Grendel-Prime is the epitome of the Grendel warrior in the era of Grendel Khan Orion Assante, and for long afterwards. He is often called the Paladin.
Note: this thread follows the 3-full-pages-per issue rule.
A Short History
Grendel-Prime was originally one of Assante’s greatest warriors and generals. He was turned into a cyborg by Assante to protect his son, Jupiter. Over many years, he helped Jupiter finally rise to the throne despite manipulations from various usurpers. His mission over, he then disappeared for years and shut himself down until he was reactivated by Susan Veraghen. Much of his flesh was decayed by this point, and he was further improved and repaired by himself, Veraghen, and his original builder, Doctor One, to the point where he no longer had almost any flesh left. He fought at Veraghen’s side until she died, then once again went into seclusion for hundreds of years. Unhappy with the current debased state of the Grendel warriors across the world, he decided to contact the spirit of Grendel in order to bring the Grendel clans back to their proper honor. He worked with a scientist to build a machine that would contact the soul of Hunter Rose, but instead it sent him back to our time, where he fought Batman. He was eventually sent back to his own time, largely destroyed by the time-travel process, and once again went off into the wilderness. He has not been seen since.
FEATS, CHARACTERISTICS, and ABILITIES
Grendel-Prime has been built, taken apart, rebuilt, and improved upon many times. In general there are three stages, each of which is more powerful than the one before. However, each stage has generally the same characteristics: enhanced strength, speed, and durability; excellent skills in both hand to hand combat and ranged weapons; excellent tactical and strategic skills; and utter ruthlessness. He is solar powered, and charges up from the sun. Using his various abilities can slow him down unless he recharges.
We will look at each stage’s general characteristics, then examine his standard weapons at the end.
ORIGINAL VERSION--Grendel: Warchild
In this form, he is much thinner (less muscled) than he becomes later on. (See the image at the very top for an example.)
He possesses strength enough to beat up a gorilla, punch rivets out of steel plate, and wrestle an alligator.
He has durability enough to withstand bullets and arrows without difficulty. He intentionally jumped off a bridge, bouncing off the edge on the way down, and was not significantly hurt, although it did cause him pain.
LINK to full bridge scene
At this point his flesh was still somewhat of a weak point; after he rode for weeks across the Atlantic ocean on his hover bike, he was extremely weak from exposure and dehydration for a time. He often fell to low energy levels when he was underground or in a nuclear winter situation for long periods of time, and was able to be knocked out by conventional blunt force in this state.
Here he kills the he’d vampire of the era, Pellon Cross. Cross was an extremely formidable fighter, but by this point he was fat and bloated, so it’s not as impressive as a physical feat although it is a major strategic feat. Here he also fights several normal vampires; vampires in this world have enhanced speed, strength, and durability and are pretty dangerous.
Here he fights a group of biker Grendels. He is shot in the back with a shotgun, then throws a throwing star so as to bend apart the barrels of the gun, showing good accuracy and strength. He then defeats the others through a mix of hand to hand combat and shooting.
LINK to full Biker Grendel fight
Here he fights a group of rogue Grendels armed with laser melee weapons like his sword. He defeats them easily.
LINK to full rogue Grendel fight
Here he fights a squad of Red Devils, elite Grendel warriors. He survives a volley of gunfire through his natural durability and forcefield, cuts apart some others, dodges some more gunfire, and blows up some more with missiles. A bullet is deflected off his shoulder. (He blows up the rest during a chase.)
Here he fights some pirates. Note the multi-tasking in the first image, which is standard for him—shooting in one direction while cutting in another. He also shows off some more technical fighting skills, in the form of breaks and throws, than he usually does. The next scan has him using some kicks against some mutants, for another example of semi-technical style of fighting.
Here he kills some zombies. They aren’t particularly tough opponents, but it’s typical for him to basically just wade through and slaughter them.
Here he shoots down one squad of Red Devils, and cuts his way through another large squad (12+ soldiers as seen in another panel).
In this era he often carries a laser sword, various guns, and a gauntlet that doubles as a forcefield and missile launcher, all described below under TECH.
He possesses a solar flare, a unidirectional blast of heat energy that he used to melt a large amount of snow and ice. This feat leaves him very low in energy.
When he and Jupiter enter New York, which is filled with radiation and toxic gases, he gives Jupiter a breather but does not need one himself. (See the last page of the bridge-jumping scans above.)
He is utterly ruthless. In one scene, he needed a plan to distract some pirates so they didn’t overrun his boat. He killed several of his own crew members in order to create the distraction so his overall plan would work.
