- The lesson is that mortal women know when to shut up!
- -- Zeus
Appearing in "In the Shadow of Argo"
- Argonauts (Only in flashback)
- Talking Oak of Dodona (Only appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Black Widow
- Deianira (Only in flashback)
- Zeus (Appears in Flashback)
- Hebe (First appearance)
- Avengers (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Thor (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Captain America (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Giant-Man (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Iron Man (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Black Panther (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Wasp (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Vision (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Scarlet Witch (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Quicksilver (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Hawkeye (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Onslaught (Mentioned)
- Autolycus (Mentioned)
- Behemoth (Mentioned)
- Dwarves (Mentioned)
- Iole (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and flashback)
- Human-Olympian Hybrids (Main story and flashback)
- Hydras (Only in flashback)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- Black Widow's Gauntlets
- "Amulet of Love" Love charm from Nessus (Only in flashback)
- Argo (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "In the Shadow of Argo"
Aboard the Argo, Hercules and the Argonauts are on their way home from another adventure. Jason is surprised to see Hercules looking forward for the return. However, Hercules tells his friend that he looks forward to going home to his wife. Jason scoffs at this, pointing out that she will soon grow old and withered while he will always remain young due to his immortal stature. Hercules ignores this, telling Jason that a living being must be with friends and family. Climbing up to the sail of the ship where he speaks with the Talking Oak of Dodona. It warns Hercules that he will die twice and in both cases a green monster will be responsible. Before Hercules can get more answers from the oracle the Argo is suddenly attacked by the Hydra, prompting Hercules and the Argonauts to battle for their lives....
.... Hercules is snapped out of his thoughts of the past by Deathcry who tells them that they are reaching Earth orbit. Deathcry asks a similar question as Jason, why would he want to return to Earth when he could remain with her having adventures in the Shi'ar empire. Hercules responds similarly, telling her that Earth is home and he yearns to be with the heroes he left back home. At that moment on Earth, the Hulk is lurking in the sewers to try and get away from Colonel Cary St. Lawrence and her soldiers who have been endlessly hounding the Hulk as of late. When he is on top of them, the Hulk bores to the surface and commandeers a tank and uses it to blast the other infantry vehicles that are hunting for him, sending the soldiers scattering. After destroying the military weapons, the Hulk arrogantly strolls off, much to the incredulity of Colonel St. Lawrence.
By this time, Hercules has returned to Avengers Headquarters to discover that the only member of the team left is the Black Widow. She explains to Hercules that most of the Avengers were seemingly killed or are missing in action following a devastating battle with the psychic entity known as Onslaught. Hercules cannot accept the fact that his allies are mostly dead, and the Black Widow has no way of confirming this. Hercules then offers to go to Olympus and use a scrying pool to determine the fate of their allies. When Black Widow recalls that Hercules is in exile, he tells her that he can persuade the Olympians to give him what he wants by being persuasive. As he says this he notes reports that state that the Hulk was last seen in Fargo, North Dakota.
The centaur known as Nessus has come to take Deianira to be his mate. Deianira refuses, wanting to remain faithful to her husband Hercules, but the Centaur tries to forcibly convince her that Hercules will never come back from his adventures to be with her. When Nessus finally catches up with her he tells her to come with him or die. When she refuses she is saved at that last moment by Hercules when he fires an arrow into the centaur man. Hercules explains that the tips of his arrow were dipped in the venom of the Hydra and will be lethal to Nessus.
Although Deianira is happy to be rescued by her husband, she can't help but feel pity for Nessus. Hercules has none himself but allows his wife to indulge her desires. Dying from the venom, Nessus warns Deianira that Hercules will eventually succumb to a wondering eye and be unfaithful to her. He hands her a love charm, telling the woman that should that day come, to put it around the neck of Hercules. Deianira cannot believe these words but accepts the centaur's dying gift anyway. After the creature is dead, Hercules asks his wife what Nessus had said, she keeps the truth a secret, telling him that the creature only begged for forgiveness.
Olympus: Hera walks in on her husband Zeus watching an argument between a father and his son in the Olympian scrying pool. He asks his wife if the father will rescind the grounding the father just gave the boy. Hera scoffs at this, saying that he won't if this mortal is a real father. Hera is curious about why Zeus is asking but gets her answer when he turns his view upon his exiled son Hercules. When he considers that perhaps he went too far by stripping Hercules of his immortality, Hera doesn' think so, however, she has a very low opinion of Hercules as he is a bastard son that was a product of Zeus' infidelity with a mortal woman. Rubbing this in Zeus' face causes him to become angry and he tells his wife that at least mortal women know when to shut up.
