WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains

Solomon Grundy

Personal information

Name: Cyrus Gold

Residence: Mobile
Occupation: Deceased Merchant, Professional Criminal
First Appearance (Golden Age): All-American #61 (October 1944)

First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): Showcase #55 (October 1965)

Character History

   Solomon Grundy began his existence in the late 19th century as Cyrus Gold, an unscrupulous merchant and money lender.  His dealing eventually crossed the wrong men, who murdered Gold and left him Slaughter Swamp between Gotham City and Metropolis in 1894.  His body was never found and rumored persisted for years that his ghost haunted Slaughter Swamp.  In 1944, two escaped convicts chose the swamp as an escape route following an escape from Gotham Penitentiary.  Emerging naked from the quicksand, a pale ghostly being startled the criminals, who began firing at him.  Enraged by gunfire, he quickly murdered the two men and took their clothes, albethey ill-fitting.  Shortly thereafter, a hobo camp saw an enormous white figure in prison stripes approach the camp.  Asked his name, the being could not remember, only that he was born on Monday, the previous day.  The men said he was like the nursery rhyme, “Solomon Grundy born on a Monday”.  The name stick and when one of the hobos puts his hand on the newly-christening Grundy to assert his authority, Grundy swats him aside leading the remaining members of the group to declare Grundy the new boss.


The following day, Grundy and his new gang use dummy guns to hold up a gun store, acquiring new real guns.  Their theft is interrupted by Alan Scott who initially opposes them but realizing they are armed and bystanders are in the way, beats a hasty retreat. As the Grundy leads the gang out of the store, they encounter the police but Grundy proves unbeatable.  Scott, having swiftly changed to Green Lantern, engaged the crooks alongside Doiby Dickles.   Grundy proves impervious to the power of Lantern’s ring and quickly subdues the hero as the criminals make an escape.  Over the course of the day, Grundy’s men loot a variety of stores, at one point dropping a ring engraved “Cyrus Gold”.   Green Lantern and Doiby track the gang and with a full charge of the power ring, confronted them again.  Again, however, Green Lantern is felled by Grundy and the gang exhorts the monster to kill the fallen hero.   Flinging Green Lantern into the street, Grundy is excited by the idea of killing and promptly kills one of the gang in his enthusiasm.  Fearing he is losing control, the gang leads Grundy away. The hero has not been killed however, but is severely dazed and incapacitated.  Believing Green Lantern incapable of confronting Grundy, Doiby  tracks the gang to a depot and when he comes to his senses, Green Lantern quickly follows.  Realizing his has forgotten his power ring, he and Doiby engage the gang in fisticuffs, ultimate drawing Grundy himself into the fray.   As they struggle, Grundy over-reaches and falls in front of an incoming train, seemingly being destroyed as no body is seen.  Green Lantern speculates that Cyrus Gold was in fact Grundy reincarnated but Doiby thinks he is gone for good, whatever he was.  Green Lantern is not so sure (All-American Comics #61).


Several weeks  later, a criminal known as “Baron York” is holding court with his cronies, eagerly awaiting plans for his next crime.  They are met by his brother, dubbed “The Professor”, who promptly guns down York and declares he can lead the gang to profit because only he can find and control Solomon Grundy. Heading the railyard, the men excavate the mangled remains of Grundy that had been overlooked by the Green Lantern after their last battle.  The new Baron York declares that the secret to success will be re-activating Grundy dead plant matter with concentrated chlorophyll which they administer.  As they work, the Green Lantern arrives having been warned by an extraordinary message from the creators of his lamp that Grundy was being revived.    The criminals engage in fisticuffs while the Baron works feverishly revive Grundy. As the last of the thugs falls, a verdant green Grundy rises into the fray.   After batting down the hero and his sidekick Doiby, the gang make their escape.

solomon grundy inks resize

 



