeping an eye on.
Hercules: The Thracian Wars is one of Radical Comic’s first releases in their opening salvo and it tells the re-imagined story of the legendary Greek demi-god Hercules and his part in the Thracian Wars. A bitter man with cruel, violent streak within that seeks only to escape the seemingly never ending torment of fate and destiny’s clutches, Hercules is now cast as the leader of a seemingly invincible mercenary group made up of outcasts and misfits who all seem to carry their fair share of secrets and shames but more importantly, all of whom know how to fight and kill – talents that will take them far through these ancient and bloody times.
Established veteran Steve Moore pens this tale and he captures the feel of the age perfectly. Lots of research into ancient mythology and cultures combined with exceptionally smooth and well put together dialogue makes for an intriguing story that wraps tightly around the seemingly endless carnage and visual bloodshed that seems to permeate throughout most of the pages.
But Moore aside, the real star of the show has got to be Admira Wijaya (and his friends at Imaginary Friends Studios) who produces some fantastically breathtaking and awe-inspiring artwork that captures the violent nature of the story to absolute perfection. His clever use of colouring and light augments his fantastically detailed characters and backgrounds and surprisingly enough for a full painted interior artists, his visuals even manage to come across with a feel of movement to them, making the battle heavy sequences simply come alive and jump straight off the pages!
I’ve never heard of the man before, but damn it, with artwork like this he surely has a long, long career in the comic book world ahead of him! :)
So okay, I’ll admit that Hercules may not be to everyone’s taste, but to those of you who love a good sword swinging epic that drips in blood and dances with the fates and the fickle mythological Gods of ancient times, then Hercules: The Thracian Wars is simply NOT to be missed!
Oh, and it kind of reminds me a little of Conan the Barbarian (not Colin the Librarian mind you) to just be a little honest…