Cyrus Gold (Solomon Grundy), is a Zombie supervillain who has clashed with many heroes over the years, including Green Lantern, Superman, Batman, the Justice Society of America, and the Justice League of America. Solomon Grundy frequently dies and resurrects in new incarnations, each of varying levels of strength and intelligence. Although primarily evil, some of his incarnations have shown the capacity for heroism.
Cyrus Gold was born some time around the early to middle 19th Century. Although accounts of his origins differ, the tale is fairly consistent that he was a Gotham City gentleman of ill repute who came to his death in Slaughter Swamp, and resurrected some years later as a horrible creature. Stories of his origins include:
- The most common origin of Solomon Grundy is that in the late 19th century, a wealthy merchant named Cyrus Gold was murdered and his body disposed of in Slaughter Swamp. He was supernaturally reanimated fifty years later, where parts of his body were actually composed of swamp material.
- Another origin tells that in the year 1895, he was killed in Slaughter Swamp by the pimp of a prostitute. The pimp was trying to blackmail Gold by claiming that he was the father of the prostitute's unborn child. Gold refused to yield to the blackmail, and thus was bludgeoned over the head and buried in the Swamp where no one would think to look for him. Over the span of fifty years, Gold's body interacted with the detritus and vegetation of the swamp, resulting in his resurrection.
- The next tale comes from the Parliament of Trees, a high council of Plant Elementals, who tried to turn him into the newest Plant Elemental. However, the process was missing one vital piece, as a Plant Elemental cannot be fully created unless it died in flames first. Since Grundy's death did not involve fire at all, the process was not complete, and he became a sort of half-functional Plant Elemental.
- Another possibility is given by a mysterious group called the Seven Unknown Men of Slaughter Swamp. They recount the death of a miserly pedophile, Cyrus Gold, at the hands of an enraged mob. However, they also mention that Gold could just as easily have been the innocent victim of a misunderstanding, as Slaughter Swamp is a point in space where time means nothing. The same Unknown Man who tells the tale, punishes another of his group, the Eighth Man: Zor, by dressing him in Cyrus Gold's clothing and leaving him for the mob to find, implying that Zor (an extremely vain character, notable for attempting several times to overthrow the Universe and for having defeated the Spectre) would later become the first Solomon Grundy.
Solomon Grundy consistently haunts Gotham City, and has been known to take residence in the Gotham sewer system. In the early years, his primary enemy was Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, though he also fought Batman as well. During The Long Halloween, he struck up an odd kinship with Harvey Dent, as Dent was on the path to becoming Two-Face. Grundy even joined Dent's team of "costumed freaks" that was responsible for the deaths of Gotham city crime lords such as Carmine Falcone and his successor Sofia.
Grundy's appearances were not limited to Gotham, however. He fought Superman several times in Metropolis. For a time, a new innocent, child-like Grundy lurked in the sewers of Opal City, where he was befriended by Starman Jack Knight, who affectionately referred to him as Solly. Solly also became friends with Starman Mikaal Tomas, and sacrificed himself to save Mikaal from being crushed by a collapsing building. This left Grundy in critical condition. In return for his sacrifice (as well as trying to stop the old Grundy from reemerging), Jack and Ted Knight and Alan Scott enlisted the aid of the Floronic Man, who like Grundy was a creature of The Green, to try and save his life. Woodrue was accompanied by Batman, and had them all eat seeds, allowing them to enter the consciousness of Grundy in order to pull out the Solly aspect of Grundy's personality, rather than one of Grundy's evil versions. Unfortunately the bad aspects of Grundy were too overwhelming and the Solly version couldn't be saved. When the heroes returned to the normal world, Grundy disappeared.
Grundy's next appearance saw the return of his malicious persona, where he was found by Jack Knight on a strange blue planet, apparently having landed there when he was cast into orbit by Alan Scott and Dr. Fate in the 40's. The crash on the planet killed him, apparently allowing him to resurrect with a different body on Earth. This suggests that Grundy's consciousness may be able to inhabit multiple bodies, though only one at a time. This new Grundy had a much higher intelligence than normal, but claimed to have no knowledge of Jack Knight or his previous exploits on earth since he was cast into orbit. This version of Grundy was summarily destroyed.
