Dell Movie Classics Hercules Unchained


The comic book adaptations of the 1959 Steve Reeves movie Hercules Unchained begins with Hercules parting ways with the Argonauts to take his new bride Iole back home to Thebes. He is bringing along young Ulysses to train him. Ulysses' father Laertes gives them some homing pigeons in case they run into trouble on their journey. Of course they run into nothing but trouble. The first problem they encounter is Antaeus, the son of the earth goddess. He wants to rob them, and he gains in strength every time he touches the ground. Hercules solves this by simply holding him over his head. One might expect this interlude to tie back in and play some part in the larger plot, but it does not.

When they reach Thebes Hercules and company find that Eodipus' sons have convinced him to step down as king so they can take turns ruling Thebes every other year. Only it is now Polynices' turn to rule but his brother Eteocles will not give up the throne. Polynices has brought in a foreign army to help him regain his throne, but Hercules worries that the invading army will destroy Thebes. He agrees to help convince Eteocles to give up the throne as he had agreed. He goes to Eteocles, who he finds out is crazy. But the madman does agree to a truce. Iole and Hercules' friend Creon stay in Thebes while Hercules and Ulysses go to deliver the message to Polynices.

Unfortunately Hercules drinks from the spring of forgetfulness and he and Ulysses are captured by the men of Queen Omphale. She convinces Hercules that he is her consort. What he doesn't know is that she has a habit of turning her consorts into living statues. Ulysses has convinced everyone that he is deaf and dumb, and he goes about working on a way to restore Hercules' memory and save him from the fate the lies in store for him. He manages to interrupt the dosing from the spring of forgetfulness that the Queen has arranged for Hercules to get his memory back. He also manages to send one of his pigeons with a message for his father. Hercules and the Argonauts fight their way to freedom.

Unfortunately they get to Thebes to find that Polynices and his foreign army have begun their siege. He manages to get into the city only to discover that his wife has escaped looking for him. She has been captured by Polynices. The two brothers agree to meet in single combat to decide the ruler of the city, and they manage to kill each other. The leader of the foreign army decides this is his chance to take over and he attacks. Hercules leads the defense and manages to take out the leader while bringing down their siege tower. The day is saved. The story is a bit convoluted but it's fun. I haven't seen the movie in years, but I remember not enjoying it that much. I will have to rewatch it now, because this book was somewhat enjoyable.

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