He is strategically very capable; with almost no resources, he engineers the defeat of a well-entrenched pair of political leaders and the vampire clans in order for Jupiter to become leader of the entire world, and is responsible for numerous smaller tactical wins throughout.
SLIGHTLY REBUILT: The last issue of Grendel: Warchild
Between the last two issues of Warchild, Prime and Jupiter spend ten years in the wilderness. During this time he seemingly adds improvements to his body.
From now on, he appears significantly more bulked-up and stronger. (See image at the very bottom for a good example.)
His durability is now increased to the degree that he was literally catapulted across town, fell through the roof of a building, and crashed into the floor without damage. In fact this was his intentional method of entering the building he wanted to attack.
In this period it is revealed that his body contains the technology to run the Sun Disc, a nuclear-weapon-level solar cannon (although he can’t use it in standard battles, it is mostly a one-time thing).
HEAVILY REBUILT--Past Prime
In this canon illustrated novel, the Paladin leaves Jupiter, having accomplished his mission, and shuts himself off in the Himalayas. His flesh body rots and is largely replaced and improved by robotic parts by himself, Veraghen, and his creator, Doctor One.
When Veraghen is fixing him, she notes his retractable spikes which are already part of his body, although they were not shown previously in the comics (described below under Tech).
He fights a variety of Grendel clan warriors and soldiers. At one point he and Susan kill 26 armed and armored soldiers. She describes his sword attacks as “almost too fast to see” and “moving, liquid fast and solid hard.” (p. 108)
His durability is once again shown to be exceptional. He repeatedly takes multiple hits from the powerful weapons of the day (gauss guns, described below) without problem. He later fights a mech, which is “bristling with guns,” including “six separate barrels, one for a mini-gun, two more for gauss rounds,” and also has a missile rack. It is 24 feet high and many tons. (p. 177)
The mech kicks him back “a dozen meters” and hits with with “a battery of missiles” that “knocked soldiers off their feet across the courtyard” but he vigorously leaps to the attack unhurt moments later. (p. 194) He agilely jumps around and onto the walls of the courtyard, and flips on top of the machine (p. 195). He cuts parts off. He is knocked off, then it steps on him when he’s laying on the ground. He manages to recharge from the sun and with great effort goes from laying flat, to his hands and knees, then to a crouch, and manages to knock the mech off its feet (p. 198/9). He then tears its armor apart with his hands.
He then defeats the rest of the soldiers, “almost lazily, began walking through the courtyard, his blade once again coming to life. He took his time, ignoring the fighting around him, moving from rebel to rebel and systematically slicing them to pieces.”
He shows lethal fighting styles, such as pulling the spine out of Doctor One’s body.
Susan Veraghen, herself a very skilled fighter, says, “In battle, the Paladin had no equal….The machine that was the Paladin gave him strength and speed, made him an unparalleled warrior….He was the perfect soldier.” (p. 21)
Grendel-Prime describes himself as “the best swordsman Orion had ever seen” (in a world where huge portions of people lived as warriors and every day was life-or-death) and “his best tactician, second only to the great Khan himself.” (p. 157) Orion (the Khan) was a very noted strategist, having defeated numerous opponents who had great political, economic, and personal power, including Pope Innocent XLII and Eppy Thatcher, and eventually taking over the entire world through very complex machinations, so being second to him is pretty impressive.
He and Susan later fought a couple of armored personnel carriers and numerous soldiers. He was described as “round after round was beating against him, bouncing from his armor, tearing the leather away and revealing the metal beneath.” (p. 163) After destroying one APC and its soldiers, Susan is very badly wounded. He decides to leave, knowing they’ll take her to their base, so he can defeat their leader. This shows how he’s willing to let even his closest allies be put in mortal danger for a strategic advantage.
SOME MORE IMPROVEMENTS--Grendel Tales (Devil Quest) and Grendel/Batman II
Grendel Tales takes place hundreds of years later. He has continued to improve on his machine parts throughout this time.
He can now apparently fly, with unknown limits of speed and maneuverability. This may be a Hulk-like leaping ability, but seems to have at least some propulsion to it.
He continues to have his spikes, which tend to flare out when flying (they are described, metaphorically, as his “wings”).
He once again shows his lack of care for life by killing a woman who was injured when he took some diamonds from her mine. He fed innumerable people into a machine, killing them (see pic at very bottom), in order to create a device to communicate with Hunter Rose’s spirit, once again showing his “ends justify the means” philosophy. When the machine malfunctions, he travels back to Batman’s Gotham, where he fights Batman three times.
The link below has the first full fight, out of which I'll pull selected feats further below.
