|Duke of Deception|
|First appearance||Wonder Woman #2 (Fall 1942)|
|Created by||William Moulton Marston (script)|
Harry G. Peter (art)
|Abilities||Ability to create realistic illusions|
The Duke of Deception is a fictional character appearing in DC Comics publications and related media, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Wonder Woman. A god of deceit and manipulation, the Duke was originally presented as a treacherous operative of Wonder Woman's nemesis Mars/Ares, and would become one of the hero's first recurring foes. Later comics appearances portray him as a more independent antagonist (with an array of divergent character designs), though his origins and associations have consistently been interpolated within the Greek mythology that informs the Wonder Woman mythos. Perhaps fitting for an embodiment of subterfuge, the Duke's comic book appearances have never definitively established his true identity; however the 2020 feature film Wonder Woman 1984 suggests that he is Dolos, the Greek mythological deity of trickery and lies.
The Duke of Deception first appeared in the summer of 1942 in Wonder Woman #1, written by Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston. A psychologist, Marston conceived many of the villains for his early Wonder Woman stories as allegories for psychological motifs. As such, the Duke of Deception was a representation of the exploitative power of duplicity, particularly as it related to misogyny and patriarchal control. The character appeared regularly in Wonder Woman, Comic Cavalcade and Sensation Comics stories throughout the 1940s and 1950s. But by the 1960s, when the Silver Age of Comics was in full swing, the Duke of Deception had all but vanished from Wonder Woman's adventures, save for a single appearance in 1964 in Wonder Woman #148. Things would pick up a bit for him in the 1970s; he received a Bronze Age facelift in 1975 in Wonder Woman #217, written by Elliot S. Maggin, followed by yet another reformulation in 1977 in Wonder Woman #239-240, written by Gerry Conway. The Duke of Deception made his final Bronze Age appearance in 1979 in Wonder Woman #254. After DC Comics rebooted its continuity in 1985 (in a publication event known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths), Wonder Woman, her supporting characters and many of her foes were re-imagined and reintroduced. The Duke of Deception, though initially absent in this revised set of storylines, would ultimately make a handful of cameo appearances, both in DC's continuity (such as Wonder Woman Annual (vol. 3) #1), and out of it (such as Scooby-Doo Team-Up #5, in which Wonder Woman works with Scooby-Doo and his friends).
In 2016, a new version of the Duke of Deception was introduced in DC Comics' successful The Legend of Wonder Woman, an ongoing digital series retelling Wonder Woman's origin in an alternate continuity. A champion of both Ares and Hades, the Duke of Deception is presented as the first major adversary Wonder Woman faces after leaving her home on the island of Themyscira.
Little is known about the true history of the Duke of Deception. He appears to be a minor deity in the Greek pantheon, possibly Dolos, the god of trickery and lies. He is drafted by Mars to battle Wonder Woman. He uses his powers to spread falsehoods to provoke humanity into conflict and war.
The Duke of Deception, along with the Count of Conquest and the Earl of Greed, two other enemies of Wonder Woman, was a main lieutenant of the god Mars.
The Duke of Deception sends his astral form to inspire military and government leaders with duplicitous thoughts that could lead to war. His contributions to World War II include "persuad[ing] ... the Rising Sun (Japan) to make peace talk at Washington while they struck with deadly venom at Pearl Harbor" and "show[ing] the addled Adolf Hitler how to cultivate Russia's friendship until the hour arrived to attack".
On the war god's interplanetary base on the planet Mars, the Duke of Deception operates the Lie Factory, which uses slaves, spirits from different planets such as Earth and Saturn that inhabit bodies, to craft deceptions for a variety of stratagems. Other slaves are used for gladiator conflicts. When Wonder Woman's astral form traveled to Mars to rescue Steve Trevor, the Duke of Deception recognized her and revealed her identity to Mars after she won in the arena. He gave advice to Mars to pretend not to know who she was to trap her. However, Wonder Woman was able to rescue Steve, overcome Mars and his soldiers, and escape to Earth. The Duke of Deception was the second of Mars' lieutenants sent to capture Wonder Woman, refusing at first as he said his servants were writing propaganda for the Nazis and Japanese and he could not capture Wonder Woman without their help. Wonder Woman was captured by an agent of his, Naha, with her magic lasso after being given a fake lasso. She was taken onto a ship, where she was left bound hand and foot, along with being gagged and blindfolded with plaster. However, Wonder Woman was able to escape with the help of Etta Candy, who she telepathically contacted. The Duke of Deception tried to convince Hirohito to cause more war in Hawaii by disguising himself as a General. However, Wonder Woman foiled his plan to cause further war with the help of Etta Candy and sent his phantom form fleeing back to Mars in the form of a slave girl. He was then imprisoned by Mars, his imprisonment causing Hirohito to speak truthfully to the Italian Ambassador. The Duke of Deception was released when Wonder Woman was brought back in chains by the Count of Conquest. The Duke of Deception enlists the aid of the women-hating Doctor Psycho after finding women are being used in the War Effort, hoping to continue the practice of inequality. After repeated failures, Mars strips him of his mighty appearance, leaving him a weak, toothless man. He was imprisoned with the female slaves, but convinced them to rebel and briefly ruled Mars, imprisoning the god Mars. He took over the Moon and was able to drug the goddess Diana, but was defeated by Wonder Woman.
