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Twelve Labors of Hercules
Twelve Labors of Hercules from Hercules Vol 3 1 001
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Twelve Labors

Hercules was best known for his celebrated Twelve Labors.

Allegedly, Hera had caused Hercules to go insane and he killed his wife Megara and children,[1] causing him to then atone by performing the twelve labors.[2]

Truth was that returning from his final labor against Cerberus (and rescuing Theseus from Hades, in 1277 B.C., he was believed dead and Euboean Lycus took advantage of that absence to kill Hercules' father-in-law King Creon and condemn Megara and their three sons to death. Enraged, Hercules killed Lycus but his family as well.[2]

Hercules' followers decided to accuse Hera, and Hercules didn't corrected them, too ashamed. He change from Herakles to roman Hercules, in order to distance himself from Hera.[2]

When his sanity returned, he received instructions from the oracle in Delphi to go to Tiryns and perform any Twelve Labors devised from him by King Eurystheus.[3]

By successfully completing these labors, Hercules would not only pay for his crime, but also achieve immortality and take his rightful place among the Gods. Reluctantly, Hercules agreed to submit to the will of the hated Eurystheus.[4] The Labors included:

Hydra (Olympian Beast) (Earth-616) from Incredible Hercules Vol 1 113 001

Lernean Hydra

  • 1. Tame the Nemean Lion:[5] This monster of a lion had a hide that was so tough that no arrow could pierce it. Hercules stunned the beast with his olive-wood club and then strangled it with his bare hands. It is said that he skinned the lion, using the lion's sharp claws, and ever after wore its hide.[citation needed]
  • 2.[5][4][6] Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra: In 1271 B.C.,[6] the evil, snake-like Hydra had nine heads. If one was chopped off, two would grow in its place. But Hercules quickly sliced off the heads, while his nephew, Iolaus, sealed the wounds with a torch. Hercules made his arrows poisonous by dipping them in the Hydra's blood.[6]
  • 3.[5][4] Hunting the Ceryneian Hind or Capture the Golden Hind[citation needed] of Artemis: The goddess Artemis loved and protected this stubborn little deer, which had gold horns. Hercules found it a challenge to capture the delicate hind without hurting it (and making Artemis angry). After following the hind for an entire year, he safely carried it away.[5]
  • 4.[5][4]Capture the Erymanthian Boar[5]
Augean Stables from Incredible Hercules Vol 1 116 001

Augean Stables

  • 5.[7] Clean the Augean Stables in a single day: In 1271 B.C.,[7] Hercules was ordered to clean out the stables of King Augeas, where thousands of cows lived.[7] They had not been cleaned in years. While Hercules actually tried the task manually, in vain, Forgotten One, an Eternal who was mistaken for Hercules, diverted two rivers so that they flowed into the stables, sweeping out the filth.[7]
  • 6.[7][5] Slay the Stymphalian Birds: These murderous man-eating birds lived around Lake Stymphalus.[5] Their claws and beaks were sharp as metal and their feathers flew like darts. Hercules scared them out of their nests with a rattle and then killed them with the poison arrows he had made from the Hydra's blood.[7]
Twelve Labors of Hercules from Hercules Vol 3 1 002
  • 7.[5] Capture the Cretan Bull[8]
  • 8. Steal the Man-Eating Mares of Diomedes[5]
  • 9.[5][9] Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta Queen of the Amazons: In 1270 B.C. Hercules was sent to Themyscira, home of the Amazons, to steal Queen Hippolyta's "Girdle" a gift from Ares. However the moment the two met it was an instant attraction and the two went to bed together. This angered Hera, who took the form of one of the Amazons making them believe Hercules was trying to kidnap their queen. He escaped buck naked carrying the girdle chased by the entire Amazon army.[9]
  • 10. Obtain the red cattle of the giant Geryon[5]
  • 11. Retrieve Hera's Golden Apples from the Garden of the Hesperides[5] In 1268 B.C.,[10] Hercules went to the Titan Atlas who was forced to hold up the sky for all eternity. He asked Atlas for help, he would shoulder the sky while Atlas, the nymphs' father, fetched the Apples. He agreed to three apples for three hours of freedom. However when he returned he did not wish to take up the sky again. Hercules tricked him by asking him to take the sky for a moment so he could get comfortable. When he did Hercules escaped with the Apples.[10] Apparently the Forgotten One performed that deed as well.[7]
  • 12. Capture and bring back Cerberus from Hades:[5] In 1267 B.C.,[2], Hercules was ordered to capture Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the Underworld.[5] Hercules later revealed that he actually traveled there to rescue his beloved friend Theseus he was there so long that the people of Thebes believed him to be dead.[2]

