The Grim Reaper, Eric Williams, is the brother of Simon Williams, Wonder Man. When Eric was young he was said to have just been born bad. Both Eric and his brother struggled trying to get their father's (Sanford) approval. Sanford was abusive and mean like no other. The two brothers were totally different. Simon was quiet and shy, while Eric was athletic and wild. Eric was usually called the unusual one of the family. That's when Eric started to commit crimes and he always tried to get his brother to do it with him. Eric admired Simon for not wanting to commit crimes with him, and Eric almost idolized his brother. He loved and resented his brother at the same time. He hated his father's high-tech and fancy job. He later became a criminal and a gambler. He became almost as good enough with his crimes as to join the Maggia organized crime family. His brother Simon joined the family job and took it over after his father had died. Unfortunately for them, the business began to fail due to Stark Industries. That's when Simon went to Eric for help. But Eric's attempt failed, so Simon went to a last resort. Simon stole money from his own company to invest so he could save the company, but was caught and arrested. Feeling like he couldn't let his poor brother go to jail, Eric lied and said that he did it instead of Simon, taking the blame. So Eric was arrested instead of his brother. This shows true love between the two brothers.
A Sad Death
Simon was later transformed into Wonder Man by Baron Heinrich Zemo. He planned to use him for evil against the Avengers. But during the battle Simon ended up dying trying to save the Avengers. After that had happened they made a copy of Wonder Man's brain patterns in order to resurrect him one day. Things went bad when Eric found out about this. He went mad and crazy when he found out his brother had died. So he ended up blaming the Avengers for Simon's death. He hired the Tinkerer to build him a high tech arsenal shaped like a scythe. The scythe had parts and similar weapons to the robot Ultron. Ultron is an Avenger's enemy who was interested in Eric's family vendetta and also had a copy of Simon's brain patterns for an experiment. He later used the brain patterns to create a android named Vision. Eric attacked the Avengers and almost killed them all, but his plan was foiled by Black Panther. Eric escaped and came up with another plan. He got some other Avenger enemies like Power Man and Man Ape, among others, and they called themselves the Lethal Legion. They were defeated and imprisoned though, thanks to the android Vision whom Eric did not have the heart to kill.
Hate for the Avengers
After Eric got away from the Avengers he had yet another plan. He took and reserved his brothers body and offered that Visions mind be put into the body and make him human, but only if he did not get in Eric's way of killing the Avengers. Vision refused the offer, though. Later, Eric partnered up with a Space Phantom and was being manipulated by Immortus. Later, Eric gained control of HYDRA. He would use them to attack the Avengers. He then offered Vision to the same deal he had offered him before but this time he would give Vision Captain America's body. Vision pretended to accept the offer, but he did this to trick Eric, and that is when Vision helped the Avengers defeat the villains. During the fight Vision and Eric saved each others lives. Eric was captured and imprisoned again. He then escaped and got Simon's body back again. Simon was revived with the help of the robot Ultron. But, Simon had almost been like a zombie. So Eric had a voodoo master send the half dead Simon after the Avengers. But, Simon soon regained his mind and joined the Avengers. Later, Eric and Ultron attacked the Avengers. Eric imprisoned the android Vision. After that the Avengers had to decide whether the mutated Wonderman was Simon or if Vision was Simon. Eric decided Wonderman was the real Simon and tried to kill Vision but, Wonderman came and defeated him.
Eric Williams was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.
Who is the Real Simon?
Later, Eric decided that both Vision and Wonder Man were fakes of the real Simon. So Eric tried to kill them both but, he failed. After that he found a new lover named Nekra. He then recruited a bunch of villains to attack the Avengers. Now he had a new plan he would take parts of Vision's mind and parts of Wonder Man's mind and place them into the corpse of Brady Kent to create the real Simon. He would do this with the help of Voodoo. The Brady Kent corpse had been formed to look like the original Simon. The plan failed but, Eric realized that Vision and Wonder Man were both his true brothers. Then Eric fell to his death while running in shame. After that Nekra revived him into a lifelike zombie. She teamed up with Eric as a zombie and the Bradly Kent zombie. They all went to the hospital where Vision's wife Scarlet Witch was giving birth. During this Eric died again after Nekra's spell had been broken. Eric was scared out of his mind when he found out he was a zombie. That's when Eric teamed up with the Legion of the Unliving to attack the Avengers. But, it was unknown if that was the real Eric or not. Nekra's revival of Eric was such that he was made into a zombie, but could survive by draining others' life force with his scythe. While testing his powers he ended up killing Nekra by accident. After that he became friends again with Ultron. But, he only did this to stop Ultron's plan of turning all humans into robots. Because if he did this there would be no life force left for Eric to take. Both of the villains were caught by The Avengers. After this event happened Eric gained even more power. He then caused an airliner to crash. He turned most of his victims into superhuman zombies to attack the Avengers and they almost won. Eric's Legion of the Unliving almost destroyed the Avengers. But, Eric's hold over the zombies broke when Vision forced Eric to admit he had killed himself and the Avengers were not to blame.
