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Ares on the cover of Wonder Woman #6 (vol. 2), 1987. Art by George Pérez
"I'd love it if you would sign it for me. Something like 'To my archenemy, may you burn forever in Hades.'"
— Ares, Wonder Woman #199 (Vol. 2), written by Greg Rucka
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DC Comics version of the Greek God of War from Classical Mythology and one of the most prominent members of Wonder Woman 's Rogues Gallery.note  First put to page under his Roman name, "Mars", in 1942 by Wonder Woman creators William Moulton Martson and H.G. Peter, Ares debuted in Wonder Woman #1 (vol. 1)

Ares, sometimes sporting different names over the years, has since remained one of the character's most long-lasting foes and as Wonder Woman herself has undergone several shakeups and a many Continuity Reboot, so too has the role Ares has played in Wonder Woman's mythos. More often than not as her Big Bad but has occasionally taken on the role of an ally, or even a mentor figure in some continuities.

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Over the years Ares has become a somewhat frequent fixture in media adaptations that involve Wonder Woman in some form. He's been a playable character in several video games such as Injustice: Gods Among Us and as the antagonist of the direct to DVD original movies Wonder Woman (2009) film. He made his live-action debut in 2017's Wonder Woman as part of the DC Extended Universe, played by David Thewlis.

Not to be confused with Marvel Comics' Ares

Notable AppearancesComic Books

Other Notable Comic Books and Elseworld Stories

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    Tropes Applying to More Than One Incarnation of Ares 
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Ares in Greek Mythology was a Dumb Muscle bruiser who left the thinking to Athena, and occasionally got his rear handed to him by mortals. While not a Genius Bruiser, Ares in most continuties displays more intelligence and cunning than his mythological counterpart ever did.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Mythological Ares wasn't a big believer in clothes. At all. He often wore a helmet, maybe added a cape, carried a shield and called it good. Aside from a few instances, DC's Ares is usually fully covered in layers of armor.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Ares wasn't exactly beloved by the Ancient Greeks but he also wasn't a God of Evil has often has been his role in the comics.
  • Animal Motifs: Unlike most of the gods who get whittled down to one correlated animal, the various animals associated with Ares from mythology and history have appeared in the comics across the continuities:
    • Snakes, carrying over from the original mythology where snakes often adorned his shield, were one of his sacred animals and one of his beloved daughters was turned into one. In some of his earliest DCU appearance in the Golden Age there were snakes on his breastplate and later his iconic helmet has a snake motif down each side wrapped around the spikes and horns. DC Rebirth upgrades this to twisting living snakes like those on his son Demios' helmet.
    • Vultures show up the least often, but he uses them to aid Diana after she defeats him and he swears not to try to destroy humankind again.
    • Dogs were one of his sacred animals in mythology and is often accompanied by a pair, who are the chosen form of his sons, the gods of terror and fear, Deimos and Phobos.
    • New 52 have now made Rams one as well that continues into Comic Book/Rebirth. His helmet prior to his imprisonment under Themyscira being modeled after a Ram's head. Bulls as well with the addition of bull-like horns to his iconic blue helmet.
  • Archenemy: One of the top three classic contenders for the title, alongside Circe and the various incarnations of Cheetah. Of the three of them, he's easily the most powerful, with the furthest reaching plans. This makes his Post-Crisis relationship with Diana not unlike that of R'as Al-Ghul and Batman or Darkseid and Superman—he's not her most frequent adversary, but when he does show up it's on a whole other scale.
    • Not so much anymore in New 52.
  • Big Bad: The biggest bad in the pre-New 52 comics, and the man behind more than a few major arcs.
  • Blonde Brunette Red Head: When he's taken a mortal form and has a visible face, he's had all three over the years. Pre-Crisis: Red Head, Post-Crisis: Blonde, New 52: Red Head in his younger days, Rebirth: Brunette and Blonde.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: He's not human and doesn't think like one, even if he might pretend to for a brief while.
  • God of Evil: Frequently comes off as this given his juxtaposition to Diana and the Amazon's
  • Humans Are Bastards: Ares has a low opinion of humans across pretty much all continuities.
    Ares: God of War? HAH! I am quaint! A mere dabbler compared to these modern men!
  • Public Domain Character: As with the rest of the Greek Pantheon and Amazons in general. Comes with being Older Than Feudalism
  • Sadly Mythtaken: All versions who have appeared differ in some form or another from the Ares of Classical Mythology in both major and minor details. See the respective versions below for specifics. Most notably however is Ares mythological parentage of Hippolyta is either usually completely excised or rarely brought up.
  • The Strategist: Oddly a twist on the original myth, since Ares was said to encompass brute force and untempered violence. Mars on the other hand was something of a strategist in the myths, but was also heroic and revered rather than the unloved Ares usually acts as.
  • Tin Tyrant: Has frequently adopted this look, his most iconic being the layered blued armor covered in spikes and occasionally adorned in skeletal motifs from Wonder Woman
  • War God: Obviously
  • War Is Glorious: He will occasionally espouse such views but it's always either a sign that he's up to something or that his sanity is slipping because at his core he's of the opinion that War Is Hell, and he revels in it even if some things which occur during wars disgust him. He also feels that mankind's best and worst can only be seen in war.

