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Wonder Woman: Who Is Ares?

One of Wonder Woman's most powerful villains is the god of war. We're diving into the history of the comics to explain who Ares is.

Wonder Woman has had a plethora of memorable villains throughout her 70-year career in comics, but none of them is as menacing or powerful as Ares, the god of war. Although the original version was a bit of a comical character, he later became a fearsome foe and at one time, a formidable ally during Wonder Woman's history.

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The character that would eventually become Ares first appeared in Wonder Woman #1 back in 1942. Back then, he was based on the Roman god of war, Mars. The DC version of the character was created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter. Mars seemed a bit comical and a bit of a doofus, even for a golden age villain. The character continued to go under the guise of Mars up until the mid-'70s where he was called both Ares and Mars interchangeably.

Ares went through a reinvention in 1987 when writer/artist George Perez, along with writer Greg Potter, turned the Roman legionnaire into what we know today--the Greek god of war, Ares. He was a towering and intimidating knight in dark armor, and many times, you could only see his glowing eyes beneath his helmet. The Injustice: Gods Among Us Ares is based on Perez's version.

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Ares is an extremely powerful god. He is a master of war, strategy, and tactics on the battlefield, so he's a formidable foe for Wonder Woman. He is immortal, has super-strength and speed and can telekinetically control weapons. His armor is near indestructible and in addition to all of that, he can shapeshift and teleport. He is one of DC's strongest villains.

While Perez and Potter's version of Ares was the baddest of the bad, the villain got reinvented, once again, for Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang's run of Wonder Woman in 2011. During their 36-issue storyline, Ares was depicted as an older man with a long beard, who looked a lot like Azzarello. The character's legs were always covered in blood.

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This version of the character was commonly called War. He and Wonder Woman are discovered to be family, following the realization that Diana is the daughter of Zeus, making her and Ares brother and sister. This is a very different version of the character. He is old, beaten down, and plays the role of mentor to Diana. This story gave a lot of depth to the character and made him sympathetic.

Currently, writer Greg Rucka, along with artists Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp, are in the midst of redefining the characters yet another time. Ares was imprisoned after failing to to unleash a virus to fuel his power during the "Year One" storyline. Later in the series, he is reintroduced after coming out of a portal inside a mysterious-looking tree. As of issue #23, Ares is still in chains, but it's only a mater of time before he's released again.

If you're looking for more stories involving Ares, you can check these storylines out.

  • Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals - A reimagining of Ares by iconic creator George Perez.
  • Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang - The story behind the first 36 issues of this volume is a big departure from Perez's version, but it's one of the best-written versions of the character.
  • Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp - The 2017 bimonthly volume jumps back and forth between the past and present, and a few stories follow the newest evolution of Ares.

Wonder Woman is in theaters now. Check out GameSpot's review of the film here.

40 Comments

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Avenging-X-Bolt

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sweet

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justice teen

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I really don't like the fact they had Ares kill off the other Greek gods in the movie. This limits the casting and story options for future movies, as WW gods always play a big role in her story. BTW I didn't spoil anything it was reveal long before the movie came out that Ares killed them.

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lordraiden

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So, Ares appearances have varied over the years from an evil Superman clone look alike to an Azzarello lookalike?

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RavenVice01

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Edited By RavenVice01

@justiceteen: have faith. The Greek gods can live on through avatars. Human hosts that harness the gods power. Maxie Zeus could become an avatar for Zeus, Athena could be reborn inside the grandmaster of the court of owls, I doubt Ares could kill off Hades because Hades is God of the dead. Pretty much the essence of any greek god can live on in an element like water or an aspect like wisdom or discord. I was hoping though that Ares would get some alone time with Circe before being vanquished.

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2cool4fun

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Edited By 2cool4fun

@justiceteen: ths for the spoilers boi, not like the movie has only been out for like a day or something...

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johnnyyy24

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why doesn't comic vine update regularly anymore?

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justice teen

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why doesn't comic vine update regularly anymore?

I want to know this as well. I miss the best fights, best moments, and the character of the month.

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justice teen

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@justiceteen: have faith. The Greek gods can live on through avatars. Human hosts that harness the gods power. Maxie Zeus could become an avatar for Zeus, Athena could be reborn inside the grandmaster of the court of owls, I doubt Ares could kill off Hades because Hades is God of the dead. Pretty much the essence of any greek god can live on in an element like water or an aspect like wisdom or discord. I was hoping though that Ares would get some alone time with Circe before being vanquished.

I don't for see that happening, and Hades could still be killed he is the king of the underworld not the personification of death, that would be thanatos.

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Outside_85

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@ravenvice01 said:

@justiceteen: have faith. The Greek gods can live on through avatars. Human hosts that harness the gods power. Maxie Zeus could become an avatar for Zeus, Athena could be reborn inside the grandmaster of the court of owls, I doubt Ares could kill off Hades because Hades is God of the dead. Pretty much the essence of any greek god can live on in an element like water or an aspect like wisdom or discord. I was hoping though that Ares would get some alone time with Circe before being vanquished.

I don't for see that happening, and Hades could still be killed he is the king of the underworld not the personification of death, that would be thanatos.

Been thinking about this and started to wonder if the Olympians would eventually return simply because of somekind of predetermined event takes place, which hasn't yet. Like maybe there is still one left and the death of this last Olympian would work as a reset button and they would all return to run the cycle all over again.