Grundy origin

In the days that follow, Baron York and Solomon Grundy lead a cross-country crime spree, raking in money and encountering little resistance.  York declares the ultimate goal is New York, where he will set up a feudal system, demanding tribute.  When the gang arrives outside New York, Grundy inquires of the Professor’s plans.  The professor claims to see Grundy worshipped and served but Grundy believes he is being used and murders the Professor on the spot.  He then leads the gang into the city and the new “Baron of New York”.  He is immediately confronted by Green Lantern who bottles up his men and at Doiby’s urging, realizes the new Grundy is part living plant and will be vulnerable to being contained by green energy.  Realizing the new threat, Grundy flees running back across country while Green Lantern calmy pursues until he exhausts himself in Arizona.  Now no match for the Lantern’s ring, he is captured in an airtight bubble and once he has photosynthesized all available CO2, will revert to dead matter.  Green Lantern abandons him in a remote area of the Petrified Forest, seemingly for good (Comic Cavalcade #13).


Grundy remained in the desert for 2 years, when a freak lightning storm breaks the bubble, releasing him.  Grundy immediately headed for Civic City, home of the JSA Headquarters, hoping to ambush Green Lantern.   Arriving too late, he finds Green Lantern departed and promptly trashes the meeting space and leaves.  While Green Lantern has gone to try to find a way to deal with Grundy, the remaining JSA arrive to a demolished meeting space and Grundy’s footprints along with a noticeably absent Green Lantern.  Fearing the worse, the learn that Grundy has been on a rampage in the surrounding small towns and split up to search for him.  Hawkman, the Flash, Dr. Mid-Nite and the Atom all cross paths with the monstrous criminal but are unable to slow his course (Johnny Thunder defeats some petty criminals disguised as Grundy and his gang).  In the meantime, Green Lantern has developed a radio method that lets him track Grundy and using it, he intercepts the monster but is again beaten into near-defeat.  The timely arrival of the JSA overwhelms the monster but even once subdued, the heroes struggle to find a long-term solution.  Johnny Thunder casually suggests the moon, an idea seized on by the JSA as an interplanetary local from the non-breathing Grundy.  Using his power ring, the JSA transports the monster to the moon and Grundy is left there by the JSA, hopefully for good (All-Star Comics #33).


The following winter, a young astronomer was probing the moon with a telescope with new light technology and Grundy, having acquired anti-gravity powers, follows the beam of the scope back to Earth.  Somehow deducing that the astronomer is Dick Cashmere, a long-lost heir, Grundy uses another new power to cash an illusion that he is Cashmere and then renders the young astronomer unconscious and presumed dead.  Seeking Cashmere’s father, he convinces the elder man to stage a reunion gala with the intention of killed the father once the son is named full and legal heir.  During the gala, photographer Nick Blake snaps a picture of young Cashmere, enraging him and resulting in the destruction of Blake’s camera.  Blake flees but when he develops the film, he sees that young Cashmere is actually Solomon Grundy.   Grundy arrives shortly thereafter and murders Blake but not before the cameraman gets a message to Alan Scott, who arrives to investigate as Green Lantern.  As a car flees the scene, Green Lantern and Doiby follow, only to be led to the original observatory and captured.  Left for dead in burning liquid oxygen, the two escape and find the real Dick Cashmere and revive him.  From him he learns of Grundy’s arrival and illusions, which Blake’s camera revealed.  Speeding to the Cashmere estate, the rescue the father as Grundy moves in for the kill and this time, instead of the moon, Green Lantern sends Grundy deep into the Earth as the Cashmere family is reunited for real (Comic Cavalcade #24).

JSA Grundy

Sometime in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, Grundy was plucked from the depths of the earth by Per Degaton, the time-traveling megalomaniac intent on ruling the earth through manipulating key events in history.  In this particular instant, he sought to interfere with history by bring adversaries of JSA members back to a time before they had met, pitting experienced villains against the unknowing heroes.  Grundy was among those and succeeded in capturing The Flash, Wonder Woman and The Green Lantern during a picnic and delivering them to Degaton’s volcano hideaway.  From there he served as a guardian on Degaton’s operations, defeating the incoming Shining Knight and capturing Danette Reilley (soon to be the heroine Firebrand).  Along with Degaton and the other villains, he is eventually defeated by the newly Assembled All-Star Squadron and instead of being returned to his subterranean prison when restoration of the timestream sent the villains back to their normal period, Grundy was punished by Degaton by returning him to the moon, his most hated prison (Justice League of American #193, All-Star Squadron #1-3).


