Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How Strong Is Hercules?


Time for a little fanboy rambling. As I mentioned before, I'm enjoying watching the 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' series on DVD. But being a long time comic book fan I have begun to notice one of those things that always irritates the heck out of fanboy types. Hercules' super powers are inconsistent.
Here's the deal. Herc's strength level, as stated on the show, is roughly that of ten men. We'll assume ten healthy men, so lets say that each man can bench press oh, 200 pounds. So Herc could press a ton. That seems reasonable given the size of boulders, logs, and other large objects Herc has hefted on the show.
But here we hit a snag, and I do mean hit. Pretty much every episode of Hercules has at least one pitched brawl, where Herc fights five to ten guys. During these fights he doesn't seem to be any stronger than anyone else. Oh he sometimes picks opponents up and throws them, but mostly he exchanges punches and kicks. The blows he takes seem to hurt him as much as anyone else, and he sometimes has to hit an attacker more than once to put the guy down. Plus, if Herc has a one on one battle with a main character, even if they're just a plain old human, the son of Zeus often has to work hard to finish the fight. However, in the next scene he may knock a giant down with one blow or uproot a tree for a weapon.
Now of course part of this is the nature of TV drama. Herc can't really be seen to just pummel the hell out of everyone effortlessly or there's not much suspense. I get that. But it gets really noticeable sometimes. In one episode, Herc barely survives a fight with a bunch of mercenaries, only to cause a landslide in a cave by hitting the cave wall with one punch. If he can do that, the mercs would all be dead when he hit them.
Maybe he's holding back when he fights mere mortals? Well, maybe, though that seems unlikely. Someone else's life is usually at stake when Herc steps up to the plate, so it doesn't seem like he would be holding back. I guess the answer to the question, "How Strong Is Hercules?" is, he's just as strong as the writers need him to be on a scene by scene basis.

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