Solomon Grundy

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Solomon Grundy (Cyrus Gold) is a character published by DC Comics, a large, strong zombie supervillain. Named after the eponymous 19th century children's Solomon Grundy|nursery rhyme, he is an enemy of Green Lantern (particularly Earth's first bearer of that title, Alan Scott). He has also been an enemy of Batman and Superman. He first appeared in All-American Comics #61 (October 1944).

Contents

character history

Pre-Crisis

Earth-Two version's history

In the late 19th century, a wealthy merchant named Cyrus Gold is murdered and his body disposed of in Slaughter Swamp, near Gotham City. Fifty years later, the cadaver|corpse is reanimated as a huge shambling figure (composed partly of the swamp matter that has accumulated around the body over the decades) with almost no memory of its past life. Gold murders two escaped criminals who are hiding out in the marsh and steals their clothes. He shows up in a hobo camp and, when asked about his name, one of the few things he can recall is that he was "born on a Monday". One of the men at the camp mentions the nursery rhyme character Solomon Grundy (who was born on a Monday), and Gold adopts the moniker.

Strong, vicious, and nearly mindless, Solomon Grundy falls into a life of crime mdash;or, perhaps returns to one as his scattered residual memories may indicate—attracting the attention of the Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Grundy proves to be a difficult opponent, unkillable (since he is already dead) and with an inherent resistance to Scott's powers (which can not affect wood, a substance of which Grundy's reassembled body is now largely composed). Their first fight ends when Grundy is hurled under a train.

Grundy is revived when a criminal scientist known as the Professor injects Grundy with concentrated chlorophyll. After this second encounter Grundy is trapped in a green plasma bubble for a time, until a freak weather occurance releases him from his prison. His third appearance involves Green Lantern and his fellow members of the Justice Society of America tracking him across the country, depositing Grundy on the moon once he is defeated.

A subsequent battle commences when Grundy's body gravitates towards young astronomer Dick Cashmere, resulting in his assuming Cashmere's identity for a time. In this incarnation he gains intelligence he subsequently loses when Green Lantern defeats and buries Grundy in 1947.

At this point, he is pulled back to 1941 by the time-traveling criminal Per Degaton, who has enlisted the aid of several supervillains to capture the Justice Society of America on December 7, 1941 (the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor). The All-Star Squadron comes to their rescue, and Grundy is then thrust back to the moon where he remains for over two decades.

Grundy eventually masters the use of stored up emerald energy he has absorbed over the years from his several battles with his arch-foe, and returns to Earth to battle Green Lantern, Hourman, and Doctor Fate. At this point, he has temporary mastery over all wooden objects. He subsequently loses this power over time.

He is briefly a member of the Injustice Society of the World. In the interim, he battles the combined might of both the Justice Society, and later their counterparts the Justice League, nearly to a standstill, when he develops an affection for a lost alien child. Soon after, Grundy crosses over from his Slaughter Swamp prison on Earth-2 to Earth-1 where he encounters that Earth's Superman (see more details below).

Grundy goes on to afflict Green Lantern and his teammates, including the Huntress who is the first female for whom he develops an affection. After Solomon Grundy is rescued from a glacier by Alan Scott's daughter, Jade, Grundy becomes loyal to her and, for a while, is an ally of Infinity, Inc. Eventually, this affectionate relationship turns tragic as the villainous Marcie Cooper a.k.a. Harlequin of the Dummy's Injustice Unlimited, uses her illusion powers to disguise herself as Jade. Harlequin manipulates Grundy to attack the members of Infinity Inc., one by one. She convinces him to press the unconscious Mister Bones' bare hand against Skyman; since Bones's skin constantly exudes a cyanide-based compound, this quickly leads to Skyman's death. This is the beginning of the end for Infinity Inc., and for Grundy's quasi-heroic career.

