Venus (Marvel Comics)

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Venus is the name of two fictional characters appearing in Marvel Comics. The first originally based on the goddess Venus (Aphrodite) from Roman and Greek mythology was retconned to actually be a siren that only resembles the goddess. The second is stated to be the true goddess, who now wishes only to be referred to by her Greek name, Aphrodite. The similarities between the two characters are a point of conflict in the comics. Venus was ranked eighth in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list, although this list does not specify which version of the character was chosen.[1]

Venus[edit]

Venus
Venus-comics-leonardkirk.jpg
Venus, from Agents of Atlas #5. Pencils by Leonard Kirk.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Venus #1 (Golden Age)
Sub-Mariner #57 (Jan. 1973) (modern age)
In-story information
Species Siren
Team affiliations Agents of Atlas
G-Men
God Squad
Notable aliases "V", "Goddess", "Aphrodite", Victoria Nutley Starr, others
Abilities
  • Immortality
  • Emotion control
  • Illusion generation

Venus is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe, originally based on the goddess Venus (Aphrodite) from Greek and Roman mythology; however, it is later revealed that she is a Siren and not the true goddess. The Marvel version of the character first appeared in Venus #1 (Aug. 1948), and made her first Silver Age appearance in Sub-Mariner #57 (Jan. 1973).

Publication history[edit]

In the original 1940s Venus series, Venus dwelled on the planet Venus with her female companions. She traveled to Earth and took on the human identity of Victoria "Vicki" Nutley Starr, a journalist and editor for Beauty magazine. She developed a romantic relationship with Beauty editor Whitney Hammond; he and Venus' rival Della Mason were among the few people to meet Venus who did not believe her when she claimed that she was a goddess. The series began as a light-hearted humor/fantasy series, but as the series continued, its focus shifted towards darker fantasy and horror themes. Through the course of the series, the Marvel Comics interpretations of several mythological figures appeared, including Hercules, Zeus, various other Olympians, Satan, and in their first Marvel appearance, the Norse gods Thor and Loki. Venus was canceled with issue #19.

The character drifted into obscurity after her series ended, and Venus did not reappear again for 25 years, when she resurfaced in an issue of the Sub-Mariner's comic book. Venus manipulated Namor into defeating Ares, who was attempting to force her to love him.[2] Venus was now a guide for young activists such as Namorita, searching for ways to promote peace, and to end modern warfare. At this time, she wore only a swimsuit or a revealing white gown.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Venus is the Olympian goddess of love and beauty who is Zeus' daughter by the minor oak tree goddess Dione. Venus wears an enchanted girdle called the Cestus which enables her to arouse love and passion in others at will and to transform weapons into objects that can be used for peaceful purposes.

In recent decades, she has used the secret identity on Earth of humanities professor Victoria N. Starr as a cover for her activates as an adventurer, but she is now back on Olympus.

For the most part, her subsequent appearances featured her alongside other Greek deities, and did not reference the character's history from her own series. She appeared in modern times on Earth disguised as a mortal on a mission of peace. She was pursued by Ares, though defended by Namor, however she surrendered the Cestus to Ares.[2] She was later commanded by Pluto to become the bride of Ares as part of Pluto's bid to overthrow Zeus. However, Venus opposed them alongside the Champions, and subdued Queen Hippolyta non-violently.[3] She later aided the Avengers in their attempt to quell the rage of Zeus over Hercules' beating by mortals.[4]

The series Marvel: The Lost Generation revealed that Venus and several other heroes who had been active in the 1950s briefly banded together, but did not remain as a team. This team has recently re-banded in Agents of Atlas and Venus has rejoined the team.

Venus' true origins were revealed by Namora: this Venus was actually a soulless Siren that lured sailing ships to her with her voice and fed on the sailors. To prevent his ship and his crew from being feed on, the captain of a merchant ship hired a mystic to kill her. The mystic instead gave her a soul. The Siren then took the form of a beautiful woman (forbidding herself to speak again) and was taken in by a nunnery, where she lived for decades and believed herself a mute servant girl, until she joined a chorus, filling the visiting clergy with lust. She was then expelled from the nunnery. Learning how to use her voice for good, she blocked out all memories of her previous life and assumed that she was Venus reborn, based on the legends she had heard about a beautiful, immortal girl wandering the world as a goddess in a human body and winning her battles with the power of "love". ‘Venus’ resurfaced in the 1940s and acted as a superhero. Learning the truth about her past, Venus fell into despair and nearly destroyed her companions with her song. Jimmy Woo resisted her song and reminded her of all the good she had done, restoring her belief in herself, which allowed her to reverse the effects on the others.[5]

She had since elected to stay with the Agents of Atlas, using her restored powers to soothe and calm her opponents, while traveling around the world in Marvel Boy's ship, along with her teammates, shutting down the villainous branch of the former Atlas Foundation.[6] She eventually came up with the idea to alter Spider-Man's perception of a common fight, leaving him with false memories of having helped someone else instead of mindwiping him.[volume & issue needed]

Subsequently, she was abducted by the true Olympian goddess Aphrodite, angry at her for assuming her name and guise.[7] Rescued by the group, they have further battles with Aphrodite, until in a climactic battle of song, the goddess decides to appoint Venus in her place, recognizing that she has not been truly dedicated to love since Troy.[8] It is revealed Venus will be a part of the Second God Squad during the Chaos war against Mikaboshi.[citation needed] She helps get Galactus on their side.[volume & issue needed]

After Hercules' death, she and Namora roam the world, bringing his financial affairs in order. She uses her gifts to comfort many who are devastated by his loss.[9]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Venus has the power to project images or illusions of herself and to control the emotions of others, as well as the ability to fly at high speeds, shield herself from mortal sight, and shift her physical form into other beings. Before the retcon, she was considered to be an Olympian goddess, and thought to possess the enhanced physical characteristics typical of Olympian gods in the Marvel Universe, including superhuman stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes, extraordinary vitality, and virtual immortality.