    Mars (Pre-Crisis) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wwmarsga.png

  • Affably Evil: Only in relation to his interactions with Aphrodite, whom he seems to have a degree of respect for and whom he never acts directly against nor sends any of his minions against instead targeting her acolytes and allies. She's willing to lounge around and debate their differing schools of thought with him without any protection for herself whatsoever, and she doesn't need any.
  • Ancient Grome: Goes by Mars rather than Ares and usually drawn to more resemble a Roman general or gladiator. In-line with the rest of the more loose interpretations and mashup of other Greek and Roman deities of Classical Mythology in Golden Age/Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman.
  • Big Bad: He is and has been the most consistent and dangerous foe of Diana, Aphrodite and the Amazons.
  • Composite Character: Of his Greek and Roman mythological counterparts. He has the name Mars but unlike in Roman mythology, where was seen as a more noble and positive figure, he has the short-sightedness and The Brute-like nature that's truer to how the Greeks saw Ares.
  • Evil Redhead: Mars is a redhead hellbent on entangling humans in a forever war.
  • God-Emperor: He's the King of Mars, and the God of War.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: This version provides the page image. Under Marston, the war-loving shortsighted Mars served as a metaphorical representation of violence and patriarchy. Even rules over the actual planet of Mars.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Mythological Mars was not thought to rule an oppressive kingdom on the planet Mars as this one does.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Golden Age Big Bad Mars has snakes painted on his armor.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: While the Golden Age Olympians have very little to do with the Classical Myths their names came from several of their familial realtionships are maintained. However Ares and Aphrodite are not related on DC's Earth-Two, even though she's his great-aunt in the more popular of her mythological origins and his sister in one of the less circulated ones.

