The Brewer Report: Grim Reaper
Saturday, October 16, 2010 - 20:43
THE BREWER REPORT: Grim Reaper
My brother’s keeper:
Eric and Vizh, together again?
By Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
Eric Williams, aka the Grim Reaper, will be playing a major role in the Chaos War event, as the lieutenant of the Chaos King himself. His presence will be especially felt in Chaos War: Dead Avengers, one of whose members is the risen Vision. And remember, the android’s brainwave patterns are based on Eric’s brother Simon (Wonder Man) and who at times the villain himself has regarded as a sibling.
As limited series writer Fred Van Lente told Cosmic Book News in a recent interview, “The stakes are quite high -- those who are ‘killed’ by Grim Reaper don’t just die, they will be erased from the continuum for all time. So if the Dead Avengers don’t succeed, all will be lost to the multiverse forever.”
Seems that by the time Eric makes his move, the Dead Avengers will be the only Avengers in this reality!
Williams 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 Blck Panther.
In his next appearance, the Grim Reaper confronted the Avengers with his original Lethal Legion composed of the Living Laser, Power Man (not Luke!), the Man-Ape and the Swordsman (another Dead Avengers member). 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.
The Grim Reaper later allied with one of the Space Phantoms and HYDRA. He planned to transfer the Vision's mind to Wonder Man’s body, thus “resurrecting” his brother. He battled the Avengers again and was defeated; it is during this time that Eric begins to think in terms of the Vision as his brother.
Years later, 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. 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.
Later, the Grim Reaper attempted to kill both the Vision and Wonder Man, but was defeated by the Vision.
Later still, the Grim Reaper with Ultron, Nekra (who also returns in Dead Avengers) 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. 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.
Much later, Eric – who has certainly proven himself resilient if nothing else -- was resurrected by Immortus as a member of his Legion of the Unliving. The Reaper battled Wonder Man, and "died" again of a broken neck. He was then resurrected by Nekra as a zombie, 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. He battled Wonder Man and the Mandrill, and escaped again. The scythe was fused to his arm by Ultron, and he formed an alliance with the Pym robot.
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 SHIELD.
The Grim Reaper is next seen at the end of Heroes for Hire #6, teamed with Man-Ape and Saboteur; how he escaped S.H.I.E.L.D. is uncertain. The Grim Reaper later formed a new lineup of the Lethal Legion as part of a plan against Norman Osborn, after Osborn's rise to power. The team is ultimately defeated by the Dark Avengers and HAMMER agents and imprisoned in the Raft. While there, the Reaper is stabbed in the heart by an inmate loyal to Osborn, and has to undergo an operation. It is also revealed that his brother Simon is a member of the Legion, also imprisoned in the Raft. The Reaper is then revealed to have died as a result of the stabbing.
But now, like the Dead Avengers, the Grim Reaper is back, causing more than his usual havoc in a three-issue limited series by Van Lente and artist Tom Grummet. And this time, the stakes are the very existence of the 616 Reality itself!
"Chaos War: Dead Avengers #1" arrives in stores November 17!
For more "Chaos War" news, interviews, previews and more - check out the CBN Chaos War -Core-!