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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Hercules Unbound 10 - Hercules meets the Atomic Knights

Cary Bates takes over the scripting on the Simonson and Layton tale in Hercules Unbound 10 (April/May 1977), and pulls in elements from two other DC books.

Hercules, Jennifer and Kevin are back in London at the top of this story. There are more people around now, not having been turned to dust like we were told a few issues back. Some scientists are working on a strange cube that suddenly explodes into a massive torrent of water. Hercules saves them, and they explain that they were dealing with a small sliver of a cube, but that there are much larger ones throughout the Atlantic. These, the story later confirms, are the same cubes of densely packed water that Dr. Skuba was creating in the pages of OMAC a year earlier.

The group decide to fly over to North America and check this out. The scientists have an odd, flying wing machine. Kevin is able to instantly work out the controls, despite his blindness. Michelinie sort of dropped the weird stuff about Kevin, but Bates brings it back.

Bates also brings back the Atomic Knights, not seen since the end of their run in Strange Adventures in 1964. The post-apocalyptic future of the Atomic Knights lacks the Cortexin-altered animals, but the continuity problems are just ignored. Gardner Grayle and Douglas Herald are out examining the odd cubes in the dry bed of Lake Ontario when Hercules and friends show up. They wind up fighting with each other, until Jennifer points out that there is no reason for them to be doing so.

Bryndon Smith also appears, but we find out that he has been transformed into a being of pure energy by exposure to a meteorite. He has hidden this from his comrades by always staying in his armour. The density of the cubes somehow increases his own energy, and he winds up revealing his strange new nature as he battles Hercules for possession of the cubes. 

Hercules defeats, and kills, Bryndon by shoving a cube into his armour. This disrupts it, and it explodes into another cascade of water. Douglas and Grayle return in the following issue.

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