The Neglected Nemeses: Ares
In this installment of The Neglected Nemeses, we look at one of the biggest, baddest mo-fos that Wonder Woman has had to face. But, he has not always gone by this name, as during most of the Golden Age, Silver Age and Bronze age of comics, he went by the name of Mars, the name that is most associated with the Roman god of War. No matter what you call him, Ares has been around since the very first issue of Wonder Woman in 1942 and has proven to be a constant annoyance and foe to Princess Diana and the beautiful and dangerous women of Themyscera.
The very idea of Ares’, or Mars’, existence goes against Diana’s peaceful ways. Ares has always tried to force his ideals of war and conflict upon the world of man. Initially, Ares was opposed by the goddess of Love, Aphrodite, whose views contradicted those of Ares. During these conflicts, the worshipers of Ares continued to kill each other and their weaker foes; selling their women for less than their cattle. In a rage, Aphrodite molded a race from clay, creating the Amazons, who were to spread the ideals of Aphrodite.
Wonder Woman, being one of, if not the greatest warriors the Amazon women had to offer, continually thwarted the plans and schemes that Ares had set forth. The two had many battles on both Earth-One and Earth-Two. Before the epic battle of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Ares aligned himself with Hades and the Anti-Monitor to subdue the Gods of Olympus. As Wonder Woman and Ares battled, Steve Trevor freed the gods, allowing Hades’ wife, Kore, to appeal to her husband with a plea of love, which left Ares on his own.
In the post-Crisis world, Diana was born and raised just in time to take on Hercules, who was sent to Paradise Island by Ares to destroy the Amazons. At this same time, Steve Trevor’s plane crashed on the island. Ares’ ultimate plan was to fire missiles from both the U.S. and Russia at the same time, starting World War III. However, Diana, having captured Ares in her lasso, made him see the error in his ways and that the destruction of man would leave him no worshipers. Ares then tasked Wonder Woman with “saving man from themselves” and should she fail to do so, he would return.
Ares/Mars has also taken on human form in the guise of Ares Buchanan, who quickly climbed the ladders of success in the business world by providing high-tech weapons to be used in the gang wars. During this time, he had a relationship with Donna Milton, who was actually Circe in disguise. The two had a daughter, Lyta, who has been known to have great magical strength. However, while she was pregnant, Ares shot Donna, proving that he never cared for her. Later on, Donna, now revealed as Circe, helped Diana out of a trap Ares had later set and with her last bit of strength created a black hole which absorbed Ares. Diana, Donna and the child all survived.
Diana later killed Ares by gently placing a battle-ax into the forehead of the God of War. Or maybe not so gently. Ares’ last words were “Amazon, what have you done?” Ares has since appeared to Diana, sans helmet, with a crudely stitched forehead, revealing that he still exists in some sort of afterlife reserved for the gods. Here, he is perpetually tortured by all of those who have been killed in the world’s wars.
I think it’s safe to say that, as with man DC Comics characters, fans are torn as to whether or not a Wonder Woman film could actually work. Some say that if were done in a style similar to Zack Snyder’s 300, the film would work quite well. I happen to be in this camp. While I don’t think it needs to be quite as stylized as 300, the ancient Roman/Greek feel that 300 bore is a great look for a Wonder Woman film. Obviously, you’d have to place a project like this in the right hands in order for it to not come across as cheesy, as the now defunct NBC Wonder Woman pilot showed. Not to mention, if it is over-done, you end up with a film like Green Lantern, in which everything was just over-thought and heavy-handed.
Wonder Woman is a touchy character and the inclusion of a character like Ares could only fuel the fire that sits beneath the fondue pot of total cheese. However, looking at the other rogues in her gallery, I don’t think there are too many options. But, as I said before, if placed in the right hands, this could potentially be an ass-kicking film. I think I am in the minority when I say that the animated Wonder Woman feature is high up on the list of animated films. It is full of action and violence, and is a well put together. I think this could only be a taste of what could be.
So, who should take on the daunting role of Ares, the God of War? One name that I continually see pop up is Rufus Sewell. I’ve seen Rufus in many films and series and the man is a very talented actor and i have no doubt that he would do well with the role. However, should a Wonder Woman film get made, it will need a name to draw in the crowds and I don’t think Sewell has enough draw for the studios or for the fans. That’s why I decided on Clive Owen. Women love him and men want to be him. Owen has proven time and again that he is a capable actor, despite the genre of the film he is in. He has gone from films like Shoot ‘Em Up to a more dramatic role in Children of Men, Munich and the ever popular Sin City. The character of Ares needs to have a certain presence and the voice plays a big part in that. Owen’s raspy tone is both dark and recognizable, so there would be no doubt who is on the screen. Not to mention, we’ve already seen the man all done up in a suit of armor in King Arthur, and it’s a good look for him.