Hercules is the son of Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, and Alcmena. Zeus seduced Alcmena in the guise of her husband, King Amphitryon of Troezen. Thanks to Zeus's enchantment, Hercules was born with the potential for extraordinary strength, which he first displayed before he was even one year old by strangling two serpents which attacked him (sent by Hera). Hercules had many notable adventures in ancient times. He sailed with the Argonauts (with them he may have battled the Akaana), faced the Hydra, saw the death of Medusa, and defeated Antaeus.
As an adult, Hercules was best known for his celebrated Twelve Labors, which were performed in part to prove his worthiness for immortality to Zeus. (One of these Labors, the cleansing of the Augean Stables, was actually performed by the Eternal called the Forgotten One, a fellow future Avenger who was sometimes mistaken for Hercules.) 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, the three-headed hound that serves as guardian to the Olympian underworld, Hercules offended Pluto, 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.
However, it was the centaur Nessus who caused Hercules' mortal demise. Nessus kidnapped Hercules' wife Deianeira, whereupon Hercules shot him with an arrow. Feigning a wish to make amends, the dying centaur told Deianeira how to make a love charm from his allegedly enchanted blood, aware that it was now tainted with the lethal blood of the Hydra, in which Hercules had dipped his arrows. Some time after Nessus' death, Deianeira, distraught over her husband's latest infidelity, rubbed the supposed love charm into Hercules' shirt. When he wore the shirt, he was plunged into unspeakable agony and had to burn himself in a funeral pyre to end his suffering. Zeus then intervened, consuming the pyre with his thunderbolts and bringing Hercules to Olympus to be made a true immortal. Although Hercules himself has told different versions on how he obtained immortality but all of them contained Nessus' deceit and the arrows with the Hydra's blood.
Now a full god, Hercules took his place as god of strength. In an attempt to reconcile with Hera, he married Hebe. However, like his father, Hercules is a notorious ladies' man. This is compounded with a curse of Hera's that threatens any mortal woman he becomes too involved with.
Later, Hercules led time-traveling soldiers against Vikings, bringing him into conflict with Thor.
In recent years, the Asgardian witch called the Enchantress hoped to gain revenge on her enemies, the hero team called The Avengers. She mesmerized Hercules and set him to attack the team, but the Avenger Hawkeye managed to free him from his thrall and the Enchantress was routed. However, Hercules was exiled from Olympus by Zeus as punishment for his unauthorized excursion to Earth. The Avengers housed Hercules as their guest for months, and he often assisted them in their adventures. He was eventually made an official member of the team, but he returned to Olympus with the Avengers to rescue the other Olympians from the vengeful Typhon. Afterward, Hercules elected to remain on Olympus with Zeus's blessing.
Later, the Olympian god Ares hoped to incite war among Olympus and Asgard, and eventually Earth. Ares turned all the Olympian gods to crystal, and, as Hercules was unaffected by being only half-god, Ares' agents beat him severely and abandoned him on Earth. Hercules remained amnesiac for many weeks, until he was discovered by Hawkeye and returned to the Avengers. With the Avengers' aid, the plot was uncovered and Ares was stopped. Hercules and his teammate, the Asgardian thunder-god Thor, sealed the access to both worlds.
Hercules continued to occasionally interact with Earth, as was the case with his helping found the short-lived West Coast super-team called the Champions of Los Angeles. While on this team, Hercules began a relationship with his team leader, the Black Widow. It did not last long, but the two remained on good terms afterward. He also kept in touch with the Avengers, assisting them in reserve capacity against menaces such as Korvac the Enemy. Eventually, Hercules rejoined the Avengers on a full-time basis.
When the Avengers' mansion headquarters was invaded by Baron Helmut Zemo's Masters of Evil, Hercules, intoxicated, ignored orders from The Wasp and Captain America, attacking the conquered mansion by himself. He was beaten so severely by a contingent of Masters that he was left near death, in a coma. The Wasp and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) were only barely able to repulse a Masters assault by Absorbing Man and Titania on his hospital room. Afterwards, Zeus arranged for Hercules to be returned to Olympus, and in revenge, ordered the imprisonment of the Avengers in Hades. The Avengers escaped to confront Zeus directly, but they were saved only by the intervention of Hercules, who had made a recovery and convinced his father the Avengers were not to blame. Nevertheless, Zeus ordered that Hercules remain in Olympus forever.
It was not long, however, until Hercules disobeyed his father, returning to Earth when the Avengers required help against the villainous High Evolutionary, who misguidedly hoped to forcibly jumpstart humankind's evolution. In the final battle, Hercules was attached to a machine that would "evolve" him to a superior state than that of the Evolutionary. Instead, the device jumpstarted the Evolutionary's physiology as well, evolving both to a state beyond godhood, and the two dissipated from Earth's plane.
