Zeus (Marvel)

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Researched by: Boratz

Zeus is a fictional character, a god in the Marvel Comics universe based on the god of the same name from Greek mythology. Zeus first appears in Daring Mystery Comics #6 (September 1940) and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Zeus is the youngest son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, the children of sky god Ouranos and elder goddess Gaea (also known as "Mother Earth"). His father Cronus rose to power in the dimension which later became known as Olympus, after fatally wounded his own father Ouranos. As he lay dying, Ouranos prophesied that one of the children of Cronus would overthrow him in turn, so Cronus had each one imprisoned in Tartarus, the most dismal section of the extradimensional realm of Hades (Later legends erroneously claimed Cronus ate each of his children as they were born). His wife Rhea hid Zeus, their sixth child, on Mount Lycaeum in Arcadia, under the safekeeping of Gaea, who hid the baby, and tricked Cronos into eating a stone instead of the infant Zeus. There Zeus grew to adulthood and then plotted his revenge on Cronus. Zeus, out of revenge, went down to Tartarus and freed his siblings Hades, Hestia, Hera, Poseidon, and Demeter, all now grown to adulthood, as well as the three Cyclopes, and the three hundred-handed giants called Hekatoncheries, which he had also imprisoned. The Cyclopes taught Zeus how to wield his energy-manipulating powers, and Zeus led his allies a ten-year war against Cronus and the Titans. After winning the war, Zeus imprisoned Cronus and most of the male Titans in Tartarus. Zeus drew lots with his brothers Hades and Poseidon, and became supreme ruler of the Olympian gods and their dimension. Zeus married Hera, but engaged in many relationships with goddesses and mortal women alike, angering his wife. Some of his children from these unions were gods, and joined the Olympian pantheon, while others were mortals such as Helen of Troy and the hero Hercules who eventually became a god.

After the Hyborian Age, the ancient Greek civilization began to rise, so Zeus made the Olympian gods known to them to gain their worship. Zeus discovered the principal nexus between the Olympian dimension and Greece was at the top of Greece's Mount Olympus, near Olympia, the principal city of Earth's Eternals. Zeus and his daughter Athena met with Zuras, the leader of the Eternals, and his daughter Azura. Given the physical resemblance between the Eternals and Olympians, both parties formed an alliance, with the Eternals acting representing the gods on Earth. Zuras soon decreed that Azura become Thena. However, the humans began to think of the Eternals as the Olympian gods themselves and not merely their representatives, leading to a growing resentment by the gods towards the Eternals which eventually erupted into war for a time. Christianity eventually became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire, and Zeus decided that the Olympian gods would break most of their ties with Earth, except for Neptune (Poseidon), who would continue to watch over his worshippers in Atlantis. During the war of Troy Zeus battled Thor who had accidentally been transported there. Pluto deplored Zeus' decree, and challenged Zeus' supremacy many times. A millennium ago, Hercules transported a band of soldiers from ancient Greece through time to battle Norsemen who were under the protection of the Asgardian god Thor, leading to war between the Asgardians and Olympians. Zeus met secretly with the Asgardian ruler Odin, and the two gods put an end to the war and formed an alliance to defend Earth from the Celestials, along with Vishnu.

Zeus' first depiction in modern comics shows his first meeting with Thor. He breaks up a fight between Hercules and Thor with his thunderbolt, and makes them clasp hands in friendship. Zeus was later unable to break Hercules' "Olympian contract" with Pluto. Zeus later exiled Hercules to Earth for a year for going to Earth without permission, despite the fact the Enchantress had taken control of Hercules's mind, but was then himself exiled with the other Olympian gods to another dimension by Typhon. He was rescued by Hercules, and revoked Hercules' exile and sent Typhon to Tarterus. Zeus then thwarted Pluto's attempt to conquer Earth. Zeus was later overthrown by an alliance of Ares and the Asgardian Enchantress, and was restored to power by the Avengers. Zeus resisted a failed attempt by Ares and Pluto to foment war between Olympus and Asgard. Zeus also thwarted a conspiracy by Pluto, Ares, and Hyppolyta to overthrow him. Zeus later revealed a pact made a millennia ago to end war between Asgard and Olympus. He also revealed an alliance with Odin and the other sky-gods against the Celestials, who had threatened to close off Earth to the Gods meaning that several Skyfathers created the Destroyer armor, and imparted a portion of his power to Thor along with other Godheads to resurrect Odin and the Asgardians, who had been slain by the Celestials while in the Destroyer armor. Zeus later appeared and taught Hercules a lesson about his responsibility to mortals. Later he attacked the Avengers and attempted to throw them into Tartarus, blaming them for Hercules going into a coma. After attacking Hercules accidentally, he decided the Olympians should not visit Earth.

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Zeus (Marvel)


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