- Marvel Premiere # 26, Nov. 1975
This week I’m back to Marvel Comics and specifically, Marvel Premiere # 26, featuring Hercules. Hercules was introduced into the Marvel Universe, back in 1965, ten years earlier, in the Journey Into Mystery Annual # 1, where he battled the Thunder God, Thor! And here ten years later, Marvel was giving him a shot at his own series.
Journey Into Mystery Annual # 1
This issue pits him against the Olympian Titan, Typhon. Typhon had made his first appearance in Avengers #s 49 & 50, where he first faced off against Hercules and the Mighty Avengers! And here are those covers:
Avengers # 49
- Avengers # 50
This issue begins with Hercules travelling by car, with his publicist, Richard Fenster, to a lecture assignment in California, when they come upon a raging fire. It almost seems an un-natural fire as it is so hot. Hercules saves some firemen on site, who were battling the blaze, then does battle with the fire himself! He manages to create a space between the fire and the forest and is able to successful put out the fire with an up-rooted Redwood tree! Don’t ask, he just could!
As they drive away, we see that there are two figures in the forest. They are revealed, to be the Titan Typhon and the witch, Cylla, once a Delphic Oracle, who loved Hercules, but was scorned by the Lion of Olympus! Needless to say, both seek vengeance against Hercules!
Typhon’s deafeat at the hands of Hercules and The Mighty Avengers is recapped and also how the witch enabled both to escape Haders, where they were previously. Cylla returns Typhon to Olympus, where he regains his war axe, but it becomes past of his hand and he can not let go, without the blood of his greatest enemy, or so the witch prophicies!
Typhon and Cylla accost Hercules and Fenster, causing their car to crash. Hercules saves the mortal, Fenster, and climbs up to do battle with Typhon! A long seven page battle ensues, with first one the the other gaining the upper hand. Cylla joins in and just as Hercules is about to be overcome, Fenster knocks out the witch with a large branch. Hercules then is able to overcome Typhon, as well!
Typhon surrenders in defeat and though driven mad by not being able to release his ax, he agrees to desend once again to Hades, wvwn though he has not spilled the blood of Hercules! It is at that moment, that a drop of Typhon’s own blood falls on his hand and he is able to release his grip upon his ax! It is Cylla, who then reveals that Typhon is free because he was his own worst enemy! It was his own blood, not Hercules’ which granted his freedom. She is about to strike Typhon down, when Zeus appears and sends them both back to Hades!
Which brings us to the last panel, where Hercules reminds Richard Fenster that he is a “staunch companion” as are his fellow Champions. Obviously a plug for Marvel’s series; The Champions, of which Hercules was a member. But that’s a Retro Review for another day.
This issue featured a Jack Kirby cover, with inks by Vince Colletta. The interior artwork was provided by George Tuska, with inks by the afore mentioned Vince Colletta and was written by, Bill Mantlo.
All in all, a pretty nice issue, but not a great one. The story made nice use of a previous story and brought Hercules to a starring role, so not bad at all. And it was nice to see Hercules in his own comic, so I’ll give this comic three (3) out of five (5) Legion Flight Rings.
Author: Greg Turner
Greg Turner (@gregturner16) is Back to the Past’s archivist and an auctioneer. He writes the columns “Fabulous Finds” and “Retro Reviews” on alternating weeks for the website and spins classic 45′s each week for Vinyl Tuesdays.
Always nice to hear about Hercules Legendary Journeys (hey, they should have made a TV show about that….).
And, isn’t it fun when a cover of a first appearance has nothing to do with that character? (Typhon in Avengers #49…it has more to do with Quicksilver/Scarlet Witch!).
Loved the Champions as well…Herc and his fellow Avenger, Black Widow…