"Ares. My name echoes in the cries of women and children, and is etched with dents in swords. Ares evokes not just the power of war, but something more. The will to do the deeds that others cannot... the rape of nations, the genocide of people, to rejoice in blood and pain. I do not choose a victor; I simply act when one side is willing to do its worst. To unleash the beast of war. For annihilation is the art of Ares, and that is my name."
— Ares, Ares #1
Ares is a Marvel Comics Anti-Hero
created by Stan Lee
and Jack Kirby
in 1966. Based on the Greek god of the same name, Ares made his debut in Thor #126
. A villain for decades, the God of War changed his ways after a battle with the forces of Pluto. Summoned to end the stalemate between Pluto's forces and those of Olympus, Ares brutally crushes the enemy army almost single-handedly. Returning to Olympus, where he believes he will be welcomed for the first time, Ares overhears a conversation between his fellow gods that cuts to the bone. Considered to be nothing more than a brutal killer by his own family, Ares realizes that he'll never be welcome in Olympus. Disappointed, Ares leaves his life as the God of War behind and settles on Earth with his son, Alexander. To ensure that his son has a normal life, Ares never tells Alexander of his godly heritage.
Now John Aaron, a simple carpenter, Ares and his son live on Earth for years until the unexpected arrival of the messenger Hermes. Ares learns that Olympus is threatened by Amatsu Mikaboshi, the Japanese god of Evil, but he refuses to offer his help. Desperate, Zeus kidnaps Alexander, which forces Ares to abandon his life as John Aaron and become the God of War once more. Returning to Olympus, Ares is further dismayed when he learns from the Greek hero Achilles that the Olympians lost Alexander to Mikaboshi's forces. With his son in the hands of the enemy, Ares joins the Olympians in battle until he is confronted by an unexpected enemy: Alexander
, the Eastern God of War. After a short, brutal battle in which Ares cannot win, Zeus uses his power to convince the Eastern war god to betray Mikaboshi, which, combined with an attack from other Eastern gods, ends the war in favor of the Olympians. Reunited with Alexander, who learned the truth of his heritage from the god of evil, Ares returns to Earth to resume his life as a carpenter... or so he thought.
Not long after the Civil War
ended, Tony Stark realized that the world needed an Avengers team once more. Citing the need for a "Thor
", basically a god-level being willing to kill, Stark pressed team leader Ms. Marvel
into offering Ares a spot on the new Mighty Avengers. When Iron Man
and Ms. Marvel visit Ares at a construction site
, effectively blowing his cover, the God of War has no choice but to accept, though he makes Tony match his construction pay ($44/hour, apparently). As a member of the Mighty Avengers, Ares fulfills the role of The Big Guy
along with The Sentry
Tropes seen in these series include:
- Abusive Parents: Well, he is a Greek god, so it pretty much comes with the territory on the receiving end. On the giving end, he was actually a very good father to Alexander.
- Alliterative Name: Alexander Aaron
- Ax-Crazy: Once an opportunity for battle comes up he is prone to abandoning all sense of tactics to to engage to fight including turning on his own allies in battle to lengthen the battle.
- Band of Brothers: Ares' Shades unit, which is a handpicked team of H.A.M.M.E.R. recruits.
- Blood Knight: He does not care much for which side he fights for as long as he gets to satisfy his violent urges. His "anti-hero" stance has done little to curb this.
- Boom, Headshot: The Mares of Diomedes are dispatched this way by Ares' Shades during the Big Damn Heroes moment in Dark Avengers: Ares #3.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Alexander thanks to the manipulations of Mikaboshi.
- Clothing Damage: Ares gets this a lot, leading to plenty of Shirtless Scene goodness.
- Colonel Kilgore: Justified, Ares tells War Machine one reason he joins armies is it is an excuse for him to kill and be seen as a hero instead of a monster.
- Cool Helmet: Part of his costume is a helmet styled after the classical Greek/Roman crested helmets.
- Cool Shades: The trademark of Ares and his Shades unit.
- Determinator: After his anti-hero transformation, once engaged in battle it is almost impossible to get him to retreat even if he is losing.
- Dual Wielding: Often wields both a sword and axe in battle once he becomes an anti-hero.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Ares at the start of his Dark Avengers limited series. He has no problem shooting one of the H.A.M.M.E.R. recruits in the knee while handpicking his Shades team. Other recruits received a punch to the gut or elbow to the face for their troubles, but both men made the team. Training with Ares involve lots of grenades, Gatling guns, and RPGs being fired in their direction, usually while Ares had a beer. Ares encourages brawls in the mess hall and "killing the leader" when necessary, which is a lesson that actually saves the day at the end of the series.
- Even Evil Has Standards: "I am the god of war... the god of slaughter... Even the god of murder. But I am not the god of sadism!"
- Evil Versus Evil: After Ares defeats the forces of Pluto, Hera uses these exact words when describing his role in the conflict.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: After Ultron takes over Iron Man's suit early in the Mighty Avengers series, Ares volunteers to shrink down to atom size to deliver a virus. He successfully fights his way through Ultron's "immune system" attackers to deliver the virus, though he's eventually overrun and has to be rescued by The Wasp.
- Gatling Good: "Trained" his own personal squad by firing at them daily with a Gatling gun until they tried to kill him.
