Real Name: Cerberus

Identity/Class: Olympian god

Occupation: Guardian of Hades, former watch dog

Group Membership: Armies of Hades

Affiliations: Ares, Amadeus Cho, the Flame, Hela, Hercules, Hippolyta, Nox, Pluto, Yellow-Crested Titans

Enemies: Agamemnon, Avengers, Bounty, Caledonia, Clea, Dr. Strange, Fenris Wolf, Ghost Rider (John Blaze), Keres, Franklin Richards, Jack Russell (Werewolf), Scarlet Witch, Sub-Mariner, Thor, Valeria Von Doom, Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair), X-Factor (M, Shatterstar, Strong Guy);
    formerly Hercules

Known Relatives: Typhon (father), Echidna (mother), Selene (foster mother), unidentified children (with Nox), Gaea (paternal grandmother/maternal great-aunt/maternal great-grandmother), Tartarus (paternal grandfather), Phorcys (maternal grandfather), Ceto (maternal grandmother), Hydra, Ladon, Nemean Lion, Orthus (brothers), Chimaera, Chrysaor, Maralith, Phaea, Sphinx (sisters), Angerboda (half-sister), Gorgons (Euryale, Medusa, Stheno), Graeae (Deinos, Enyo, Pephredo), Scylla, Sirens, Thoosa, Zirnitra (maternal aunts), Geryon, Pegasus (cousins), Arges, Briareus, Brontes, Cottus, Cronus, Crius, Coeus, Gyges, Hyperion, Japet, Nereus, Oceanus, Ophion, Steropes (paternal uncles), Ceto, Dione, Furies, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis, Tethys (paternal aunts), Damballah, Dragon of the Moon, Sligguth, Yamato-no-Orichi (maternal great-uncle), Ishiti, Tartessus (maternal great-aunts), Set (maternal great-grandfather), Pontus (maternal great-grandfather), Chthon, Hyppus (great-great-uncles), Issus, Oshtur (great-great-aunts), Demiurge (paternal great-grandfather/maternal great-great-grandfather)

Aliases: Hellhound

Base of Operations: Tartarus; briefly, Niffleheim

First Appearance: Thor I#130 (July, 1966)

Powers/Abilities: Cerberus currently possesses the conventional attributes of an Olympian god including superhuman strength (approximately class 80), stamina, resistance to harm and a prolonged life enchantment. In his humanoid form, he wields a large warhammer made of unknown materials, and his helmet can fire blasts of energy. Cerberus has also demonstrated the ability to transform ordinary objects into weapons He also possesses the ability to shapeshift back to his original form as a three-headed (occasionally single-headed) dog. In this form, he has strength above ordinary dogs and wolves and a particularly bloodthirsty disposition. He can also increase his body's size, and has poisoned fangs.

History: (Olympian Myth)- Cerberus is the spawn of Typhon, the wind-god, and the snake-goddess, Echidna, the daughter of the giant Chrysaor, son of Poseidon and Medusa, and the ocean-goddess, Callirrhoe. Echidna and Typhon’s children were a brood of mismatched creatures supposedly because they mated while in the throes of shape-shifting into several animals, their children having taken on the forms of those animals. Another theory is that their traits are the result of a curse Athena inflicted on Medusa and the other Gorgons for willingly allowing themselves to be seduced by Poseidon. Their father, Typhon, might also be partially demonic since his father was Tartarus itself.

Zeus soon imprisoned Typhon within Mount Aetna. Echidna later fled to Libya where she abducted children as food for her children. She was later killed by Argus (Arges), one of the Cyclopes.

Cerberus was soon employed by Pluto in establishing order in the Underworld after the defeat of the Titans. He killed Keres, an ancient spirit that terrorized and punished the dead and later took his places at the gates of Hades. He unerringly fulfilled his role in keeping the spirits of the dead from wandering back to the world of the living. He was distracted and waylaid by a few mortal heroes. Orpheus, the half-mortal son of the Muse Calliope, came down after his adventures with the Argonauts to retrieve his true love Eurydice who had died. Singing a song of woe, Orpheus was able to mesmerize Cerberus into letting him pass into the Underworld. The mortals Theseus and Peirithous distracted Cerberus to let them pass on their way to abduct Persephone, but they were captured by Pluto himself. Hercules on his last labor was able to forcibly drag Cerberus all the way to the court of King Eurystheus of Mycenae. The ordeal obviously gave many mortal men their first true appearance of the beast that they knew only by rumors. Having proved himself, Hercules freed Cerberus to flee back to the Underworld alone.