    Ares (Post-Crisis) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wwarespc.png
  • Abusive Parents: While he was, up until his character revamp with Infinite Crisis, written as the only Olympian to avert this in a Batman crossover he sentenced three of his kids (Phobos, Deimos, and Eris) to punishment and imprisonment in Hades after they attempted to poison him.
  • Ax-Crazy: But slightly less ax crazy, since Wonder Woman made him see with her Lasso of Truth that destroying the human race, including his own worshipers, would effectively lead to his own disappearance. Now instead of trying to start World War III, Ares sticks to smaller goals such as trying to overthrow his fellow gods on Mount Olympus.
  • Color Motif: His armor is predominately colored blue, a fitting color since blue is traditionally associated with masculinity.
  • Cool Helmet: His iconic item is his indestructible helm, which is usually blued and horned. He will occasionally change up it's appearance to fit with whatever form he's chosen at the moment this change is always temporary.
  • Consummate Liar: Wonder Woman calls him the Deceiver for a reason. Here's a lovely spiel he sprouts when he walks as a guest into Hades to murder Hades and take the throne, managing to threaten everyone present with Hades and Poseidon thinking he's still allied with them and keep them from realizing his timing just saved Diana's life, and his forces grabbing Cassie and Ferdinand is to save their lives as well:
    Ares: Dear naive Cassandra, there's a reason Diana calls me "Deceiver". Now pay attention because you and the man-beast are next. Uncle... pray continue.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Ares snarks it's often gold, for example:
    Aphrodite: If you ache for something to hold, you'll find I'm much more yielding than that axe of yours.
    Ares: Softer, perhaps, but my axe is marginally less dangerous.
    Wonder Woman, Vol 2 #214.
    Ares: Oh, good. I made it in time for the murder.note 
    Wonder Woman, Vol 2 #217.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Some of his kids take their old man (Phobos, Deimos, and Eris) take but others such as Eros, Harmonia, and Lyta (his daughter with Circe) show no signs of his villainy and are portrayed as good-natured individuals.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Was both the source of both his motivation and defeat in the opening story line of Wonder Woman's Post-Crisis history. In ancient times he proposed conquering humanity outright to prevent them from falling out of worshiping Olympus and almost started World War III in the modern times before Wonder Woman caused him to realize that starting such a conflict would only give him a short term power boost. If everyone is dead, there will be no more war and he would eventually fade into nothing. Ares eventually found a way around this by reinventing himself as a God of Conflict and overthrowing Hades to become the God of the Dead too. As the dead in the Underworld are all his worshipers, he was safe to try to and trigger World War III again.
  • Hates Their Parent: Ares has made multiple attempts on his father Zeus' life, and while they both hate each other Ares is the only one of the two who will happily explain why he loathes dear old dad while Zeus usually tries to act as if he's just disappointed and doing what his position dictates he needs to in reaction to Ares' behavior.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Ares has had a rather complex history with Wonder Woman in post crisis. During the Perez run, she was able to convince him that starting World War 3 was a bad idea and he left her with the task of "saving mankind from themselves". During the Messner-Loebs run, he returned as a villain and was possessing the body of a criminal who sold weapons for gang wars. During the Rucka run, he reinvented himself as the "God of Conflict" and was more of a neutral character. He also served as a mentor of sorts to Cassie Sandsmark for a time. The Simone run saw him as an out and out villain again post crisis.
  • Hijacked by Jesus: In George Perez's run Ares plays The Devil—a diabolical figure with his own domain called the Areopagus, and a powerful threat to his sibling Olympians.
  • Kill All Humans: Came within a few minutes of starting a world-ending nuclear war before Diana pointed out the flaws in that plan. Did it again years later when he didn't need to worry about running out of people to worship him by becoming the God of the Underworld.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: In the Post-Crisis continuity Ares was not aware he was Hippolyta's father until centuries after her reincarnation, as she took a new name after being brought back in a new immortal body as the Queen of the Amazons by the goddesses. He had no way of knowing without Hippolyta (or the patron goddesses) informing him that she was his daughter brought back in a new body, and she's implied to have been his daughter Alcippe in her previous life.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's lost a chunk of this characteristic following Flashpoint, but his scheming and clever use of lies to manipulate others to get what he wants is more dangerous than his nearly unparalleled fighting prowess.
  • Modernized God: In Rucka's run when he became the "God of Conflict", he changed his Tin Tyrant look to a pair black pants and open black shirt. He only wore his armor for certain occasions.
  • Necromancer: Became it after killing Hades and inheriting his powers.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: What Diana does in Vol 3 after the whole Genocide affair by grabbing a battle axe and splitting his head open.
