Friday, October 07, 2016

Christened On A Tuesday (DC)
Solomon Grundy #2 When: June 2009
Why: Scott Kolins How: Scott Kolins

The Story So Far...
In the 19th century, Gotham City was home to a wicked soul named Cyrus Gold. With much blood on his hands, he was cursed in death to forever rise from his unmarked grave in Slaughter Swamp as the beast Solomon Grundy!

Caught in an endless cycle of death and rebirth, the shambling monster is forever drawn to new acts of evil as an unstoppable undead creature - until now?

A mysterious force has intervened to give Cyrus Gold seven days to end his curse and finally put his soul to rest! His former nemesis The Green Lantern is charged with aiding him in his quest, but as they soon find out, not everyone wants Solomon Grundy gone before The Blackest Night!

Infernal forces intend to keep Cyrus Gold's soul in turmoil - sending an agent to keep him from his mission. While Green Lantern struggles in the cursed marsh of Slaughter Swamp - The Demon, Etrigan attacks! Now Solomon Grundy must fight for his death - or be dragged to new depths by his newest nemesis!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Solomon Grundy 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: The Demon 2 (Average)
Speed: The Demon 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Solomon Grundy 6 (Generator)
Agility: The Demon 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Draw 3 (Street Wise)
Energy: The Demon 3 (Explosive)

Can you say Round 2? It was almost a year ago when last we saw The Demon versus Solomon Grundy! It was a battle right out of Hell - waged on Devil's Night, to signal the impending return of Secret Wars on Infinite Earths!

In that particular showdown: The Demon was decreed the victor - even though the circumstances of the win were left open to continuation. For twelve months the ultimate fate of that fight has thus been left undecided - until now!

The beginning of their battle was a showcase of distinct advantages. Solomon Grundy demonstrated an obvious physical strength, allowing him to manhandle The Demon and turn chunks of the surrounding scenery into deadly weapons!

Etrigan took everything the powerhouse zombie was able to throw at him - practically relishing the pain! The Demon's resilience is an obvious asset in this case, but he's also able to give as good as he gets with little concern for himself or others! The fight ended when he sent Solomon Grundy (and himself) plummeting from a demolished bridge into the waters below!

The change in arena isn't an insignificant detail!

Solomon Grundy may be carrying the wear and tear of Round 1 into today's feature fight, but he does so into water - an environment more closely resembling the swamp from which he rose! He certainly looked at home splashing around in sewer water when he dealt an all mighty defeat to Killer Croc in Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1!

Water probably shouldn't douse the deadly demonic flames spewed forth by Etrigan, but in traditional lore, water can at least be considered an unfriendly element to any spawn of Hell. That might be enough to slow The Demon down!

Grundy's no stranger to being water logged, but will a late night dip spell a comeback for the shambling monster once called Cyrus Gold?l Let's find out!

The Tape: The Demon Ranking: The Demon (#45)

What Went Down...
The carnage happening around them hardly matters as they plummet towards the water below! Solomon Grundy and The Demon: locked in battle - engulfed in flames!

Etrigan, in that way he does, asks prophetically if Grundy has ever died on a Tuesday. He has seven days to put the soul of Cyrus Gold to rest. A fools quest when The Demon is charged with waylaying it with a fresh death!

The fire is extinguished as the warring monsters smash into the water!

Solomon Grundy clutches at The Demon's cape as the hellspawn rides his foe into the darkness of the water. Bubbles toil as they thrash in trouble.

Etrigan plunges his clawed fist into the marshy bog of Solomon Grundy's chest. He expects to find a beating heart, but instead pulls away a fist of the muck that constitutes Grundy's endless form!

The zombie's eyes burn with intensity - something resembling a wry smile across his toothy grin. Undeterred, he returns the favour by ramming his own hulking fist through The Demon's trunk!

The impalement draws a lone, wailing shriek in a chorus of hellfire from the usually rhyming Demon! Perhaps it was agony - or something else?

Aggression turns to uncertainty as Solomon Grundy recognizes something changing at the end of his fist. Still attached to The Demon by the hole he made with his fist - Grundy is at ground zero as hellfire explodes from Etrigan's chest!

Bathed in the inferno, Solomon Grundy is reduced to a weighty charred corpse!

The zombie drifts silently into the dark abyss, his body bubbling as the hellfire engulfing it dissipates. Etrigan watches with demonic glee as his cargo slowly sinks. He swims to meet it, pulling the lifeless head from its burnt body.

The Hammer...
Last time we needed careful deliberation to determine the winner of the fight via decision. This time the result is as plain as the look on Grundy's decapitated face: The Demon, Etrigan wins!

I've been eager to get back to this one, if only for completion's sake. The seven issues of Solomon Grundy pit him against a different foe for each day of the week, and if you paid attention to the cover at the start of this entry - you know Bizarro is the real marquee opponent of the second issue!

As much as I would've liked a decisive Etrigan win in the first issue (for purely selfish reasons), I do appreciate the way this eases the series into what is ultimately a seven issue gauntlet. I imagine in collected or digital formats, the pause goes mostly unnoticed. We aim to deal in original format here.

The more I come back to it, I find myself appreciating a lot about this series. By not rushing to contain The Demon to that first issue, Scott Kolins gets a chance to play his action big and rough at all the right times. It suits the monster comic tone of the story, and really gives him room to create atmospheric panels and some signature art. I'm not sure if it's the best work of his career, but it was a period where he seemed to be coming into his own (again).

Green Lantern shows up just as the fight is ending -- too late to serve in his role as guiding light to the soul of Cyrus Gold. I'm always happy to see the Golden Age heroes in contemporary action, GL especially. The fact that their existence has been so precarious in the last five to six years of DC Comics makes it all the sweeter to go back and read these issues. It isn't deep, but it's fun.

The classic, heroic Grundy nemesis will play a continuous role throughout the 2009 mini-series, which ties indirectly into the conspiracy of events that is and was Blackest Night.

I'm hoping over time we can work our way through each battle leading up to Blackest Night, when the action spills over into bannered issues of Superman/Batman. It was an interesting extension you might miss if you didn't know to look for it. We've got a long way to go before then, though!

I was hoping October might be the month to get a couple of Solomon Grundy feature fights on the books, but it looks like Secret Wars on Infinite Earths will be going to Hell for the next few weeks. Literally!

If you're really hungry for more Grundy, be sure to share this link and leave a comment below. In the mean time, you can get yourself the full story by using the Amazon purchase link provided! Doing so helps keep the secret wars infinite!

You can also find plenty more review and retrospective by following links throughout, or diving into the Secret Issue Index!

Winner: The Demon
#33 (+12) The Demon (Etrigan) [+1 kill]
#361 (-2) Solomon Grundy

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