Dead Once Again
After Eric failed to kill the Avengers, he was controlled by Lloigoroth, a demon. Once Wonder Man died again he returned as a ghostly spirit. Once the barriers of life and death started to become weak Eric's spirit returned to Earth. Then Eric controlled the spirits of Wonder Man and other dead Avengers to battle the living Avengers. But, the undead Avengers were released from Eric's control by Scarlet Witch and they turned on Eric. They helped the living Avengers defeat Eric. All of the undead were returned home to their afterlives. Also Scarlet Witch returned Wonder Man back to his body. She also returned Eric's life back when he admitted his love for his brother. Since then Eric has decided to stop his old ways of villainy. He had even fought along with the Avengers to defeat Ultron. But, Eric returned to life as a criminal and had fought against the Avengers since. He was last seen working for the Nefaria crime family of the Maggia organization. Eric later trained mercenaries that he had bought from the Taskmaster as a force known as Steel Skulls.
Return of the Legion
Eric talked his brother Simon (Wonder Man) into joining his band of villains called the New Lethal Legion during the Dark Reign saga. This band went-up against Norman Osbourne's Dark Avengers and H.A.M.M.E.R. and lost. Eric was stabbed while in prison at the Raft, and appeared to have needed to undergo an operation. He was shown to have apparently died. However, it was revealed that he betrayed his teammates and was working for Norman Osborn all along. His death was actually faked and Osborn sent Eric to establish a base of operations on foreign soil.
Eric swore allience with Japanese demonic god called Amatsu-Mikaboshi, during the Chaos War. In return Eric will get to destroy the souls of each member of the Avengers
When Captain Americ and Havok announce the Uncanny Avengers team, the Grim Reaper attacked them he fired an energy blast at the Scarlet Witch,who dosent have time to move, so Wonderman intervines and takes the blast.
Wolverine is thrown at Eric, a "fast ball special", he is taken down by Eric who moves on quickly dismantling the Avengers team. He is moving on to the Scarlet Witch, when Rouge takes some of Wonderman's power and punching him, the one punch breaks Eric's neck, Rouge pleads saying she didn't know how strong Wonderman was.
Return as a Horseman of the Apocalypse
The Apocalypse twins created their horsemen from the dead family members and the dead allies of the Uncanny Avengers. Eric had a brawl with his brother Wonder Man while other members of the Uncanny Avengers were attacked by the rest of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse Twins.
Powers & 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.
Eric has often served as leader to villain teams and alliances. His strategic and organizing skills, commanding personality and his intellect make him decent in the role. However, much of his villainous career has been motivated by his obsessions with certain individuals. Leading him to take highly irrational decisions at various points. His personal prejudices and racism demonstrated early in his career tended to turn off even his allies.
An alternate version of Eric Williams appeared in here, in the Realm of the Dead.
The Grim Reaper was shown in a back story of the Justice League and Avengers' team-ups. In one story, he and the Key stole the Serpent Crown and kidnapped Zatanna and Mantis to use them as a key to celestial power.
In Other Media
The Avengers: United They Stand
A version of the Grim Reaper also appeared on this 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.
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
The Grim Reaper appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Iron Man is Born", voiced by Lance Henriksen. This version of Grim Reaper is a cyborg with a scythe made by A.I.M., which is implanted into his arm and is able to take on the form of a hand, and he wears a hood rather than a helmet. He also appears in the episode "Living Legend" & "Everything is Wonderful" he helps his brother Simon by hooking him up with MODOK who performs an experiment that turns Simon into Wonder Man. In the episode "Panther's Quest," Grim Reaper and HYDRA were seen with Klaw when they claim some Vibranium.
Captain America and the Avengers
The Grim Reaper is a boss character at the end of stage 2.
Marvel Ultimate 2
Grim Reaper has been announced to make an appearance in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, either as an NPC or a villain.