Grim Reaper (comics)

Grim Reaper (comics)


caption = The Grim Reaper vs the Avengers,
art by George Pérez
comic_color = background:#ff8080
character_name = Grim Reaper
real_name = Eric Williams
species =
publisher = Marvel Comics
debut = "The Avengers" #52 (May 1968)
creators = Roy Thomas (writer)
John Buscema (artist)
alliance_color = background:#c0c0ff
alliances =Legion of the Unliving Maggia HYDRA Lethal Legion Sinister Six
partners = Steelskulls (his lackeys)
former partner of the Space Phantom
ally of Ultron, Nekra, Black Talon, Goliath, and Man-Ape
aliases =
powers = Necromancy
Ability to summon demons
Illusions casting

Grim Reaper (Eric Williams) is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. He first appeared in "The Avengers" #52 May (1968), by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

Fictional character biography

Eric Williams, the brother of Simon Williams (also known as Wonder Man), was born in Paterson, New Jersey. Eric was always the black sheep of his family. His mother would tell him that he was 'born bad', while heaping affection on Simon. Eric's father was charged with disciplining him, but was abusive and uncaring. He even preferred to watch TV lazily, while Eric was torturing the family cat. At the same time, their mother Martha was loving and attentive to Simon, making Eric bitter and jealous.

One day Eric was playing with chemicals in the garage, and caused a fire which burned down their house. Simon felt guilty for not stopping Eric, and resolved to be responsible for Eric from there on. As they grew older, Simon grew studious while Eric was an athlete. Eric also became more rebellious, and tried to get Simon to join him in his petty thefts. Eventually Eric became a gambler and joined the Maggia and moved to Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Simon took over the family business, Williams Innovations.

Partly due to competition with Stark Industries, Williams Innovations began to fail. Desperate, Simon turned to Eric and his mob ties for help. Simon embezzled money from the company to invest with Eric, but Simon was caught and jailed. Simon was freed from jail by Baron Zemo, induced by an offer of revenge on Tony Stark by defeating Iron Man and the Avengers. Simon was transformed into Wonder Man, in order to infiltrate the Avengers. Zemo's empowering process also poisoned Simon, ensuring his loyalty in exchange for the antidote. Simon's better nature won out though, and he 'died' saving the Avengers from Zemo's trap (though he had really only entered a coma due to his body adjusting to superpowers).

Learning of Simon's death, Eric was inflamed with guilt and anger. Through his Maggia contacts, he contacted the Tinkerer who provided him with his scythe weapon, which was further enhanced by Ultron with coma-inducing abilities. Taking the name "Grim Reaper," he became a professional criminal and defeated the Avengers Hawkeye, Goliath, and the Wasp, but was beaten by the surprise appearance of the Black Panther. ["Avengers" #52]

In his next appearance, the Grim Reaper confronted the Avengers with his original Lethal Legion comprised of the Living Laser, Power Man, the Man-Ape, and the Swordsman. The Legion was defeated when the Grim Reaper found himself unable to strike down the Vision, having discovered that he possessed Simon's brainwave patterns. ["Avengers" #78-79]

The Grim Reaper later allied with the Space Phantom and HYDRA. He planned to transfer the Vision's mind to Captain America's body, thus "resurrecting" his brother. He battled the Avengers again and was defeated. ["Avengers" #102, 106-108]

Behind the scenes, the Grim Reaper later had Wonder Man resurrected as a zombie by the Black Talon to attack the Avengers. Wonder Man was restored to true life as a result. ["Avengers" #151-152] The Grim Reaper then captured the Avengers, and staged a trial to determine whether the Vision or Wonder Man was his true brother. He was defeated by Wonder Man. ["Avengers" #160]

Later, the Grim Reaper attempted to kill both the Vision and Wonder Man, but was defeated by the Vision. ["Vision & Scarlet Witch" Vol. 1 #3]

Later still, the Grim Reaper with Ultron, Nekra, and other allies, captured the Avengers. The Grim Reaper attempted a recreation of "Simon Williams" as a zombie. He was pursued by the Vision and Wonder Man in a cave, and died in a fall from the cave ledge. ["Vision & Scarlet Witch" Vol. 2 #1-2; "West Coast Avengers" Vol. 2 #1-2] The Grim Reaper was then resurrected by Nekra as a zombie, but he believed himself to be alive. The zombie battled Wonder Man and Magneto, but when he realized he was actually dead, he "died" again as a result. ["Vision & Scarlet Witch" Vol. 2 #12]