Venus possesses a magical girdle named Cestus that enables the wearer to enchant anyone to become a love-slave, and to neutralize or transform all weapons of war. Hephaestus designed this girdle for Venus.

After her memories were restored, Venus realized her empathic abilities were really derived from a powerful "siren song" - able to heal and restore, curing people's souls by giving them a moment of true bliss in which they can live their most prized fantasy. Her voice is mystically empowered with advanced mind-control abilities, related to her mood: when she speaks in joy, she fills her listeners with bliss and fanatical love for her; when she cries in sadness, her listeners drown in despair too. Her power was strong enough to immediately subdue the Sentry into helping her find Norman Osborn during Dark Reign. Like many characters with vocal-based abilities, it has been shown that Venus' siren song can be disabled if she is gagged.[7]

Other versions[edit]

What if?[edit]

Aphrodite[edit]

Aphrodite
Aphrodite (Marvel Comics).jpg
Aphordite in The Incredible Hercules, #140 (January 2010). Art by Gabriel Hardman.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas, #2 (November 2009)
Created by Jeff Parker, Carlo Pagulayan
In-story information
Full name Aphrodite Pandemos
Species Olympian
Place of origin Olympus
Notable aliases Venus
Abilities

Empathy
Olympian racial abilities:

Aphrodite is a fictional character in the comic book, The Incredible Hercules published by Marvel Comics. Aphrodite is an Olympian based on the goddess of the same name from Greek Mythology first appearing in X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas, #2 (November 2009) by Jeff Parker and Carlo Pagulayan.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Aphrodite was the wife of Hephaestus, whom she was given to by Hera in order to make amends for casting him out of Olympus when he was just a child. However Aphrodite never loved Hephaetus who she found to be hideous due to his physical handicap and instead desired Hepheatus' brother, Ares. The marriage was ended after Hepheatus caught the lovers in bed together, and with a net made of adamantine brought them before Zeus for retribution.[11]

X-Men Vs. Agents of Atlas[edit]

With the help of Hera, Aphrodite locates Venus, whom she views as an imposter and sends one of her centaurs to kidnap her. Venus is bound and gagged and brought back to Aphrodite's temple where she is chained, branded with a poker and put before a statue of Aphrodite. Through the statue Aphrodite expresses her outrage that Venus has stolen her name and form. The Agents of Atlas, with the help of the X-Men, track Venus using Cerebro and rescues her from the temple.[12] Aphrodite, still angered, sends Phorcys, Venus' creator to reclaim her but is halted by the Agents of Atlas.[13]

Assault on New Olympus[edit]

After the destruction of Olympus and the death and rebirth of Zeus, Hera takes control of the Olympus Group, a corporation that handles the Olympians' Earthly enterprises, and uses her power to create a product that would bring about mankind's extinction. In order to stop her, Athena and Amadeus Cho devise a plan which first involves seeking Aphrodite's help.[14] Aphrodite agrees to stall Ares from defending the Olympus Group by sleeping with him and in turn Athena agreed to aid Aphrodite in confronting Venus.[13]

While The New Avengers, the Mighty Avengers and Athena stage a frontal assault on the Olympus Group, the Agents of Atlas try to infiltrate the corporation from underground. They are stopped by Aphrodite who confronts Venus.[11] During the ensuing battle, Aphrodite comes to the realization that she hasn't felt love in centuries, since the Trojan War. Aphrodite then passes the title of 'goddess of love' and the girdle Cestus to Venus.[15]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Aphrodite possesses the typical powers of an Olympian, including superhuman strength, speed, durability, and reflexes, and virtual immortality. Like all Olympians she has some resistance to magic and is immune to all terrestrial diseases, aging and poisons. As the goddess of love, Aphrodite has more power to sense, inspire and control the emotions of love and sexual desire than any other god. Her powers have been demonstrated to be powerful enough to influence Zeus himself. The only known beings who were immune to her influence were her half-sisters, Athena and Artemis and her aunt, Hestia. She also possesses the range of abilities endemic to most Olympian gods. Aphrodite can teleport between Olympus and Earth. She can fly/levitate. She can change her own shape and appearance and that of others. Aphrodite can turn invisible (demonstrated when she saved the Trojan prince Paris from his Greek rival Menelaus in the Trojan War). The goddess can generate fields of defensive energy (force fields) as when she similarly saved her son Aeneas from the Greek Diomedes. Like other gods, she also possesses some localized control over weather, the elements and animals. Aphrodite is the original owner of the Cestus, a magical girdle which enhances even further her already formidable powers over love and desire. It also enables her to transform weapons into objects that can be used for peaceful purposes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 15. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0. 
  2. ^ a b Sub-Mariner #57
  3. ^ Champions #1-3
  4. ^ Avengers #283-284
  5. ^ Agents of Atlas (v.1) #5
  6. ^ Agents of Atlas (v.1) #6
  7. ^ a b X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas #1
  8. ^ Incredible Hercules #138-141
  9. ^ Hercules: Fall of Avenger #1-2 (2010)
  10. ^ What If volume 1 #9
  11. ^ a b The Incredible Hercules, #140 (January 2010)
  12. ^ X-Men Vs. Agents of Atlas, #1-2 (2009)
  13. ^ a b The Incredible Hercules, #138 (November 2009)
  14. ^ Assault on New Olympus Prologue, #1 (November 2009)
  15. ^ The Incredible Hercules, #141 (February 2010)

External links[edit]