Hades (DC Comics)

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Hades
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Wonder Woman #1
(February 1987)
Created by George Pérez (writer & artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Hades
Place of origin Olympus
Team affiliations Olympian Gods
Abilities Olympian god, former ruler of Tartarus. Hades possessed the lifespan of an immortal and vast mystical abilities.

Hades is a fictional character, a god in the DC Comics universe based on the actual Hades from Greek mythology. He is primarily featured in the Wonder Woman series, alternately as a divine benefactor and enemy of the heroine.[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

As in classical mythology, Hades is a member of the Olympian gods, the immortal children of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Along with his brothers Zeus and Poseidon, he ruled a significant portion of the ancient world. As god of the Underworld, Hades had dominion over the spirits of the dead. His realm was divided into four sub-sections: Tartarus (abode of the damned), the Asphodel Fields (a misty after-world), the Elysian Fields (where the righteous dwell) and the Isle of the Blessed (the paradisal resting place of those deemed great heroes). Hades ruled these realms beside his niece and queen Persephone.[1]

Pre-Crisis[edit]

Hades did not figure frequently in the adventures of Wonder Woman until the end of the first volume, when Hades was tricked by the Anti-Monitor into making a pact with Ares to conquer Olympus. The plot was thwarted when Persephone (referred to in-story as Kore), inspired by the love between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, went to her husband to profess openly her love for him. Hades pulled out of the scheme, and Steve Trevor freed the gods while Wonder Woman engaged Ares in final combat.[2]

Post-Crisis[edit]

As a result of the machinations of the alien god Darkseid, the Olympian gods were each split into separate entities for many years, existing as both their Greek and Roman variations. Hades' Roman counterpart, Pluto, ruled his own dimensional variant of the Underworld, occasionally coming into conflict with his "brother". The pantheons were eventually merged once more centuries later.

Hades shared a sometimes tense relationship with Wonder Woman's people, the Amazons of Themyscira. The Amazons had been appointed to guard an entryway to his realm, Doom's Doorway, behind which were trapped many monsters and undead abominations. Over the centuries, many Amazons lost their lives when the Doorway was occasionally breached. Despite their loss, the Amazons always attempted to show proper respect to the lord of the underworld, as one of the honored gods of their faith. They even built a large tabernacle to the god of the Dead which carried its own priestess who served a 1,000 years before being replaced by another. In time, most of the gods' followers died off or ceased to believe, leaving the Amazons an important part of Hades and the Olympians' continued existence.

Like her Amazon sisters, Wonder Woman has often had an uneasy relationship with Hades. Early in her career, she descended through Doom's Doorway, slaying most of the monsters and freeing her people from their terrible burden.[1] On other occasions, she has journeyed to the Underworld to request a boon from its ruler or to free the soul of a slain comrade, such as the Amazon Artemis and the murdered messenger god Hermes, which she succeeded in.

For most of his life, Hades clothed himself in a classical Greek toga and wore his black hair in ringlets. In recent years however, many of the gods adopted modern clothing in an attempt to evolve with the times. Hades took to dressing in a dark black suit with top hat and cane, similar to that of a Victorian era Undertaker.

Recently, a shift in power occurred in the Olympian pantheon. While Athena assumed the throne of Mount Olympus from her deposed father Zeus, Hades was stabbed in the back by his nephew Ares. As a result, the former War God soon became the new ruler of the Underworld.[1] As it was revealed that Olympian gods do not truly die, only become citizens of the underworld, Hades presence may still be evoked.

The new Olympian order of rule was again changed when the New Gods of Apokolips captured the Olympian pantheon and tampered with their memories. Hence, the current ruler of the Olympian underworld is still in question. This is further compounded by Ares' recent demise at the hands of Wonder Woman, putting the question of Olympian Underworld rulership in a greater state of confusion.

The New 52[edit]

In The New 52, Hades appears to be but a child with pasty white skin, a dark suit of armor and most unusually a number of candles where the melted wax obscures most of his face above the nose. As a more modern name for himself he tells Lennox to call him "Hell".[3] He is still the ruler of the underworld and the dead,[4] but his realm and everything in it is now an extension of his will and essence.[5]

Hades suffers a degree of self-hatred, as his realm (and by extension, himself) is filled with suffering. Hades has difficulty appreciating and expressing his own values, even if he tries to flatter occasionally, even going so far as refusing to believe it was possible for a Lasso-ensnared Diana to be capable of loving everyone, including him. [6]

Though Diana wishes to aid him otherwise, Hades refuses to be aided, leaving Diana to shoot him with one of the Pistols of Eros while he is looking at his own reflection, as the bullet should make him fall in love with the first person he sees.[7]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Hades appeared on the Justice League episodes Paradise Lost Pt. I & II voiced by John Rhys-Davies. His appearance on the show is significantly different from the comics version, with long black hair, a dark goatee, and black and silver armor. He is a former lover of Wonder Woman's mother Amazon Queen Hippolyta and (it is implied) possibly the real father of Wonder Woman. His personality is also significantly altered, as he is used as a stand in for the Devil. According to the episode Paradise Lost, (based on John Milton's book by the same name) after a failed attempt to overthrow Zeus during the Titanomachy, Hades was sentenced to eternal torment and imprisonment in the pits of Tartarus, the fiery abode of demons and the evil dead. Thus, Hades made a pact with Felix Faust (a clear nod to the true Faust was said to have made a Deal with the Devil). Through the first episode, Hades is shown as a fiery being with—it seems—horns on his head. Hades here was portrayed as deceitful and treacherous and, though seemingly handsome, revealed his true face as that of a monster.
  • Hades returned in Justice League Unlimited episode "The Balance", this time voiced by Bob Joles. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl were summoned to the Underworld by Hermes, and found that the soul of Faust was out to usurp Hades' rule. It was shown that the demons of Tartarus were taught to fear the angels when they mistook Hawkgirl for one. She encouraged them in that thought and, pointing upwards, said that if they touched her "The Boss" would be angry. Hades also implies to Diana that he is in fact her "father", saying that he and Hippolyta created her together. Hawkgirl then urged the Amazon Princess to use the Lasso of Truth on the god of the Underworld to verify this information. However Diana chose not to, possibly because she knew it could be the truth. Despite this, Hades assisted in fighting Faust and decided to torment Faust's soul for eternity.

Film[edit]

  • Hades appeared in the Wonder Woman animated movie voiced by Oliver Platt. This Hades was again different from his comics counterpart, resembling a corpulent, overweight man in a toga and using the spirits of the dead as personal servants. Ares seeks him out in order to have Hades remove his bands to restore his god powers (previously bound to him by Zeus and Hera) and Hades does so knowing, but not telling that it will ultimately result in Ares' death. Ares is eventually killed by Wonder Woman and he is shown becoming a slave for Hades, a shadow of his former self.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Wallace, Dan (2008), "Hades", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 152, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017 
  2. ^ Wonder Woman #329
  3. ^ Wonder Woman vol. 4 #5
  4. ^ Wonder Woman vol. 4 #6
  5. ^ Wonder Woman vol. 4 #7
  6. ^ Wonder Woman vol. 4 #8
  7. ^ Wonder Woman vol. 4 #16