Zeus (Marvel Comics)

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250px Thorann8 Zeus
Zeus featured on the cover of Thor Annual #8 (1979). Art by John Buscema.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Daring Mystery Comics #6, September 1940 (Golden Age), Journey Into Mystery Annual #1(1965) (Modern Era)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
Joe Simon
In-story information
Alter ego Zeus
Team affiliations Olympian Gods
Notable aliases Jupiter, Jove (names given him in ancient Rome)
Abilities Superhuman strength, stamina, and durability
Regenerative healing factor
Magical energy manipulation.

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.

[edit] Fictional character biography

Zeus is the son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, who were the children of the sky god Ouranos and the elder goddess Gaea (“Mother Earth”). Cronus rose to power in the dimension adjacent to Earth (which came to be called Olympus) when he fatally wounded his father Ouranos. The dying Ouranos prophesied that Cronus would likewise be overthrown by one of his own children. As a result, upon the birth of each of Cronus’ children, Cronus had the infant imprisoned in Tartarus, the most dismal section of the Olympian underworld now known as Hades. Appalled, the children’s mother, Rhea, concealed her sixth pregnancy from him and secretly gave birth to Zeus on Mount Lycaeum in Arcadia, an area of the land now known as Greece. Rhea gave the infant Zeus to the safekeeping of Gaea, who hid the baby in the cave of Dicte on Aegean Hill on the isle of Crete, where he was tended by various minor goddesses.

Zeus grew to adulthood among the shepherds of Mount Ida, Crete, and then set about taking revenge on Cronus. Zeus went down to Tartarus and freed his siblings, all now grown to adulthood, as well as the three one-eye giants called Cyclopes, and the three hundred-handed giants called Hekatoncheries, all six of whom Cronus had imprisoned there for fear they would help overthrow him.

The grateful Cyclopes taught Zeus how to wield his energy-manipulating powers in battle aganst the people who do things. Zeus and his allies fought a ten-year war with the Titans which ended with Zeus imprisoning most of the male Titans in Tartarus. This caused his grandmother Gaea’s disappointment as well. He freed his siblings Hades, Hestia, Hera, Poseidon and Demeter from their imprisonment. Zeus thus became supreme ruler of the Olympian dimension after drawing lots with Hades and Poseidon. He married the goddess Hera who is one of his sisters, but he engaged in many relationships with goddesses and with mortal women both before and during the Heroic Age of ancient Greece. Some of his children were gods, a number of whom joined the Olympian pantheon; others were humans such as Helen of Troy and the hero Hercules.

After the end of the Hyborian Age, as the civilization of ancient Greece began to rise, Zeus decided to make the presence of the Olympian gods known to the Greeks so that they would worship them. Zeus learned that the principal nexus between the Olympian dimension and Greece lay atop Greece’s Mount Olympus, near Olympia, the principal city of the Eternals. Zeus and his daughter Athena, goddess of wisdom, held a meeting with Zuras, the leader of the Eternals, and his daughter Azura. Noticing the marked physical resemblance between Zeus and Zuras and between Azura and herself, Athena suggested that the Olympian gods and the Eternals form an alliance in which the Eternals would act as the gods’ representatives on Earth. Both parties enthusiastically agreed, and Azura took her current name of Thena to signify the sealing of the pact. However, over the many years, such Eternals as Zuras, Thena, Valkin, Makkari, Hero, the Forgotten One and Helios came to be thought by many humans to be not representatives of the Olympian gods, but the gods themselves. This led to a growing resentment by the gods towards the Eternals, which recently erupted into war, but is now ended.

When Christianity replaced the worship of the Olympian gods in the Roman Empire, Zeus decided that the time had come for the Olympian gods to break most of their ties with Earth. The only exception was that Neptune (Poseidon) was still allowed to watch over his worshippers in undersea Atlantis. Pluto, god of the dead, was chief among those who deplored Zeus’ decree. He has made several recent challenges to Zeus’ supremacy. Nevertheless, Zeus still retains an affection for and interest in the people of Earth. A millennium ago, his son Hercules led a band of soldiers he had transported from ancient Greece through time to battle Norsemen who were under the protection of the Asgardian god Thor. This led to war between the Asgardians and Olympians. Zeus secretly met with Odin, ruler of the Asgardians, and the two gods not only put an end to the war, but also formed an alliance to defend Earth from the Celestials. Zeus and Odin remained allies until Odin’s recent death.

Olympus was later attacked by the forces of the Japanese god of evil, Amatsu-Mikaboshi. Mikaboshi also stole Alexander, the son of Ares, and brainwashed Alexander into becoming his personal God of War. In the end though, thanks to Ares’ love for his son, and the power of Zeus, Alexander broke free and slew Mikaboshi. It came with a heavy price though, as Zeus sacrificed his life to do so, his body was never found.

[edit] Powers and abilities

Zeus possesses all the conventional attributes of an Olympian god, such as enhanced strength; durability and immunity to all known diseases. Zeus is functionally immortal in the sense that he does not age, is immune to all known diseases, and cannot be killed through conventional means. Zeus possesses the ability to manipulate vast amounts of mystical energy for a variety of purposes, including temporary augmentation of his superhuman physical abilities, firing powerful bolts of electrical energy, change his shape and size, opening and closing interdimensional gateways, granting superhuman abilities and properties to living beings or inanimate objects. Zeus can also control the mystical life energies of other Olympian gods, and has removed and restored much of his son Hercules’ divine attributes several times in the past. Zeus possesses limited precognitive abilities that allows him to glimpse various alternate futures. Zeus is also an excellent hand to hand combatant, having thousands of years of experience at his disposal.

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