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Congorilla: I’ve met your kind before. Elder god? Many-sided one? CODSWALLOP! Sulking brutes and bullies, the lot of you!
The Shade: Ahh, Batman. Hello. Hello. What is it when you and one other her team up — oh, yes, now I remember — so which am I? Brave or bold?
Synopsis "Eclipso Rising Part Three: The Battle for the Emerald City"
Previously: Eclipso reappeared due to mystical disturbances caused by the Starheart’s battle with the JSA and JLA. He forcibly recruited a group of eclipsed shadow-powered heroes and villains and used them to stage an assault on the Emerald City (the community of magical creatures established on the Moon in the wake of the Starheart’s defeat). He eclipsed the JLA’s Jade while Jesse Quick rushed the frail Alan Scott to safety. At that same moment the League’s forces were split between the Emerald City and the sudden reappearance of Doomsday. It rapidly trashed the JLA’s Watchtower satellite and teleported away with Supergirl.
Batman is determined to find Doomsday and save Supergirl, but Saint Walker points out that they have no readings on where he teleported to and even his power ring cannot located them. Batman is considering a more mystical search, but his deliberations are cut short by Donna Troy’s mayday from the Emerald City. Donna is trying desperately to free Jade from Eclipso’s control, but she is forced to knock her team-mate unconscious when her Lasso of Persuasion can’t free Jade. The Shade’s counterattack against Donna is cut short by the sudden arrival of Congorilla and the JLA Reserves (Bulleteer, Animal Man, Zauriel, Cyborg, Red Tornado, Tasmanian Devil, and Doctor Light). However, their charge is quickly cut down and they are each eclipsed while Zauriel and Eclipso – the servant and former servant of god – duel.
Only Congorilla is left standing and is almost defeated by Syththunu before the timely arrival of Starman, Batman, and Saint Walker. They only have moments to regroup before Eclipso drops Zauriel and challenges them. Saint Walker leaps forward and finds that proximity to the Emerald City allows his ring to create constructs in a manner similar to the Green Lanterns. The others join the battle, but are pushed back by Eclipso’s hoards. The heroes stand back-to-back and are surrounded. Their courage causes Eclipso to comment “How quaint and noble and sad” before ordering “Take Them.” Obsidian suddenly appears amid the heroes and tells Eclipso “as you command!”
- Jesse Quick and Supergirl are mentioned, but do not appear in this issue.
- The current JLA reverse list includes: Bulleteer, Animal Man, Zauriel, Cyborg, Red Tornado, Tasmanian Devil, and Doctor Light.
- Eclipso’s original name was Lladiz, the Spirit of Wrath,
- Congo Bill has fought Elder Gods before.
(Okay, I’ll admit I originally started this review with the line “Obsidian yet AGAIN turned into a badguy!” However, technical issues meant that it took so long for me to post this review that we now know from JLA #57 that Obsidian was just playing “bad” to fool Eclipso.)
There are some nice moments in this issue including the charge of Doctor Light and the JLA Reverses (“Charge of the Light Brigade” maybe?). I was surprised to see Bulleteer reappear, but most of the others were characters we’ve seen before during James Robinson’s run. I hope a couple of them – Reddy and Cyborg for instance – stay around afterwards. Comic Book Resource’s Doug Zawisza has some nice comments on how James Robinson is “world building” around his JLA characters. Using this many characters continues Robinson’s approach of throwing as many characters as possible into the book while only actually focusing on a select number of them.
The Reserves give a great story beat, but are eclipsed, as ACB’s Wayland point’s out, “with no resistance whatever, and not even any dialogue.” Several others reviewer have commented upon how easily Eclipso now takes over people. Back in The Darkness Within it shown that the independent Eclipso needed to take advantage of a moment of anger or vengeance in order to take over his opponent. However, that was changed after he rejoined Bruce Gordon in Countdown To Mystery where it was shown that Eclipso now just needed to zap his foes with his black diamond. Removing the possibility of resistance technically makes Eclipso a far more dangerous threat, but the loss of that emotional element actually makes him feel less personally menacing.
I rather liked this take on the Blue Lantern. On the surface Saint Walker could he a very passive character – his ring doesn’t do much without a GL ring to tag-team with. However, he’s shown here as a proactive character who leaps into battle against the badguy and actively confronts evil. I think he’s the most interesting character to come out of the Blackest Night cycle so I also hope he sticks around after this arc.