Earth-One version's history

The Earth-One Grundy arises when the Parasite uses an enhanced crystal to metabolism|metabolically] hasten the growth of residual cells left over in the sewers from when the original version had crossed over from Earth-2, which becomes a new, much more bestial version. During a clash with Superman, it is determined that his might is too much of a match for the Man of Steel, so Superman flies the monster to an alien world inhospitable to all save the hardiest life forms. There, under the planet's reduced gravity, the Earth-1 Grundy is appeased when Superman gives him a cape to wear as the zombie propels himself through the air mimicking his one-time adversary.

This version repeatedly plagues Superman for years until, during an encounter wherein multiple Grundys are spawned, Superman and the Swamp Thing both encounter the cloning|clones. Soon, Superman obtains a compound from STAR Labs which causes the Grundys to become inert, in effect killing the seemingly unkillable man-thing. Swamp Thing attempts to cry out for Superman to stop, as he believes Grundy to meet the definition of life, but Swamp Thing is unable to express this, due to physical difficulty in speaking.

This version of Grundy was retroactively erased from history after the revamping of Superman in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Post-Crisis

Green Lantern and Solomon Grundy clash many times over the years, though he also squares off against other DC heroes, including Batman. One storyline (Batman: The Long Halloween, #12) involves Grundy and a newly-disfigured Harvey Dent striking up an odd friendship after Dent escapes to the sewers to plot his revenge on Carmine Falcone, the man responsible behind Dent's facial disfigurement.

After Infinity, Inc. disbands, Solomon Grundy loses his loyalty towards Jade. A clash with Alan Scott and Jade in the pages of Green Lantern Corps Quartely ends with Grundy turning into a statue of petrified wood. The heroes believe the threat of Grundy to have ended once and for all, but they are mistaken. Shortly thereafter, Grundy reappears in Gotham in the pages of Batman: Shadow of the Bat, battling Batman once again and killing the female descendant of one of the killers of Cyrus Gold.

Grundy's next major appearance is in Starman, lurking in Opal City's sewers. Jack Knight befriends Grundy, who has taken on an innocent, child-like aspect. Grundy also becomes friends with previous Starman Mikaal Tomas, sacrificing himself to save Mikaal from being crushed by a collapsing building. When Grundy appears again, he has returned to his malicious persona; the joint efforts of Jack Knight, Batman, Alan Scott, and Floro are needed to stop him.

The origins of Grundy's resurrection come from the fact that the Parliament of Trees, a high council of Plant Elementals, tried to turn him into the newest Plant Elemental. However, the process was missing one vital piece: fire, as a Plant Elemental cannot be fully created unless it died in flames. Since Grundy's death did not involve fire at all, the process is not complete, and he becomes a sort of half-functional Plant Elemental. Grundy has been seemingly destroyed on several occasions, only to rise from the swamp again in a new incarnation. Each version of Grundy has been somewhat different from the last, depending on the medium used to dispatch him (and the drawing style of the current artist. The original Grundy, for example, had prominent front tooth|teeth). Some have been truly evil; some much less so. Some versions are more mindless than others; some are actually moderately intelligent, recalling the literate, well-spoken Frankenstein monster of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein|novel.

Recent history

Grundy hides out for a time in the Arrowcave, the long abandoned former headquarters of the Emerald Archer, Green Arrow. While searching for artifacts of his former life, Oliver and his former ward, Roy "Arsenal" Harper, stumble onto Grundy's new hideout. The story, "Grundy No Like Arrows in the Face!", is found in Green Arrow (vol. 3) #18. Green Arrow notes that this version seems much more violent, and manages to kill him by choking him with the string to his broken bow. In Green Arrow (vol. 3) #53, "Solomon's Revenge", Green Arrow helps Dr. Chrissie Cavendish, a STAR Labs employee, who claims she is the great, great granddaughter of the man the monster spawned from, to find and cure him. Her cure, however, warps her into a monster much worse than Grundy. Green Arrow subdues the new monster, and leaves Grundy to be. It is not known if Grundy is still using this building.