Much later, the Grim Reaper was resurrected by Immortus as a member of his Legion of the Unliving. The Grim Reaper battled Wonder Man, and "died" again of a broken neck. ["Avengers West Coast" #61] He was then resurrected by Nekra as a zombie again, this time under the condition that he absorb a human life-force every 24 hours. He killed Nekra as his first victim, and then battled Wonder Man before escaping. ["Avengers West Coast" #65] He battled Wonder Man and the Mandrill, and escaped again. ["Avengers West Coast" #66] The scythe was fused to his arm by Ultron, and he formed an alliance with Ultron. ["Avengers West Coast" #67]

Grim Reaper reappeared during the aftermath of the Secret War that had been organized by Nick Fury against Latveria. He was among the supervillains who had been supplied with enhanced technology by Latverian dictator Lucia von Bardos and sent to attack the heroes who had been involved in Fury's Secret War.

Civil War

The Grim Reaper was apparently one of the many villains that escaped from the Raft prison during "New Avengers" #1-3. Being at large for several months, the Grim Reaper was eventually tracked down by Captain America and Cable, who brought the Reaper down with the aid of their other friends. He was once again put into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D.

Grim Reaper is next seen at the end of "Heroes For Hire" #6, teamed with Man-Ape & Saboteur; how he escaped S.H.I.E.L.D. is uncertain.

Powers and abilities

Originally, the Grim Reaper was a purely technological-based villain with no innate superhuman abilities. The techno-scythe he used as his trademark weapon was designed by the Tinkerer. The scythe was worn on his right hand and had the ability to make the blade spin at rapid speed, making the weapon usable as a high-speed propeller blade buzzsaw, missile shield, and an improvised helicopter. It could also fire electromagnetic power blasts and anesthetic gas pellets, and dispense electric stun shocks on touch. The scythe was also equipped with a cerebral-frequency generator able to induce deep comas and revive victims from them as well.

The Grim Reaper later gained some magic-related abilities: he could reanimate the souls and bodies of the dead, either through voodoo training received from Black Talon or powers bestowed upon him by Lloigoroth. The Grim Reaper has also performed various magically-based feats including but not limited to: teleporting himself and others, summoning demons, creating illusions, and clairvoyant viewing.

The Reaper's physical strength is supernaturally heightened slightly beyond the natural limitations of the human body. In addition, his right hand has been amputated and replaced with an apparently magical scythe. The scythe is magically sharp and is capable of energy blasts (much like the original), but has also been used to drain energy.

At one point, the Grim Reaper had died, and was restored to life by Nekra as a zombie. He suffered hair loss, and had sallow skin in various stages of decomposition. In this zombie state, he had the ability to absorb human life-forces to sustain his own, and was able to absorb human life-force through his scythe. He needed to absorb a human life-force once every 24 hours to remain "alive" as a zombie.

Other versions

Earth X

*An alternate version of Eric Williams appeared in Earth X. He was in the Realm of the Dead and only appeared in "Universe X Special: 4"


The Grim Reaper has not appeared in the MC2 Universe, but his scythe weapon was used by Kevin Masterson in "Avengers Next" #5.

The Last Avengers Story

In the "The Last Avengers Story", William Maximoff, the son of the Vision and Scarlet Witch, grew up to be known as the Grim Reaper. He allied with Kang and Ultron against the Avengers. He used magicks and had a scythe. He appeared in "Last Avengers Story" #1-2.

In other media


*A version of the Grim Reaper also appeared on the animated series "". His ties to Wonder Man, who also appeared on the show, remained intact, however his physical appearance was changed greatly. He wore full body armor and a helmet featuring a skull-like paint job.

Video Games

In "Captain America and the Avengers", released as an arcade console and for the Sega Genesis and SNES, the Grim Reaper is a boss character at the end of stage 2.


*"Avengers" vol. 1 #52, 78-79, 102, 106-108, 151-152, 160
*"Avengers" vol. 3 #0, 10-11, 19-22 31-33 *'
*"Avengers West Coast" #65 (resurrection #2), 66-68, 105, 352-354
*"Avengers: Ultron Imperative"
*"Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Avengers 2005"
*"Secret War" #3-5
*"Vision & Scarlet Witch" vol. 1 #3
*"Vision & Scarlet Witch" vol. 2 #1-2
*"West Coast Avengers" vol. 2 #1-2 (death), 12 (resurrected/death #2)
*"Wonder Man" vol. 1 #1


External links

* ['s "Marvel Universe" profile for the Grim Reaper]
* [ "Leader's Lair" article on Grim Reaper] (contains synopses on all appearances through Avengers vol. 3 #33)
* [ "Grand Comics Database Project" article on the "Avengers" #52 (1968)]

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