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Page 1. The Emerald City was left behind in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #48 (October 2010) after the JLA and JSA had defeated and pacified the Starheart (the mystical asteroid which empowered Alan Scott’s Green Lantern). Eclipso began his assault on the Emerald City last issue. It’s name and look is of course an homage to the Emerald City from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Donna is swearing again. She been shown doing this a couple of times during James Robinson’s run and he has hinted that there is an underlying reason behind the hardening of her personality.
Page 2-3. Batman recaps details from Superman/Batman Annual #5 (June 2011). Doomsday (one of a set of clones as shown in Action Comics #900) attacked the Cyborg Superman in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #55 (May 2011). Unfortunately, at the time the Cyborg Superman was hiding within the cybernetics of the Alpha Lantern Boodikka while she was surveying the remains of New Krypton for the Guardians of the Universe. Supergirl and Batman also happened to be in the New Krypton debris field and managed to save Boodikka’s life by teleporting her back to the JLA’s Watchtower. It was there that the Cyborg manifested and slugged it out with Doomsday until the creature got the upper hand and teleported away with the captured Cyborg and Supergirl.
The Saint Walker, Blue Lantern of Sector 1, had been hanging around Earth after the events of Blackest Night. He sensed Boodikka’s presence in Earth’s solar system and went to investigate. He was also there when Doomsday attacked and tagged along with Starman.
Page 4-5. The Lovercraft like giant is Syththunu. The woman in green/black grabbing the “man” in the lower-left corner is Acarta. The stretching shadow is the Shadow Thief and the hairy black thing next to him is Bete-Noire.
The power’s of Donna’s lasso were revealed in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #44 (June 2010). It is a Lasso of Persusaion and compells obidiance from any person bound by it. Compare that with Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth which compells anybody bound by it to tell the truth.
Page 7. Donna observes that out of Eclipso’s thralls only the Shade is speaking. This pattern was also shown in the first two parts of this arc and may prove to be important.
Page 8. In the old days JLA Reserve membership was offered to anybody who had assisted the Justice League, but was unable or unwilling to serve full-time with them. The exact constituents of this list changes with the telling, but it usually seems to involve recent members and allies from the current writer’s run. Shown here are (top-to-bottom): Bulleteer (background), Animal Man (background), Zauriel, Congorilla, Cyborg, Tasmanian Devil, Doctor Light, and Red Tornado.
Bulleteer assisted the JLA in the Justice League of America 80-Page Giant 2011 (June 2011) when she and Donna fought Lilith in the Sixth Circle of Hell. Congorilla recruited Animal Man to aid him find a friend in Starman/Congorilla #1 (March 2011). The upshot of that adventure was that the Tasmanian Devil was restored to working order after being skinned in Justice League: Cry For Justice #3. Cyborg and the Red Tornado were originally members of Robinson’s JLA, but left the main group after Cyborg told Reddy that he would help him rebuild his android body. Their side adventure was included as a backup feature in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #46 (August 2010). The angel Zauriel is a member of the Shadowpact whom Eclipso attacked in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #54 (April 2011). Doctor Light had been with the League until Justice League of America (vol. 2) #43 (May 2010) when she seems to have taken a leave of absence. She got a new suit in that issue, but I don’t think this is it.
Page 9. The grey text boxes is Bruce Gordon taking to Eclipso. Bruce Gordon is the solar scientist whose body Eclipso possesses whenever he manifests. They usually don’t encounter each other directly and Gordon isn’t aware of Eclipso’s actions, but this time Gordon’s consciousness has remained “online” and has been chatting/berating Eclipso.
Page 10. The woman on the right is Nightshade of the Shadowpact.
Page 11. Zauriel names Eclipso as Lladiz for the first time. He was previously described as the Spirit of Wrath and has been described as the Spectre’s predecessor (the Spirit of Vengeance). Zauriel also uses the term “Presence”, the title given to the DCU’s Abrahamic god in Grant Morrison’s angel/JLA cosmology.
Page 15. Manitou Dawn is the wife of Manitou Raven, the deceased/ghost shaman from Joe Kelly’s JLA run. Jesse ran off with Alan Scott last issue and doesn’t appear in this chapter.
Page 17. The power of a Blue Lantern ring is usually limited to flight, communication, and survival unless a Green Lantern Ring is in close proximity. Even then their powers don’t usually include constructs.