Venus strongly resembles the Greco-Roman goddess Aphrodite Ourania, but is actually a siren, a daughter of Phorcys begotten in the image of Aphrodite. Despite their beauty, the sirens were soulless aquatic monsters that lured sailors to their doom. Venus and the other sirens would sing, enchanting sailors to sail close to her island. There their ships would crash onto to the jagged rocks and they would drown only to be eaten by Phorcys. However, after centuries of luring countless seamen to their deaths, Venus was finally stopped.
In the late 19th century, the enemy and benefactor to the Agents of Atlas, Master Plan (Plan Tzu), lead a mission to free the Lung Dragon, Mr. Lao. Master Plan recruited the then- Sorcerer Supreme, the Ancient One, to aid them on their sea voyage. When the approaching ship encountered Venus, the magician on board recognized the danger. He negated the danger the siren posed by granting her a soul that endowed her with a human conscience. Venus was immediately overwhelmed by disgust and horror at her murderous actions, and fled. She eventually took shelter at a convent, where the nuns thought she was mute because she had not spoken a word since she arrived. They thought she was a miraculous gift because she did not age in the two decades she lived with them. One day she was so moved by the choir singing at the town festival that she began to sing for the town (and visiting clergy). The nuns asked her to leave the abbey due to the passions aroused by her voice. Over the years, Venus became convinced that she was actually Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, because of her empathic ability and apparent immortality. This was actually just a coping mechanism for her to forget her terrible past. She thought that she was Aphrodite and that she must have relinquished much of her godly power to walk among mortals and help them towards peace and happiness. With the real Aphrodite spending almost all her time feeding her own hedonistic pleasures, Venus was mistaken for the real Aphrodite by the Olympian Gods themselves and for a while relished in her false Godhood..
Venus was created by Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk and first appeared in Agent of Atlas#1.
Golden and Silver Age
The character of Venus was intended to be the goddess Aphodite Ourania (called herself Venus) in the 19-issues series of the 1950s, Venus, that depicted the adventures of the goddess working as editor of the Beauty magazine. After some time the goddess return to Olympus.
Venus' origin was retconned in Agents of Atlas. It was here where we found a character who called herself Venus, but whom wasn't the true Olympian Goddess of Love and was in fact a Siren claiming to be such.
The reveal caused much confusion about past appearances where Venus was depicted in Olympus associating with Gods. Eventually this was resolved when Venus came face-to-face with the real goddess Aphrodite and we learn that the siren Venus' even fooled Zeus, Hercules and the rest of the Olympian Gods. The early appearences of the character Venus remain of the goddess Aphrodite and the Siren was established to appear after the return of goddess to Olympus.
Following the encounter with the goddess, the siren Venus was appointed the Goddess of Love when Aphrodite saw her as more worthy of the role than her. Behind-the-scenes, this os tought as writer Jeff Parker's way of apologising for complicating and "messing up" Venus' history.
Major Story Arcs
Claiming to be Goddess
The daughters of the river god Achelous and the divine muse of dance Terpsichore, the immortal sirens lived on the Sirenum scopuli islands. One of the sirens was transformed by the Ancient One in a complete being, making her horrified to her past action of killing sailors with her songs. The woman began to wander to the world and come to believe to be the goddess of beauty and love, Venus; repressing her past memories.
In the 1950s, the siren "Venu"s was approached by FBI agent Jimmy Woo, and she agreed to join Jimmy and his allies in freeing President Eisenhower from the clutches of the Yellow Claw. These "Avengers" (the first incarnation of the Agents of Atlas) operated for another six months. The government decided that the world was not ready for them, and disbanded the group.
During the 1960s, the siren "Venus" was seen in Sweden and influenced the pop band, Shocking Blue. They wrote and performed the hit song "Venus" which was based on the siren. During the 1970's, Venus became a Professor of Humanities at Pepperdine University in California. Her stay there was characterized by peace rallies, anti-war gatherings, and "love-ins." Venus was much more interested in the human experience than a strict curriculum.
During the 1980s, the siren "Venus" went to the location of Ken Hale's transformation into Gorilla-Man in Africa. Hale had told her that after some refugees from some other African country had fled there, they and the locals clashed. The place was a war zone, with each side butchering each other. This horror was what prompted Hale to leave. After hearing him recount the devastation, Venus naturally decided to go there and help. Her very presence ended conflicts between the various warring groups because she was unconsciously affecting their emotions with her voice (without even singing). Venus resided there for the next few decades, and helped them find mates from each other's tribes. As the years passed, the once warring factions intermarried and became close family.
