Venus strongly resembles the Greco-Roman goddess Aphrodite, but is actually a siren, a daughter of Phorcys begotten in the image of Aphrodite. Despite their beauty, the sirens were soulless aquatic monsters that lured sailors to their doom. Venus and the other sirens would sing, enchanting sailors to sail close to her island. There their ships would crash onto to the jagged rocks and they would drown only to be eaten by Phorcys. However, after centuries of luring countless seamen to their deaths, Venus was finally stopped.
In the late 19th century, the enemy and benefactor to the Agents of Atlas, Master Plan (Plan Tzu), lead a mission to free the Lung Dragon, Mr. Lao. Master Plan recruited the then- Sorcerer Supreme, the Ancient One, to aid them on their sea voyage. When the approaching ship encountered Venus, the magician on board recognized the danger. He negated the danger the siren posed by granting her a soul that endowed her with a human conscience. Venus was immediately overwhelmed by disgust and horror at her murderous actions, and fled. She eventually took shelter at a convent, where the nuns thought she was mute because she had not spoken a word since she arrived. They thought she was a miraculous gift because she did not age in the two decades she lived with them. One day she was so moved by the choir singing at the town festival that she began to sing for the town (and visiting clergy). The nuns asked her to leave the abbey due to the passions aroused by her voice. Over the years, Venus became convinced that she was actually Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, because of her empathic ability and apparent immortality. This was actually just a coping mechanism for her to forget her terrible past. She thought that she was Aphrodite and that she must have relinquished much of her godly power to walk among mortals and help them towards peace and happiness. With the real Aphrodite spending almost all her time feeding her own hedonistic pleasures, Venus was mistaken for the real Aphrodite by the Olympian Gods themselves and for a relished in her false Godhood..
Venus was created by Stan Lee and Lin Streeter and first appeared in Venus #1.
During her appearances in her solo series, Venus was explained to be an inhabitant of the planet Venus who traveled to Earth out of boredom. Her adventures heavily implied that she was Aphrodite of Greek myth. The nature of the comic series gradually changed, from matchmaking advice and magazine work to supernatural encounters, beginning with an evil figure identified as Loki (but it is unclear if this was actually Thor's adopted brother). Venus acted as both ingenue and heroine during her encounters with other strange creatures (including a demonic vampire, creatures created from a co-worker's mind, Neptunia, the Skrull Velmax, and the gargoyles of Sylvia Corpo). Her station as the Goddess of Love was reinforced by appearances from other major mythological characters such as Thor and Hercules.
Silver and Bronze Age
Venus made sporadic appearances throughout the Silver and Bronze Age of Comics, notably she appeared in the first 3 issues of Champions where she allied with the titular super-team which included her "cousin" Hercules. Perhaps her major appearance of the Silver and Bronze age was when she featured heavily in What If? #9, the first appearance of a team of 1950s Avengers, who would later be revived decades later as the Agents of Atlas.
Venus' origin was completely retconned in Agents of Atlas. It was here where we found she wasn't the true Olympian Goddess of Love and was in fact a Siren claiming to be such. The reveal caused much confusion about past appearances where Venus was depicted in Olympus associating with Gods. Eventually this was resolved when Venus came face-to-face with the real Aphrodite and we learn that Venus' even fooled Zeus, Hercules and the rest of the Olympian Gods. Following the encounter, Venus was appointed the Goddess of Love when Aphrodite saw her as more worthy of the role than her. Behind-the-scenes, this was writer Jeff Parker's way of apologising for complicating and "messing up" Venus' history.
Major Story Arcs
Prior to her coming to the United States, Venus traveled around Europe. In 1948, in search of adventure and romance, Venus came to New York City. She found employment at none other than the magazine, Beauty, under the alias Victoria Nutley Starr (or 'VNS', an allusion to her adopted name). Beauty Publisher, Whitney Hammond, and his secretary, Della Mason, doubted her claims of godhood; however, Hammond decided that her beauty would garner publicity for the magazine and she became a journalist and editor. 'Victoria' and Hammond had romantic chemistry, while Della Mason schemed to ruin their budding relationship. Venus realized that her immortality would separate her and Hammond, so she quit her job and once again began traveling the world.
In the 1950s, Venus was approached by FBI agent Jimmy Woo, and she agreed to join Jimmy and his allies in freeing President Eisenhower from the clutches of the Yellow Claw. These "Avengers" (the first incarnation of the Agents of Atlas) operated for another six months. The government decided that the world was not ready for them, and disbanded the group.
During the 1960s Venus was seen in Sweden and influenced the pop band, Shocking Blue. They wrote and performed the hit song "Venus" which was based on the siren. During the 1970's, Venus became a Professor of Humanities at Pepperdine University in California. Her stay there was characterized by peace rallies, anti-war gatherings, and "love-ins." Venus was much more interested in the human experience than a strict curriculum.
