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Real Name: Hades Aidoneus

Occupation: Ruler of Hades and Tartarus, god of the dead and the underworld, former demonologist

Legal Status: Citizen of Olympus

Identity: The general populace of earth is unaware of the existence of Hades except as a mythological figure. He was publicly known in Ancient Greece and in the Roman Empire.

Other Aliases: Pluto (Roman Name), Mantus (Etruscan name), Dis, Zeus Katachthonius (“Zeus of the Underworld”), Hayden P. Hellman, Hayden Reason, Mr. Pluto (mortal identities)

Place of Birth: Unknown, possibly Olympus

Marital Status: Married

Known Relatives: Cronus (father), Rhea (mother), Zeus, Poseidon (brothers), Hera, Demeter, Hestia (sisters), Apollo, Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hercules, Hermes (nephews), Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Eileithyia, Hebe, Discord, Helen, Pandia (nieces) Persephone (niece/wife), Hecate, Circe (cousins), Ophion, Hyperion, Oceanus, Japet, Crius, Coeus (uncles), Dione, Theia, Tethys, Mnemosyne, Themis (aunts), Ouranus (grandfather, deceased), Gaea (grandmother),

Group Affiliation: Gods of Olympus, member of an unnamed alliance with Earth's other gods of the dead

Base of Operations: Hades (Tartarus)

First Known Appearance: (historical) Red Raven #1, (modern) Thor I #127

History: Hades is the eldest son of Cronus, ruler of an extra dimensional race of beings known as the Titans, and his wife, the Titaness Rhea. (Cronus the Titan is not to be confused with the Eternal known as Chronos or Kronos). Fearing that he would be dethroned by one of his offspring just as he himself had overthrown his own father Ouranus, Cronus imprisoned each of his own offspring in Tartarus, the darkest section of Hades, the Olympian underworld, as soon as he or she was horn. (Later legends erroneously claimed that Cronus had actually swallowed his children and that they remained alive inside him until Zeus released them.) Appalled, the children's mother Rhea gave birth to Zeus without Cronus's knowledge and gave him to the primeval Earth goddess Gaea to be raised in secret. The adult Zeus freed his siblings and led them in a successful revolt against Cronus and the Titans. Using a helmet of invisibility given to him by the Cyclopes, Hades was able to steal Cronus's principal weapons from his palace while wearing a helmet of invisibility.

After the defeat of the Titans, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon cast lots to divide up creation among them. Zeus won the right to claim the heavens, Poseidon claimed the sea for himself and Hades obtained the underworld known as Tartarus, where Zeus had exiled the Titans. Zeus knew that he needed a stern warden to guard the enemies of the gods and that brooding Hades was the only one of his siblings who found life in the underworld suitable to his temperament. Therefore, Zeus assigned sovereignty of the entire underworld to his elder brother. Hades was quite pleased with this new role and rarely left the underworld over following centuries. Hades assigned a system of processing for “shades” (souls) that crossed over and divided the underworld into different regions as according to how mortal behaved in life. Those worthy of honor were assigned solace in the Elysian Fields while those souls who had in life were evil or had conspired against the gods were punished in the bowels of Tartarus. Those who could not be judged either way were left to roam through the Asphodel Fields into Erebus. Three judges named Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthys, all sons of Zeus who had been just rulers in live, were given the task of judging the souls of the dead who passed through and deciding to where they belonged in the afterlife. Although Hades ruled all of Tartarus, he named that part of the underworld limited to the spirits of the afterlife after himself.

At some point, Hades realized he desired companionship in the underworld. He fell in love with Zeus’s daughter, Persephone, the goddess of spring, by the goddess Demeter, and dutifully asked permission to marry her. Zeus approved the match, but rightly guessed that Demeter would never allow her daughter to live in the underworld. He suggested that Hades carry her off by force, and Hades later emerged from the earth in a black horse-drawn hearse and snatched up Persephone and carried her back to the underworld. Demeter refused to allow crops to grow in Ancient Greece until Persephone was returned. Eventually, a compromise was reached, and Persephone spends only a portion of the year in the underworld with Hades as her husband.

