Review – Hercules: The Knives of Kush #1

We’re back again with another interesting review of a book that I enjoyed reading as it takes place in ancient times - always a personal favorite. While there is something appealing to looking towards the future at sci-fi advances or considering what possible mutation humanity could undertake next, the scientific angles and technological noise can be very distracting at times. I have always enjoyed looking back at stories that take place in ancient Greek and Egyptian Mythology. One of the biggest of all the Greek heroes is, of course, Hercules. Son of Zeus, brave fighter and leader and performer of the twelve labors of Hercules, he has been featured in numerous comics and his story is constantly evolving. No advanced science, no battling AI or constantly mutating and evolving humanity; hell not even any apocalyptic viruses or zombies. Just good old fashioned combat with big blunt objects. My kind of book. Radical Comics with Steve Moore writing and Cris Bolson doing the art have presented us with a tale of Hercules sailing away from Thrace to a land, according to the legend within the comic, older then time itself…Egypt. For a lengthy review, after all it is a tale of Hercules and there is much to tell, read on… We meet up with Iolaus, Autolycus, Atalanta and Meleager (Hercules’ companions), as they ride on the Sea Nymph to Egypt to escape a situation that isn’t really explored. This small degree of peace does not last long as pirates led by Black Caunus of Balbura attempt to take the low riding - and assumed heavy laden with treasures - ship. The pirates broadside the boat and board the ship. Caunus apparently does not know Hercules, for he chooses to fight him man to man. After a hard shot to the ribs from Hercules' club Caunus abandons the attack but vows to return to fight again…some people never learn apparently. The group’s troubles are not over, however, as the ship is sinking from the broadside and they are forced to swim the rest of the way to Egypt. Autolycus, a thief by trade and apparent cause of the mess in Thrace, cannot swim, but Hercules finds him a log to grab onto and kick so he can make it to shore. Washed ashore, the group led by Hercules makes it to the top of a ridge to see other “sea-people” attacking an Egyptian noble. As it seems like the brigands are about to win, he aids the Egyptians. While the captain of the guard is willing to accept Hercules and his crew for the saviors they are, the captain of the honor guard wants them dispatched for daring to speak to nobility. An Egyptian investigation of the corpses of the brigands determines them to be members of The Knives of Kush, a band from the King’s rival in Egypt. Seti controls the Lower Nile, while Amenmessu controls the Upper Nile. Twosret, the Egyptian royal in the convoy, likely saves the lives of the guards and everyone not in Hercules band, by overriding Bay - King Seti’s Chancellor - in his order to kill the band that just saved them. After learning of the current political situation in the Nile while they travel, Hercules and his band are brought to Memphis, a sprawling city where the people are panicking due to the civil war. Hercules is brought before Seti, who discusses the issue with his wives regarding what should be done with Hercules. They are “guests” in the palace for days while things are discussed. While some in the crew consider it more like being prisoners, some are quick to note that being a prisoner that is treated like royalty is better then no treatment at all. After days of waiting Seti calls them to his chambers and says he does have work for the crew. They are to be assigned as his young wife Tiaa’s personal bodyguard, reporting to Khons. After dismissing Tiaa and Khons however, Seti reveals his true intentions. He wants help in the civil war, and feels that ironically that people he does not even know may be his best friends. While he doesn’t know them, neither does his half brother Amenmessu, and therefore they cannot be spies. He grants the group seal-scarabs and gives them the authority to hunt down spies in the palace that Seti feels are the true reason he is winning the war. After this meeting Hercules goes to meet up with Tiaa and learns that the priests have been working to invoke their God Ptah to aid them in the war, but even Ptah seems to have abandoned Seti and the lower Nile. It is suggested that perhaps some sort of magic is responsible for the losses, and perhaps the priests are scrying that happens to Amenmessu leading to his victories. There is much to be investigated. Suddenly an interruption, a messenger has arrived from the army of Seti that was on the move. They have been massacred in not one but two battles and the general leading the army is dead. It is said that Khadis, a black magician in the employ of Amenmessu was on the field, and where there were blue skies, suddenly lightning rained down. Alas, very little time is given to grieve for this lost army as a second messenger arrives, announcing the second defeat and Amenmessu’s army’s bearing down imminently on Memphis. Apparently Hercules group has no luck at all... What can I say? The battles are Braveheart kind of brutal with limbs and heads flying, arrows piercing, and good old fashioned ancient combat. We haven’t seen it yet but there could indeed be some magic mischief happening. The artwork is great, the story is well written, and only Hercules can save the day. Check this one out when it hit shelves folks; it will be worth every penny.


  1. It is funny that you mention Autolycus as he was in the tv show hercules and Bruce Campbell played him. classic

  2. man! bolson is a great artist,i expect see more works from he.


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