Olympian Gods (DC Comics)

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Olympian Gods
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance All Star Comics #8 (December 1941)
Created by William Moulton Marston
Characteristics
Pantheon Greek

The Olympian Gods are characters based upon Greek mythology who appear primarily in Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and Aquaman comics.

History[edit]

Pre-Crisis era[edit]

Role of Ares and Aphrodite in the origin of the Amazons

New era[edit]

The Olympian gods on the cover of Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #7. Art by George Pérez.

When a Godwave spilled forth from the creation of the Fourth World, the Earth was seeded with great power. It first manifested in the form of old gods, then of metahumans. Some of the oldest of these gods were hidden from the universe until the time of ancient Greece by the sorceress, Hecate. Hecate reasoned that the Olympian Gods (as they would eventually be called) were greatly weakened after usurping power from their father Cronus and the Titans of Myth. She feared that other powerful gods in the universe (notably Darkseid of Apokolips) would seize Earth for himself. Because of Hecate's enchantment, Darkseid wrongly believed that he and the other New Gods pre-dated the Olympians. (Action Comics #600, Wonder Woman v.2 #19)

One day, the young Uxas of Apokolips came to Rome. There he spread tales of the great Olympian gods. Their following grew tremendously in Rome and so they created avatars of themselves; they were worshipped under different names. Uxas knew that each half of the pantheon would be less powerful than the original gods. Later, as the god Darkseid, Uxas would use this knowledge to crush Zeus himself. (Wonder Woman v.2 #132-133)

Centuries ago, an argument between Aphrodite and Ares led to the creation of the Amazons, who have been guided and protected by the goddesses ever since. Ares' recent schemes to destroy the Amazons and his fellow gods led to an Amazon champion being chosen. (Wonder Woman v.2 #1) This champion was the Princess Diana, daughter of Queen Hippolyta, whom Hermes escorted to Man's World. There she was called Wonder Woman. Hephaestus forged Wonder Woman's golden Lasso of Truth from the girdle of the earth-goddess Gaea, and her silver bracelets which he formed from the splintered Aegis of Zeus. While the Olympian gods were her patrons, other gods were her foes. Ares and his progeny, Deimos and Phobos, quickly set about challenging the princess in her quest. Phobos created the creature Decay from the "heart of the Gorgon," which Diana quickly dispatched. Meanwhile, Deimos recruited humans on opposing sides, inciting them to war. (Wonder Woman #3-4)

Ares' daughter, Harmonia, chose to help Diana, however. She gave her a powerful amulet with the power to transport across dimensions. Diana slayed Deimos with her razor sharp tiara, and from him acquired the other half of Harmonia's amulet. Finally, Ares stepped in to claim the talisman, but Diana bound him with her lasso of truth. He realized that to allow humans to war would leave no kingdom for him to rule. In failure, Ares declared that he would no longer trifle with the affairs of man, and also forbade his offspring from appearing on Earth. He also took the amulet and all the power which had been collected therein. (Wonder Woman #5-6)

In defeating Ares, Diana was greatly injured. The gods were so pleased with her that they took her into the sea and healed her. Then, Hermes gave her winged sandals which would enable her to travel freely between Themyscira and Man's World. (Wonder Woman #7) At some point, the god Pan was killed and replaced by a Manhunter android. It was this impostor who began a feud among the gods. The feud began when Zeus turned an amorous eye towards Diana, offering to make her a goddess if she participated in 'the ultimate sharing of the flesh'. When Diana and her mother opposed the great god, he was angered and punished Diana. She would have to complete a task for each of the gods, culminating in the defeat of the monsters beyond "Doom's Doorway." This doorway was the Amazon's charge for millennia and if Diana was unsuccessful, the Amazons would be destroyed. (Wonder Woman #10)

