ARTEMIS

Real Name: Artemis

Identity/Class: Olympian god

Occupation: Goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals and the moon

Group Membership: Olympian gods, Olympus Group

Affiliations: Cerynein Hind

Enemies: Avengers, Mikaboshi, the Titans, Typhon

Known Relatives: Zeus (father), Leto (mother); Apollo (brother), Gaea (great-grandmother), Ouranos (great-grandfather, deceased), Cronus, Rhea (paternal grandparents); Coeus, Phoebe (maternal grandparents), Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hercules, Hermes (half-brothers), Venus, Eilithyia, Eris, Hebe, Persephone (half-sisters), Chiron, Pluto, Neptune (uncles), Asteria, Demeter, Hera, Vesta (aunts), Alex Aaron, Aristaeus, Cupid, Hermaphroditus (nephews), Aeneas, Asclepius, Troilius (nephews, deceased), Harmonia (niece)

Aliases: Diana

Base of Operations: Olympus

First Appearance: Thor I#129 (June, 1966)

Powers/Abilities: Artemis possesses the conventional Olympian godly attributes of superhuman physical properties, vitality, and functional immortality. She has not aged since reaching adulthood and is immune to harm from conventional means of injury and cannot suffer from any Earthly disease. Artemis is somewhat stronger than the average Olympian goddess (Class 25) and can lift about 30 tons optimally. Artemis also has other magical abilities which include the ability to transform the shape and form of other beings into various forms. (The latter was evinced when she turned the Greek hunter Actaeon into a stag). Like her twin brother Apollo, Artemis can heal the injuries of other living beings but this is a seldom used power. Artemis can also cast spells that enable her to send plagues and also transform her shape and form to appear as another person, an animal, or an object. She can also cross dimensions such as from Olympus to Earth. Artemis is a master archer and carries in her arsenal mystical arrows of various properties.

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 420 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Strawberry blonde

History: (Greek-Roman myth) - Artemis was born centuries ago on the island of Delos in the Aegean Sea (now part of modern-day Greece) to the Olympian god-king Zeus and the day-goddess Leto, daughter of the Titan moon-gods, Coeus and Phoebe. When the Queen of the gods and wife of Zeus, Hera, discovered the truth about Leto's pregnancy, she was consumed by great anger and jealousy over Zeus's infidelity. Hera drove Leto from Olympus, forcing the goddess to retreat to Earth in search of a place to give birth. To confound Leto's dilemma, Hera forbade the Earthly kingdoms at that time in Greece from welcoming Leto and sent the monstrous serpent Python to pursue her but Leto eventually evaded him. Leto sought shelter on the isle of Delos, in the center of the Aegean sea, and thereupon gave birth to the divine twins Apollo and Artemis. Apollo was actually given the name Phoebus Apollo in honor of his grandmother, Leto's mother, Phoebe.

Artemis and Apollo lived on Delos for several years until they reached adolescence and during their childhood became the closest of friends. Eventually, the twins were summoned by their father Zeus to Olympus to join their fellow immortals. At some point, Artemis developed an interest in hunting and of animals that resided in forests and wild areas. Thus, she became the patron goddess of wild creatures and of hunters who hunted as a means of survival and not merely for sport. She became a major deity for the Taurian tribes. In ancient times, Artemis's favorite pastime was to roam mountain forests and uncultivated lands hunting for lions, panthers, hinds and stags with her band of female followers which included both mortals and other minor goddesses. Sometimes, in contrast, she helped protect and saw to the care, safety and propagation of the very creatures she hunted. Artemis was renowned for traveling with her bow and arrows that were made by her half-brother, the smith-god Hephaestus and his assistants, the giant beings called the Cyclopes.

