Quote1 That which has been duly sown, shall now be harvested, by the man who killed the trio of Avengers... I... the Grim Reaper!! Quote2
-- Grim Reaper src

Early Years

Eric Williams, the brother of Simon Williams, who later became known as the Wonder Man, was born in Paterson, New Jersey. Eric was always the black sheep of his family. His mother, Martha, would tell him that he was "born bad" whilst heaping affection on Simon. Eric's father, Sanford, was charged with disciplining him, but was abusive and uncaring. He even preferred to watch television lazily whilst Eric was torturing the family cat. At the same time, their mother Martha was loving and attentive to Simon, making Eric bitter and jealous as a result.[3]

Eric Williams (Earth-616) Dark Reign Lethal Legion Vol 1 2

Eric Williams

One day, Eric was playing with chemicals in the garage and caused a fire that burned down their house. Simon felt guilty for having not stopped Eric, and resolved to be responsible for Eric from then 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 theft. Eventually, Eric joined the Maggia and moved to Las Vegas; meanwhile, Simon took over the family business, Williams Innovations.[3]

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 the Wonder Man in order to infiltrate the Avengers, but Zemo's empowering process also poisoned Simon, ensuring his loyalty in exchange for the antidote. Simon's better nature won out, however, and he died saving the Avengers from Zemo's trap.[4]

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. Taking the name the Grim Reaper, he defeated the Avengers, but was beaten by the surprise appearance of the Black Panther.[5]

Later, the Grim Reaper confronted the Avengers with his Lethal Legion comprised of the Living Laser, the Power Man, the Man-Ape, and the Swordsman.[6] 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.[7]

The Vision met with the Grim Reaper who offered him a proposition. If the Vision aided him in getting revenge on the Avengers, he would transfer the Vision's mind into the body of the deceased, but preserved, Wonder Man. Not giving into the Grim Reaper's offer, the Vision refused; however, the Grim Reaper gave him a medallion that would put them into direct contact should the Vision change his mind.[8]

When the Space Phantom returned, he teamed up with the Grim Reaper.[9] The Space Phantom and the Grim Reaper imprisoned some of the Avengers. The Grim Reaper then found the Vision and made his offer yet again. He took the Vision back to where the body of the Wonder Man was being stored, only to reveal that he really could not transfer the Vision's mind into the Wonder Man's body because the Wonder Man was dead; however, if they joined forces, he would transfer the Vision's mind into the living body of Captain America. Trying to appeal to the Vision, the Grim Reaper revealed his and the Space Phantom's plan. To this end, the Space Phantom took the form of the Viper, and later the Supreme Hydra during Captain America's last battle against the terrorist organisation.

When the Space Phantom was unmasked by Captain America, he paralysed the star-spangled Avenger and his partner and then, to facilitate their plot, the Space Phantom made the whole world forget that Captain America was Steve Rogers, suppressed Captain America and Rick Jones's memories of the event, and sent them on their way. Without finally revealing his and the Space Phantom's ultimate goal, the Grim Reaper asked if the Vision would go along with their plan so that he may be human, a question to which the Vision answered affirmatively.[10]

The Vision goaded the Grim Reaper to anger by suggesting that the Grim Reaper was merely one of the Space Phantom's lackeys. This gave Captain America the chance to attack and the Vision explained to Captain America that he was tricking the Grim Reaper into believing he had joined their cause in an attempt to free his captured comrades. The two Avengers then freed their friends and soon found themselves confronted by the Grim Reaper, the Space Phantom, and an army of Hydra soldiers. When the Space Phantom tried to kill the Vision, the Grim Reaper attempted to stop him, and soon a battle erupted between Hydra and the Avengers. The Avengers were soon felled by one of the Space Phantom's weapons, except for the Scarlet Witch -- who escaped to summon Thor -- and the Vision who was immune to the sonic attack. However, the Space Phantom got the Vision to surrender and allowed him to be imprisoned when he threatened to kill the Grim Reaper. The Space Phantom then chased after the Scarlet Witch so she could not rouse Thor, and she was quickly captured. The Space Phantom then arrived at the Avengers Mansion and attacked Jarvis and Rick Jones. Rick turned into Captain Marvel, then freed the Avengers, and they all made short work of the Hydra army. Mar-Vell explained to the others that when Rick clashed the Nega-Bands, the Space Phantom's powers attempted to become two people at once, which proved to be too much, and so the Space Phantom was transported to Limbo, while Rick was transported to the Negative Zone as usual. The Avengers allowed the Grim Reaper to go free.[11]

Secret War

The Grim Reaper was part of the aftermath of the Secret War that had been arranged by Nick Fury against Latveria. He was among the villains who had been given technology by Latverian Prime Minister Lucia von Bardas and sent to kill the heroes who had been involved in the Secret War.[12]

Civil War

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Brother vs. Brother

The Grim Reaper was apparently one of the many villains who escaped from the Raft prison during the Civil War. After being at large for several months, the Grim Reaper was eventually tracked down by Captain America and the Cable, who together with their other friends brought the Grim Reaper down, and the Vulture and the Grim Reaper were beaten to a pulp and chained to a column.[13] Eric was later placed back into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D.[14]

Dark Reign

The Grim Reaper was next seen teaming with the Man-Ape and the Saboteur; how he escaped S.H.I.E.L.D. is uncertain.[15]

