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Hades (DC)

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Lord Hades

Lord Hades

You dare to challenge a god?!
~ Hades to the Justice League.

Hades, also known as Lord Hades, is an evil god in the DC Comics universe based on the actual Hades from Greek mythology. He is the enemy of the Justice League although he is primarily featured in the Wonder Woman series, alternately as a divine benefactor and enemy of the heroine as well.

History

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 3 sub-sections, the Asphodel Fields (a misty after-world), Tartarus (abode of the damned), and the Elysian Fields (the paradisal resting place of great heroes). Hades ruled these realms beside his niece and queen Persephone.

Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths

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, 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.

Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths

As a result of the machinations of the immortal alien despot 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.

Appearances in other media

TV appearance

  • Handsome Lord Hades

    Hades' handsome human form.

    Hades appeared on the Justice League episodes Paradise Lost Pt. I & II, and he 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 a black and silver armor. He is a former lover of Wonder Woman's mother, the Amazon Queen Hippolyta and (it is implied) possibly the real father of Wonder Woman. However, he was significantly altered. In the comic books as in the original myths, Hades while feared was not evil. He was portrayed as a hard but ultimately just judge. In the show, he was literally demonized and used as a stand in for the Devil. According to the episode Paradise Lost, (based on author John Milton's book by the same name which retells Lucifer's War Against Heaven) 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).
    Monstrous Lord Hades

    Hades' demonic true form.

    Through the first episode, Hades as shown as a fiery and monstrous being with—it seems—horns on his head, pointy ears and a 3-pronged tongue that is of somewhat of Lovecraftian proportions. 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 (God)" would be angry. Hades also implies to Diana that he is in fact her "father", saying that he and Hippolyta created her together. Hawkgirl has urged that 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.
  • In Smallville, Hades was one of the aliases used by Darkseid.

Movie Appearance

  • 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.

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