The fifth entry in Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe goes to the dastardly Aegeus – an arch-nemesis of Wonder Woman! While some of the other characters from DC Comics that we have so far shared in this Who’s Who series of articles – I knew well or at least had a passing knowledge of – definitely going to have to admit that Aegeus was not one of them. That wasn’t because of the fact that he was a character that came from the pages of Wonder Woman – heck – thanks in no small part to the Wonder Woman television series, I was more than happy to pick up the heroines comics from the spinner rack at the local gas station now and again. Furthermore, I definitely have to say again that while the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe might have beaten their competitors to the punch by three whole years – Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, and Robert Greenberger in my opinion topped the Marvel version in both quality and range of characters they featured in their encyclopedic series. Beginning in 1985, the trio managed to fill 26 issues with major as well as the minor characters of the DC Universe – which I believe the latter is the category that Aegeus falls into – though no less important I should add. In addition I feel this is quite the boon – the fact that this villain of the Princess of Paradise Island is the next character in our look back at the iconic Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, just hours after the poster for the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 poster went live!
The character of Nikos Aegeus made his first appearance in the pages of Wonder Woman #297 – published in November of 1982 in a story entitled Thunder on the Wind. I must also point out that issue featured an incredible cover by Michael Kaluta (Who I’ve talked about in the recent Pop Culture Retrorama podcast!) – and even a back-up tale featuring the Huntress and a story for the Masters of the Universe where Superman lends aid to He-Man in defending Eternia.
Back to Aegeus, he was co-created by Dan Mishkin, Gene Colan, and Frank McLaughlin – although I’ve seen online where it says that Curt Swan also had a hand in the creation. Mishkin along wiht Gary Cohn and Ernie Colon were responsible for co-creating the cult favorite comic series, Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld for DC Comics as well as joining with artist Paris Cullins to co-create the Blue Devil comic book series. Gene Colan might possibly be best known for his work at Marvel Comics with the legendary Tomb of Dracula but he would also co-create the Falcon and even Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. Frank McLaughlin not only co-created the character of Judomaster for Charlton Comics but he worked on the Gil Thorp newspaper comic strip too.
As is stated in the character’s entry in Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe – featuring artwork by Don Heck (Iron Man, The Avengers):
- Full Name: Niko Aegeus
- Occupation: Terrorist
- Marital Status: Single
- Known Relatives: None
- Group Affiliation: None
- Base of Operation: Greece
- First Appearance: Wonder Woman #297
- Height: 5’10” Weight: 175lbs.
- Eyes: Blue Hair: Black
As we are introduced to Nikos Aegeus in the story Thunder on the Wind, it is through a summons of Diana to Paradise Island by her Mother, Hippolyta – Queen of the Amazons. She shows a disturbing vision to her Daughter of a possible future where many of their fellow Amazonians fall to some threat – one that Wonder Woman vows to track down and stop.
The threat is making itself known at that moment in Athens, Greece – as a poor ambassador is brutally executed by Nikos Aegeus. Realizing the murder will undoubtedly attract the attention of the authorities, the terrorist organization decides to hide out among the ancient ruins upon a deserted island. Only to find out that the ruins aren’t really deserted at all – although the single resident is certainly ancient as it is none other than Bellerophon!
The origin of Aegeus pauses there as we find out that days have passed with Diana Prince still attempting to locate the source of the threat her Mother sensed. She is doing this in her military role at the Pentagon as Captain Diana Prince but isn’t coming up with anything – which is when Steve Trevor invites her to participate in an inter-service combat exercise – between the Air Force and Navy. During this exercise is when Aegeus decides to make himself known – appearing in the sky atop the mighty Pegasus and striking down Trevor’s plane with a thunderbolt of Zeus… fired from the villain’s magical bow!
Thankfully for Steve, Diana calls forth her invisible jet to help him land his plane while she confronts Aegeus, after switching into her Wonder Woman outfit. The encounter doesn’t go exactly as you might imagine as Aegeus is more amused by the heroine lassoing his flying steed – while Wonder Woman attempts to force Pegasus to land – it is revealed that it can only be controlled by Aegeus. Before she can reach her foe as she is dragged through the skies – he uses one of Zeus’ bolts to telport safely away… worse news awaits Wonder Woman when she goes to check on Trevor, he too has been teleported away and as the issue ends we find he is a prisoner of Aegeus!
Now in Wonder Woman #298 we learn that Bellerophon is using Aegeus to help him achieve vengeance against the Gods of Olympus – Zeus in particular – who struck down the former hero when his ego grew too big, attacking the Amazonians and believing himself worthy to enter Mount Olympus. Blinded and shunned by mankind, Bellerophon, waited for the likes of Nikos Aegeus – and the reason he commanded the now magically powerful terrorist into capturing Trevor was to learn the location of Paradise Island. Doing so in an attempt to gain access to the Purple Ray of the Amazons – which would rejuvenate the former hero, giving him back his eyesight and even his youth.
The origin story for Aegeus is completed in issue #299 of the Wonder Woman comic book and I’ll cut to the chase and let you know that not only does the Princess of Paradise Island best the still formidable Bellerophon, but she also thoroughly trounces Aegeus… with a mighty swing of a tree against the side of his head. However, the villain is able to make an escape with the aid of his single remaining thunderbolt of Zeus, vowing vengeance of course in the process. As the Powers & Weapons section of Aegeus’ entry in the Who’s Who points out, Wonder Woman’s foe returns after managing to acquire the six daggers of Vulcan – weapons that are able to cut and penetrate almost all objects, including our heroine’s lasso of truth and her bracelets!
For what it’s worth, Aegeus as the Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe highlights was wiped out shortly after it’s publication – one of the many victims of the Multiverse collapsing courtesy of the Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series. Since that time however, versions of Nikos Aegeus have made appearances in both the 2010 New Earth and 2015 Prime Earth versions of the Wonder Woman comic book series.