The Grim Reaper
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The Grim Reaper(pop culture)
As a child, “bad” Eric Williams never lived up to the example set by his “good” brother, Simon. This dysfunctional family dynamic established a lifetime of conflict between the siblings: Eric, who becomes the villainous Grim Reaper, and Simon, who becomes Avengers team member Wonder Man. Although Eric both loved and resented Simon, when Simon “died” as Wonder Man (The Avengers vol. 1 #9, 1964), Eric was consumed by a desire for vengeance, blaming the Marvel Comics superteam, and taking the identity of the Grim Reaper to punish them. Dressed in a blue bodysuit with a skull and crossbones, and accompanying red cape, the Grim Reaper possesses no superhuman powers, but wields a scythe fused to his right hand. The Reaper's virtually indestructible blade is a superweapon, housing a force blaster, cerebral stunner (inducing paralysis in its victims), and a spinner (which allows the scythe to function like a buzz saw). Since his introduction in scribe Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema's Avengers #52 (1968), in which he revealed his backstory to the team as he attacked them, the Reaper has spent his entire criminal career battling the Avengers, even briefly forming the villainous Lethal Legion in an attempt to defeat them. In a detailed 1986 storyline, the Reaper died, and then returned from death as a living zombie. Although he was invulnerable to the effects of heat, cold, radiation, and disease, he needed to sustain his undead state by killing victims with his scythe. He murdered his lover Nekra, the Mandrill, and countless others until Wonder Man halted his brother's reign of terror. Afterward, the Grim Reaper allied himself with demonic forces, but was seemingly killed by his evil masters … until he was resurrected once again to join the evil crime family, the Maggia. Thanks to Scarlet Witch's magic, the Grim Reaper is fully human once more, and has appeared battling the Avengers, this time on behalf of his employer, Count Nefaria.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.