This article is about the original Reaper. For the second person to take that name, see Judson Caspian. For the third person to take that name, see Joe Chill, Jr.
Born into a Jewish family in Germany, Gruener and his family were imprisoned in a concentration camp by the Nazis. In the camp, both of his parents and his sister were killed by Colonel Kurt Schloss. Surviving the Holocaust, Gruener swore to seek revenge on the man who had destroyed his family. He emigrated to America and took up the study of medicine, eventually becoming a doctor
Gruener was created by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams.
Major Story Arcs
Gruener takes up the identity of the Reaper and seeks out Colonel Schloss in order to exact his revenge. He finds the Colonel at a Halloween party and kills him. He comes into conflict with Batman when the masked hero attempts to interfere with his revenge. The pair fight at the edge of a dam, and Gruener apparently plunges to his death.
Life After Death
Gruener is revealed to have survived his confrontation with Batman, having been placed in cryogenic suspension shortly after his apparent death. His body is located and revived by Hugo Strange and Black Mask, who direct him against Batman and Gotham by playing on his tragic past and thirst for vengeance. He spends some time killing Gotham citizens in an effort to get justice for the "Children of Gotham", and later attacks Mario Falcone, bringing him into conflict with both Batman and Huntress. He is revealed to require a serum which keeps his skin from rotting. Eventually he begins rotting too quickly, and is confronted by Batman, who reveals that Strange never intended for him to last. He is left to confront Strange.
The Reaper is one of several Arkham inmates injected with a type of fear toxin that gives them superhuman strength. They try break out but Batman is able to stop them. Later when the toxin wears off the Reaper is put into critical care.
The Reaper is a prisoner of Blackgate when Bane and his men arrive to take it over. He sides with Bane during the war, and defends Blackgate against the Arkhamite invasion. He later joins his compatriots fighting the Arkhamites out in the streets. He battles Firefly and is apparently taken down by Sumo.
Powers and Abilities
Gruener has no known superhuman abilities. He is a capable hand-to-hand fighter, and is skilled with a scythe. He is very intelligent, and has training as a doctor.
Equipment and Weapons
Gruener wields a two-handed scythe.