(Mystery Men#4 (fb) - BTS) - At some point Cerberus mated with the goddess Nox, who gave birth to a litter of hounds.

(Thor I#130)- During the course of his attempt to free Hercules from the Underworld, the Asgardian Thor confronted Cerberus, intent on driving him out of the Underworld. Thor fought back, and brought Cerberus down with a blow to the head.

(Champions#1)- Pluto sent Cerberus in his humanoid form to participate in the abuductions of Hercules and Venus from Los Angeles. He encountered Ghost Rider, and shifted to his dog form to battle him. Ghost Rider fled and found Hercules, who beat Cerberus in combat.

(Avengers I#282)- In his humanoid form, Cerberus witnessed Neptune arrive through the Styx with the unconscious form of Namor the Sub-Mariner, as Zeus had ordered the Avengers to be gathered for an effrontery to Hercules. Neptune chided Cerberus for speaking to him in a contemptuous manner, ashamed that he had been forced to bring Namor to the Underworld. Cerberus set off to bring Namor to Pluto's dungeons, but he suddenly awoke and escaped Cerberus, diving into the Styx. Cerberus reported Namor's seeming-death to Pluto, but Pluto realized that if anyone could survive the Styx, it would be Namor-- who had, in fact, already freed his fellow Avengers. Namor and the She-Hulk struck Cerberus down, toppling him upon Pluto.

BTS- At some point in time, Cerberus was imprisoned within an enchanted arrow, the Havoc-Bringer.

(Marvel Superheroes III#1/2)- At a Renaissance Festival, Hercules befriended the organizer, Albert McGee, who had unwittingly obtained the Havoc-Bringer, which he hoped to use in an archery exhibition. McGee accidentally struck his finger on the arrow, releasing Cerberus, who took immediate possession of McGee's body. Cerberus assaulted the crowd at the festival to harvest souls for Pluto, but Hercules opposed him. Unable to defeat Cerberus in combat, Hercules broke his oath to never fire another bow, and shot the Havoc-Bringer into Cerberus' chest. The moment it struck Cerberus, he was again banished to it, and Albert McGee was freed. Hercules then threw the Havoc-Bringer into orbit.

BTS- At a later time, Cerberus was released from the Havoc-Bringer and returned to the Underworld.

(Doctor Strange III#35 (BTS))- At some point, Pluto angered Hela such that she temporarily stole Cerberus from him.

(Doctor Strange III#35)- During the battles against Thanos when he held the Infinity Gauntlet, Doctor Strange, Clea and the Scarlet Witch traveled to Niffleheim to revive Thor, who had been transformed into ice shards. Along the way, the magicians encountered Hela, who released Cerberus upon them. She ultimately allowed them to enter Niffleheim, though she warned them that the Ice Giants might not let them out.

BTS- At a later date, Pluto recovered Cerberus and he resumed his duties in the Underworld.

(Thor I#462)- In his dog form, Cerberus watched as Ares arrived in the Underworld to meet with Pluto in a scheme against Thor.

(Thor Annual#19)- To fulfill his part of a bargain made with Loki, Pluto engineered an assault on Thor, employing Thor's enemy The Flame to kill him. He provided Cerberus to The Flame as a steed, and Cerberus bore him into battle on his back. They succeeded at besting Thor in combat and were then directed by Pluto to bring Thor to Asgard before killing him. However, The Flame then assaulted Sigyn, Loki's wife. Outraged, Loki awoke Thor, and he fought back against The Flame and Cerberus. Cerberus shifted to his humanoid form for combat, but was dispatched by a single strike of Thor's hammer.

(Fantastic Four III#21)- In his humanoid form, Cerberus appeared before the young wards of the Fantastic Four on their arrival to rescue Caledonia from Hippolyta. When Marvel Girl (Valeria Von Doom) attacked him, he released the souls of the Underworld to attack her and her allies. The young wards had to be rescued by Hercules and the Fantastic Four.

(Hercules III#5) - When Hercules came to the Underworld to seek the forgiveness of his wife Megara, Cerberus attacked him at the gates, but Hercules quickly struck him down.

