HELEN OF TROY

Real Name: Helen

Identity/Class: Demi-goddess

Occupation: Goddess of beauty and perfection, former monarch

Group Membership: Venus' ten handmaidens (including Bilitis, Cleopatra, Du Barry, Juliet, Liti, Psyche, Salome, unidentified others),

Affiliations: Olympian gods, Paris, Maria Storm, Trojan forces at Troy

Enemies: Achilles and the Greek armies, Megapenthes, Nicostratus, Odysseus, Orestes, Polyxo and her maids

Known Relatives: Zeus (father), Leda (mother, deceased?), Tyndareus (foster father), Menelaus (estranged husband), Catreus (father in law, deceased), Polydeuces (brother, alias Pollux, deceased?), Castor (half-brother, deceased), Clytemnestra (half-sister, deceased), Pleisthenes (son, deceased), Hermione (daughter, deceased), Molossus (son in law, deceased), Orestes (nephew/son in law, deceased), Tisamenus (grandson, deceased), Heracles, Apollo , Ares, Hephaestus , Hermes , Dionysus (half-brothers), Artemis , Athena , Venus , Eris, Eileithyia, Hebe, Pandia (half-sisters)

Aliases: Pandia? (see Comments)

Base of Operations: Olympus; formerly ancient Sparta (now part of modern Greece), formerly Troy (now part of modern Turkey)

First Appearance: Venus#1 (August, 1948)

Powers/Abilities: As a goddess, Helen possesses several attributes of the Olympian Gods such as superhuman strength (Class 20 at least), longevity, vitality, resistance to harm and eternal life just so long as she ate ambrosia and drank nectar made from the apples of immortality. She might have limited mystical skills to at least cross barriers between dimensions and possibly even limited clairvoyance.

As a mortal, she had none of these powers except for her Olympian beauty and perfection.

History: (Greek Legend)- Helen is the daughter of Zeus and the Calydonian princess, Leda, a wife of King Tyndareus of Sparta. Leda had a vision of her pregnancy in which a swan bestowed her four eggs out of which sprang her four children. Spartan priests translated the dream by claiming it meant that some of her children were going to be of divine birth.

Helen grew up to be particularly beautiful and her mortal guardian King Tyndareus sought to prevent bloodshed by forcing her suitors to exacting a vow of non-violence and by standing by the side of Helen’s husband to protect her. King Theseus of Athens and his close friend, Peirithous, Leader of the Lapith tribes, however, had both made vows to marry daughters of Zeus. While Helen was only twelve years old, Thesus abducted from her Sparta and left her in the custody of his mother in Aphidnae. While Theseus and Peirithous left to kidnap Persephone from the Underworld, Castor and Pollux invaded Aphidnae, rescued Helen and left the throne in the hands of Theseus’s enemies.

Helen’s sister, Clytemnestra, was taken by King Agamemnon of Mycenae which left Tyndareus without a successor to his throne. He betrothed Helen to Agamemnon’s brother, Menelaus, who then replaced him on the throne of Sparta. Helen, however, ended up promised to Paris, a prince of Troy, by the goddess Aphrodite. While Menelaus was absent for the funeral of King Catreus, Paris spirited Helen out of Sparta and took her to Troy. Menelaus on his return called the kings and warriors on their vow to Tyndareus and declared war on a ten-year battle to be called the Trojan War.

(Thor Annual#8)- Lost in time and space in the caves under Asgard, the Asgardian God Thor befriended Dardanian prince Aeneas and fought with him to defend Troy against the hordes of Greek armies. During his combat, he had a brief glimpse of Helen watching the war from the towers of Troy. Loki, the god of mischief, was also lost in that time and gave Odysseus the idea for the Wooden Horse.