Diana succeeded in her trials, defeating numerous monsters including Echidna, the Chimera, the Cyclops, the Hydra, the Harpies and the Minotaur. Eventually, Pan's bones were discovered on Olympus but it was too late to save Diana from her labors. Joined by her mother, Diana did indeed destroy the demons beneath Themyscira with the help of the amulet of Harmonia (these demons were funneled into Ares). Diana also freed Heracles, who had borne the weight of Themyscira for eons while imprisoned in a stone form and had been scarred by various monsters. Heracles was accepted into Olympus. (Wonder Woman #11-14)

Soon thereafter, the gods secreted themselves away for a conference. At this time, Darkseid attacked Olympus. The dark god ceased hostilities, though, as soon as he realized the place was deserted. (Action Comics #600) When the gods returned, they had decided upon destroying Mount Olympus and undertaking a "cosmic migration" to the stars. Over Hermes' objections, they took several steps. First, The three elder brothers made a new pact to replace the original pact which divided Earth among them. Then, they combined the will of all the gods (minus Ares) and the strength of Amazon prayer, and used Diana's bracelets to amplify that power. (The bracelets are all that remained of Zeus' Aegis; this Aegis was made from the hide of Amalthea, the goat which reared him.) Thus, the old home was demolished and New Olympus was created. In order to properly establish this new home, it was necessary for the Gods to sequester themselves indefinitely. (Wonder Woman #16-19, 21).

Hermes defected from his brethren and would not join the migration. He had already involved himself in Man's World by stopping the evil Circe. (Wonder Woman #19) Hermes elected to remain on Earth and joined Diana in her mission. (Wonder Woman #23-24)

Wars of the Gods[edit]

Phobos returned alongside his sister Eris in alliance with Circe. Circe had amassed great power by bringing gods of various pantheons together. Among them were the Roman gods, who challenged the Olympians for their domain. It took much strength for Zeus to summon Hermes and Diana to New Olympus, where the gods had been trapped. Earth's heroes were able to turn the tide against Circe, but three gods died: Circe killed Hermes; Harmonia was killed by her sister Eris; and Eris herself was slain by Son of Vulcan. Zeus and Olympians decided then to follow the call of Cronus and the Titans to help guide other worlds in the universe. New Olympus was left to the Roman gods. (War of the Gods #1-4, Wonder Woman #58-60)

For unexplained reasons, Heracles struck a deal with a mortal man, Harold Campion, whereby the two would exchange places (Earth for Olympus) Heracles used the mirror of Circe to conceal his identity and adventured under the name Champion. (Wonder Woman #110-112) He cast a love spell on Diana and accompanied her for a time, until Diana discovered his true identity. (Wonder Woman #115-117)

In the Gods' absence, the Amazons began to revert to clay. To justify the Olympians' return to Earth, Zeus summoned Diana and several of her friends to testify before him. It was Hippolyta who tipped the scales, however. She played a secret card which greatly swayed them. (In truth, she simply reminded Ares that before her reincarnation, Hippolyta had been Ares' daughter, and thus Zeus' granddaughter). At this time, Zeus also granted strength and flight to Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Woman #122) Soon, Highfather of the New Gods summoned Zeus and Heracles to once again battle Darkseid. To this end, Zeus, Odin, Ares, Jove and Highfather merged into one being and entered the Source. When cast out, Zeus was gravely injured and remained bonded to Jove. Heracles returned with him to Olympus. (Wonder Woman #126, Jack Kirby's Fourth World #8)

Their greatest champion, Princess Diana soon lost her life against the devil, Neron. (Wonder Woman #125) Hera (now presiding over Olympus) transfigured Diana into a goddess of truth and welcomed her to live with the gods. Diana was told she could not interfere with the daily lives of mortals, unless prayed to. Hera sits on the throne; Diana admonished[clarification needed] (Wonder Woman #127-129) The gods shared the secret of their division with Diana and decided to reunite their essences with those of their Roman counterparts. (Wonder Woman #130-133) Diana could not be prevented from interfering with the mortal world and so she was banished to Earth. (Wonder Woman #136) She was soon also stripped of her immortality. (Wonder Woman #139)

