Zeus (DC Comics)
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Zeus as he appears in The New 52 continuity
|First appearance||Superman #28 (May 1944)|
|Created by||George Pérez|
|Place of origin||Mount Olympus|
|Team affiliations||Olympian Gods|
|Notable aliases||Jupiter, Jove|
|Abilities||Deity, vast supernatural abilities including magic, size-changing, shapeshifting, cloning, energy manipulation, immortality, and command of storms and lightning, superspeed, superstrength.|
Zeus is a fictional deity in the DC Comics universe, an interpretation of Zeus from Greek mythology. His appearances are most significant in stories of Wonder Woman (Princess Diana). With the 2011 relaunch of DC Comics dubbed The New 52, Zeus has received a prominent role in the Wonder Woman mythos, as he is now the biological father of Wonder Woman through Hippolyta.
Fictional character biography
Zeus' origins and early history mostly conform to the way they are presented in classical mythology. He is a child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea and leader of the twelve Olympian Gods. During a war between the Titans and Olympians, Zeus slays his father and assumes his place as King of the Gods, ruling from Mount Olympus with his sister-wife Hera. He is the father of numerous gods and heroes, the most famous being Hercules.
In the DC Universe, the machinations of the alien dark and demon god Darkseid when he spreads tales of the Roman Gods cause the Olympians to split into multiple aspects, with the Roman gods existing for a time as separate entities. Zeus' counterpart Jupiter rules his own Olympus in a separate dimension following this. The two pantheons are merged into single entities again centuries later.
In present day, Zeus has been a benefactor of the Amazons, the last remaining people that still worship the Olympians. However, his patriarchal attitudes, disregard for mortals, and unreasonable demands have sometimes led to conflict with his followers, particularly their champion Wonder Woman.
After Wonder Woman's defeat of Ares, which caused the latter to go into self-exile, Zeus becomes interested in Diana and wants her virginity, offering to make her a goddess. Diana becomes the first woman ever to refuse his advances while professing love for him as god and father. Enraged at being rejected, Zeus threatens her, but is summoned back to Olympus by Hera at the urging at the Goddesses who created the Amazons and are incensed themselves at Zeus for trying to make Themyscira his personal brothel. As punishment, Zeus demands that Diana undertake the Challenge of the Gods, on which she defeats the evils that have been trapped under Paradise Island, including a Hecatonshire and the Lernaean Hydra. She frees Heracles, who had been turned to stone and was supporting the Island.
During a War of the Gods, Zeus leads the Olympians in a conflict with their Roman counterparts and other deities, until mortal heroes intervene to end the war. After Darkseid destroys the glory of Olympus, Zeus convinces the other gods to abandon both it and Earth, and only Hermes refuses. The gods later return to Olympus but have occasionally been forced to defend or relocate it.
As in classical myth, Zeus frequently cheats on his wife Hera and couples with mortals to produce demi-god offspring. Zeus has been revealed as the father of Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) and shares a complicated relationship with his daughter, who resents his absence from most of her life.
Zeus is briefly deposed as ruler of Olympus during a coup staged by his daughter Athena with help from Ares. In the wake of this conflict, Athena becomes Queen of the Gods and Ares is appointed Lord of the Underworld. Shortly after this, the gods enter their second exile, following the Amazons into another dimension after the events of the Infinite Crisis. Their return to the Earth-realm is brought about by Darkseid, who captures the Olympians and tampers with their memories, seeking the secrets of their power. In Countdown to Final Crisis Darkseid's New Gods pose as Olympians and manipulate their followers. Once freed from Darkseid, the old Olympian order is restored. Athena seemingly perishes from her sustained injuries and Zeus once again becomes King of the Gods, giving Mary Marvel her powers back after she frees the Gods from a chamber on Apokolips.
