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"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 welcome 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/Wolverine", 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.
- Dark Avengers: Ares
Tropes seen in these series include:
- Abusive Parents
- Alliterative Name: Alexander Aaron
- Ax Crazy
- Band of Brothers: Ares' Shades unit, which is a handpicked team of H.A.M.M.E.R. recruits.
- Blood Knight
- 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.
- Cool Helmet
- Cool Shades: The trademark of Ares and his Shades unit.
- 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
- Give Him a Normal Life: One of Ares' reasons for leaving the God of War position behind.
- Got Volunteered
- Guns Akimbo
- Healing Factor
- Hot Mom: When Hera shows up on Earth, one of Ares' Shades is stopped short of calling her a MILF.
- 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.
- 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
- Papa Wolf
- Physical God
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- The Strategist
- Super Strength: Ares is the third strongest Olympian after Zeus and Hercules.
- Super Toughness
- 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.
- Trojan Horse
- Two First Names: John Aaron and Alexander Aaron
- The Unfavourite
- 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