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Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Ares

Is counseling the God of War a fool's errand?

By Tim Stevens

John Aaron, perhaps better known as the costumed adventurer Ares, is an adult male who appears to be of above average physical fitness. He insists that Ares is not merely a alias selected for his super human activities, but his "true" identity; that he is, in fact, the God of War and John Aaron is but an identity he chose to attempt to live a life free of the gods and raise his son to be a man. As the writer has no means of evaluating this statement, the decision was to made to take such claims at face value and work with the client as if his status as a deity was verifiable and real, at least for the time being. Ares currently operates as part of the Avengers, but admits to having been judged a villain previously. He insists that his villainy is really only a matter of perspective, "I fight for you here in America, I am hero. In China, perhaps less so.

Back then, I was someone's hero, just not yours."

The client was referred to me due to issues regarding his son, Alexander, who has been truant for some time. Additionally, it appears that the client is unaware of his son's current whereabouts, a situation that makes him understandably agitated.

Sessions with the client have proven largely fruitless. Attempts to discuss conflicts between him and his son are rejected by him, often with violent flourishes like the smashing of conference tables and the tossing of bookcases. Because of these outbursts, the writer has requested several times that the client leave his axe and broadsword at home. Those requests, heretofore, have been ignored.

The client has offered similar reactions to questions of instances of abuse, the possibility of Alexander running away, and his son's well-documented preoccupation with violence and instances of aggression.

The client has, however, helped the writer and the police with information regarding individuals who may have kidnapped and be holding Alexander. Evidently, just before moving to this school district, Alexander was abducted and held for a period of time by an individual the client called the "Japanese God of Evil." While the deification of this criminal is problematic for several reasons, police records do show that Alexander

was kidnapped and eventually found and saved by his father.

As requested by the school and New York's Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), the writer has also been evaluating the client for any signs of dangerousness. This is always a problematic endeavor and one that is undertook only in emergency situations, such as ones involving the life of a child. With that in mind, it is the opinion of the writer that while the client has a terrible temper and lashes out often, he has demonstrated no signs of doing so at those who are markedly weaker than him. Also, Alexander has never shown any signs of physical abuse and he has received regular physicals that likely would have turned up evidence of such. An inspection of the home revealed a comfortable, clean living space that appeared child safe and trumpeted Alexander's accomplishments: "A" papers on the fridge, a desk drawer full of past drawings, etc. With the exception of Alexander's preoccupation with depicting fighting in his artwork and his sometimes aggressive manner, there is no evidence to suggest any kind of exposure to violence.

There were some concerns about negligence on the part of the client, but the writer dismisses these. Ares did leave the child alone for several days, but informed his neighbors he would be going out of town and asked them to keep an eye out for his son. Additionally, he gave his son an extensive list of contact numbers for him, stocked the kitchen with healthy

foods, and left a sizeable amount of money for Alexander to treat himself to a special dinner. Finally, it is not beyond the pale, legally or traditionally speaking, to leave a child Alexander's age by himself at home for such a period of time with such preoccupations made.

Despite this, however, police report that there is no evidence in the home or from talking to friends, teachers, and neighbors that Alexander was abducted. Some report that they did see him leave one day with a bag, but did not know where he might be going. The only thing close to a lead they have besides that is that the boy was spotted talking to an older man wearing an eye patch a few days before he left the house.

At this time, this writer feels that there is little he can do for the client. He clearly hates working with me and is unwilling to discuss any inner turmoil he might be experiencing at this time. He has been informed that, should he change his mind, my office door will be open to him. However, at the current time, this writer sees no reason to continue with sessions.

John Aaron will have a debriefing session on September 16 with Doctors Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato. All information on this case can be found in file DARK AVENGERS #9.

Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D. who has experience working with the local equivalent of the OCFS.

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