Grundy’s activities from that point to the mid-1960’s are unrevealed.  An untold tale must exist as Grundy was left abandoned but not imprisoned on  the moon by Degaton but in 1965, was once more imprisoned in an energy bubble similar to those created by Green Lantern.  A passing comet drags Grundy to Earth and breaks the bubble, leaving him free to return to Slaughter Swamp, now partially compromised as a dumping ground for Tyler Chemical’s chemical and radioactive waste.  As Grundy returns to the waters the birthed him, he is imbued with added powers from the waste, giving him mental control of objects which he uses to pull wooden material toward him in his quest to defeat Green Lantern.  He is initially opposed by Dr. Fate and Hourman but defeats them handily.  Arriving in Gotham, he likewise makes short work of Green Lantern and hauls him back to Slaughter Swamp.   Hourman and Dr. Fate recover and pursue but the weird physics of the swamp pit them against each other and when the realize that the swamp is interacting with Miraclo, Hourman departs to capture Grundy’s gang while Fate pursues the monster himself.  Fate finds that Green Lantern has been turned into a swamp monster like Grundy and after sending Grundy chasing an illusion, restores the hero to normal.  All the heroes then converge on Grundy and after a pitched battle, capture in a bubble of Green energy, this time fortified by Dr. Fate’s magic.  Grundy is  then launched into orbit around Earth, where he can presumably be more closely monitored (Showcase Presents #55).

Grundy JLA #92

Grundy was not held for long.  The incursion of the anti-matter universe caused a disruption between the barriers of Earth-One and Earth-Two, causing Justice League and Justice Society members to end up on the opposite Earth.  This incursion also freed Grundy and sent him hurtling to the ground on Earth-One, while sending an equally violent and rampaging Blockbuster (Mark Desmond) to Earth-Two.  Mixed groups of heroes battle each of the brutes with Grundy being buried under a mountain after being contained.  The true threat, called the Anti-Matter Man, drew closer to Earth and again a flux occurred, pulling Grundy back to Earth-Two to battle a different team of heroes.  As Dr. Fate drew both teams to into combat with the Anti-Matter Man, the Green Lantern of Earth-One dispatched Grundy to Blockbuster’s location, where they immediately turned their rage on each other.  After the defeat of the Anti-Matter Man, the heroes returned to Earth to find Grundy and Blockbuster much more docile, have exhausted their rage in battle and now more positively disposed. The JSA then presumably allowed Grundy to wander back into Slaughter Swamp, where he was next seen (Justice League of America #46-47).

Grundy’s next sighting was several years later when two dimension-hopping misfits landed on Earth-Two and one ended up in Slaughter Swamp.  The immature alien bonded to Grundy, who thrashes the JLA and JSA when they come in pursuit but the alien stops Grundy from killing them believing they could lead him to his pet.  Grundy wanders off when the alien leaves and begins trashing the nearby environment but both Green Lantern combined the energy of their rings – one magic, one scientific – to seal Grundy in his swamp, presumably forever (Justice League of America #91-92).  As always, Grundy returned, the next time five years later after exploring his swamp for a portal to Earth-One.  Believing he could only be understood by his Earth-One counterpart, Grundy arrived in Earth-One’s Metropolis to begin his search.  He was immediately opposed by Earth-One’s Superman, who discovered that trans-dimensional migration had significantly ramped-up Grundy’s strength.  After a couple of stingy defeats, Superman disguised himself as an Earth-One Grundy and tricked the emotionally needy Grundy into thinking he had succeeded, only to abandon the monster on the moon (Superman #301) where he was later rescued by the Fiddler to help the Injustice Society on Earth-Two.  The two criminals nearly defeated Wildcat and Hawkman before Grundy was captured and dropped into a volcano by Power Girl and Superman of Earth-Two (All-Star Comics #63).