(Greek Legend)- Helen somehow realized the Greeks were hiding in the horse and tried to dissuade them from more bloodshed but they ignored her. After Paris’s death, Helen was abducted by his brother as a concubine, but Paris' brother was killed by Menelaus who had secured his way past the Trojan walls inside the Wooden Horse. Menelaus also wanted to kill Helen for her role in the war, but could not bring himself to carry through the act. Aphrodite then instructed Hermes to spirit Helen to Egypt where she was hid from Menelaus by King Proteus. Menelaus tracked her there from advice given him by Athena. Proteus removed Helen’s memories of the war with water from the river Lethe as she returned to Menelaus.

In the aftermath of Agamemnon’s death, Menelaus’s nephew Orestes came to him for absolution in the murders of his mother and her lover. Refused a defense, he tried to kill Helen for the grief caused in her wake and Aphrodite again advised Hermes to spirit her off this time to Olympus.

Helen meanwhile desired to return to Menelaus, but after his death, she was driven from Sparta by her step-sons Nicostratus and Megapenthes. She fled to Rhodes to live with Polyxo, one of the widows from Troy, who saw her and realized this was her chance to avenge her husband. She instructed her maids to impersonate Erinnyes, goddesses of punishment, and to slay her, but Aphrodite rescued Helen again and the maids had to fabricate a murder for Helen’s absence. Believing Helen was dead, the Spartans placed a marker in her name next to Menelaus’s tomb.

(Venus#1/2)- To prove her worth as an editor to Whitney Hammond, Venus recruited ten of her handmaidens---including Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, and Salome---to come to Earth as part of a Beauty Magazine project focusing on beautiful women, thus beating the line-up in their rival publication Lovely Lady Magazine.

(Venus#11/1) - When Michael Templar's machine threatened to plunge Earth into the sun, Helen of Troy was among Venus' handmaidens who bestowed their beauty to Templar's lab assistant, the plain Maria Storm; upon seeing the transformed Maria, Templar fell in love with her and reversed the machine, sparing the world.

Comments: Adapted by Ken Bald and George Klein.

This history obviously merges the many accounts of Helen’s demise and death with the scenario that she became a goddess.

In some references, Helen is identified as the same personage as Pandia, the goddess of beauty, who is otherwise described as the daughter of Zeus and Selene, the moon-goddess.

Some references also claim that Helen and Pollux were the children of Zeus and Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance. One version tries to make an allowance for this by claiming Leda later became the goddess Nemesis. Casts sort of a weird spin on those “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” stories, doesn’t it?

Some myths claim that after the birth of Hercules that Zeus swore off seducing mortal women, but then this doesn’t explain Helen’s divine birth. It could be assumed that Zeus actually made this promise after Hercules had become a god and Helen was already born.

Historically, the Ancient Greeks attacked Troy for control of the Hellespont, a waterway leading to the Black Sea. It was a confrontation even participated by Hercules and the Argonauts after Hercules was refused the hand of Hesione by Priam’s father, Laomedon. Hercules even placed Priam on the throne after slaying Laomedon. In any rate, Menelaus almost definitely used the abduction as his wife as an excuse to further attack Troy. Actually, when you think about it, the Greeks had a lot going against them in the war. They were fighting on a foreign soil, many of them spoke different languages ranging from Achaean, Ionian, Dorian, Aeolian and others and many of them had already hated each other’s guts. Athens and Crete had just staved off hostilities just barely twenty years earlier.

It is perfectly acceptable that Cleopatra served Venus since she was of Greek descent and only lived in Egypt, but Salome was a Hittite who lived in Palestine while it was under Roman rule.

A very interesting version of Helen’s lifetime was depicted in the excellent movie “Helen of Troy (2003) starring Sienna Guillory, but even that movie takes numerous liberties with the actual story.

Thanks to Ron Fredricks for adding Helen's appearance in Venus#11.

Profile by Will U

CLARIFICATIONS:
Helen of Troy should not be confused with:


Appearances:
Venus#1 (August, 1948) - Lin Streeter (artist)
Venus#11 (November, 1950) - unidentified writer, Werner Roth (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Thor Annual#8 (1979) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)


Last updated: 11/06/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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