After the gods overthrew their parents the Titans, the three brothers Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades gathered to divide the world into lots, over which they would rule. Zeus, the youngest brother, but also the liberator of his siblings and the slayer of their father Chronus, took the sky and the celestial realm of Olympus as his domain. Poseidon chose the mysterious depths of the seas, while dark Hades inherited the underworld and the deep places of the Earth.
Since that time, Hades became bitterly jealous of his younger brother, now patriarch of a new generation of gods who ruled over Mount Olympus, while Hades ruled over nothing but the shades of the dead in his dark and lonely kingdom. Hades chanced to see Persephone, the lovely daughter of the goddess Demeter. Taken by her beauty, he abducted her to be his queen. Although Zeus and Demeter insisted upon her return, Hades countered that Persephone had eaten the food of the dead in the form of some pomegranate seeds. So Zeus was forced to rule that Persephone remain Hades’ queen and dwell in the underworld with him for half of the year. The lovely queen of the domain of the dead has been the sole mitigating force on Hades over the years.
For much of the time, the King of the Underworld has sought to usurp the power of his fellow gods and extend his domain through death and destruction in the mortal world. He has made dupes of his nephews Ares and Hermes on occasion, and used various mortal pawns and monsters to serve his purposes.
One particular mortal who earned Hades’ displeasure was Daedalus, when he spurned the gods’ gift of immortality. Since then, Hades has claimed Daedalus soul for his own, although Zeus has forbidden the God of the Dead from striking Daedalus down personally. Instead, Hades has worked through agents and intermediaries over the centuries in plots to kill Daedalus and end his immortal existence. The knowledge Hades awaited him in Tartarus may have very well kept Daedalus from seeking death at times when his life seemed to have lost meaning.
Hades granted immortality to Daedalus’ foe the Minotaur, with the caveat that the man-bull must sacrifice souls each year to Hades. The Lord of Tartarus has also dealt with the likes of Medea and the brass man Talos, although the latter prefers to have as little to do with Hades (and the other gods) as possible.
When Daedalus adopted his public identity as a superhero in Freedom City, Hades took it as a personal affront. He massed an army of the dead and invaded the city with the unwitting aid of an amateur mortal wizard seeking power. Instead, all he received was a place in Hades’ undead legions as they stormed Freedom City. Various heroes, including Daedalus, united to oppose Hades and his forces, and successfully drove them back to Tartarus. Angered by Hades’ presumption, Zeus forbade his brother to ever so directly invade the Earth again. Daedalus and his allies went on to found the Freedom League, a target of Hades’ wrath ever since.
For years after the formation of the Freedom League, Hades bedeviled Daedalus and other heroes with his schemes. Unable to invade the world of the living, he still caused considerable trouble through the use of various pawns, granting temporary powers to ambitious mortals, unleashing mythological monsters, or attempting to draw heroes into his underworld domain to entrap them forever. Each time, heroes thwarted Hades’ plans, occasionally with the aid of Persephone, who did what she could to curb her husband’s excesses.
When Daedalus left Earth for a time, Hades lost track of his old foe and fell into a long period of brooding in Tartarus. Daedalus return during the Terminus Invasion both drew Hades’ attention and inspired the dark god. Where Omega had nearly succeeded in drawing Earth into the Terminus, Hades would use other super-villains to do his work, leading humanity toward destruction and bringing them under the shadow of his kingdom of death. Then Hades, Lord of the Underworld, would reign as the supreme god of Olympus and the world!