He eventually begins working independently from Mars, and continues to unsuccessfully battle Wonder Woman. In the late 1950s, he received a makeover with other members of the Wonder Woman cast. He now wore an orange and black costume and hood and, characteristic of a master of illusion, the color of his skin changed from white to yellow. He tries to attack the entire Solar System of Earth-1 after capturing Wonder Woman and Steve with a key that transforms into a spaceship which paralyzes them and leaves Earth. But Wonder Woman is able to escape using her bracelet to turn off the device and destroy all of his fleet which were massing at different planets. The Duke of Deception's own ship crashes into an Earth satellite. However, he made numerous Silver Age reappearances.
The Duke of Deception's daughter, Lya, is a "mistress of lies" who attempts to double-cross her own father. She captured Wonder Woman and created a phantasm of her to steal Earth's atomic weapons. However, Wonder Woman escaped and captured Lya and her followers.
After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, this version of the Duke of Deception is erased from history.
A new version of the Duke of Deception reappears, with a caption box describing him as "The Duke of Deception, whose power of illusion made him the War God's most trusted disciple".
The Duke of Deception can create illusions and delusions in the minds of others, thereby driving them insane. In addition, he can envelop himself in an illusory image which changes his physical appearance. He has used this ability to disguise himself as Wonder Woman, Paula von Gunther, and Professor Dekon. He can also send his astral form invisibly to military and government leaders, inspiring them with thoughts of duplicity which they take to be their own.
The Duke of Deception has also made use of advanced technology in his plans to attack Earth and destroy Wonder Woman. He attempted to shrink a Martian invasion fleet into a small box from which they would emerge in enlarged form, and he used the shrinking technology again to shrink down Skyscraper City. He has also employed a solar death ray, a forcefield that sealed in Washington, D.C. and also was a portal for an interplanetary invasion fleet, a "brain-wave deceiver" that could scramble a victim's perception of fantasy and reality, and a "gigantic inter-stellar cannon" that was able to target Wonder Woman's invisible jet. He also claimed to have altered Wonder Girl's face with technology he had employed in the past on Medusa and Dr. Jekyll's Mr. Hyde persona, but he may have been lying.
The Duke of Deception appears in the Super Friends comic book series. Several other villains (including Riddler and Angle Man) unknowingly freed a magical automaton, which the Duke of Deception claimed would be his key to conquering the world. The villains, discovering the Duke of Deception's plan, allied themselves with the Super Friends and managed to defeat the automaton. Wonder Woman's lasso captured the Duke of Deception before he was able to escape.
In the digital-first crossover with the cast of Scooby-Doo, the Duke of Deception created illusions of various mythological creatures on Paradise Island, including a Minotaur, Harpies, Cyclopes, and the Hydra in attempt to lure Wonder Woman to seek Batman's aid, which would result in breaking Aphrodite's Law of not allowing men to set foot on the island. However, with the help of Scooby-Doo and his friends, Wonder Woman was able to discover his plot. Believing he had won, it was not until the Duke of Deception discovered that Shaggy Rogers had not actually touched his feet to the island that he realized Wonder Woman still had her powers and he was quickly defeated.
In the digital-first origin story The Legend of Wonder Woman, the Duke of Deception appears as Wonder Woman's primary antagonist.
The Duke of Deception is mentioned in Wonder Woman 1984. Also going by the names Dolos and Mendacius, the Duke of Deception is the deity responsible for empowering the Dreamstone, a magical object used throughout the film and absorbed into Maxwell Lord.