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Real Name:  Hades

Voiced by John Rhys-Davies

Centuries ago, Hades attempted to overthrow the rule of the Gods but failed.  Zeus, king of the Gods, punished Hades severely for this betrayal.  Hades was cast into the pit of Tartarus, the final resting place of lost souls, where he burns for all eternity (courtesy of Cartoon Network’s Justice League Homepage).

Bruce Timm on Hades:  “There’s a…Wonder Woman villain [in the comics] named Ares, who is the Greek god of war, but he didn’t really quite fill the bill for this story, the way the story was structured—we really needed somebody who was a little bit more of a traditional, Satanic figure.  We instead chose the Greek version of Satan, who was Hades.

“There [are] some interesting twists that we did with his character—when we first see him, he comes walking out of the flames and he looks really, y’know, mean and scary, and he’s got that nasty helmet on.  Then, he takes the helmet off and, wow, he’s kinda good-looking and, then his true nature is revealed later on, so I thought that was an interesting twist.

“We worked with John [Rhys-Davies] before and he’s a great guy and, obviously, a terrific actor [who] had just come back from New Zealand from shooting The Lord of the Rings movies.  He had an opening in his schedule and was happy to come in and work with us.  He really brought out a real nasty edge to this character, [which is] interesting, because he normally plays good guys in movies, from the Indiana Jones movies and The Lord of the Rings movies.  So, he really got to twirl his mustache a lot in this one and pretty much hit it out of the park (courtesy of the Justice League:  Paradise Lost DVD).”



Hades cToon Image (Unmasked)



Let's not keep our new Lord waiting.

Felix Faust in Paradise Lost

Hades’ appearance in Paradise Lost is a departure from the god’s earlier appearances in Greek mythology.  Hardly the demonic warrior, the “real” Hades was grim, stern, and shy…but clearly under the thumb of Zeus.  He was also a rather dull god—aside from the story involving his abduction of Persephone there are practically no myths directly about him.  Of course, this would have made him a lousy villain for Justice League, so the creative team used the tried-and-true method of incorporating elements of the Christian Devil into the character (most recently done in Disney’s Hercules).

(It’s also worth mentioning that Hades’ kingdom wasn’t Tartarus.  In Greek myth Tartarus was merely a portion of the underworld that contained the Titans and others who offended the gods.  It was a place of punishment, but the rest of the underworld was simply a place to house the souls of the dead.  Much like Hades himself, the Greek underworld was joyless, lifeless, and boring.  Elements of the Christian Hell were incorporated into this portion of the story, presumably so modern audiences would better relate to the concept.)

Anyway, while Hades is a familiar figure from Greek mythology, his design from Justice League is new.  The costume appears to carry an amalgam of design touches from several DC characters:  traces of Lord Satanis (a Silver Age Superman villain), Satanus and Blaze (two Modern Age Superman villains), and Ares (the comic book version from Wonder Woman) can all be found on this armor.


Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Online UK, Bat13 from DCU Animated, Cartoon Network, and Toon Zone.

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