Artemis, like some of her Olympian brethren, had encounters with Earth mortals. While out hunting, the human Actaeon accidentally stumbled upon Artemis and her goddesses, who were bathing in a secluded pool. Enraged upon discovering Actaeon observing her, Artemis transformed him into a stag and then set his own hunting dogs upon him who proceeded to both chase and kill him as they thought their master was just another stag. Another incident involved Orion, a great hunter, whom Artemis had fallen in love with. Artemis had vowed long ago to remain a chaste goddess and demanded the same of her followers, although there were several accounts of her followers forsaking this. She nearly put aside her vow when encountering Orion and even pondered marrying him. However, her twin brother Apollo was repulsed by the fact that Orion was only a mere mortal and deemed him unworthy of being the lover of a goddess, especially to his own sister and he contrived a plot which resulted in Artemis accidentally killing Orion while out hunting. To this day Artemis bears a bit of resentment towards Apollo for his act of duplicity. The Greek high king of Mycenae, Agamemnon also angered Artemis when he killed a stag in her sacred grove and claimed to be a better hunter than she. She punished him by seeing to it that his ships were unable to set sail when mounting an expedition against the city of Troy. With no winds to sail his ships Agamemnon was told by the prophet Calchas that the only way Artemis would bring back the winds was for him to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. When Agamemnon intended to sacrifice Iphigenia, Artemis exchanged a deer in her place, taking Iphigenia to the land of the Tauri to become her priestess.

Artemis' and Apollo' friendship still blossomed as seen when they put to death the children of Niobe, a queen of Thebes. This was to avenge an insult visited upon their mother Leto by Niobe. Being a mere mortal only, Niobe boasted to Leto that she had borne more children and thus must be superior to the goddess herself. The outraged Apollo informed his sister of this and the twin gods hunted Niobe's children down and shot them with their bows and arrows; Apollo slew the sons and Artemis the daughters.

Artemis' anger could also be visited upon her own kind. This was observed when one of her followers, the goddess-nymph, Callisto, was seduced by Zeus through trickery, appearing to her in the form of Artemis herself. The young goddess was duped and later gave birth to Arcas, the ancestor and a king of the Arcadians. Artemis, however, was far from lenient or understanding when Callisto's pregnancy was one day revealed and she rejected Callisto causing the goddess to flee from her presence.

Like the other foremost members of the Olympian pantheon, Artemis' worship was carried over to the Roman peoples who called her by the name of Diana, and sometimes revered her as goddess of the moon.

(Hercules: Fall of an Avenger#2 (fb)) - When Hercules, after his Twelve Labors, joined with Athena and declared war on King Augeas of Elis, Pluto, Neptune, Ares, and other gods went to war with him.

(Thor Annual#5) - Artemis was present when Hercules attempted to convince Zeus to wage war against Asgard, but she sided against her half-brother.

(Thor: Blood Oath#3-4) - Hermes observed Hercules and Thor as they fought over the enchanted pig of Dionysus.

(Thor I#129) - Artemis was present in Olympus when Hercules was forced to go to Hades and rule there in Pluto's stead.

(Avengers I#281) - Artemis journeyed to earth alongside Hermes and Dionysus to capture the Avengers for Zeus, who blamed them for injuries Hercules had suffered. While Captain Marvel fought Hermes, Artemis shot at arrow at her which passed through her intangible state, and shocked her, returning her to mortal form unconscious. Hermes was attracted to the Avenger, but Artemis reminded him that she was one of their enemies.

(Avengers I#284 (fb)) - Artemis next journeyed to the Caribbean, to capture the Wasp. She caught the Wasp's attention with a deer (possibly Artemis transformed herself into the deer), then fired an arrow at her. The Wasp destroyed the arrow with her sting, but it burst into dust which numbed her mind, striking her unconscious.

(Avengers I#283) - Artemis presented the Wasp to Zeus, then stood alongside him against Venus, Hephaestus, Athena and Apollo, who had allied themselves with the Avengers.

(Avengers I#284) - Artemis fired another of her arrows at Captain Marvel but this time, Captain Marvel blasted the ground out from under her, defeating her.

(Incredible Hulk: Hercules Unleashed) - Artemis attended a fest in Olympus in which the Hulk served as their guest. She attempted to to rouse her brother Apollo from a drunken state after he attempted to keep up with the Hulk's drinking.

(Hercules III#4 - BTS) - Artemis was presumably present with the Olympian pantheon as they convened a board meeting on Earth at the Olympus Group, assuming the appearances of mortal businessmen in an attempt to maintain some connection with humanity. Zeus had gathered them to confront Hera for manipulating Hercules into appearing on a reality television show as part of an attempt to gain revenge upon him, but he wound up being jeered at by his own family for his many infidelities. They finally voted against interfering with Hercules' labors.