(Incredible Hercules#129) - Although he still guarded Hades, Cerberus was now an attraction at the Stygian Casino, one of the many entrances to the underworld. Hercules released Cerberus from his chain to cause enough chaos for him and Amadeus Cho to slip down to Hades.

(X-Factor III#223) - Captured through unknown means by Agamemnon and imprisoned in his canine form, Agamemnon released him, promising him his freedom if Cerberus brought him the pregnant Rahne Sinclair (who was about to give birth to the wolfen son of the Norse prince Hrimhari).
    Soon after, Cerberus found his quarry and attacked, throwing the car carrying Jack Russell (Werewolf) and Rahne Sinclair far into the forest. Transforming into his human-like form with hammer, he attacked the two, almost killing Russell, but was kept at bay by the newly arrived X-Factor members, M, Shatterstar and Strong Guy. Casting them aside, Fenris Wolf suddenly surged through the forest and savaged him. 

(X-Factor III#224) - Cerberus was part of the chaotic fight between the assembled forces until mystical energies generated by Hel converged that explosively banished the mythic creatures.

Comments: Adapted by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Okay, Cerberus is/was a three-headed dog and Pluto shares his name with a cartoon Disney dog. There’s a joke somewhere in there or someone at Disney as a weird sense of humor.”

There are a few other “hell-hounds” in myth that also guard the respective underworlds of their pantheons such as Ammit in Egyptian myth, Sarameyau in the Hindu Pantheon and Manalan-Rakhi in Finnish myth. The Asgardians have Garm, but several similarities with the Fenris Wolf suggest they may actually be one and the same, but are separate entities in the MU.

Considering that Hercules killed many of his brothers and sisters, Cerberus must have been pretty relieved when he was caught, dragged to the surface world and just let go. In some references, Hades’ domain actually existed somewhere on the northern shore of the Black Sea and Cerberus was an ordinary albeit particularly ferocious watch-dog.

Hercules' battle with Cerberus is briefly summarized (one-panel) in Thor I#356, and again in Hercules III#1.

In Avengers I#347, the Supreme Intelligence created an illusionary Cerberus to oppose Hercules, in a half-hearted attempt to prevent the Avengers from killing him.

Cerberus' appearance in Marvel Super-Heroes III#1 is quite unlike his usual humanoid form. But then again, he doesn't seem to use the same dog form twice. They also mispell his name as "Cerebus."

A statue of Cerberus was seen aboard Kang's Damocles Base in Thunderbolts I#57.

by Will U and Prime Eternal

Cerberus should not be confused with:

images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four III#21, p, pan (Cerberus main image)
(Cerberus' three-headed dog form)
Marvel Super-Heroes III#1, p17, pan6 (Cerberus human form)

Thor I#130 (July, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker)
Champions#1 (October, 1975) - Tony Isabella (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers I#282 (August, 1987) - Roger Stern (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Marvel Super-Heroes III#1 (May, 1990) - D.G. Chichester & Margaret Clark (writer), Keith Pollard (pencils), Kim DeMulder (inks)
Dr. Strange III#35 (November, 1991) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writer), Dan Lawlis (pencils), Sam De La Rosa & Donald Hudson (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Thor I#462 (May, 1993) - Jim Starlin & Ron Marz (writer), Bruce Zick (pencils), Mike DeCarlo (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Thor Annual#19 (1994) - Roy Thomas (writer), Jerry DeCaire (pencils), Romeo Tanghal (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Fantastic Four III#21 (September, 1999) - Chris Claremont (writer), Salvador Larroca (pencils), Art Thibert (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Hercules III#5 (September, 2005) - Frank Tieri (writer), Mark Texeira (pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti (inks), Axel Alonso (editor)
Incredible Hercules#129 (July, 2009) - Fred Van Lente & Greg Pak (writers), Ryan Stegman (pencils), Terry Pallot (inks), Mark Paniccia (editor)
X-Factor III#223-224 (October, 2011) - Peter David (writer), Emanuela Lupacchino (pencils), Guillermo Ortego (inks), Daniel Ketchum (editor)
Mystery Men#4 (October, 2011) - David Liss (writer), Patrick Zircher (artist), Bill Rosemann (editor)

First Posted: 10/27/2003
Last updated: 05/24/2016

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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