Zeus' manipulations of his followers finally come to a head with the creation of the Gargareans, a race of warriors intended as male counterparts of the Amazons. Zeus murders the Hawaiian god Kāne Milohai, a patron of Wonder Woman, and uses his heart to resurrect Achilles Warkiller, whom he appoints as leader of the Gargareans. Zeus also instates Achilles as the new ruler of Themyscira. When Wonder Woman learns of this and of the murder of Kāne, she becomes enraged and physically assaults Zeus. This blasphemy shocks her mother Hippolyta and leads Diana to enter self-exile, forsaking her former
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Wonder Woman's origin is revised, with her now being the biological daughter of Zeus. Zeus and Hippolyta engaged in combat, and their fight ended with the couple having sex, and thus Diana was conceived. This encounter was hidden from Diana, who was raised to believe that she was born out of clay, in order to protect Diana from Hera (Zeus' wife). Lennox (another illegitimate offspring of Zeus) commented that Zeus has been "scarpered off the immortal coil", hinting that he has apparently died. It is revealed that Zeus was reborn as a baby by his daughter Athena (much as Zeus had given birth to her from his head) who had been plunged into the fictitious personality and matching body of a woman named Zola who believed Zeke to be her youngest son by Zeus. Fulfilling the prophecy involving Zeus's last born son, Zeke is revealed to be the king of the gods himself, and the spell on Athena ends. Wonder Woman pleads with Athena, however, to vacate this form she has created so Wonder Woman can keep her friend Zola and mother to the new baby Zeus, who could be a better king of the gods with Zola as the mother he never really had before in his life.
Powers and abilities
Depending on the writer, Zeus' powers require either direct or indirect worship to sustain them. Without this worship his powers may fade over time allowing other gods to equal or surpass him.
In most stories, Zeus is one of or the most powerful Olympian god. He has vast supernatural powers with a focus on weather control, but can accomplish nearly anything including shapeshifting, resurrecting the dead, and creating new life.
In other media
- In the long-running animated series Super Friends, Wonder Woman says either "Great Zeus" or "Great Hera" as an interjection when she and other superheroes are in difficult situations.
- Zeus appears in the Challenge of the Super Friends episode "Battle of the Gods", voiced by Bob Holt. When Hera gets jealously angered at Aphrodite's praise for the Super Friends, she and Aphrodite bicker over the matter. Outraged by such a disturbance, Zeus decides to settle this dispute by having the Super Friends partake in different trials where Hera hopes that none of them will succeed in. The trials that Zeus puts the Super Friends through involve having Superman find and defeat the Minotaur, having Batman and Robin solve the Riddle of the Sphinx, having Wonder Woman retrieve the necklace of Medusa, and having Aquaman retrieve the Golden Fleece.
DC Extended Universe
- Zeus is referenced in Wonder Woman (2017). Zeus and the other Olympian Gods are depicted through CGI effects, showing the images of the storybook that Queen Hippolyta reads to a young Diana. Queen Hippolyta explains to Diana that Zeus is the leader of the ancient Olympian Gods, and that he created the Amazons to protect and help humankind. Over time, his son Ares revolted, corrupted men and killed most of the Olympian Gods in battle. Zeus defeated Ares and cast him off of Mount Olympus while getting wounded in the process. After the imprisonment of the Amazonian women by the wicked men of the Earth, Zeus creates Themyscira to protect them, creating a cloaking effect to hide the island from the world. In his dying breath, Zeus leaves his Amazon warriors with the care of his and Hippolyta's daughter Diana and gives them a gift in the form of an artifact, the "Godkiller" sword. Later, it is revealed that Diana herself is the "Godkiller" as only a god can kill another god.
- Zeus appears in the film Justice League (2017), portrayed by Sergi Constance. He was seen during a flashback scene to ancient Earth. In ancient times as explained by Diana, the united armies of the Olympians, Atlanteans, Amazons, humans, and the Green Lantern Corps worked together to defeat Steppenwolf, ending his previous invasion. Zeus was present during the battle among the other Olympian Old Gods and used a lightning bolt to separate the three Mother Boxes to prevent them from fusing into each other. After the battle, the forces unite in protecting the Mother Boxes. Two are protected in Atlantis and Themyscira, respectively, while the third is buried by the humans with the aid of the Olympians so as to prevent their destructive power from ever threatening Earth again.
- Zeus appears in the animated film Wonder Woman voiced by David McCallum. He and Hera appeared to prevent Hippolyta from killing Ares during a fight between the Amazons and the Armies of Ares.
- Zeus appears in DC Universe Online. He appears in "Amazon Fury Part III" where Ares and Circe make plans of deposing Zeus.
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #7-16
- Action Comics #600
- Wonder Woman Vol. 4 #3
- Wonder Woman Vol. 4 #5
- Wonder Woman Vol. 4 #35
- Weintraub, Steve (June 21, 2016). "'Justice League': Over 60 Things to Know About the 'Batman v Superman' Follow-Up". Collider.com. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
- Zeus at DC Comics Wiki
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