Mikaal Tomas was the next to battle Grundy. This Grundy displayed an average intelligence and was once again malicious. However, when as assassin (Frankie Soul) tried to take out Mikaal with a sniper rifle, Grundy sensed the coming shot and stepped in front of it, sacrificing himself once again to save Mikaal. With his dying words Grundy claimed that this was not a result of the Solly personality reemerging, but was unable to explain why he had done it.
It was known that Grundy hid out for a time in the Arrowcave, the long abandoned former headquarters of the Green Arrow. While searching for artifacts of his former life, Green Arrow and his former ward Arsenal stumbled onto Grundy's new hideout, where he tried to kill them. Ollie notes that this version seems much more violent, and manages to kill him by choking him with the string to his broken bow. Later, Arrow helped a Dr. Chrissie Cavendish, a S.T.A.R. Labs employee who claimed she was the great, great grand-daughter of the man the monster spawned from, to find and cure him. Her cure, however, warped her into a monster much worse than Grundy. Green Arrow subdued Cavendish, and decided it was best to leave Grundy to be.
Grundy helped attack Superman and Batman when a bounty was placed on both of them by President Lex Luthor, although he was being mind controlled by Gorilla Grodd at the time. He was defeated by Batman.
During the Infinite Crisis in Villains United, Grundy joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains. He turned on them briefly when Rag Doll of the Secret Six compared their disfigurement and convinced Grundy to join his side. In the Battle of Metropolis, Grundy fought alongside the rest of the Society again, but was killed once more by Superboy-Prime, along with the Blood Pack.
Solomon Grundy returned from this death to fight the Justice League of America, in a much more advanced form. He is depicted as intelligent and sophisticated, seemingly serving as the brains behind a complex operation to willingly transfer Professor Ivo's immortality to Grundy. Through the interference of the Red Tornado, his wife, and the Justice League, Grundy's scheme failed to achieve its ends. In later appearances, he seemed to have lost this intelligence.
He was exiled to the Prison Planet during Salvation Run, where a large number of supervillains were exported several lightyears into space, and left to fend for themselves on a foreign planet. He joined Lex Luthor's camp, but was killed in the gigantic Parademon raid shortly before the villains could escape.
Even millions of miles away from Earth, upon his death Cyrus Gold was resurrected once more in Slaughter Swamp with a strange new level of perception. Noticing that Gotham City had changed much, Gold went to a mobile home, where he killed the owner. Walking to his former house, he had a flashback to his murdering his Uncle John, expressing remorse over it. Suddenly, Cyrus remembered his past as Solomon Grundy, and became terrified of dying and became Solomon Grundy again. He attacked a woman who offered him help, then assaulted two police officers who try to stop him. In the process, Cyrus was shot through the chest, discovering that he still had no physical heart. Running away, he jumped into the highway, where he was run down and killed. Gold was resurrected as Solomon Grundy again, and fled into the sewers. A week later, he encountered Killer Croc, fought him and eventually broke his jaw. At the dawn of Sunday, Grundy transformed back into Cyrus Gold at the cemetery which held his tombstone. Here, he is found by the Phantom Stranger, who became aware of his resurrection and change last week. He is unable to help Cyrus in these changes, but had drafted Green Lantern Alan Scott into helping. Though Green Lantern was hesitant to help, the Stranger insisted: there was an unholy night coming, and it would be best if Solomon Grundy were gone before another could claim him for themselves. Grundy and Alan Scott are now on a quest for Grundy's redemption. It is his mission to find the person who is responsible for killing him the first time... and forgive them. Cyrus discovers shockingly that in a fit of madness, he actually committed suicide in Slaughter Swamp, taking his own life... he is unable to forgive himself, and pass on to the next world. Instead, he receives a Black Lantern Ring and is commanded to RISE. His corpse is destroyed when Bizarro drives it into the sun. With Cyrus Gold in Hell, and Solomon Grundy's corpse destroyed, the curse on Solomon Grundy is finally broken. He is no more.
- Zombie Physiology
- Energy Absorption: Grundy has also proven to be able to absorb certain forms of energy and manipulate them at will. This ability has always been subconscious to the point of being accidental, though, but it would suggest that Grundy is even more powerful than he has the intelligence to realize.
