The Comic Book History Of Solomon Grundy AKA Cyrus Gold

solomongrundyThere was so much insanity in last night's season finale of Gotham, that one brief little scene could've been overlooked by those not too familiar with the comic world. Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell) who has been part of the show for all but 10 episodes was shot in the head by Barbara Kean (Erin Richards). It was a sad moment as Butch, though a criminal thug, was kind of a good guy at heart. He had loyalty until he was betrayed… multiple times. But it seems that Butch had a secret… a pretty big secret… the injured Butch is taken to the hospital where a nurse comments on him being a criminal and getting what he deserved. Then the doctor reveals that Butch is not his real name, according to his medical records his name is Cyrus Gold.

And that's when comic fans jaws dropped.

There are many origin stories involving Cyrus Gold depending on the era, but all of them end with him dying or having his body dumped in Slaughter Swamp just outside of Gotham. Yes, his origin starts with him dying only to return on a Monday. Cyrus Gold is Solomon Grundy, DC's super-strong but mentally diminished villainous zombie. He was created by Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman and first appeared in All-American Comics #61 from 1944. He was made to go up against the Alan Scott Green Lantern and the Justice Society on Earth-2. He was viscous, strong and basically mindless and fighting him was like fighting a force of nature. He was used be Per Degaton to go after the Justice Society and got pulled into the Injustice Society for a brief time. All of this was pre-crisis. Grundy also has a bit of a King Kong thing going on where he would become enamored with certain heroines. First Huntress and then later Jade. He would joined Infinity Inc for a while because of her. His time as a hero didn't last long when Harlequin used her illusion power to appear as Jade and convince Grundy to attack his teammate and used Mr. Bones poisonous touch to kill Skyman. This was also the beginning of the end of the team.

Post-crisis Grundy shifted his focus and tended to live in the sewers. He became connected to the Batman universe through the book The Long Halloween when he befriended a pre-Two-Face Harvey Dent and helped him get rid of Carmine Falcone. He battled Superman a few times and took up residence under Opal City where he became friends with Starman, Jack Knight. At this point Grundy became more heroic again, Jack called him Solly and he also friend another Starman, Mikaal Tomas. Grundy sacrificed himself to save Mikaal, but was severely hurt and where his body would live, the Solly persona was overwhelmed by the evil and was lost. He returned to his malicious ways and fought both Starman on occasion and the JSA on others.

From there he lived for a while in the abandoned Arrowcave until a descendant tried to cure him, but really just turned herself into a worse monster that Green Arrow had to stop. He decided it was best to leave Grundy alone at that point. Gorilla Grodd would later take control of Grundy and used him to attack Superman and Batman when President Lex Luthor put a bounty on their heads. Grundy popped up during Infinite Crisis, first siding with the Secret Society of Super-Villains and then with the Secret Six before being killed by Superboy Prime. Then he would return, far more intelligent this time, in a scheme to transfer Professor Ivo's immortality to Grundy. But this plan was thwarted by Red Tornado. And then he was less intelligent again and on the prison planet during Salvation Run and died during a Parademon raid.

The final fate of Solomon Grundy took place during the Blackest Night series when Grundy returned to Slaughter Swamp, but at dawn he transformed back to Cyrus Gold. With the prompting of the Phantom Stranger, Alan Scott helps Cyrus try and find the person who killed him… except we learn that Cyrus ended up killing himself and couldn't forgive his own action so his spirit went to hell. Grundy returned with a Black Lantern ring but was driven into the sun by Bizarro. Without the connection to Gold, Grundy remained dead this time.

He has since popped up in the Earth-2 series during the New 52.

Grundy has superhuman strength and stamina, can resurrect multiple times, he seems mostly invulnerable… except he keeps dying… and he can absorb energy.


About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.