Back on Earth, Colonel St. Lawrence and her troops have surrounded the Hulk, who has taken up refuge inside a hotel. As the Colonel waits for orders from her superiors, she is informed that Hercules has arrived on the scene and he has offered his assistance in fighting the Hulk. Inside, the Hulk has been drinking and watching television, feeling that he has earned to earn his right to do whatever he pleases after being hounded so long. He is interrupted by Hercules, who asks the Hulk to assist him in his quest to learn the true fate of his allies the Avengers. The Hulk turns his back on Hercules, which is taken as an insult. When the Olympian expresses this the Hulk tells him to shut up and punches him clear out of the building.
The pair then begin brawling out in the streets while Colonel St. Lawrence and her troops scramble to evacuate the area. However, due to his reduced strength, Hercules soon begins losing ground to the Hulk and is knocked unconscious with a single blow.
It has been years since his last adventure with Jason and the Argonauts and Hercules has returned to find his friend Jason pinned under the drydocked Argo, which toppled over upon his friend. Lifting the boat off Jason, Hercules is dishearted to find that his friend is mortally wounded and dying. When Hercules suggests taking him to a doctor, Jason declines, telling Hercules that he lived a great life filled with adventure and that it is his time to die. After his friend's final words, Hercules prepares a funeral, cremating Jason's body within the burning Argo.
Hercules regains consciousness to find that the Hulk is still rampaging through the area. Unwilling to admit defeat, Hercules then orders the Hulk to come back and fight him. Hercules once again starts with the advantage, but the Hulk's superior strength eventually gets the best of him. The Hulk demands that Hercules fall and stay down, but the demigod refuses to give up. From the scrying pool in Olympus, Zeus watches grimly as his son is being beaten within an inch of his life. When the Hulk asks if Hercules is trying to kill himself, it causes the Olympian to think back to his ancient past...
... Eventually, his wife Deianira has learned that her husband had become unfaithful to her. When she demanded answers, Hercules refuses to give her any. As such, she offers him the love charm given to her by Nessus. No sooner is it in Hercules' hand he screams in pain as he suddenly bursts into flames. Hercules then ran out of their tent and into a nearby lake to put the flames out. It was here that Hercules died for his transgressions against his wife.
However, Hercules was then visited by his father Zeus, who informed Hercules that while his mortal life was over, he was to take his place among the gods, offering him immortality and a place in th realm of Olympus.
Hercules still refuses to fall and the Hulk continues to pound into him. With his life fleeting, Hercules asks his father to forgive the Hulk for the creature knows not what he is doing. Suddenly, both men are struck by a bolt of lightning and disappear. Hercules wakes up to find himself alive and on Olympus and under the care of Hebe. When Hercules wonders why he is on Olympus, he goes to see his father who is looking into the scrying pool and seeing that the father he was watching earlier has reconciled with his son. Zeus and Hercules reconcile their difference and Zeus offers his son a boon. Hercules asks his father to use the scrying pool to learn the fate of his friends. Before he does so, he asks what happened of the Hulk, and Zeus explains that he has been allowed to roam freely.
Fearing that the Hulk is rampaging through Olympus, Zeus takes him outside where he finds that the gamma-spawned brute has been drinking with Dionysus and Apollo. Hercules then looks in the scrying pool and finds no trace of his friends. When he goes to leave, Zeus is furious that Hercules did not ask his father to restore his immortality. Hercules explains that had the Hulk not fought him he would have stormed Olympus to get what he sought. Zeus concedes and offers his son his immortality back. However, Hercules declines explains that if he was immortal he could not take as great risks as his heroic mortal friends and as such was not truly living. With that, Hercules rouses the Hulk and the two agree to return to Earth together. When Hercules explains that they will have a dangerous journey ahead and battles with Titans and the odd Cyclops, the Hulk is in no hurry to get back and enjoys the idea of the coming battle.
- This story begins with Hercules returning home to Earth after some time in the Shi'ar empire. Hercules and Deathcry left Earth in Avengers #399. The narrative of this story suggests that Hercules had been in space the entire time and is unaware of the fact that the Avengers were seemingly killed during the Onslaught crisis (as depicted in Onslaught Marvel Universe #1. However, X-Men Vol 2 #59 and a flashback in Avengers Annual Vol 3 #1999 (which take place chronologically earlier than this story) both show Hercules being well aware of this tragic fact. Since both of those stories bring up Hercules' lack of sobriety it could be assumed that his memory of events are spotty because he may have been blackout drunk at the time.
- It's mentioned that Hercules has been in bad standing with his father. Who exiled him from Olympus and stripped him of his immortality and reduced his strength. That happened in Avengers #384.
- Hercules' recounting of his conflict of Nessus and his poisoning at the hands of Deinaneira contradict a previous recounting in Marvel Super-Heroes Vol 2 #1. That version of the story makes no mention of Hercules' infidelity and that Nessus had tricked Deinaneira into thinking that his poison blood could be used as a love charm. However, this recollection happened during a nightmare wherein Hercules relived those events, which could have altered his recollections.
There are a number of flashbacks that take place in ancient Greece that affect the chronologies of the following characters:
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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