In reality, the two were captured by the enigmatic beings known as the Celestials and held prisoner in the so-called Black Galaxy. Thor and his friend, Eric Masterson, discovered their fate during an adventure at the High Evolutionary's citadel, Wundagore. Both Masterson and Thor helped rescue the two, and Hercules, Thor, and Masterson returned to Earth, while the High Evolutionary turned Wundagore into a spaceship and returned to the Black Galaxy.
Hercules, Thor, and Masterson were then viciously attacked by Mongoose using weapons he had stolen from Wundagore. Mongoose almost killed Thor using a powerful energy beam. Masterson took a killing blow for Thor, giving Thor and Hercules a chance to defeat Mongoose. Unfortunately, Masterson was dying from his wounds, which led Thor and Masterson to be merged together. Hercules remained on hand to help his friends, and he would also return to the Avengers shortly afterwards, becoming an active reserve member during the UN reorganization of the team. He soon became a full member during an absence of Thor.
During Operation Galactic Storm, Hercules was part of Captain America's team bound for the Kree Empire. At the conclusion of the mission, he was part of the group that followed Iron Man to execute the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree, a move against both Avengers policy and Captain America's orders.
Hercules was soon confronted by Zeus, and they had a falling out over Hercules' apparent preference for the mortal world. Punishing his son, Zeus stripped him of his immortality and much of his godly power, exiling him once more. The traumatized Hercules drew emotional support from the Avengers, especially Deathcry, whom he later aided in returning to her alien Shi'ar homeworld. On returning to Earth, though, Hercules discovered to his horror that most of the Avengers were missing and presumed dead after their battle with the psychic menace of Onslaught. A despairing Hercules succumbed to alcoholism and was no help in trying to hold together the group, which soon disbanded.
Hercules began to wander in search of new adventures, serving briefly with the corporate super-team Heroes for Hire. When the supposedly dead Avengers returned from their Onslaught disappearance, Hercules joined many of the other Avengers in reorganizing the team, though he has opted to remain an inactive member rather than rejoining the active roster. Also during this time, Hercules sought out one of those responsible for his coma, the villain Goliath who had become the hero Atlas. The resulting battle was cut short by Hawkeye (then posing as Dreadknight of the Thunderbolts), who convinced Hercules to stand down, at the cost of the two's friendship.
Hercules continued to aid the Avengers on an as-needed basis, such as helping them against the villainous Exemplars and when the time-traveling Kang nearly conquered the world. He was one of the Avengers present in response to the Code White call when the Scarlet Witch had her breakdown that disassembled the Avengers.
Hercules considered Thor both a great ally and a rival. They fought alongside one another many times against many foes and was angry that Thor's and Asgard's disappearance were largely forgotten in light of the Scarlet Witch's insanity. To reaffirm himself, he accepted a challenge of completing a more modern Twelve Labors, which included capturing a Doombot and grounding the SHIELD Helicarrier.
When the Superhuman Registration Act was enacted, Hercules joined Captain America's Secret Avengers, opposing the Act and Iron Man's Pro-Registration Superhero Unit. He helped play a leadership role in the anti-registration movement during the resultant Civil War. His most significant act during the final battle is using the Thor clone's own hammer against itself, declaring, "Thou art no Thor."
World War Hulk
During the Hulk's attack on Earth, Hercules and Archangel met with Amadeus Cho, one of the Hulk's allies. They agreed to help the Hulk, but, upon encountering him, the Hulk savagely charged them. Hercules was forced to defend himself, and and gained the advantage against the Hulk, but was beaten down after he stopped fighting and defending himself against the Hulk to prove that he was not there to hurt him. Hercules' reason for aiding the Hulk was simple. Both men, despite all of their strength, had lost their queen and family. Also, Hercules wished to make up for an altercation between the Hulk and the Champions years earlier. He joined a team called the "Renegades". The group was comprised of Hercules, Amadeus Cho, Angel, Namora, and the female Scorpion. During the action, Herc and Namora shared a kiss. When the conflict ended, Hercules was the only renegade to stay with Amadeus.
In the aftermath of the war, Hercules, against Amadeus' wishes, agreed to turn himself in. However, after learning that he would be working under his brother Ares, he escaped, taking Amadeus with him. After finding brief shelter in a refugee camp outside of New York, Hercules spoke with Athena, who was living in Vermont, to try and seek shelter. However, after being shot by Ares' "Hydra blood bullets", he was driven into a psychotic rage, and began seeing Amadeus Cho as Iolaus, his nephew and ally from Ancient Greek times. Cho decided to take advantage of the situation, by getting Hercules to attack a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. However both men were stopped by the Black Widow, who knocked out Cho and cured Hercules of his rage. Out of respect for Hercules, Natasha let Hercules knock her out and let him reunite with Cho, who captured a S.H.I.E.L.D mobile base and was willing to destory all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s governmental facilities. Hercules avoided this disaster by asking Cho what he would like to be remembered for.