Although he rarely visited earth afterward, Hades was often intruded by heroes who invaded the underworld on quests or on seeking advice from the departed spirits of the dead. Despite his cold heart, Hades allowed the Thracian prince Orpheus to retrieve his true love, Eurydice, from the underworld providing that they not look back as they departed, but Hades sent his vizier, Thanatos, the god of death, to snatch her back as Orpheus looked back upon her. Hades’ nephew Hercules, before his ascent to godhood, was forced to perform twelve great labors for King Eurystheus of Mycenae, and as one of these labors, Hercules had to invade Hades and capture Cerberus, the guardian of the underworld, who could take the form of a savage, three-headed dog. King Theseus of Athens also made a pact along with his best friend, King Peirithous of the Lapith tribes, to marry a daughter of Zeus. Peirithous had eyes for Persephone and as they reached the underworld, Hades wilily suggested they sit to rest after their long journey. The seat they took clamped down on them and took them prisoners as punishment for their daring kidnapping plot. When Hercules arrived to claim Cerberus, he took it upon himself to free his friend, Theseus, and ripped him free of his seat, but as he tried to free Peirithous, Hades forbade him from doing so, since it had been his motive all along to invade the underworld to abduct Persephone. However, since Hercules freed Theseus, Hades reportedly formed an embittered hostility to the hero that has since supposedly been the motive of his hatred for the son of Zeus, and he became one of Hercules’s greatest enemies.  

Since the time of his appointment as ruler of Tartarus, Hades had populated his realm with the spirits and ghosts of mortals who had worshipped the Olympian gods. When the worship of the Olympian gods died out, giving way to Christianity, Zeus forbade Hades from collecting any more "souls." Hades obeyed the edict resentfully, having become accustomed to an ever-growing number of subjects in his realm. The bitter Hades finally convinced himself that Zeus had proven himself to be an incompetent leader by allowing the worship of the Olympians to come to an end. Zeus, noting Hades’ increasingly ominous rebelliousness, warned him against attempting to overthrow him and sentenced him to remain monarch of Tartarus until Hades could find a willing replacement.

After retiring from their godly duties, several of the Olympian gods, especially, Hercules, Aphrodite and Apollo, visited earth in order to live among mortals in human roles in order to keep track of their mortal descendants or just engage in adventures suited to their personalities. During the Dark Ages, Hades oft times masqueraded on earth as an avowed witch-hunter or demonologist in order to seek out and explore incidents of paranormal activity that interested him, possibly as a means of secretly accruing more souls to the underworld beyond Zeus’s knowledge. In his visits beyond Greece, he encountered for the first time many of the so-called gods of the dead from the other pantheons on earth, including Ahpuch of the Mexican Pantheon and Eriskegal from the former Sumerian Empire.

In one of Hercules's sojourns on Earth, Hades appeared on Earth in the guise of Hayden P. Hellman (nicknamed "Mr. Pluto"), a movie producer at California's Stardust Studios. Thus disguised, Hades had the naive Hercules sign a contract that Hercules believed was for appearing in a project film. But in fact, it was an Olympian contract binding Hercules to become Hades’ successor as ruler of Tartarus. Having signed the contract, Hercules was unable to battle Hades on his own behalf, but the Asgardian god Thor fought against Hades’ forces to free Hercules. Shocked by the massive destruction wreaked in Tartarus by Thor, Hades possibly realized for the first time that he loved his kingdom and could not bear to forsake it. Hades therefore released Hercules from the contract.

But Hades still wished to add new conquests to his kingdom. He traveled to an alternate future of Earth in which nuclear radiation had transformed many human beings into inhuman-looking mutates and brought an army of mutates back to his own time to conquer Earth for him. Hades and his mutates were opposed by Thor, his fellow Asgardians Balder and Sif, and the United States Armed Forces. Finally, Zeus himself intervened, banishing both Hades and his mutates to Tartarus. Later, Odin, monarch of the Asgardians, physically died, but time had been magically suspended about him so that his spirit would not yet leave his body. Hades attempted to claim Odin's soul but was opposed by Odin's son Thor and by the Asgardian death goddess Hela. Rather than allow Hades to deprive her of Odin's soul, Hela restored Odin to life. Odin interrupted the battle between Thor and Hades, who then returned to Tartarus. Still later, Hades and his nephew Ares conspired to provoke a battle between Thor and Hercules. But Thor and Hercules learned of the deception, and Thor managed to defeat Hades on Earth.