In the course of these Labors, Hercules provoked the wrath of three immortals who remain his enemies to this day. By slaughtering the man-eating Stymphalian Birds, he enraged the war god Ares, to whom they were sacred. In temporarily capturing Cerberus he offended Hades, the lord of that realm. By killing the Nemean Lion, the Hydra and other creatures spawned by the inconceivably grotesque and powerful monster Typhoeus, Hercules gained the bitter enmity of Typhon, the immortal humanoid offspring of Typhoeus and a Titaness.[citation needed]

New Twelve Labors

In the modern era King Eurystheus is revealed to be still alive. Hercules was dragged before him, who recounted his history and how he came to live again. He felt ashamed at his defeat at the hands of Her, since he himself has fallen so low. He wanted Hercules to perform twelve "New Labors" so that he will be viewed as a hero again. The hero that people at one time built monuments to, and sang songs about. Hercules accepted the challenge and left to prepare.[3]

  • 1. Capture a Sabretooth Tiger: Hercules was sent to capture a Sabre-tooth Tiger from the Savage Land, he however mistook a Dinosaur for one. Taking it down with it's great strength. Corrected by the film crew he marched into the jungle and returned with a Sabretooth Tiger. Which was revealed to be Zabu which brought the attention of Ka-Zar and Shanna.[4]
  • 2. Defeat Hydra' He was next tasked with attacking the organization known as Hydra recover one of their latest genetic experiments a homemade Hydra created using different animals DNA. But before he could even get his hands on it it blew up. Herc was so shocked that he collapsed in front of the film crew.[4]
  • 3. Capture Lockjaw: the next task was to capture Lockjaw. Hercules traveled to Attilan which at the time was located on the Blue Area of the Moon. Hercules was successful but Jimmy the Cameraman was eaten alive by Lockjaw who was also bitten Hercules arm. Luckily Jimmy was fine and they were able to get him out his stomach.[4]
  • 4. Capture Dragon Man: his next task was to hunt down and capture Dragon Man. When he found him he handcuffed himself to the creature. He was dragged through the air form some time before it stop to sleep and fell asleep.[4]
  • 5. Drive the hordes of Attuma from Atlantis: he was next tasked with driving the man-eating barbarian hordes from Atlantis. Which he did with relative ease.[4]
  • 6. Overcome the Red Skull's "Dust of Death" Hercules was placed in a room filled with the Dust of Death, but exits with little effect just a woozy and a hunger for a White Castle burger. Although he knocked one of the film crew through a wall in his woozy state.[4]
  • 7. Defeat the Abomination: A fight at Madison Square Garden was arranged between Hercules and Abomination. As Abomination was taking to a reporter Hercules takes him out with a nearby lamppost. Having actually bungled his way though the first seven, Hera revised the final five tasks. They vote and decide that Hercules should not be aided by any of them, in his new labors.[4]
  • 8. Capture Mole Man's Monsters: Herc and the film crew traveled to Hawaii where he captures one of Mole Man of Mutates and knocked out a army of Moloids with a giant bolder.[11]
  • 9. Steal Captain America's Shield: He was sent to retrieve Captain America' shield. He sucker punched Cap during a conversation which lead to a fight with the Avengers. However Cap stopped the fight and them from going after him because he feels Hercules needed the shield more.[11]
  • 10. Steal a Doombot from Latveria: Herc was sent the Latveria to recover at least one Doombot of Doctor Doom. He completed the task but had to escape the country very quickly afterwards.[11]
  • 11. Steal a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier: Herc's next task was to retrieve a Helicarrier. He lashed a giant chain to the vehicle and dragged it to Eurystheus. Nick Fury was awoken by one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but ignored him and went back to sleep, stating "Wake me back up if he takes us someplace good!" [11]
  • 12. Retrieve a Flower from his wife in Hades: For the final task, Eurystheus told Hercules that he must travel to Hades and retrieve a flower from his wife, whom Hercules had murdered. He and the crew traveled to the River Styx. Now in Hades he knocked out Cerberus and went through the gate. He met his wife and children and forgave him for his actions knowing fall well he his madness was caused by Hera. She gave him the flower.[1]

Hercules returns to the world of mortals, his labors complete, and stormed against Eurystheus and Achelous, and they both wind up dead. Later, at a celebration, they wonder where the guest of honor is and they are all told that he had said he had someplace he had to be. At the graves of his murdered family.[1]


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