Through circumstances unrevealed, Grundy escape the volcano and re-emerges as a crime boss in Gotham City.  In this form he possessed a fixation with a female statue, that eventually transfer to the Huntress, before the latter defeats him when he washed into the sewer system (Wonder Woman #271-273).  He later emerges and is confronted by Infinity Inc., who defeat him and drop in the frozen Arctic (Infinity Inc. #3).  He is later found wondering near Feitheria and is presumed lost with a glacier collapse on him during the Crisis on Infinite Earths (Infinity Inc. #23),  Grundy was no trapped for long and was seen during events of the Crisis though his final fate on Earth-Two remains unknown.

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Powers and Abilities

Solomon Grundy, being an animated construct of former life, was largely immune to physical injury or decay processes in any permanent sense.  While he could be subdued or contained, any application of deadly force did little more than re-set his existence.  His strength, while variable at time, was always super-human ranging up to level that could fend off Kryptonians.  He seemed largely resistant to the effects of Green Lantern's ring, either for magical reasons or due the incorporation of wood into swamp-derived body mass.  He was invulnerable to most forms of traumatic injury, loss of oxygen or vacuum, though such might render him inert for a period of time. At times, he displayed the ability to disguise himself in human form and on a visit to Earth-One, was essentially immovable.

Weaknesses and Limitations

While Grundy could not be killed, he could be trapped including underground, on the moon, in space, frozen or by magical means in his home swamp. While in some forms he possessed a cruel and primitive cunning, he did not usually manifest extensive intellectual abilities and often was brutish and child-like.

Multiversity Villains

Multiversity

Earth-One

To date, no version of Cyrus Gold is known to have existed on Earth-One.  A "clone" of sorts was created when Solomon Grundy visited Earth-One and pulled a swamp like environment with him, presumably from Slaughter Swamp (Superman #301).  Bits of Grundy's essence was later activated by the Parasite to create a version of Solomon Grundy that battled Superman and was eventually left on a lifeless world (Superman #319-322).  Later still, a veritable plague of Grundy's emerged from the same sewers until Superman and STAR Labs created a method to destroy them all, over the objections of the Swamp Thing who was sympathetic to Grundy as a reanimated form of swamp life (DC Comics Presents #8).  At least one clone seem to have escaped and encountered Batman some time later where he was lured into a furnace and destroyed (Detective Comics #523).  No more is known of these clones, though while it is assumed that appearance of Grundy during the Crisis was the Earth-Two version, the involvement of Earth-One clones can be entirely ruled out.

Grundy Starman
Prior Earth-0

  The history of Solomon Grundy on the Post-Crisis Earth timeline is thought to be largely similar to his Earth-Two counterpart, though with varying and often inconsistent details around the death of Cyrus Gold.  The Grundy of this merged world has a much more extensive history of conflict with the world's metahuman protectors and a wider array of forms.  Two prominent extremes have been observed including a "Solly" version, a docile child-like version that was befriended by Jack Knight, son of the Golden Age Starman (Starman #10) that eventually revealed that all of the various forms of Grundy are in fact different fragments of Cyrus Gold's mind/soul/memory.  As Gold was generally  thought to be an evil person in life, the "bad Grundys" are the more common form.  Solly eventually sacrifices himself to save Starman Mikaal Thomaz and the injured form succumbs to be replaced by a malevolent version.  The other extreme is the highly intelligent form that battles the Justice League as part of a complex scheme to assume Professor Ivo's immortality til he is thwarted by the Red Tornado (Justice League of America Vol. #1-5).  Whether the fragmentation hypothesis holds true in other timelines is unknown. In a final turn of events, a form is resurrected that remembers his identity of Cyrus Gold, eventually resulting in the damnation of Gold and the destruction of Grundy's body, presumably forever (Solomon Grundy #1-7).

Current Earth-0

From what is known, Solomon Grundy in the current timeline is largely similar to his prior Earth-0 counterpart, albeit still active.