(Ares#1) - After a battle with Pluto, Artemis met with the other gods of Olympus as they discussed how distasteful Ares' brutality was to them.

(Incredible Hercules#123) - Artemis attended a meeting of the Olympus Group called in by Hera after Zeus' death. She was shocked when Hera struck her brother Apollo with a lightning bolt.

(Assault on New Olympus Prologue#1 - BTS) - When Athena asked Artemis to help against Hera she did what her brother Apollo did and didn't want to get involved.

(Hercules: Fall of an Avenger#1) - Athena led the Olympus Group including Artemis to the funeral of Hercules.

(Hercules: Fall of an Avenger#1) - Artemis followed her brother Apollo in opposing Athena, who declared herself queen of Olympus and Amadeus the Olympus Group's leader. She chose Skaar as her representative in a battle between mortal proxies. The battle ended in a draw when the mortals decided to stop fighting and went up against the gods themselves. After the fight everyone went their own way.

Comments: Adapted by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Legends also claimed that the jealous Hera had detained her daughter Eilithyia, the goddess of childbirth, to prevent Leto from giving birth to Apollo and Artemis, but the other gods intervened and forced Hera to release Eilithyia enabling Leto to give birth. Furthermore, other legends state that Artemis was born before Apollo on the island of Ortygia and assisted her mother in delivering her twin brother when reaching Delos. Obviously not all of the accounts can be true and are probably hyperbolic explanations passed down by the human worshippers of the gods.

by Alex K, Prime Eternal and Will Uchtman

CLARIFICATIONS:
Artemis should not be confused with:

  • Diana of Earth-Amalgam, @ Amazon#1

CERYNEIN HIND

The Cerynein Hind is a golden-horned deer sacred to Artemis, the Olympian goddess of the hunt. Also called the Cerynithian Hind, the deer roamed the land around Argos during the days of Ancient Greece, but in modern years, Artemis seems to have relocated whole herds to the dimension of Olympus for protection. King Eurystheus of Mycenae ordered Hercules to capture one of the hinds on his Third Labor hoping he would incur the wrath of Artemis for harming it. Hercules pursued one hind for a full year and finally subdued it in Arcadia when it stopped to drink by the river Ladon by sneaking up and throwing a net over it. Apollo and Artemis appeared to stop him as he tried to carry it back to Mycenae. Artemis tried to take the deer from him, but Hercules appeased her by laying the blame on Eurystheus. She permitted him to carry the unharmed deer back to Tiryns where it was released once more unharmed. One hind accompanied Artemis to the Caribbean to distract Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) in the Caribbean for injuries incurred on Hercules by the Masters of Evil.

--Avengers I#284 (Greek/Roman Myth, Av I#284 (fb), Hercules III#1(fb))







Cerynein hind- Avengers I#284, page 2, top right panel




Thor I#129 (June, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks)
Thor Annual#5 (1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tony DeZuniga and friends (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Avengers I#281 (July, 1987) - Roger Stern (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Avengers I#283-284 (September-October, 1987) - Roger Stern (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Incredible Hulk: Hercules Unleashed (October, 1996) - Peter David (writer), Mike Deodato Jr. (artist), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Hercules III#4 (September, 2005) - Frank Tieri (writer), Mark Texeira (penciler), Jimmy Palmiotti (inker), Axel Alonso (editor)
Thor: Blood Oath#3-4 (December, 2005-January, 2006) - Michael Avon Oeming (writer), Scott Kolins (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ares#1 (March, 2006) - Michael Avon Oeming (writer), Travel Foreman (penciler), Derek Fridolfs (inker), Warren Simons (editor)
Incredible Hercules#123 (Janaury, 2009) - Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers), Clayton Henry & Salva Espin (artist), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Assault on New Olympus Prologue#1 (January, 2010) - Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers), Rodney Buchemi (artist), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Hercules: Fall of an Avenger#1-2 (May-June, 2010) - Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers), Ariel Olivetti (artist), Mark Paniccia (editor)


Last updated: 07/10/06

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