Gods in the Marvel Universe... the heroes can’t live with them, but they certainly can’t live without them! Since its earliest days, the innumerable pantheons of ancient gods have guided the course of the MU’s destiny for both better and worse and proved, time and again, that godly muscle is sometimes the difference between victory and utter annihilation. So it should come as no surprise that the Avengers have welcomed these mythic heroes among their ranks. The most notable are Thor and Hercules, with both carrying at one point or another ongoing series of their own. But there’s one Olympian Avenger that has yet to claim dominion over his own ongoing comic series: Ares the God of War!
Who is Ares?
As his title implies—and just in case the enormous weapons he carries didn’t immediately tip you off—Ares is in indeed the God of War. Since man first learned to wield weaponry, Ares has been there and battled across multiple theaters of combat throughout history (something he dispenses as anecdotes when the situation merits such). But the only thing greater than his military expertise is his unbridled hatred towards his brother Hercules, partly due to his sibling’s boisterous and arrogant behavior, not to mention the fact that he always had Zeus’ favor. It was this brotherly animosity that led to Ares scheming to have Hercules banished to Earth, which resulted in Herc eventually joining the Avengers and Ares becoming one of many reprobates on the team’s rogues gallery.
For all his bloodlust, Ares eventually settled down and left Olympus behind. Not that he was given much choice when it was clear that his own kind loathed him and his violent tendencies (despite his service in defending Olympus). Ares chose a normal life among mortals and vowed to raise his son Alexander (a.k.a. Phobos) away from Olympian influence. But Ares couldn’t escape his notoriety as a war god when Iron Man and Ms. Marvel came petitioning him to join them and other select heroes on the government-sanctioned Might Avengers team after the “Civil War” event. In a few months time afterward, Ares found himself a part of Norman Osborn’s new government regime as both one of his Dark Avengers and instructor to the rank and file troops of Osborn’s H.A.M.M.E.R. organization.
Ares’ tenure as an Avenger was short-lived when he attacked Osborn upon discovering that his assault on Asgard (home of Thor and the Norse gods) was merely a component in his mad bid for political power. For his indiscretion, Ares was gruesomely torn in half by fellow Avenger and mentally unstable hero the Sentry.
Why He Deserves His Own Series
Thor and Hercules have had plenty of ongoing and limited comic book series over the years, but Ares has had, to date, only two limited series and a one-shot during the “Chaos War” event. In the past he was pegged solely as a villain, but writers have recently added some level of complexity and variety to Ares by transforming him into an anti-hero that does his best to uphold order regardless of his apparent lack of moral convictions in battle; essentially, if the threat necessitates the use of lethal force, so be it. As such, an ongoing series about Ares would naturally be an explosive and gritty action romp (befitting of the God of War). For the sake of maintaining readers’ interest, however, it should also flashback to his days spent on ancient battlefields and Olympus, showing how these past experiences influence his choices when dealing with the super villainous threats of the modern era and his personal life.
Marvel already has various comic book titles featuring the no-nonsense heavy-hitters that occupy the darker, unsavory recesses of the Marvel Universe, but—overwhelming popularity aside— not everyone enjoys the exploits of the Punisher or Wolverine, yet he or she might want something a little different that matches this theme somewhat. That’s where an Ares ongoing series comes in. Not only would it share a similar theme seen in titles featuring the two aforementioned characters, but it would also bring something new to the table by incorporating the mythical element that is the hallmark of characters such as Thor and Herc. In sum: swords, sorcery and bullets.
Currently, Ares is spending his days in the afterlife, but, when it comes to comics, death is never a permanent condition.
Would you read an Ares ongoing?