MCU’s Hercules Revealed the Savage Way Marvel Heroes Are Resurrected

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One of the most enduring tropes of the superhero genre is the ever-present possibility of resurrection. Almost every prominent character who died or whose storylines were written about has, at one time or another, been restored through magic, technology, or retcons. While the ways of doing things can change every time, a hero in the Marvel Universe comes across a pretty good representation of why it happens.

The Incredible Hercules and Amadeus Cho once encountered a representation of the Marvel afterlife that took the form of a casino – which is actually a pretty perfect (and extremely meta) metaphor for how the characters can to be resurrected in the Marvel Universe.

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Incredible Hercules #129 (by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Ryan Stegman, Terry Pallot, Raul Trevino, and Simon Bowland) came in preparation for the role of Hercules in the “Assault on New Olympus” storyline. Also related to the Norman Osborn directed Dark Reign, the storyline follows Hercules and Amadeus Cho as they venture into the kingdom of Pluto to thwart Hera’s plans. To reach the underworld, the couple head to New Jersey, where an entrance to the underworld has been redesigned as a casino. In the casino however, Hercules and Cho come face to face with many heroes and villains who were considered dead at the time of the story’s release.


They are trapped, almost willingly, in the underworld realm known as Erebus. It turns out that the casino serves as an entrance to the underworld that mortals can venture into and where many souls end up staying. It is here that Aegis (newly murdered) is able to explain to them how souls can gamble in the casino, all in an effort to earn the right to resurrection. Aegis and Cho note that this is just a depiction of the underworld, but adds a new layer to how often the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe are resurrected.

Walking through the casino, many then-dead heroes could be seen, playing games of chance so they could be resurrected. This included Blink, U-Go Girl, Puck, the Ancient One, Goliath, and the Wasp, among others. Some would even go through story changes never to truly die, like the Wasp whose disappearance at the height of Secret Invasion was then reconnected. Instead, Wasp survived in the Microverse, allowing him to return to the Marvel Comics mainline.


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For one thing, it seems to mess up the canon of Wasp’s appearance in the Realm of the Dead. But on the other hand, it serves as a visual metaphor for how death is viewed in superhero environments. The characters live, die and are reborn according to constantly changing editorial directions. Decisions and popularity in the real world can require major changes, whether it’s changing someone’s motivation, like Cyclops leaving his family to join X-Factor, or revealing that a popular character from long time like Wasp never died. Wasp even cites this trend, noting that Bucky was even eventually revived (another example of a retcon revealing someone wasn’t actually dead).


From the perspective of the characters in these universes, it must feel like a cosmic game of chance. This is what makes the casino metaphor particularly meta for a universe where unlikely figures can be restored. Puck can be seen among the fallen heroes in this realm, and upon his resurrection he found new prominence in stories like Immortal Hulk and Gamma Flight. These characters, within their own universe, always hope that they will be lucky and that their stories will continue. Pluto’s Casino is one of the best representations of a long-standing, and particularly memorable, element of superhero comics.


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