Infinite Crisis

Prior to Infinite Crisis, Grundy is manipulated by Gorilla Grodd via mind control into attacking Batman and Superman for President Luthor for the bounty of one billion dollars in Superman/Batman. Batman is able to stop Grundy. While no specifics are given, Solomon Grundy is also coerced into joining the Secret Society of Super Villains. He participates in the final strike against the Secret Six. Ragdoll II encounters Grundy in a doorway. Ragdoll's scarred face relates to Grundy, and Grundy goes on to turn against the Secret Society. The aftermath of that battle is inconclusive, but Grundy evidently survives, as he was last seen in a murky swamp in JSA Classified. In it, he is convinced by Icicle to help Wizard, who is in trouble.

After helping Icicle free Johnny Sorrow from Prometheus' cosmic key, Grundy stays with the newly formed Injustice Society.

In Infinite Crisis #7, Solomon Grundy is seen fighting against the Blood Pack in the Battle of Metropolis, until he is vaporized by Superboy-Prime's heat vision, which apparently kills the Blood Pack and destroys Grundy's current incarnation.

One Year Later

In Secret Six #4, Vandal Savage serves Doctor Psycho and Cheshire pieces of Grundy's regenerated flesh for failing to kill the Secret Six. After being revealed that this flesh is in their meals, Cheshire promptly vomits up her "Grundy meals" while Doctor Psycho politely asks if he can have more sauce for his.

The Tornado's Path

In Brad Meltzer's Justice League of America, Grundy is reborn with intelligence after being killed in the Battle of Metropolis. He is revealed to be the mastermind behind the abduction of Red Tornado's robot body (it is revealed he gained this intelligence when he was reborn after being burned by Prime). Grundy expresses a desire to stop his cycle of dying and being reborn and so it appears he enlists the help of Professor Ivo to build him an Amazo body to live in forever. The Red Tornado kills Grundy with F5 tornado winds, ripping him apart.

On the cover of Justice League of America (vol. 2) #13, it shows him as a member of the latest incarnation of the Injustice League. He is currently seen in Salvation Run. In the final issue of the miniseries, Grundy is killed during a battle with Parademons (although he's a zombie, this is not a notable death or one that will stick).

Powers and abilities

Solomon Grundy has superhuman strength and endurance. His strength has varied through the years and at one point not even Superman could restrain him. He is virtually indestructible thanks to the elemental energy that imbues his form with pseudo-life. He is nearly invulnerable to physical and energy attacks and he is not affected by fire or cold. He does not need to eat, sleep or breathe.

It’s possible that Solomon Grundy is immortal due to the fact that when he is destroyed he always returns to life sooner or later.

Other Versions

Anti-Matter Earth Post-Crisis version

Solomon Grundy had a counterpart on the Crime Syndicate's Earth called Sir Solomon Grundy who was a member of Quizmaster's Justice Underground. Sir Solomon Grundy is a distinguished, poised mountain of a man. During an aerial bombardment of Dover, he is blasted to life out of the rock from the White cliffs of Dover|white cliffs. Sir Solomon appears to be identical in physical appearance to the mainstream Solomon Grundy with the exception of a trimmed mustache and a small goatee. In keeping with his educated personality, Sir Solomon dresses himself as a 19th century Englishman would, and speaks accordingly. His super strength and invulnerability made him a formidable hero, until Ultraman renders him inert on a Saturday.

The Grundymen

In Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers series, the Witch-People of Limbotown (who are descended from the immortal Melmoth) bury their dead, and later dig them up, at which point they become animate and are used as slave labor. These zombies are called "Grundies" or "Grundymen", and resemble Solomon Grundy. It has also been established that the Spawn of Frankenstein is partly animated by the immortal blood of Melmoth, making him a Grundyman.

In other media

Super Friends

Solomon Grundy appears in the 1970s animated series Challenge of the Super Friends as a member of Lex Luthor's Legion of Doom, voiced by Jimmy Weldon. In this cartoon series, Grundy speaks wiktionary:broken English|broken English with a Southern United States|southern Accent (linguistics)|accent. This version of the character was later used in a promotional spot for Cartoon Network, with Solomon Grundy declaring that "Solomon Grundy want pants too!" in response to Brainiac's request for pants. This incarnation of Grundy is arguably one of the more "intelligent" versions of the character, as he is able to carry on a conversation and devise plans of his own. Grundy also appears in the 1979 live action TV specials, Legends of the Superheroes, played by actor Mickey Morton.

