The Hero is a postmodern retelling of the Heracles myth. Writer/Artist David Rubin’s take on the son of Zeus is unlike any interpretation that has come before. Rubin combines elements from superheroes, science-fiction, and pop-culture into one epic mono-myth.
The action scenes are incredibly well choreographed and there is a dramatic sense of pacing. Heracles must use a different strategy to defeat each monster. Sometimes he pulls from past experience, other times he uses the monster’s own strength against it. Every one of Heracles’ twelve labors is unique and adds to the character’s growth as a person.
Rubin’s artwork is revolutionary. His creative use of inset panels and panel gutters are sure to inspire a new generation of creative talent. Rubin’s art has range; it’s as beautiful or ugly as it needs to be.
The story shows Heracles’ sexual development. As a youth, Heracles loses his virginity to an Amazon who look suspiciously like Wonder Woman. As a young man, he has one-night stands and Rubin explores what that lifestyle does to the character emotionally. As an adult, Heracles has a same-sex affair with his side-kick–drawing obvious parallels to Batman and Robin. Finally, as an old married man, he tries to rekindle love for his wife.
The Hero gets progressively darker as Heracles matures and faces big existential questions. His divine father is never there–sometimes “bad things happen to good people.” And how can Heracles fight monsters without becoming a monster himself?
The Hero depicts the life of one man through the hero’s journey and shows how it’s the same thing. It’s a story about story. Rubin’s Heracles isn’t just a hero from mythology, he is The Hero from every mythology.
David Rubin continues to make creative unpredictable comics with his work on Beowulf, Ether, and Sherlock Frankenstein.