Agent of Atlas
Venus was again found by Jimmy Woo and recruited into the new Agents of Atlas. She was a crucial member of the team in its early fights, but Namora instinctively mistrusted her most obvious power. Her suspicions came to a head when she figured out that Venus was in fact a siren (Namora mistakenly also referred to her as a naiad in addition to siren) after she used her singing voice to calm down a scuffle at the docks. Venus herself had forgotten her past identity, and the revelation briefly drove her into deep despair. She began to cry and her voice began to evoke a feeling a dread in those around her. The wailing ate through to the core of their beings and made them feel as though it was the end of the world. She almost incapacitated her entire team before it set off a chain reaction causing the team to fight amongst themselves. Finally, Woo convinced her that she was still a good person at heart. Venus has since finally reconnected with her past life and embraced who she once was , including her powers as a siren.
When the Agents confronted the Yellow Claw and Mister Lao, Claw told them that all of Jimmy's adventures were set up by them to test him. The Yellow Claw became his enemy in order to create a great legacy for Woo. Master Plan revealed that one of Yellow Claw's machinations involved chartering the fleet with the magician that transformed Venus.
In the beginning of the relaunched Agents of Atlas title, Venus used her abilities to charm none other than the Sentry himself to gain access to Norman Osborn (Reynolds heard her voice from the Philippines and immediately flew to greet her). She also used her voice to subdue the New Avengers, the latter attacking the Agents with the belief that they were supplying Norman with weapons.
It was later revealed to the actual Greek God Aphrodite that Venus was masquerading as her throughout her Golden Age career. Furious at this blasphemy she had Venus captured and branded with her symbol. The Agents of Atlas sought out Cerebra from the X-Men in order to find her. After a brief conflict with the mutant team they combined the Uranian's abilities with Cerebra to locate and then rescue Venus from Aphrodite. In the showdown between Venus and Aphrodite, Aphrodite was moved by the profoundness and sincerity of Venus' song, and thus passed on her title as the goddess of love on to Venus.
When Amatsu-Mikaboshi sets about killing the Gods of the many pantheons of Earth, Hercules assembled a new God Squad team including Venus, Thor, Silver Surfer, Sersi and Daimon Hellstrom. The God Squad fight the forces of Amatsu-Mikaboshi and help Hercules seal him off in a side-continuum of the multiverse.
Powers and Abilities
Venus is a siren cursed with a soul. Since she is the daughter of Phorcys, a Greco-Roman sea-god who is a member of Marvel's version of Olympian Pantheon, she may possess abilities analogous to other Olympian gods and goddess, but she has only displayed a few. She is functionally immortal and can her survive in environments not suited for human beings. Her siren nature allows to breathe underwater, withstand the great pressures of the ocean depths, and swim at very fast speeds (all rivaling, if not exceeding, Namora's amphibious abilities). Venus also seems to be an expert on world languages, soon mastering local tongue wherever she goes.
Her most famous ability is her "siren song". Her voice gives her an empathic quasi-telepathic control over whomever hears her voice. The effect depends on her tone and intention: a joyful or mournful tone instills the same feelings in her listeners, whereas the lyrics do not have to match what she demands of her audience. Her power was strong enough to immediately subdue the Sentry into helping her find Norman Osborn. Her voice can heal the spirit by letting listeners live their ideal fantasy for a moment.
Since her battle with Aphrodite, Venus has been declared the new goddess of love. She must now use her empathic gifts to help mortals with all aspects of love: the good that comes with love and the pain that comes with its loss. she was purported to possess the powers like all Olympian Gods, plus the abilities of the goddess of love. These abilities included enhanced strength, speed, agility, virtual immortality, denser body tissue (granting remarkable durability and resistance to injury), flight at high speeds, teleportation, the ability to make herself invisible to humans, shape-shifting, control the emotions of others and perform other mystic feats.
After her intense conflict with the actual goddess of love, Aphrodite, Venus was given the enchanted Cestus by the goddess ("cestus" is the greco-roman word for piece of fabric, resembling a cross between a sarong and girdle). This girdle was forged by the god Hephaestus and possesses the essence of Aphrodite. It allows its wearer/owner the ability to arouse love and passion in others and to transform weapons into peaceful objects.
The Venus of Marvel Comics was ranked 8th in Comic Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list.
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