Justice League

Solomon Grundy as depicted in Justice League Unlimited
Solomon Grundy as depicted in Justice League Unlimited

Grundy has also appeared in the 2000s animated series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, initially as a member of Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang, voiced by Mark Hamill. In this series, his origin was that of a mobster, who got in with the wrong people, and was subsequently killed and dumped in a mystical swamp, rising again years later. After his first appearance, Grundy's character was changed to become essentially a DC Comics version of the Hulk, even being pursued by a Thunderbolt Ross-like general in one appearance.

Later, Grundy became a more sympathetic figure, even a hero of sorts, by helping Doctor Fate save the world from a monstrous, bloodthirsty Thanagarian deity (based on the H. P. Lovecraftian Cthulhu). He befriends Hawkgirl, calling her "Bird-Nose". Fate's team in the episode is a pastiche of Marvel's Defenders, with Grundy standing in for the Hulk, Aquaman standing in for Namor, Doctor Fate standing in for Doctor Strange, and Hawkgirl standing in for both Valkyrie and Nighthawk. "Bird-Nose" was Hulk's nickname for Nighthawk, and other heroes have referred to him as such. Grundy sacrifices himself to destroy the monster, and the normally staunch Hawkgirl even wept for him. His epitaph simply read "Solomon Grundy β€” Born on a Monday", a reference to the poem he was named after.

Grundy would later return in the series (voiced by Bruce Timm), resurrection|resurrected by a dark spell cast by a group of young amateurs, with his memory of his past incarnation severely addled and lacking the ability to speak. Mindless and uncontrollable, he goes on a destructive rampage, his power augmented to levels far beyond his original self by the magic animating him. After a lengthy battle with the Justice League, he is ultimately defeated by Hawkgirl, who sorrowfully destroys him.

The Batman

Solomon Grundy as depicted in The Batman
Solomon Grundy as depicted in The Batman

He later appeared in The Batman animated series, voiced by Kevin Grevioux. In this version, Grundy is a zombie created by the working class citizens of 19th century Gotham City to wreak havoc on the rich landowners that polluted the local lake with industrial waste. This version of Grundy is slimmer and more ghoulish than his Justice League counterpart β€” this version bears a closer resemblance to an actually rotted, desiccated corpse β€” and, due to being "born" in Gotham, he is more of a Batman villain. Local legend had it that Grundy would again arise on Halloween night in order to take revenge on the descendants of the rich landowners; Gotham City residents therefore referred to Halloween as "Grundy's Night". This Grundy is actually Clayface in disguise, though at the end of the episode a pale hand reaches out of the swamp and hear what sounded like his moan at the end of the episode. The real Solomon Grundy appears in a later episode, "The Batman Strikes!".

Music

The Canada|Canadian musical group Crash Test Dummies mentioned the character in "Superman's Song" from their 1991 album The Ghosts That Haunt Me: "Superman never made any money / saving the world from Solomon Grundy". Solomon Grundy was used in the song because lead singer Brad Roberts couldn't think of any other super-villains that rhymed with "money." [1]

An underground rap album, The Undying, featured a temporary redeux of rapper Blaze Ya Dead Homie's identity to that of Colton Grundy. The album describes the story of a casket-maker by the name of Solomon who could not die and thus jumped into a freezing river and awakening in the 90's, transformed into Blaze, and eventually into Colton Grundy.

Parodies

Grundy, along with the rest of the Legion of Doom from The Challenge of the Super Friends, appeared in It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One|an episode of the popular animated comedy Family Guy when Lois Griffin, as Mayor of Quahog, desperately tries to scare people into cleaning up the lake. She claims that the Legion of Doom is planning a terrorist attack on the city. The camera then cuts to the Legion's swamp headquarters, where they are secretly observing Lois' speech. Lex Luthor wonders out loud how she learned of their plan, leading Grundy to respond, "Me Solomon Grundy...kinda...dropped the ball on that one."

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