Zeus' father, Cronus returned with an army of new Titans: Arch, Disdain, Harrier, Oblivion, Slaughter and Titan. Their power had grown from the faith of a cult on Earth. The Titans heralded the coming Cronus (Wonder Woman #139-140) Cronus sought to capture all power of the godwave. He began by defeating the Olympians and casting Zeus down to Earth. He then conquered the Hindu pantheon and headed for Heaven. But Wonder Woman freed the Olympians and united with the Hindus and the Pax Dei (heavenly host). Diana trounced Cronus but the god still managed to touch the power of the Source. In doing so, he gained perfect clarity. Humbled, he returned to mother Gaea. Afterwards, Zeus formed an alliance with the other pantheons. (Wonder Woman #147-150) Indeed, Zeus soon appeared to Superman with several allies under the banner of I.D.C.A.P. (Interfaith Deity Council of Active Polytheistics). (Superman: Man of Steel #127)

The merger of the Greek and Roman pantheons did not sit well with the Roman goddess Diana. She accepted an offer of power from the old "Shattered God," separated from Artemis and betrayed the Olympians. Diana died in battle with Wonder Woman when she was crushed by a statue of Zeus. The Olympians were incapacitated, but Wonder Woman eventually found a way to awaken them in time for them to strike decisively at the Shattered God. (Wonder Woman #189-194)

Merger of Pantheons[edit]

Goddesses (l to r): Mammitu, Demeter, Isis, Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Neith, Hestia and Bast

With the appearance of the Bana-Mighdallian Amazons, the Olympians faced a new prospect. Though devout Amazons, these newest citizens of Themyscira do not worship the Greek gods. Renouncing them millennia ago, the tribe instead worship a combination of Egyptian and middle eastern deities. The central gods worshipped by the desert Amazons are: Isis (wisdom and magic), Mammitu (judgement bringer), Bast (nature and feminine), and Neith (mother figure and protection). These gods followed the Bana-Mighdallian Amazons to Themyscira where they continued to be worshipped. Facing the situation with hands tied, both pantheons agreed to integrate themselves with each other for the benefit of their people. Though these new gods do not reside on Olympus, they are treated with diplomacy when called to aid the Amazons in a united godly role. Despite the gods mentioned being part of the inner-circle of deities in the Bana's belief system, less significant gods have been shown to be part of their godly pantheon as well such as Sekhmet (war god), Thoth (their only known male god) and possibly Ishtar (love goddess). The gods of Bana-Mighdall proved their loyalty to the Olympians by aiding the Greek gods in battle when the war gods Sekhmet and Ares previously devised a coup on Olympus.

Revolution[edit]

For millennia, the goddess Athena waited patiently for the chance to prove herself worthy of the crown of Olympus. As Earth society developed, the goddess of knowledge grew in power and cunning, and ultimately challenged her father Zeus for the throne. To win this challenge, Athena sent for her champion, Wonder Woman, to face that of Zeus — Briareos of the Hekatonkheires. Though she was still blind, Diana was aided by the winged Pegasus but seemingly fell to Briareos. Unknown to Zeus, this was a trick played by Athena and Diana to prove to the latter that Zeus had no compassion and was not a worthy ruler. Athena agreed to forfeit if Zeus would spare Diana's life, but he denied her, proving his unworthiness. This prompted the other goddesses to deliver the head of Medusa unto Diana, which she used to turn Briareos to stone. Athena took the throne at last, but Zeus immediately began plotting a coup with his brothers in Tartarus. (Wonder Woman #212-213)

Athena immediately set Diana on a quest into Hades' realm to free the god Hermes. She descended beneath Doom's Doorway with Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark) and Ferdinand the Minotaur and was confronted by Zeus' alliance. Ironically, she might not have succeeded but for the machinations of her constant nemesis, Ares. (Wonder Woman #215) Ares acted as a double agent and gained Zeus' trust, but when the opportunity arose, he killed his uncle Hades and assumed control of the netherworld. Diana then used Hermes' caduceus to revive him. Back on Olympus, Zeus asked for Athena's forgiveness, which she granted. Athena then also restored Diana's sight, but bound it to her own. (Wonder Woman #216-217)