The Grim Reaper later formed a new line-up of the Lethal Legion as part of a plan against Norman Osborn, after Osborn's rise to power. The team was ultimately defeated by the Dark Avengers and H.A.M.M.E.R. agents and once again imprisoned in the Raft. While there, the Grim Reaper was stabbed in the heart by an inmate loyal to Osborn, and had to undergo an operation.[16] It was also revealed that his brother Simon was a member of the Legion and also imprisoned in the Raft.[17]

It was then disclosed that the Grim Reaper had formed the Legion so Osborn could be seen as a hero for taking them down, as well as have the Wonder Man look bad and make him and his Dark Avengers look better than the originals. With his death faked he then left for Europe to establish a new powerbase for Osborn.[18]

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Chaos War

When the mad god Amatsu-Mikaboshi declared war on the pantheons of all worlds, he instigated the Chaos War by rallying an army of alien deities and destroyed the realms of the dead, flooding souls into the world of the living.[19] Williams was chosen as one of his servants who, along with Nekra, were charged with killing the Avengers.[20] In order to defend them, the Vision, whose soul was returned to Earth along with other fallen heroes, detonated himself, seemingly killing Williams in the process.[21]

Surviving yet again, the Grim Reaper and the Lethal Legion tried to escape from jail,[22] but they were stopped by the Avengers.[23]

Uncanny Avengers

Eric next attempted to kill the Scarlet Witch, but Rogue absorbed his powers and punched him, apparently killing him, although claiming she barely hit him.[24]

Eric Williams (Earth-616) from Uncanny Avengers Vol 1 10 cover

Grim Reaper as a Horseman of Death

Horseman of Death

The Grim Reaper was brought back to life by the Apocalypse Twins,[25] using both the Life Seed and Death Seed, in order to serve, alongside the Banshee, the Sentry, and the Daken, as one of their Horsemen of Death.[26] He was seemingly killed by Rogue once more, who punched him harder than she expected after absorbing the Wonder Man's powers, but he survived and later attacked his brother Simon, defeating and capturing him.[27]

When the Apocalypse Twins's plot to destroy Earth failed -- and their ark was destroyed by Sunfire -- the Grim Reaper and Daken returned to Earth along with the corpses of the Apocalypse Twins.[28]

All-New, All-Different Marvel

After the Vision purged his emotions,[29] he created a synthezoid family and moved to Arlington, Virginia in order to become the Avengers's White House liaison. The family became instant celebrities, with their neighbours constantly seeking pictures, which they shared online. This caught the attention of Eric, who became upset that the Vision would create a family that appeared to be happy when the Williams family wasn't, as well as the fact that the Vision's brainwaves were taken from his brother Simon in the first place.

One night while their father was away with the Avengers, the Grim Reaper broke into the Vision's home, running his daughter Viv through with his scythe. Her twin brother Vin rushed to her aid, but he too was struck down. Their mother Virginia then flew into a rage and beat Eric to death in front of her wounded children with a cookie sheet on their kitchen floor.[30] Virginia disposed of the Grim Reaper's corpse by burying it in their yard, and kept his death a secret from her husband, claiming he had fled during the fight that had actually cost his life.[31]


Originally, the Grim Reaper was a purely technological-based villain with no innate superhuman abilities.

  • Necromancy: When he was resurrected he gained some mystical powers allowing him to re-animate the souls and bodies of the dead, either through Voodoo training received from the 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.[32]

Strength level

The Grim Reaper's physical strength is supernaturally heightened slightly beyond the natural limitations of the human body.[32]



  • Grim Reaper's Scythe: His right hand had been amputated and replaced with his trademark weapon which initially had the ability to allow the blade to spin at rapid speed, making the weapon usable as a buzzsaw, missile shield, and an improvised helicopter. It could also fire energy blasts and gas pellets, and dispense electric stun shocks on touch. Eric later received an enchanted scythe that was magically sharp and was capable of energy blasts much like the original, but could also be used to drain energy.[32]
  • The Grim Reaper was featured in the battle between the Marvel and the DC Universe.[33]

Discover and Discuss


  1. 1.0 1.1 Avengers #352
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Avengers #353
  3. 3.0 3.1 West Coast Avengers Vol 2 #2
  4. Avengers #9
  5. Avengers #52
  6. Avengers #78
  7. Avengers #79
  8. Avengers #102
  9. Avengers #106
  10. Avengers #107
  11. Avengers #108
  12. Secret War #1-5
  13. Civil War #2
  14. Civil War: Front Line #9
  15. Heroes for Hire #6-8
  16. Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #1
  17. Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #2
  18. Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #3
  19. Chaos War: Dead Avengers #1
  20. Chaos War: Dead Avengers #2
  21. Chaos War: Dead Avengers #3
  22. Avengers: X-Sanction #1
  23. Avengers: X-Sanction #4
  24. Uncanny Avengers #5
  25. Uncanny Avengers #7
  26. Uncanny Avengers #9
  27. Uncanny Avengers #10-12
  28. Uncanny Avengers #22
  29. Avengers Vol 6 #0
  30. Vision Vol 2 #1
  31. Vision Vol 2 #2
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #4
  33. JLA/Avengers #3-4
  34. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #4
  35. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 4

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