The Quest for the Golden Fleece
Hercules, as a teen, has yet to meet his father Zeus. To attract his attention and gain his favor the youthful Hercules retrieves an artifact stolen by Ares. In winning it he confronts several perils, including a giant serpent.
The Goddess Discord informs Ares, the God of War. Ares has just set a plan in motion in Greece.
When Hercules returns to his village Iolaus, a young thief and street thug, attempts to steal the relic from him. During their scuffle a cyclone is released and wreaks havoc.
Concerned about her son, Alcmene sends Hercules to Cheiron's Academy for some heroic training.
Hercules takes his time getting there. He starts off on the wrong foot with Cheiron and discovers that Iolaus is already a student and has been partnered with him. He befriends Jason, the Crown Prince of Corinth, and the Amazon Yvenna.
Jason is recalled to Corinth. Hercules and Iolaus accompany him. Once there they discover that King Aeson, Jason's father, is on his death bed and has declared his long lost brother Pelias the acting King. Pelias, in actuality, died long ago and Ares is impersonating him. Jason challenges his uncle and is exiled. As he learnes from Pelias/Ares that the Golden Fleece can cure Aeson, he declares a Quest.
A handful of Cheiron's cadets, including Hercules, Iolaus and Yvenna join the adventure. Hercules and Yvenna get close and she reveals to him her most shameful secret.
They set shore on the island of a mysterious woman who belly dances while they feast. Drunk and ensorcelled, they become animalistic and seek to slay each other. Though Hercules ultimately breaks Discord's spell, some Argonauts die. Iolaus blames Hercules for all their misfortunes.
Another Argonaut is lost to the sea before they reach the land they seek. They manage to steal the Golden Fleece without incident but their escape is complicated by the Fleece's giant guardian Talos. They slay him but lose Yvenna. The Amazon, in saving her fellow Argonauts, has died a hero's death and has redeemed herself.
Returning to Corinth with the Golden Fleece they attempt to heal Aeson. But Ares slays the King, stabs Jason and reveals himself to Hercules as his half-brother Ares. He also reveals that Talos and the Fleece were his. Hercules and Ares fight. All of Cheiron's unorthodox fighting techniques, which Hercules had ridiculed earlier, now prove useful, including his being partnered with Iolaus. Together they triumph over Ares and heal Jason by using the power of the Golden Fleece.
Ares laughs and vows vengeance. Jason becomes King of Corinth. There is much rejoicing. Hercules and Iolaus continue their partnership and seek new heroic challenges as a team.
Young Hercules is a fun prequel to Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. It also served as a pilot for the Young Hercules television series. Though rife with inconsistencies and contradictions (as are the myths themselves), these televised tales (along with the cartoon movie Hercules & Xena: The Battle for Mount Olympus and numerous comic book, novel, graphic novel, crossover, magazine and game tie-ins) redefined Greek Mythology for a generation of moderns. There is occasional online buzz about a new Xena re-boot movie or TV series... we can only hope.
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