It was on this quest that Cassandra Sandsmark finally learned of her own godly origins. Her mother had indeed lain with Zeus, but Helena Sandsmark forbade Diana or anyone from revealing the truth to Cassie. (Wonder Woman #217)

Not long after this, Athena sensed a dark destiny for the gods amidst the cosmic mechanations of Alexander Luthor. In the crisis created by his chaos, Diana was forced to kill Maxwell Lord, and incurred the ire of the world's public. (Wonder Woman #219) The U.S. government responded by mobilizing against Themyscira, and Diana realized that as long as she was a target, the Amazons would never be safe. Diana prayed to the gods to take the Amazons to safety, but got more than she bargained for. (Wonder Woman #224) On Olympus, she pleaded against Athena's decision to remove the gods from Earth's affairs. Regardless, the gods departed, leaving Diana bereft of family and faith. (Wonder Woman #225)

Aquaman has also had run-ins with the Olympian sea deities. Poseidon had long relinquished the title of Sea King to Orin of Atlantis, but when Aquaman's subjects lost faith in him, Poseidon arranged a challenge with his son Triton. (Aquaman v.5 #34) Aquaman bested Triton and the godling fell from grace with his father. In anger, Triton slayed Poseidon and claimed his power. (Aquaman #42) Aquaman freed Poseidon by appealing to Lord Hades, and when they returned from the dead, Poseidon slew his son in turn. Disgusted with mortal affairs, Poseidon bequeathed his trident to Aquaman. (Aquaman #45-46) Aquaman somehow lost the Trident, though, as it was last seen with Queen Clea. (Wonder Woman Annual Vol. 3, #1)

Other Ancient Beings[edit]

Wonder Woman also met the Lamia of myth, who laid with Zeus and bore his children. Hera changed her into a snake-like creature and killed her children. She now lurks in the American sewers, acting as a benevolent caregiver to troubled children. She attempted to commit suicide using Diana’s lasso (which she had her young friend Sneaker steal), but Diana stopped her and Lamia disappeared along with Sneaker, with whom she had developed a mother-daughter relationship. (Showcase '93 #11)

Later, Wonder Girl also encountered the Empousai called "Lamiai." Lamiai bit into Cassie but recoiled when she discovered that she had god's blood. Before she could reveal Cassie's father, she was slain by Ares. Lamiai's brother, Mormolykeia also battled Ferdinand the Minotaur during this quest. (Wonder Woman #216)

Rise of the Olympian[edit]

  • Wonder Woman vol. 3 #26-33

Members[edit]

