Zenescope Entertainment 2021
Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Jason Muhr
Coloured by Walter Pereyra
Lettered by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios
Andre Payne is just trying to get through life. That’s not easy when you’re the son of the god Zeus...or when the Scorpion Queen decides she wants you dead and your power for herself. Things just aren’t easy when you’re a Demi-God. This stand-alone Grimm Universe story puts the spotlight on Hercules Payne.
The opening for this got me I liked seeing Payne busting up a drug dealer who just got a shipment in. It is strong and grabs the readers attention and how it ends reveals a great deal for the future of the issue. Then its “an hour later” and that doesn’t make sense, it should’ve read “later that evening” instead because I mean that’s all he did that night and he didn’t stick around to assist the police or anything? The transition didn’t make sense to me, actually all the transitions didn’t make sense to me. Though I was able to overlook this because the story was at its core extremely interesting.
I do think this would have benefited from being a longer page count issue. Twelve trials, in Wonderland of all places, seemed a bit trite but we didn’t really get to see them fully play out and that was slightly disappointing to see. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold and how the reader learns information is presented alright. The character development is actually the best bit of writing that we see here and through Payne’s transformation throughout the issue is amazingly well rendered. The pacing is what it is and takes us through the issue stopping on key moments.
How this is structured is somewhat choppy and as I said the transitions weren’t that great and seeing how the trials went was disappointing. Still the layers within the story lay down the groundwork for a longer Hercules story arc, hopefully. He’s a great character and we see that here and the potential which is revealed is quite unlimited. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward moves a little too quickly showing us it needed more room to told in its entirety.
The interiors here are absolutely bloody amazing! The linework is phenomenal and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create this level of work in the details is bloody gorgeous. The creativity and imagination that we see is completely amazing to witness and all these two-page spreads featuring these creatures is something to simply stare and marvel at. How we see backgrounds is nice could be better but overall it’s been great and how they work within the composition of the panels to create the depth perception, sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the story is magnificent to see. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. The colour work is gorgeous as well. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work showcases someone who understands colour and how to utilise various techniques in laying it down.
Joe is a great idea man but I really think this would have benefited from a stronger writer. There are some great moments and those deal with the characterisation that we see and along with this level of work on the interiors really make this more of a joy. The ending opens up more possibilities but the transitions here really need more attention and work. With so few male heroes at Zenescope we need to see more Hercules plain and simple and it’s been set up to make him a much stronger player in the Zenescope Universe.