However, I do think there is a reason from outside the Wonder Woman movie that demands the Olympians be dead for now. Like Snyder has been very big on making Superman, in particular, appear god-like and everyone sort of treating him that way. Wonder Woman actually is one. And I bet the others will follow suit and we end up with something akin to Morrisons 'God-Squad' Justice League. And this is done on purpose, because from what we've heard of Justice League, Zeus and the like were involved with rebuffing Darkseid along with the humans, Amazons and Atlanteans. So now Darkseid is returning, thinking he will win this time since the three races are now divided and the gods are dead, only to have to overcome a new generation of gods... or god-like beings.

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BlueHope

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So, Ares appearances have varied over the years from an evil Superman clone look alike to an Azzarello lookalike?

He don't look like superman to me at all. I mean he's a big white guy with a simbol oh his chest but so was pretty much every soldier/fighter character before him.

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lordraiden

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Edited By lordraiden

@bluehope said:
@lordraiden said:

So, Ares appearances have varied over the years from an evil Superman clone look alike to an Azzarello lookalike?

He don't look like superman to me at all. I mean he's a big white guy with a simbol oh his chest but so was pretty much every soldier/fighter character before him.

I haven't really seen many pictures of him without his helmet/gear at all, mainly referring to this one

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KingofBBC

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The movie was pretty awesome. Ares was sort of underwhelming though.

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The Impersonator

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That Ares twist...

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lordraiden

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The movie was pretty awesome. Ares was sort of underwhelming though.

Really? how?

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KingofBBC

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Edited By KingofBBC

@kingofbbc said:

The movie was pretty awesome. Ares was sort of underwhelming though.

Really? how?

He only shows up during the end and during his fight with Diana barely engages her in hand to hand combat. He relied more on telekinesis and the battle for the most part was CGI with Diana just dodging projectiles.

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lordraiden

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@kingofbbc fair enough. though far from perfect, the battle, like the movie it 'self was epic, I thought.

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Eto

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@justiceteen: @johnnyyy24: Tony Guerrero aka the man who started this website has left. No more podcasts. There are still articles published p, but not that often unfortunately.

It was obvious he was gonna leave, because the last couple of months the lack of articles was indicating something was about to happen.

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deactivated-5d9fc01f2e453

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@justiceteen: ths for the spoilers boi, not like the movie has only been out for like a day or something...

As lame as it is for justiceteen to do that fret not the information shouldn't affect your viewing experience because it's revealed in the first 10 minutes of the film.

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2cool4fun

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Edited By 2cool4fun
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HackyDerp

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Movie was ok, book was much better.

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deactivated-097092725

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The newest incarnation of the character in the comicbooks is really interesting.

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amazing_webhead

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and yet somehow he's still less of a d!ck than Kratos

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NightFang3

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@bluehope said:
@lordraiden said:

So, Ares appearances have varied over the years from an evil Superman clone look alike to an Azzarello lookalike?

He don't look like superman to me at all. I mean he's a big white guy with a simbol oh his chest but so was pretty much every soldier/fighter character before him.

I haven't really seen many pictures of him without his helmet/gear at all, mainly referring to this one

No Caption Provided

Best looking version so far in WW comics.

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daviddv0601

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Ares is the true archenemy towards Wonder Woman. Cheetah comes as her second and Circe comes as her third.

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lolbatmanisgei

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Edited By lolbatmanisgei

" A plethora of memorable villains..."

You mean, three.

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TyrantT316

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Edited By TyrantT316

I thought the final battle was visually appealing and I'm not sure how much more epic the transformation to full armor Ares you could get...like how he simply created the weapons in his hands as he was walking towards Wonder woman...that was great, especially how he etched the opening of his helm...

However, I would like to see more "on-par with each other" hand to hand combat in these movies. Ronan "The Accuser" in GOTG1 was a let down simply because any interactions with him were single punches with Drax and Drax flying back. Rockets shot at Ronan. A ship plowing into Ronan. He's a live. Then just shooting the power of the stone at him.

WW was a good start, but I wouldn't mind some movies that break away from the "3rd-act-final-boss-battle" approach where that 3rd act is the only time you see the main villain get down.

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lordraiden

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Edited By lordraiden

@lordraiden said:
@bluehope said:
@lordraiden said:

So, Ares appearances have varied over the years from an evil Superman clone look alike to an Azzarello lookalike?

He don't look like superman to me at all. I mean he's a big white guy with a simbol oh his chest but so was pretty much every soldier/fighter character before him.

I haven't really seen many pictures of him without his helmet/gear at all, mainly referring to this one

No Caption Provided

Best looking version so far in WW comics.

Have to agree. Also love Liam's pencils, he was good way back on Hulk and the Deathshead mini

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emmanuelalake

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Definitely her villain

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Osmanfinance

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Edited By Osmanfinance

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Bezza1969

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I quite liked the WW movie Ares. When he started suiting up with that armour it gave me a tingle as the armoured Ares has always been one of my favourite villains from DC comics. Also, he didn't think he needed to engage Diana in H2H because of his ability to move stuff around telekinetically. The fight just went on a bit long.

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GWHH

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I like his old warrior look. not the old guy with a bead look

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The_Titan_Lord

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Hmmmm...

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OkRaider88

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The big hulking Ares makes sense, for the god of war of an ancient, martial culture. I happen to like Azarello's war because I thought he represented war in the modern times a lot better. His feet were covered in blood.

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Loved the version from the JL cartoon and he was crazy powerful. Liked seeing Rucka use a close version in Year One.

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TG_15

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Edited By TG_15
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Where is this?