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10 Things Only Thor Comic Book Fans Know About Hercules

The trailer for Thor: Love And Thunder seems to introduce the realm of Olympus and Zeus, the ruler of the Greek pantheon of gods. It’s not unreasonable to suspect that Hercules, the son of Zeus and one of the most iconic superheroes in the Marvel Universe, will appear as well. Comic book fans know Hercules also plays a key role in the saga of Thor and the Avengers.

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Hercules shares deep connections to many aspects of Marvel Comics now emerging in the MCU, such as the Eternals. Similar to Thor, Hercules spans different realms and corners of the Marvel Universe, allowing him to battle the Skrulls in Secret Invasion as well as explore the multiverse. Many different versions of Hercules exist in the comics that could be the basis for the MCU’s interpretation of the character.

One of the most fascinating wrinkles in Hercules’ comics history is the fact that he was initially an imposter. Hercules first appears in Avengers #10, but comic book fans know this was actually an alien being in disguise and an agent of Immortus.

Avengers #10 is also the first appearance of Immortus, who is one of the most powerful variants of Kang the Conqueror. Fans wouldn’t learn this until much later, just as they wouldn’t know the truth of Hercules being an imposter in this issue until the Avengers Forever series in 1998.

Hercules’ first true Marvel Comics appearance comes in “When Titans Clash” from Journey into Mystery Annual #1 in 1965. This classic comic by the legendary team of writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby established Hercules as Thor’s rival, though their conflict was mainly driven by ego.

Both heroes were determined to prove their strength to each other, beginning a feud that would spill over into the ongoing Journey into Mystery title featuring Thor. Their rocky relationship would become a big feature of the book for much of the 1960s.

Similar to how the Marvel Universe has incorporated the Norse mythology of Thor and the ancient Egyptian gods through Moon Knight, Hercules is the actual hero from Greek mythology and the son of Zeus, the ruler of the Olympian pantheon.

Many powerful Greek gods could appear in Thor: Love and Thunder, and Zeus is likely one of them. The trailer shows a figure catching lightning bolts in a way that’s very evocative of the mythic Zeus. If Zeus is in the movie, it’s possible that Hercules is as well.

Comic book fans know Hercules has other rivals in the Marvel Universe besides Thor. In Tales to Astonish #79 in 1966, Hercules fights one of the strongest superheroes in Marvel Comics in an epic battle for the ages. The two powerful heroes battle each other to a draw.

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They come to blows after Hulk inadvertently interrupts Hercules’ journey to make a movie about himself. The titanic battle, rendered by Kirby, proves both Hercules and the Hulk’s strengths and limits.

Though Hercules and Thor are often at odds, Hercules becomes a member of the Avengers alongside him in Avengers #45. Hercules lent his superhuman strength in many early battles against major foes like the Enchantress and Namor.

He became a stable member of the best Avengers rosters over the years, moving in and out of the squad as needed. His legacy with the team likely makes him a member of future Avengers incarnations in the MCU.

Hercules founded another superhero team, the Champions, to go up against Pluto, the god of the Underworld. Members of the original team included Angel and Iceman from the X-Men, as well as Ghost Rider and Black Widow.

The team wouldn’t last very long in its original incarnation but The Champions have been a consistent presence in the comics, with the current roster including younger heroes like Ms. Marvel. It’s likely the team manifests in the MCU in the future.

In Avengers #100, Hercules discovers that Zeus and Hera have been turned to glass by Ares, using the Ebony Blade. Comic book fans know Dane Whitman wields the Ebony Blade as the Black Knight. The comic may hint at Zeus’ fate in live-action, though Dane is likely not involved.

Thor: Love and Thunder features Gorr the God Butcher as the villain. As his name implies, he kills gods using the Necrosword. Given the fidelity the movie seems to have to the comics in some of its shots, Zeus turning to glass via a sword could play out on screen.

Hercules shares another connection with the Eternals that the MCU may adapt. The Eternals occupied Olympus for a period of time, and the Olympian and Asgardian gods teamed up to drive them out. They then retaliated against the Eternals’ own city.

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Hercules ultimately joined forces with Thor to try and prevent the combined forces of the Asgardians and Olympians from destroying the Eternals. That led to one of the most cataclysmic battles in Marvel history, in Thor #291.

Hercules plays a major role in the Secret Invasion crossover, the basis for the upcoming MCU streaming series. He forms the God Squad, a group of heroic gods in the Marvel Universe to take on the Skrulls as they invade Earth.

Hercules may play a role in the MCU series as he kills Kly’bn, one of the Skrull leaders and a likely character in the upcoming show. If Hercules does appear in Thor: Love and Thunder it’s likely he will make some kind of appearance in Secret Invasion.

The multiverse plays a huge role in the MCU now, and there may be variants of Hercules that appear in different movies or series. One of the most fascinating variants lived in exile with his partner Wolverine, after being banished by Zeus for falling in love with a mortal.

The romance between Wolverine and Hercules occurred in the pages of X-Treme X-Men in 2013 and could be something that happens in the MCU. Hercules may have other romantic partners in live-action, including Marvel Boy, who is his partner at the moment.

NEXT: Thor Main Comic Book Villains, Ranked Lamest To Coolest

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