Sometime later, Hades renewed his alliances with other the gods of the dead, and then demanded that Zeus command Hercules and the goddess Aphrodite to marry Hades’ allies Ares and Hippolyta. Zeus, expecting that Hades would otherwise lead the other underworld gods in an attack on Olympus, at first agreed. In fact, Hades still intended to conquer Olympus; Hades believed that Hercules and Aphrodite were the only two Olympians who could prevent his taking over Olympus, but, according to Zeus's law, once they were married to Ares and Hippolyta, Hercules and Aphrodite would be unable to oppose them in combat. But finally, Zeus called Hades’ bluff, withdrew his commands for the marriages, and sent Hades back to Tartarus. Hades has since met with the death gods of other pantheons on yet another occasion, when the primordial Demogorge threatened all the gods of earth.

Hades has extended his frustration toward Hercules to include that of Thor and all their allies. He imprisoned the Avengers in Tartarus after Zeus held them responsible for Hercules had incurred, but they fought their way out toward Olympus. He has also bartered with Loki who wanted to release Typhon, an ancient enemy of the Olympian gods, against the Avengers. Zeus confronted Hades over his culpability in releasing Typhon, but Persephone defended him in his innocence. Hades and Ares later attacked Thor unprovoked for revenge during Thor's temporary madness and were badly beaten as a result. Hades tried to use their injuries to turn Zeus against Odin and Asgard as their allies but failed when the Sif pleaded to Zeus over the true details of the attack.

Recently, Hades seems to have come to terms with Hercules after giving him permission to revisit the underworld as part of a new modern series of labors. Confessing that Hercules was always good for his procurement of subjects, he allowed Hercules to enter the borders of Elysium to once again reunite with his first wife. It remains to be seen if Hades has given up his dreams of conquest.

Height: 6’ 5”

Weight: 520 lbs.

Eyes: Grey (sometimes invisible)

Hair: Black (balding)

Strength Level: Hades possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) 70 tens. Among the Olympian gods, his level of strength is matched only by those of Poseidon and Ares, and exceeded only by those of Zeus and Hercules.

Known Superhuman Powers: Hades possesses the conventional physical attributes of an Olympian god. Like all Olympians, he is immortal; he has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed; it would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him physical death. Even then, it may be possible for Zeus or a god of equal power to revive him. Hades possesses superhuman strength and his Olympian metabolism gives him far greater than human endurance at all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Olympians' superhuman strength and weight.)

Hades also has extraordinary energy-wielding abilities equaled among the Olympians only by those of Poseidon, and surpassed only by those of Zeus. Only a few of Hades’ many energy-wielding powers have as yet been depicted. Hades can fire powerful force belts from his hands, erect powerful, nearly impenetrable force fields, and nearly impenetrable force fields, and create interdimensional apertures to enable him to transport himself from one dimension to another. He can weaken an opponent's strength with his touch. Hades can create mystical flame and sheathe himself with such flame while himself remaining unharmed. Hades can create weapons of mystical flame, such as a spear or sword of fire, which can paralyze an opponent.  

Hades also also has extraordinary senses for paranormal and supernatural energies. Sensitive to psychic activity, he can see ghosts and perceive information from earthbound entities even without their permission. 

It has been alleged that Hades is less powerful on Earth, or in other dimensions, such as Asgard or Valhalla, than he is in his own realm of Tartarus.

Abilities: Hades is educated in supernatural and occult knowledge as well as mystical occult rituals predating the Sumerian Empire. In his mortal identity as Hayden Reason, he is the foremost expert in parapsychology and demonology.

Weapons/Paraphernalia: Hades has a helmet of invisibility made for him by the Cyclopes, one-eyed giants who were trapped in Tartarus along with Hades by Cronus. Using it, Hades can make himself magically invisible even to other Olympians.

Hades wields a large battleaxe through which he can project and focus his force bolts (although he is fully capable of projecting the bolts without it). The battleaxe is made of enchanted adamantine, an ore native to Olympus, and is virtually indestructible. One of the axes was smashed by a spell of the Norns in recent years but Hades has others. All of them were constructed for Hades by the Cyclopes.

