Hades (DC Comics)
|First appearance||Wonder Woman #16|
|Created by||William Moulton Marston (writer & artist)|
|Alter ego||Pluto, Hell|
|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 (also sometimes referred to as Pluto or Hell) is a fictional character appearing in DC Comics publications and related media, commonly as an adversary and sometimes-ally of the super hero Wonder Woman. Based upon the Greek mythological figure of the same name, he is the Greek god of the dead and ruler of the underworld.
Hades first appeared under his Roman name Pluto in Wonder Woman #16, volume 1, published in the summer of 1946, written by Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston. He is presented here as the villainous King Pluto, kidnapping women from Earth, taking them to Pluto and using them to decorate his castle. Later appearances named him as Hades, such as in Wonder Woman's final Bronze Age adventure in Wonder Woman #329 (vol. 1), 1986, as well as in writer/artist George Pérez's Post-Crisis reboot of the Wonder Woman mythos in 1987. The current New 52 version of the character, referred to primarily as Hell and sometimes as Hades, was introduced in 2011. In a departure from previous incarnations who were presented as adult men, the current Hades/Hell, designed by artist Cliff Chiang, is a young boy in black and red armor, his head crowned with a mass of melting candles, his face partially obscured by dripping wax.
Fictional character biography
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 the 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 rules these realms with his niece and queen Persephone.
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.
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. 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. 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
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, 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". He is still the ruler of the underworld and the dead, but his realm and everything in it is now an extension of his will and essence.
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. This includes going so far as refusing to believe it is possible for a Lasso-ensnared Diana to be capable of loving everyone, including him.
Though Diana wishes to aid him, 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, and the bullet should make him fall in love with the first person he sees.
Hades is featured in the Smallville Season 11 digital comic based on the TV series, promising immortality to Shadowpact Felix Faust and Mister Bones.  After being imprisoned by Zeus, Hades became angry and resentful and longed to see the beauty of Olympus again. He was vindictive to those who failed him, as seen when he turned Bones' skin invisible. However he has also shown a slightly cowardly side, as seen when Hades surrendered after Superman threatened to throw him into space. The look of terror in Hades's eyes as he looked into the eternal void of the twenty-eight known galaxies further backs this up, as does the fact that he rarely fights his opponents directly, instead ordering his slaves to attack Superman and Wonder Woman but was imprisoned in Tartarus with his slave Faust .
In other media
- 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 to rule over its 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.
- On Smallville, Granny Goodness claims Hades (along with Lucifer and Kali) was one of the aliases used by Darkseid.
- 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.
- Hades appears in DC Universe Online voiced by Mike MacRea.
- In Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, the New 52 version of Hades is one of the thousands of characters that can be summoned by the player.
- Wallace, Dan (2008), "Hades", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 152, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Wonder Woman #329
- Wonder Woman vol. 4 #5
- Wonder Woman vol. 4 #6
- Wonder Woman vol. 4 #7
- Wonder Woman vol. 4 #8
- Wonder Woman vol. 4 #16
- Smallville Season 11: Olympus #1-4
- Smallville Season 11: Olympus #4