  • Pet the Dog: Has his moments
    • A taste of the fact that he's more than he seems is given early on with the revelation that he has afforded his daughter Harmonia luxurious lodging in his domain even though she opposes him and he loves and cares for her as his daughter and respects her for standing up for her beliefs even if he does not share them.
    • Ares was part of the group that restored the Amazons when they were turned to clay, to the shock of the other Olympians, because his daughter and granddaughter were among them.
    • When Athena had her champion Diana, who was blind and recovering from serious injuries at the time, fight against Zeus' champion, the Eldritch Abomination Hekatonkheires, Ares strolled in to try and interfere. While he was stopped by Aphrodite he still made biting comments at Athena to try and get her to aid her champion.
    • When Cassie lost her powers, Ares offered to restore them. Instead of a Deal with the Devil, all he wanted in return was for her to call him brother and to say "I love you" to him. Though this was kind of subverted when it turned out that his powers were driving her crazy. Though he may not have known that, so it could still count.
  • Possession Burnout: He doesn't have to kill mortals who allow him to possess them in order for him to interact with the mortal realm, but he prefers to as he despises the type of human that would generally call him up to make such a deal. When he's done with them he'll set their flesh to boiling and leave a pile of smoldering bone and bubbling fluid for their corpse.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: With a little help from Wonder Woman, he realized that, thanks to nukes, starting World War III would destroy the world and leave no one left to fight his wars. He eventually focused his efforts to becoming the "God of Conflict", making him more powerful and more dangerous than before.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Easily mistaken as the god of evil and often has glowing red eyes when they're not pitch black pits. Even when he's in a suit with cropped hair and otherwise looks human his eyes are usually solid red. In a twist when he has human looking eyes it's best to just run since this generally only happens when he tries to turn good, which turns him into a horrific Knight Templar.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: While it's par the course given that part of the Amazon's backstory is that the myths are twisted versions of what "truly happened" Ares gets hit hard here, especially since his parentage of Hippolyta and Antiope was later retconned back in. Here it is he who drives Heracles to attack the Amazons rather than Hera, though her driving Heracles mad is given a mention. This means Ares orchestrated the rape and enslavement of his own daughters, which goes quite contrary to his mythological counterpart for whom his dedication to his children was his only redeeming quality. For mythological Ares the rape or attempted rape of his children was also a Berserk Button, and he didn't much get on with Heracles since the hero killed one of Ares' murderous cannibalistic children.
  • Smug Snake: Under Greg Rucka's pen at least.
  • Villains Blend in Better: Unlike most of the other Gods and even Wonder Woman herself, he has quickly adjusted to the modern world and is comfortable with wearing modern clothing if the situation calls for it. By Rucka's run, he and Athena had taken on roles to better fir the modern age, in his case becoming more a "God of Conflict" rather than just war.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Firmly Averted and then Subverted. Post-Crisis Ares originally started off as considerably powerful by feeding off the warfare of mankind over the centuries and tried to kickstart World War III to make himself supremely powerful among the Gods. When Diana defeated him by showing him that such a war would render him powerless by killing everyone on Earth, Ares modernized himself to become the God of Conflict, making him one of the top three most powerful gods on Olympus after Zeus and the rest of the former Big Three lost power due to lack of worship or activity in their domains, to the point Wonder Woman was no longer a threat to him. He later went about killing Hades to secure his place as God of the Underworld and Conflict, meaning he could now kill off everyone on Earth like originally planned and become stronger for it by taking everyone's souls. Feeling secure, Ares went about trying to kill off all the Amazons and Wonder Woman's coterie to remove any threats to his next scheme. However, despite his newfound power, he still somehow ended up being killed by an axe to the head by an already injured Wonder Woman.
  • Villain Respect: He tells the Amazon, Io, he'll kill her if she insists on trying to prevent him from reaching his daughter, but he just knocks her out when she fights him anyway. He later says it's because he respected her fighting abilities and her attempts to protect one of his children even if he thinks it misguided to protect his kids from him.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: In Greg Rucka's run, whenever he wasn't sporting his blue armor, He would lounge about and snark in black dress pants and a open button-up black shirt. It's part of the understated more human look he adopts, and the open shirt is just as much about showing off his chiseled good looks as it is about the quiet threat of all the thin scars on his torso.
  • Worf Effect: Even after becoming a God on the equal level of Zeus, he still ends up being killed by an axe to the head by Wonder Woman.