Selected feats: He deals effortlessly with a large squad of riot police. He punches through one cop’s throat, and later punches through another cop’s bullet-proof shield and chest at the same time. He mercilessly shoots most of the squad down, and shoots Batman in the chest.
When he is hit with tear gas, he is unaffected.
He uses his solar flare to melt through some expansive synthetic polymer that Batman tries to trap him with, although it does drain his energy. (Although he is still able to escape and lift the truck and kick through the bridge afterwards.)
His durability is once again shown to include being casually bullet proof. Batman guesses that high-caliber shells MIGHT pierce his armor, but they don’t, and he runs directly through a hail of machine gun fire. Batman slams him with a sledge hammer several times and he is fine.
He is hit by a semi-truck with no effect, and then jumps off the bridge and into the water far below, which Batman points out would be lethal for himself.
His strength is enough to lift at least part of the semi-truck and to kick a hole in the bridge so he can jump through it.
In their second fight, when Batman has some prep, Prime cuts through a metal, electrified net that should theoretically “withstand any energy burst” with his energy sword. After letting Batman get several hits in, he completely trashes Batman in hand to hand combat, stabbing his arm with his shoulder spikes, breaking his arm, and then knocking him out, “broken, bleeding, unconscious.”
Some selected feats (reverse order):
In the third fight Batman comes loaded for bear with prep equipment. Grendel-Prime starts off with the upper hand, wounding him in the leg with his sword, until Batman uses radon gas to mess with his optical sensors and essentially uses an EMP to take him out. Batman + prep = a fight even the Paladin can’t win.
When Batman takes him apart, he is able to cybernetically control his component parts and rebuild himself even though he is almost entirely in pieces.
Retractable Shoulder “Battle Spikes”
Although they’re not in a particularly useful location, he has used them in battle, most effectively against Batman to defend against a hold. The spikes are normally inside his shoulders but can extrude to perhaps 3 feet long. They are extremely sharp, to the degree that Susan Veraghen cut herself on them just by brushing against them, and didn’t even feel the cut. (p. 98)
He only used this in his first appearance, but has been shown with it in later promotional artwork. He presumably stores it in his bike. It attaches to his forearm and creates a bulletproof force field about three feet long and one foot high, essentially like a small shield. It also holds several small explosive missiles that can be shot directly at targets from his arm, similar to Destro’s wrist rockets.
He often rides a hover bike that speeds along just above the ground. It has room for himself and a passenger in the sidecar. The sidecar can be covered over with a protective metal shield. The bike can drop land mines on the ground below itself. It can go above water as well as land, and Grendel-Prime has even ridden it directly across the Atlantic Ocean. It is fairly agile. He can call it to him by remote. It can be powered by his own internal solar energy generator.
He has often carried a variety of pistols and machine guns, including Gauss Guns. Gauss Guns basically use magnetics, instead of gunpowder, to fire slugs, and have a very high velocity. They can fire 3 slugs at a single trigger pull, and can cause a fair amount of damage in a body, vaporizing heads or knocking them off their body, or destroying a torso like a burst balloon. (Past Prime p. 49) When in Gotham City, he notes the relative primitiveness of the police’s guns compared to what he’s used to.
His energy sword is perhaps his most common weapon. Its exact form of energy is unknown. It is also unknown exactly how powerful its cutting abilities are. It may or may not possess the cutting power of a lightsaber, for instance. However it is quite effective at cutting people and standard armor; he often dismembers or beheads people, or cuts entirely through their torsos vertically or horizontally; for instance he does this several times in Past Prime. (p. 108/109) It cut through Batman’s electrified steel net, which is supposed to be energy resistant, without much difficulty. He was able to cut the turret off an armored personnel carrier with it (p. 161) as well as the guns off the armored mech (p. 195). It seems to be powered by his own internal personal power supply.
He only uses this on select occasions. It creates a burst of heat energy all around him. It depletes a large portion of his power supply. It is capable of melting large amounts of snow and ice, or of melting Batman’s expanding synthetic polymer goo.
On one occasion he used throwing stars in battle.
Orion’s Sun Disc, a doomsday-style weapon, can only be fired in conjunction with the Paladin’s internal circuitry.
He implanted tracking devices in both Jupiter and Susan Veraghen, and was able to track them across the world.
To sum up his abilities in his most powerful form:
- Enhanced strength to perhaps 10 tons under normal conditions.
- Somewhat enhanced speed.
- Very high durability.
- Flight of an unknown degree.
- Projecting shoulder lances.
- Excellent warrior skills.
- Strong tactical and strategic abilities.
- Solar flare.
- Various guns and a laser sword.
- Cybernetic control of his component parts.
- Immunity to gas attacks.