The First Reaper

Judson Caspian is a socialite by day, and a vigilante by night. After losing his wife to a robber in the streets, he becomes The Reaper, who prowled Gotham City during the 1950s, murdering juvenile delinquents by impaling them with a scythe. His murder spree prompted Alan Scott to briefly emerge from retirement to confront him as Green Lantern. Vastly overpowered during an encounter between the two, the Reaper lashed out in a panic with his nunchaku and, by happenstance, struck Green Lantern, whose force-field was vulnerable to the wooden weapons. The Reaper subsequently moved to Europe.

After Caspian returned from Europe, he renewed his role as the Reaper, which brought him into conflict with Batman. After losing a fight with the Reaper, Batman was forced to join forces with Joe Chill, the man who killed his parents. Having been assigned by the Gotham mob to kill both the Reaper and Batman when he had finished, Chill hunts the Reaper alongside Batman. After revealing his identity to Chill and putting a gun to his head, Batman's revenge was taken by the Reaper, who shoots Chill in the head. The Reaper engages Batman in a fierce battle, losing; the Dark Knight leaves him hanging from the scaffolding of a building under construction, and unmasks him. Batman, who had intended to marry Caspian's daughter Rachel, was shocked, and holds out his hand to help the Reaper. However, Caspian, who knows what charges he is up against, tells Batman that he will make a fine successor, and lets go of the ledge, plummeting to his death. After being exposed as the Reaper, Caspian is given a funeral funded by Bruce Wayne, who says that he deserves a peaceful death. Rachel, who was initially unaware of her father's crimes, becomes a nun after Caspian's life as the Reaper is exposed.

The Second Reaper

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The Pre-Crisis Reaper

In the 1991 one-shot sequel, Batman: Full Circle, Chill's son, Joe Jr., briefly assumes the mantle of Reaper, as part of a plan to drive Batman insane.

Chill, in collaboration with his sister Marcia, attempts to lure Batman into a confrontation, where they would finally dispose of the Dark Knight with a very different kind of weapon. Chill's schemes are hampered by the arrival of his own son, Joey, with whom Chill attempts to bond. It is revealed that Chill witnessed his father's death at the original Reaper's hands, though he could not make out Bruce Wayne's unmasked face. Overcome with grief, Chill seeks revenge on Batman by taking up the mantle of the Reaper. At the same time, Batman faces some personal issues with Rachel Caspian, who has returned to Gotham convinced The Reaper is her father reborn. Chill and his sister use this to their advantage, plaguing Rachel with a series of encounters which create doubt in her and Batman's minds that he is the returned Judson Caspian. (It is also revealed in this story that Joe Chill Sr.'s body was stolen before it could be taken into custody at the end of Year Two). The Reaper uses an explosive to destroy the cornerstone of the Wayne Foundation building, freeing his father's old gun, which was used to murder Batman's parents.

Batman is eventually captured by Chill, who unmasked the unconscious crime-fighter, but does not recognize him (Batman had applied extensive make up to hide his identity). Chill subjects Batman to a video reel and a hallucinogenic drug that reduces Batman to quivering wreck suffering from survivor's guilt. Chill has Batman posed at the top of a tall pedestal overlooking a pool of acid, and hopes Batman will kill himself. Marcia, who sees her father as nothing more than a thug who abused her mother attempts to double cross her brother in order to deliver Batman to mob boss Morgan Jones. Chill slashes Marcia, apparently killing her. Robin arrives on the scene and coaxes Batman out of his hallucinogenic haze, spurring him to break free of his bonds. Batman and the Reaper fight, and Batman emerges victorious. As Batman holds the unmasked Chill over the acid pool, urged by Robin to drop him in, Chill's son Joey reveals himself and his father's identity. Deciding to act on the indecisions that he faced when he had Joe Chill at his mercy years earlier, Bruce spares Chill's life. After the police arrive and Chill is taken away in an ambulance, Batman goes to a bridge, and discards Joe Chill's firearm into the ocean.


A newly resurrected Gruener battles the New Dynamic Duo


Batman and his son, Damian Wayne, fought The Reaper in the back of a truck delivering flowers to the Falcone wake. The Reaper poisoned the flowers with a deadly toxins to kill the mobsters attending the wake. As Reaper folded back his scythes revealing duel machine guns, he was knocked out by Robin. Batman then treated them both with an antidote to the toxin.

New 52

Reaper Batman

The Reaper briefly appeared in the story Zero Year-The Dark City, here being a vigilante attempting to murder a group of gangsters at a wake through the use of poison-emitting funeral flowers only to be stopped by Batman.

Powers and Abilities

As the Reaper, Caspian wears a large hooded black cloak with a heavily armored red leather or cuir bouill, which prevents bullets and punches from affecting him in any way. The knees and fists of the red leather armor are tipped with spikes that add more power to blows Caspian inflicts. Caspian also wears a skull shaped mask with hooks on the mouth to cover up the lower part of the face, and red glowing eyes. The Reaper also wields two scythe-shaped weapons, with various other lethal implements contained in the spiked shafts of both weapons. The shaft contains a very powerful handgun and smoke pellets to help give the illusion that the Reaper is in fact an incarnation of death. The scythes are stored in two inverted sheaths located on his back under his cloak.


There was a Pre-Crisis Reaper as well, who debuted in Batman #237 (Dec. 1971). This Reaper is Dr. Gruener, a German Jew who was placed in a concentration camp run by Colonel Kurt Schloss. He kills Schloss at a Halloween parade and dies battling Batman when he falls off a dam. He was created by Denny O'Neil.

This Reaper has recently reappeared in Batman, having been cryogenically frozen and now thawed out by order of Black Mask. He follows the Black Mask's orders in exchange for daily shot provided by Hugo Strange and Doctor Death, member of the Mask's Ministry of Death. Batman eventually reveals to Gruener that he was not built to last and his body is deteriorating, turning him loose on Strange.

In Other Media


Reaper's DCAU counterpart, the Phantasm.

  • A female version of the character appeared in the 1993 DCaU film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm where the character was reimagined as being Andrea Beaumont aka. the Phantasm, Bruce Wayne's former fiancee who turned into a homicidal vigilante after her father was murdered by the mob.
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