Grundy Earth 3
Earth-2

  A version of Solomon Grundy exists on this world that may or may not be Cyrus Gold.  Here is an avatar of The Grey, the forces of rot and decay that counterbalance The Green, the force of life.  As Alan Scott is an agent of the green, he is drawn in natural conflict with Grundy the Grey,  Their initial conflict involved the new Wonders of the World of Earth-2 and ended with Grundy abandoned on the moon, where is rot would hold no sway (Earth-2 #3-6).  When Darkseid invaded Earth-2, Grundy and other avatars of The Parliament (the white, the red, etc.) collaborated to defend their home.  As Apokolips approached the doomed Earth-2, the avatars engaged in battle and several, including Grundy, were destroyed (Earth-2: World's End #20).

Earth-Three/3

A version of Grundy exists in at least one of these timelines, tho it is not clear that he is Cyrus Gold.  Here, as Sir Solomon Grundy, he is a massive, poised and well-dressed figure blasted from the White Cliffs of Dover.  He joins the Justice Underground opposing the Crime Syndicate until he rendered inert by Ultra-Man (on a Saturday no less).  His body is held in stasis in the CSA cryogenic facility where he can presumably be revived (JLA Secret Files 2004).

Grundy Earth 12
Earth-12

This history of the Solomon Grundy of Earth-12 is thought to largely resemble is Prior Earth-0 counterpart.  In the mid 21st century, an intelligent version of Grundy manifests as a Metropolis crime lord, Mister Stone, a collaborator of the Luthor dynasty through daughter Lucinda (Superman Beyond #5-6). 

Earth-22

The Solomon Grundy of Earth-22 likely has a similar history as other versions, tho nothing is known beyond his appearance at a bar frequented by non-conformist metahumans.  Whether he participated in the events at the prison in Kansas and survived the subsequent battle is unknown (Kingdom Come LS).

Earth-29

A Bizarro version of Solomon Grundy has been seen as a member of the Legion of Fun but nothing is known of his backstory (Superman Vol. 4 #44).

Appearances

Issue

Comment

Reprinted in

All-American Comics #61

First Appearance and Origin, vs. Green Lantern of Earth-Two

Wanted: The World’s Most Dangerous Super-Villains #4, Wanted: The World’s Most Dangerous Super-Villains HC

Comic Cavalcade #13

vs. Green Lantern of Earth-Two

 

All-Star Comics #33

vs. The Justice Society

All-Star Comics Archives #7, Super Team Family #4

Comic Cavalcade #24

vs. Green Lantern of Earth-Two

 

Justice League of American #193

Pulled back in time to attack the Justice Society

Showcase Presents: The All-Star Squadron Vol. 1

All-Star Squadron #1-3

Minion of Per Degaton, vs. the All-Star Squadron

Showcase Presents: The All-Star Squadron Vol. 1

Showcase #55

vs. Dr. Fate, Hourman and Green Lantern of Earth-Two

Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups Vol. 1, Brave and the Bold #115

Justice League of America #46-47

vs. The Justice League and The Justice Society

Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 1 TPB, Justice League of America Archives #6, Showcase Presents: The Justice League of America #3, Justice League of America: The Silver Age Omnibus #2

Justice League of America #91-92

vs. The Justice League and The Justice Society

Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 3 TPB, Justice League of America Archives #10, Showcase Presents: The Justice League of America #5, Justice League of America: The Bronze Age Omnibus #1, Justice League of America: Last Survivors of Earth TPB

Superman #301

vs.. Superman of Earth-One

Best of DC #32, Adventures of Superman: Jose Luis-Garcia

All-Star Comics #63

vs. The Justice Society

Justice Society TPB Vol. 1, Showcase Presents All-Star Comics Vol. 1, All-Star Comics: Only Legends Live Forever

Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #271-273

vs. The Huntress

Huntress: Dark Knight Daughter TPB, Huntress: Origins TPB

Infinity Inc. #3-4

vs. Infinity Inc.

Infinity Inc.: The Generations Saga HC

Infinity #22-23

vs. Infinity Inc.

Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition

Crisis on Infinite Earths #9

Participate in the Villain War

Crisis on Infinite Earths HC, Crisis on Infinite Earths TPB, Crisis on Infinite Earths Absolute Edition