    War (New 52) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wwaresnew52_70.png

In His Younger Days: 

  • Adaptational Heroism: Although neutral, he's much more of an ally than an enemy in New 52. Also tends to come off better in comparison to his mythological counterpart.
  • Army of the Ages: Is able to summon the ghosts of soldiers from all across human history. Used in his fight against The First Born.
  • Badass Beard: War personified has worn a long beard in a few of his chosen forms, including a red one that he allowed to decay into grey for the splintered avatar of him that held his title in the New 52.
  • Cynical Mentor: In the New 52, he was one to Diana when she was younger, but not for that long, kicking her out when she refused to kill someone. Year One reveals the real Ares was never a mentor or ally to Diana, as it's implied she never even met him until after she left Themyscira.
  • Evil Old Folks: In the New 52 Universe.
  • Grandpa God: In the New 52 he's an old man with a long white beard.
  • Pet the Dog: After helping Diana rescue Zola's baby he leaves, making it seem like he had kidnapped the kid for his own purposes, but it turns out he went straight back to Zola to give the kid back.
  • Sadly Mythtaken:
    • In the New 52 he makes comments that suggest he's either not Zeus' son or doesn't consider himself as such. It's kind of unclear which it is, but Apollo at least refers to Zeus as "our" father when speaking to Ares, so it might just be Ares disowning Zeus.
    • His relationship with the Amazons is quite different from the original myths where he was their patron god, consort to their queen Otere, the father of Hippolyta and her sisters and furious when any of his children were killed.

    Ares (Rebirth) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dodsonares.jpg
While in Prison: 
Pre-Imprisonment Version: 
  • Adaptational Heroism: Continuing on from the New 52, Ares here is a more sympathetic figure than he was in most prior incarnations. He was originally, willfully, imprisoned under Themyscira as humanity's constants wars drove him near-insane. Continues on after he is reincarnated and released and tries to be an ally to Diana, initially at least.
  • Black and White Insanity: Displays this when he tries to rebrand himself as the "God of Justice". His idea of justice being to punish everyone with the same equal severity.
  • Dumb Blonde: Not dumb per se but is sporting blonde hair during his initial attempt at being an ally of Diana and displays a very simplistic, and extreme, view of justice and punishment.
  • Evil All Along: The DC Rebirth Wonder Woman series has been implying the New 52 Ares and the rest of the Olympians were not the real deal, and that Ares is still one of Diana's enemies. The Year One storyline has Diana explicitly tell Barbara Minerva that the Amazons have never considered Ares an ally, saying "His is the way of madness." Ares then appears before Diana for what is supposedly their first meeting ever, saying he's waited aeons to meet her, effectively subverting all the tropes pertaining to New 52 Ares as lies and misdirection aimed at Diana. It helps that his appearance is once again similar to the blue armor George Perez designed. It's later revealed this also wasn't the real Ares, but Phobos and Deimos using his image. The real Ares has pulled a Heel–Face Turn inside his prison in Themyscira.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Starting with DC Rebirth it's revealed that Ares was imprisoned on Themyscira. At some point in the past, Ares became consumed by war and was straight up Ax-Crazy. The other gods realized that he needed to be stopped so Hephaestus forged binding manacles similar to the Golden Perfect (the lasso of truth) which could hold Ares. Aphrodite was the one to place them upon Ares and in doing so also suffused them with her love of him (items touched by gods become god-touched and imprinted with their power). The manacles not only bound Ares but power of Aphrodite's love dispelled his madness. He even held her and cried Tears of Remorse afterward. In modern times, he's still imprisoned but by choice, wanting to spare the world his power unchecked and unrestrained.
  • Knight Templar: When he attempts to pull a Heel–Face Turn he instead turns into a horrific pastiche of "justice", judging all crimes as equal and worthy of punishment by death. He's at his best when he tries to just stay apathetic.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Subverted; Long before Diana' time, he willingly went into imprisonment under Themyscira after being driven near insane by humanity's constant wars and kept sane by chains forged by Hephaestus.
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