Wonder Woman has captured the hearts of many around the globe. But with every hero or heroine, there is always a villain whom is to be countered. Arguably, Ares is to Wonder Woman as Joker is to Batman. Ares, the God of War, has been integral to the Wonder Woman universe since his first appearance in the comics in Wonder Woman #1, volume 1, published in 1942.
Who is Ares?
Ares originates in Greek Mythology and in specific literary pieces such as the Iliad. He is the child of Zeus and Hera, and is the Greek god of war, representing the savage and bodily aspects of conflict. Not to be confused with Athena, who symbolizes strategy and military planning. Ares often he faces embarrassment through countless defeats. He is also known for his affair with Aphrodite which resulted in eight children.
When he first appears in the Wonder Woman comics, Ares taunts Aphrodite over the success of his plans. He feels victorious in his ability to turn men onto one another, and trade women like currency. Aphrodite counters his efforts by molding women into clay and breathing life into them, birthing the Amazons. He has had different incarnations in each of the comics, changing familial relationships with Diana (Wonder Woman). Ares is even referred to as Mars during certain sagas. Mars is the Roman mythology counterpart to Ares, but he is rarely called by this name in the comics.
What about Ares in the movie?
In the movie Ares is similarly displayed as arrogant and confident in his abilities. He is jealous over his father Zeus’s relationship with man, and seeks to rid the world of them once and for all. To accomplish this feat he taints the minds and hearts of men, causing them to turn on one another. His actions create a war which soon engulfs the gods, forcing Zeus to turn to Aphrodite for help. Aphrodite creates the Amazons who rise out of the sea quelling the war and bringing peace to man. Ares soon turns his aggressions onto the Amazons, prompting Zeus to take action. He creates Themysciara as a refuge to the warrior women and provides them with a god-killing weapon before Ares kills him.
During his comic and movie appearances Ares lives up to his reputation. He is determined, violent, and thinks himself far above man. Unlike Greek mythology there is no indication of an affair or relationship between Aphrodite or himself. In the comics he appears often soldier-like, armored, and ready for the next battle. In the movie his true form does not appear until much later, leaving many viewers shocked. In this particular incarnation his appearance is deceiving as he does not appear to have the body of a warrior, or a fiery personality to match his reputation. Not until much later in the film is his true form shown, and with it his zealous and war-like nature.
Wonder Woman is not a film to be missed this summer. Although Ares differs slightly throughout the Wonder Woman storyline, one thing is for certain, wherever Diana appears Ares will be a prominent force to oppose her.