Member First appearance Description
Aphrodite All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941) Aphrodite is the Goddess of Love and Beauty. In the 1940s, Aphrodite was Wonder Woman's patron goddess.
Apollo Wonder Woman #3 (February-March 1943) Apollo is the God of the Sun and Music, and twin brother to Artemis. In the New 52, Apollo sought to claim the throne of Olympus after Zeus had gone missing. He was eventually killed by the First Born, though he has since returned.
Ares National Comics #1 (July 1940) Ares is the God of War, and is often one of Wonder Woman's deadliest adversaries. He originally went by his Roman name, Mars.
Artemis Wonder Woman #3 (February-March 1943) Artemis is the Goddess of Wild Animals and the Moon, and twin sister to Apollo.
Athena All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941) Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom and Warfare. She is often depicted as one of Wonder Woman's primary patron deities.
Deimos Wonder Woman #183 (July-August 1969) Deimos is the God of Terror. In the post-crisis universe, Deimos used manipulation to incite a third World War. Wonder Woman and her allies put an end to Deimos's plot, which resulted in his death. He was later resurrected by his brother Phobos, though he possessed the Joker's body.
Demeter Wonder Woman #328 (December 1985) Demeter is the Goddess of the Harvest.
Dionysus Wonder Woman #7 (August 1987) Dionysus is the God of Wine.
Eirene Wonder Woman #45 (December 2015) Eirene is the Goddess of Peace. In the New 52, Eirene is madly in love with Ares as she feels balance, and complete with him. But if Ares is not around, she becomes extremely violent, angry, and mentally unstable.
Eris Wonder Woman #183 (July-August 1969) Eris is the Goddess of Chaos. In the New 52, Eris goes by the name "Strife," and is often a major foe for Wonder Woman.
Eros Wonder Woman #317 (October 1984) Eros is the God of Love.
Hades Wonder Woman #329 (February 1986) Hades is the God of the Underworld.
Harmonia Wonder Woman #2 (March 1987) Harmonia is the Goddess of Harmony.
Hecate Superman Family #218 (May 1982) Hecate is the Goddess of Witchcraft. Despised by the other gods, Hecate empowered the witch Circe, giving her incredible magical abilities. In the New 52, Hecate is a serpentine witch who is responsible for the creation of Donna Troy.
Hemera Has Yet To Appear In DC Comics Hemera is the Goddess of Day.
Hephaestus Action Comics #267 (August 1960) Hephaestus is the God of Fire and Blacksmithing.
Hera Sea Devils #14 (November-December 1963) Hera is the Goddess of Marriage, Home, Woman, Childbirth, and Family.
Heracles All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941) Heracles, also known as Hercules, is the son of Zeus.
Hermes Action Comics #267 (August 1960) Hermes is the Messenger of the Gods, and the God of Thievery.
Hestia Wonder Woman #1 (February 1987) Hestia is the Goddess of the Hearth.
Morpheus Wonder Woman #140 (August 1963) Morpheus is the God of Sleep.
Nemesis Wonder Woman #611 (July 2011) Nemesis is the Goddess of Vengeance.
Nyx Batwoman #13 (December 2012) Nyx is the Goddess of Night.
Pan The Fury of Firestorm #5 (October 1985) Pan is the God of the Wild.
Persephone Wonder Woman #5 (June 1987) Persephone is the Goddess of the Underworld, and wife to Hades.
Phobos Wonder Woman #183 (July-August 1969) Phobos is the God of Fear.
Poseidon Flash Comics #9 (September 1940) Poseidon is the God of the Sea.
Triton Aquaman Annual #1 (1995) Triton is the Messenger of the Sea, and son of Poseidon. While often an Aquaman villain, he was killed by Wonder Woman after he murdered several children.
Zeus Action Comics #267 (August 1960) Zeus is the God of Sky, Lightning, Thunder, Law, and Justice. In the New 52, it was revealed that Zeus was Wonder Woman's father.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

  • Zeus, Hera, Ares, and Hades appear in the film Wonder Woman.
  • Although they do not appear in Justice League: War, the Olympian Gods are briefly mentioned by Wonder Woman during a conversation with Superman about the other five heroes, referencing Batman as Hades (who is just as dark and mysterious), Green Lantern as Apollo (the God of Light), Flash as Hermes (the Messenger of Olympus and God of Speed), Cyborg as Hephaestus (the Blacksmith of Olympus and God of Metal) and Shazam as Zeus (God of Lightning).

Video games[edit]

  • The Olympian Gods are featured in Injustice: Gods Among Us. In Wonder Woman's ending, Zeus and the Olympian Gods fear that what happened in the Regime's reality might happen in their own and begin a campaign to wipe out all the metahumans. Wonder Woman and her Amazons start a war against the Olympian Gods in rebellion for what they have done to the other metahumans and Zeus and the others are ultimately defeated with the Amazons becoming the new rulers in their place. Additionally, Ares appears as playable villain character and Athena appears briefly during Wonder Woman's fighting intro scene.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The World's Finest - Justice League". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  2. ^ "The World's Finest - Justice League Unlimited". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  3. ^ "The World's Finest - Justice League Unlimited". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  4. ^ "The World's Finest - Justice League Unlimited". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 

External links[edit]