Venus later encountered the newly formed Champions when Ares, Hippolyta and Pluto attempted to assert dominance over Olympus - to this end Ares would marry Venus (not realizing she was not the true Goddess of Love) and Hippolyta would marry Hercules. Eventually, the Champions and Venus managed to fend off the villains and with the help of Zeus resolved the whole debacle.
During the 1980s, Venus went to the location of Ken Hale's transformation into Gorilla-Man in Africa. Hale had told her that after some refugees from some other African country had fled there, they and the locals clashed. The place was a war zone, with each side butchering each other. This horror was what prompted Hale to leave. After hearing him recount the devastation, Venus naturally decided to go there and help. Her very presence ended conflicts between the various warring groups because she was unconsciously affecting their emotions with her voice (without even singing). Venus resided there for the next few decades, and helped them find mates from each other's tribes. As the years passed, the once warring factions intermarried and became close family.
Agent of Atlas
Venus was again found by Jimmy Woo and recruited into the new Agents of Atlas. She was a crucial member of the team in its early fights, but Namora instinctively mistrusted her most obvious power. Her suspicions came to a head when she figured out that Venus was in fact a siren (Namora mistakenly also referred to her as a naiad in addition to siren) after she used her singing voice to calm down a scuffle at the docks. Venus herself had forgotten her past identity, and the revelation briefly drove her into deep despair. She began to cry and her voice began to evoke a feeling a dread in those around her. The wailing ate through to the core of their beings and made them feel as though it was the end of the world. She almost incapacitated her entire team before it set off a chain reaction causing the team to fight amongst themselves. Finally, Woo convinced her that she was still a good person at heart. Venus has since finally reconnected with her past life and embraced who she once was , including her powers as a siren.
When the Agents confronted the Yellow Claw and Mister Lao, Claw told them that all of Jimmy's adventures were set up by them to test him. The Yellow Claw became his enemy in order to create a great legacy for Woo. Master Plan revealed that one of Yellow Claw's machinations involved chartering the fleet with the magician that transformed Venus.
In the beginning of the relaunched Agents of Atlas title, Venus used her abilities to charm none other than the Sentry himself to gain access to Norman Osborn (Reynolds heard her voice from the Philippines and immediately flew to greet her). She also used her voice to subdue the New Avengers, the latter attacking the Agents with the belief that they were supplying Norman with weapons.
It was later revealed to the actual Greek God Aphrodite that Venus was masquerading as her throughout her Golden Age career. Furious at this blasphemy she had Venus captured and branded with her symbol. The Agents of Atlas sought out Cerebra from the X-Men in order to find her. After a brief conflict with the mutant team they combined the Uranian's abilities with Cerebra to locate and then rescue Venus from Aphrodite. In the showdown between Venus and Aphrodite, Aphrodite was moved by the profoundness and sincerity of Venus' song, and thus passed on her title as the goddess of love on to Venus.
When Amatsu-Mikaboshi sets about killing the Gods of the many pantheons of Earth, Hercules assembled a new God Squad team including Venus, Thor, Silver Surfer, Sersi and Daimon Hellstrom. The God Squad fight the forces of Amatsu-Mikaboshi and help Hercules seal him off in a side-continuum of the multiverse.
Powers and Abilities
Venus is a siren cursed with a soul. Since she is the daughter of Phorcys, a Greco-Roman sea-god who is a member of Marvel's version of Olympian Pantheon, she may possess abilities analogous to other Olympian gods and goddess, but she has only displayed a few. She is functionally immortal and can her survive in environments not suited for human beings. Her siren nature allows to breathe underwater, withstand the great pressures of the ocean depths, and swim at very fast speeds (all rivaling, if not exceeding, Namora's amphibious abilities). Venus also seems to be an expert on world languages, soon mastering local tongue wherever she goes.
Her most famous ability is her "siren song". Her voice gives her an empathic quasi-telepathic control over whomever hears her voice. The effect depends on her tone and intention: a joyful or mournful tone instills the same feelings in her listeners, whereas the lyrics do not have to match what she demands of her audience. Her power was strong enough to immediately subdue the Sentry into helping her find Norman Osborn. Her voice can heal the spirit by letting listeners live their ideal fantasy for a moment.
Since her battle with Aphrodite, Venus has been declared the new goddess of love. She must now use her empathic gifts to help mortals with all aspects of love: the good that comes with love and the pain that comes with its loss. she was purported to possess the powers like all Olympian Gods, plus the abilities of the goddess of love. These abilities included enhanced strength, speed, agility, virtual immortality, denser body tissue (granting remarkable durability and resistance to injury), flight at high speeds, teleportation, the ability to make herself invisible to humans, shape-shifting, control the emotions of others and perform other mystic feats.
After her intense conflict with the actual goddess of love, Aphrodite, Venus was given the enchanted Cestus by the goddess ("cestus" is the greco-roman word for piece of fabric, resembling a cross between a sarong and girdle). This girdle was forged by the god Hephaestus and possesses the essence of Aphrodite. It allows its wearer/owner the ability to arouse love and passion in others and to transform weapons into peaceful objects.