- Give Him a Normal Life: One of Ares' reasons for leaving the God of War position behind.
- Good Parents: Yes, Ares is actually a great dad.
- Got Volunteered: Stark more or less drafted him by giving him the choice of joining the Avengers or being imprisioned.
- Guns Akimbo: One of his favorite fighting methods when not using melee weapons.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Ares gets ripped in half by The Sentry in Siege.
- Hollywood Tactics: Despite being an expert in tactics, strategy, and nearly any thinking aspect of war he more often than not ignores all of these. Instead, prefers to charge in head on IGNORING all strategy and tactics and preferring to rely on brute strength and ferocity to win his battle unless he absolutely has to employ it. One reason is he attributes any "thinking" part of war to Athena whom he has a fierce rivalry with. He can lead an army into battle, but it will often be the worst strategy possible, cause massive causalities and collateral damage for his side, and risk costing them the battle.
- His plan for SIEGE embodies this as he ignored all the advantages Earth's military technology or superhuman army might have given him. Instead, he chooses an up-close, head-on battle that benefits the super-strong Asgardian army that wields swords and spears.
- Important Haircut: Ares gives himself one after Alexander is kidnapped, signaling the return of the God of War.
- Incendiary Exponent: Battling the overwhelming forces of Amatsu-Mikaboshi in Ares #3, an enraged Ares lights himself on fire and has the Incredible Hercules Fastball Special him as far into the enemy ranks as possible.
- Informed Ability: Given how much the "like Wolverine and Thor in one" idea comes up, it's rare that he actually seems to fit that description.
- Large Ham: Often speaks in a large than life manner.
- Missing Mom: Alexander is raised by Ares, as his mother is never identified.
- Offing the Offspring: Kyknos in Dark Avengers: Ares #3.
- One-Man Army: Single-handily tears thrown armies of monsters and robots as long as they are much weaker than him.
- Papa Wolf: Very protective of his own son Alexander considering him the "one good thing" he has done in his life.
- Physical God: Stated by Nate Grey of the X-Men as a physical manifestation of war.
- Healing Factor: Not as fast as some, but can recover from most wounds in a few minutes.
- Immortality: Ceased aging a long time ago and is difficult to kill
- Super Strength: Ares is the third strongest Olympian after Zeus and Hercules and tied with his uncles Pluto and Neptune.
- Super Toughness: Played up once he becomes an anti-hero, one of the things that make him dangerous is toughness combined with his healing factor makes doing any lasting or serious damage to him very difficult.
- Power Is Sexy: Played for laughs when Ares joins the Mighty Avengers. A particularly good example is when the high-ranking Black Widow starts barking orders on the Helicarrier, as Ares can be seen in the background with a heart above his head and a smirk on his face.
- Retired Badass: Ares at the start of his limited series. Leaving Olympus behind after being rejected by his fellow gods, Ares's life becomes a cycle of parent-teacher meetings, video games, and carpentry. Averted once he is forced back into action.
- Riding the Bomb: Ares has a habit of riding objects into battle. During the Mighty Avengers' assault on Latveria, Ares rides a Quinjet right into the side of Castle Doom.
- Refusal of the Call: Refused to get involved in the Civil War and wouldn't have joined the Avengers either, preferring to live life as a normal man to raise his son but...
- Shoot the Messenger: Ares does this with a nail gun in Ares #1 when Hermes comes calling.
- Shout-Out: Ares gives a rousing speech in front of a giant American flag in Dark Avengers: Ares #1.
- So Proud of You: Despite originally trying to give Alexander a normal mortal life, he takes considerable pride in the way his son develops once he begins adjusting to his godhood. In particular Ares looks extremely smug when Alexander manhandles Norman Osborn while hitting him with his Emotion Bomb power and giving him "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- The Strategist: Averted, he was supposed to be this, but his plans amount to charging the enemy head on while riding a giant bomb into battle with the soldiers he is commanding complaining about it. During his Dark Reign mini, he outright stated he ignores as much as possible everything related to strategy leaving that to his sister Athena.
- Taken for Granite: Morgan Le Fey turns Ares into stone during a fight with the Dark Avengers specifically to avoid the wrath of the Olympic gods.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: In #3 of his first series, Ares tells his old man Zeus how he really feels: "You weak old fool! You fill me with hatred for you!"
- Two First Names: John Aaron and Alexander Aaron
- The Unfavourite: Ares is one of if not the most despised of all of Zeus' children. One of Ares' issues with Hercules is Zeus (and mortals) make it clear Hercules is preferred over him despite Hercules being an illegitimate, drunken, womanizing buffoon prone to causing massive destruction when he loses control compared to Ares who is one of Zeus' view legitimate children and for all the talk among humans despise war all the good he thinks war brings to a nation. Hercules constantly succeeding in defending Olympus compared to Ares' constant failings in that regard
- Wall of Weapons: Ares has one in his closet loaded with Earth weapons. Alexander also mentions weapons from different eras are kept on display in the Aaron household.
- War God: His Classical Mythology counterpart is the Trope Codifier.
- Worf Effect: Ares is often touted for his combination of strength, tactical knowledge and fighting skills yet is often the first to go down in short order.