Base of Operations: Hades rules over Tartarus, the Olympian underworld, or realm of the dead. Where the spirits of the Olympian gods and those of their worshippers went to dwell after death. Tartarus is actually a pocket dimension accessible from both Earth and Olympus. The Acheron River in Ancient Aetolia (now part of modern Greece) reportedly flowed into the underworld where it linked with the Styx. There were several locations on Earth that lead into Tartarus including Taenarum, the Alcyonian Lake at Lerna near Argos and Lake Avernus near Naples, Italy, but these may actually be underwater locations containing portals to the underworld. In some accounts, Hades’ realm was actually located on earth in the vicinity of the northern boundary of the Black Sea, but it may have been mystically relocated to its current location. On Earth, there were a series of islands near the mouth of the Danube called the Isles of the Blessed. One of these islands, called White Island, serves as the home for the spirits of Achilles, Patroclus, and the two Ajaxes of the Trojan War along with several other ghosts from the Trojan War. General Leonymus of Crotona had been sent here by the Delphic oracle to be cured of a wound.

Spirits or “shades” that arrived in Tartarus usually appeared as decomposing and deteriorating immaterial corpses in a state resembling that in which they died. A person who died of natural causes would typically appear normal while a decapitation or hanging victim would appear headless. On earth, these ghosts take on a less coherent and misty form linked to ectoplasm, the psychic ethereal energy given off by all living things. Spirits usually arrived in Tartarus on the border of the river Styx, which has as its tributaries the rivers Acheron, Cocytus, Aornis, the flaming river Phlegethon and Lethe, whose waters when drunk induce forgetfulness. Spirits were required to drink from the Lethe to forget their former lives on earth. The arriving spirits are then conveyed across the Styx by the ferryman Charon. They then pass the guardian Cerberus who takes the form of a savage three-headed dog. The arriving spirits pass through the dismal Asphodel Fields to a section called Erebus, where the palace of Hades and Persephone stands.

Near the palace, newly arrived spirits are judged by the shades of the mortals Minos, Aeacus and Rhadamanthys before being sent along one of three paths. Those who were neither truly good nor truly evil are sent back to the road through the Asphodel Fields. Those who were evil are condemned to the lowest part of Tartarus, a dark place of terrible punishments, sometimes called Tartarus to distinguish it from the rest of the underworld, where the shades of Titan warriors are kept. The virtuous travel the path to Elysium, a beautiful and peaceful realm of paradise where they dwell in eternal bliss. Elysium, also called the Elysian Fields, could be a part of the true afterlife described in Judeo-Christian Religion and may be a separate plane of existence from that of Hades/Tartarus proper.

Comments: In Greek Mythology, Hades was a grim god, but not a maligned one, having nothing in common with the Christian devil, but yet, because of his connection to the dead, he has been depicted as a sinister and diabolical character in the Marvel Universe as well as in Disney’s “Hercules.” In mythology, he has such an affinity to the underworld that it would be incomprehensible to him to allow anyone else to rule it. He has been portrayed more accurately in the DC Universe and “The Legendary Journeys” cosmology. While prevalent in the history of the “Legendary Journeys” timeline, Hades has barely shown any known activity in the DC Universe as he does in the Marvel Universe.

It should be noted that that the position of “god of dead” is often not equal to “god of death” or “god of the underworld.” While some cultures do unite the roles, they are not always preclusive. In Greek-Roman myth, Hades is the god of the dead while his vizier, Thanatos, the god of death, is the actual presence who guides the dead to the underworld. In Celtic Myth, Mider rules the divinities of the underworld while his son Arawn is the god of dead. In African myth, Ndriananadhary rules the underworld while Damballah rules the dead and Sagbata represents the forces of death. In Mexican myth, there are twelve lords of the underworld and one god, Ahpuch, who rules over the dead. Even in Egyptian myth, Osiris and Seth are, respectively, god of the dead and god of death. In Norse myth, Odin serves the role as god of the honored dead, while Hela rules over the spirits of those not admitted into Odin’s Valhalla, a Hall of Heroes.  

In several cultures, especially Mexican and Native American lore, the underworld is the birthplace of mankind, the location where gods created mortals, and the location where humans return after death.

Clarifications: Hades is not to be confused with:

Quote: "It's Hades again. Heard too many jokes about some stupid cartoon dog." - Hades, Hercules III #5, September 2005, Marvel Comics 

Updated: 05/12/06