Hades (DC Comics)

Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Wonder Woman #16
Created by William Moulton Marston (writer & artist)
In-story information
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[1] 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. He 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. 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 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 ruled these realms beside his niece and queen Persephone.[1]


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.[2]


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.[1] 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.[1] 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 The New 52, 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".[3] He is still the ruler of the underworld and the dead,[4] but his realm and everything in it is now an extension of his will and essence.[5]

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, even going so far as refusing to believe it was possible for a Lasso-ensnared Diana to be capable of loving everyone, including him.[6]

Though Diana wishes to aid him otherwise, 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, as the bullet should make him fall in love with the first person he sees.[7]

In other media



Video games


  1. 1 2 3 4 Wallace, Dan (2008), "Hades", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 152, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
  2. Wonder Woman #329
  3. Wonder Woman vol. 4 #5
  4. Wonder Woman vol. 4 #6
  5. Wonder Woman vol. 4 #7
  6. Wonder Woman vol. 4 #8
  7. Wonder Woman vol. 4 #16
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