Review - Hercules: The Knives of Kush #2

Once more we find ourselves thrust into the intrigue and mystery, with a helping of bloodshed no less, that is Hercules: The Knives of Kush in this latest review. Radical Comics has been kind enough to provide us with a copy of the second issue in this five part series. This issue picks up after Hercules and his band find themselves in the service of Pharaoh Seti in Memphis, secretly searching for spies in the palace that are hurting war efforts against Seti’s brother, an opposing king. Every clue found seems to lead to a dead end, and the battles are becoming more and more dangerous, but the son of Zeus is determined to show the Egyptians how Greeks truly fight. Read on for a full review… The story opens with a messenger from Seti’s army that has survived reporting the complete annihilation of the force by Khadis the sorcerer’s lightning attacks. The messenger is badly burned and explains what has happened. While Hercules wishes to go to battle, Seti is steadfast in his desire for Hercules to investigate. With no real place to start, the thief of the group, Autolycus, has an idea. He leads Hercules and another member of the group to the catacombs to meet with a necromancer he met in the past named Nakhtkeru. As a showing of faith, Nakhtkeru has a female mummy animated and she speaks of a battle far away in not the Egyptian city of Thebes, but the Greek one. The story involves a great battle where several Greek heroes meet their fates. During this flashback details of the battle are seen, and Hercules is convinced that Nakhtkeru is legitimate as the visions of the mummy have to be from beyond the grave. After all, Greece is far away and how else would she know of these deaths? The only clue the mummy can give, however, is to look for a petty scribe whose name is like “sunset.” Armed only with this vague clue from the catacombs Hercules returns to Memphis, and does find his scribe, who swallows some papyrus that appears to be evidence. After being questioned and placed in jail the spy dies from poisoning. The kitchen slave who delivered the food has already left the palace and is nowhere to be found. Seti orders Hercules to return to Nakhtkeru in the catacombs and bring him to the palace. They arrive seconds too late to see an assassin leaving, and Nakhtkeru has joined his beloved undead in the afterlife. The assassin escapes, and Seti loses his patience with the group and sends them on a simple escort mission with Queen Tiaa to the temple. En route to the temple some unfortunate Kush assassins attempt to kill the Queen and the travelers. The second battle of this issue ensues; leaving many impaled, dismembered, and otherwise injured Kush assassins scattered about the scene. They eventually retreat, and who wouldn’t really from a half-God enraged Greek warrior? After returning from the battle to report to Seti, dispatches from the south arrive and report that Amenmessu, Seti’s brother, is advancing on the city. Here the Greek’s decide to thwart the spies and convince Seti to make plans in their presence, but tell his generals an alternate plan. Once in the field, Hercules uses the royal seal and royal orders to convince the general to change positions. At this new position, which was not exposed by spies in the palace, the enemy army appears. Archers have been positioned on the hills, and Hercules, his band, and the general appear on the verge of victory. Wait…what is that on the horizon? Oh no…it is the Knives of Kush, and in advance of their charge, carts full of burning pitch. We are left hoping that Hercules has a plan to avoid everyone getting incinerated. The writing in this edition seemed almost more like a mystery novel then a comic. While there are two action sequences during the flashback to a Greek battle in Thebes and the ambush of Queen Tiaa, much more time is spent outlining the search for traitors and setting up future battles. The story seemed to slow up a little bit, and we are no closer now to finding out who the spies are then we were when the issue began. With the story a little more developed, I’m hoping the action will pick up a little in the next issue. Overall I’m still intrigued by this comic and it is definitely worth picking up when it hit shelves September 9. Don’t anger Hercules by missing it. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry (or hungry). Check out some interiors below.