- Superhuman Durability: The weird elemental energy that imbues his form with pseudo-life makes him incredibly resilient—he is impervious to bullets, fire, and extreme cold, and can survive indefinitely without food, water, or oxygen.
- Regeneration: Grundy has displayed radically fast regeneration while on site at Slaughter Swamp. Amazo 3764 severed all his limbs which returned and reattached themselves to his torso in seconds.
- Removable Limbs: Grundy's detached arms could move independently of his body and managed to decapitate Amazo 'singlehanded', so to speak.
- Resurrection: Even when he is destroyed, he has always been reborn sooner or later. The soul of Cyrus Gold enjoys his pseudo-life through Grundy, even though Gold's whole personality is never present in Grundy's "life." Grundy's personality differs from incarnation to incarnation, but he seems to retain some memories of his experiences from one time to the next.
- Superhuman Stamina: Grundy can perform physically strenuous tasks for an indeterminate period of time before tiring.
- Superhuman Strength: Solomon Grundy possesses tremendous strength and stamina, the level of which varies with his different incarnations. Sometimes, he can be held by a group of normal humans. On other occasions, even superman cannot hold him back.
- Solomon Grundy first appeared in Pre-Crisis Earth-Two continuity in All-American Comics #61 by Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman. He first appeared Post-Crisis New Earth continuity in History of the DC Universe #1 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez.
- There are several individuals who claim kinship to Grundy's human alter ego, Cyrus Gold. None of them however are confirmed to be direct relations. It is known that Cyrus Gold was a married man at the time of his death in 1894 (or 1895 by some accounts). Records show that he carried on an affair with a woman named Rachel Rykel - a woman who claimed to be pregnant with Gold's child. A possible descendant of this issue, Karin Rykel, appeared outside Slaughter Swamp nearly a century later. Ironically, Karin Rykel was ruthlessly murdered by Solomon Grundy. Some time later, a scientist for S.T.A.R. Labs named Chrissie Cavendish claimed to be Cyrus Gold's great-great grand-daughter. All of Chrissie's accounts concerning Gold's history and personality contradict previously established facts. She saw Gold as a philanthropic genius, who developed a serum which unfortunately transformed him into Solomon Grundy. In light of Cavendish's biased ideals towards Grundy, as well as her questionable sanity, any information that she provides as it relates to Solomon Grundy is considered unreliable.
- In keeping with his plant elemental heritage, Solomon excretes tree sap rather than blood when injured.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
- Cyrus Gold (New Earth) appears as Solomon Grundy (Prime) a playable character in the Infinite Crisis video game.
- In Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers series, the Witch-People of Limbo Town (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 Frankenstein is partly animated by the immortal blood of Melmoth, making him a Grundyman. Since Melmoth gained his immortality from the Cauldron of Rebirth, which he found in Slaughter Swamp, it is likely that this is also the explanation for the reanimation of Solomon Grundy.
- In Tangent Comics, Grundy is a brand of jeans. Their slogan is "Nothing comes between me and my grundies."
- Solomon Grundy was played by actor Mickey Morton in the TV pilot, "Legend of the Superheroes."
- 152 Appearances of Cyrus Gold (New Earth)
- 75 Images featuring Cyrus Gold (New Earth)
- 11 Quotations by or about Cyrus Gold (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Cyrus Gold (New Earth)
- Solomon Grundy #4
- DC Comics Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- All-American Comics #61
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat #39
- Plant Elementals at Swamp Thing Roots
- Seven Soldiers of Victory #0
- Seven Soldiers of Victory #1
- Batman: The Long Halloween #12
- Starman (Volume 2) #10
- Starman (Volume 2) #34
- Starman (Volume 2) #49
- JSA #29
- Green Arrow (Volume 3) #18
- Green Arrow (Volume 3) #53
- Superman/Batman #3
- Villains United #6
- Infinite Crisis #7
- Justice League of America (Volume 2) #1-5
- Salvation Run #7
- Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1
- Solomon Grundy #1
- Solomon Grundy #7
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #21
- Solomon Grundy #5
- Seven Soldiers: Klarion #1
- Tangent Comics: Doom Patrol #1
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