Upon meeting up with Athena the trio set out to San Fransico to assemble a team of gods from Earth (Snowbird, Tecumotzin, Amatsu-Mikaboshi, and Atum the God Eater) to battle and defeat the Skrull Gods Kly'bn and Sl'gur't. In route to Skrull space through the dream realm they battled Nightmare, and recived his map of the dream realm. Hercules and Narya made love after she confessed to him that she didn't want to be alone anymore. Soon after a Skrull who had been with them since the end of World War Hulk revealed itself and was quickly dispatched. However, Hercules and Snowbird together managed to slay the head god of the Skrulls, destroying the very inspiration for the ongoing Secret Invasion war. Meanwhile Mikaboshi managed to overcome Sl´gur´t, and apparently assumed the position of leader of the Skrull pantheon, all according to Athena's plan.
Love and War
While Hercules decided to take a vacation with Namora after the Secret Invasion, a group of Amazons attacked and captured Amadeus Cho, wanting him to find the Omphalos, and use it to become the world's dominant force. Hercules, Namora and Namor managed to save the captured Poseidon, after a brief conflict with Namor, and headed to intercept the Amazons at the new axis mundi, Washington, D.C. However, the Amazon leader Artume succeeded in reshaping the world into an Amazon-dominated one, with Hercules as the sole remaining rebel against her regime.
Meanwhile, Hera and Pluto took over the Olympus Group, the modern day seat of power for the Olympians, via the inherited shares of Zeus' and by buying out Poseidon, and decided the company's new major goal: the deaths of Athena and Hercules.
Hercules, Amadeus, Athena and others managed to slay Artume and restore all of reality. Hercules discovered that Namora's fondest desire was to love Namor, to his shock. Namora was called away to serve in the Agents of Atlas's first mission during the Dark Reign, and Hercules and Amadeus united after Athena used what remained of the axis mundi energies to undo the damage inflicted.
The Mighty Avengers
In the aftermath of Secret Invasion, the activities of the Elder God Chthon created a series of freak events that Cho dubbed the "Chaos Cascade", and concluded the Avengers would be necessary to deal with the events. Hercules and Cho located Edwin Jarvis, and then Henry Pym and Jocasta. Loki in the guise of Wanda Maximoff, arrived in an astral form to greet them and supply the gathered forces with an "army" to form the new Mighty Avengers (later aided by Iron Man), which Hercules chose to remain with. Loki covertly used them to form and widen cracks in Osborn's armor, and which Norman Osborn sought to crush. Chthon was banished through their combined efforts with Pietro Maximoff, with Hercules explaining to the others that the death of the Demogorge with the Skrullian gods was the factor Chthon used to attack the universe.
Assault on New Olympus
Hercules became embroiled in the schemes of his stepmother Hera, who in the wake of Zeus's death inherited both his Thunderbolt and control of the Olympians. She used her newfound power to try and gain revenge on all those whom she believed had wronged her over the centuries. Hercules was sent to the underworld to retrieve Zeus to stop her. Pluto caught them and put Zeus on trial culminating in Zeus losing his memory and returning to Earth in a youthful form. After several adventures where "Kid Zeus" learned the value of others Hercules gathered allies to attack Hera's Earth-based Olympus Group to prevent her from releasing CONTINUUM and replacing the current universe with one only inhabited by her and her followers. He managed to defeat Typhon, but was left trapped in the alternate universe when Athena destroyed the portal to prevent him from interfering in Cho's destiny.
Athena became queen of Olympus and appointed Amadeus Cho as head of the Olympian Earthly holdings. Cho used his resources to try and find Hercules and came into conflict with Vali Halfling in a contest for a level of godhood beyond that of any known god: true omnipotence and omniscience. Cho gained it, but realizing he was not ready for such power retrieved Hercules from the other dimension and imbued him with the power.
Hercules obtained the power just as Mikaboshi was beginning his attack on Earth. Initially drunk on his new abilities Hercules attacked the Council of Godheads. After calming down Hercules made several attempts to defeat Mikaboshi including forming a new God Squad. A serious of blunders allowed Mikaboshi to learn the location of the Council of Godheads and destroy their heavens growing stronger with each realm it absorbed. Hercules's relentless strategy of "Attack! Attack!" alienated Cho and nearly everyone around him. Eventually, it took his omniscience and Gaea herself to convince Hercules to try another path. After another power-up from Gaea Hercules was strong enough to fight Miakboshi head on, but was still losing. A last ditch effort by Amadeus Cho and Galactus opened up a portal to Hera's bubble universe and Hercules knocked Mikaboshi through just as the latter was returning everything to the primordial void. Hera's bubble universe was reduced while the main universe was spared. Hercules burned out his omnipotence restoring the multiverse to the way it was before Mikaboshi destroyed it.