All Associated Cover/Issue Images
Synopsis "Eclipso Rising Part Five: The Destined and the Dying"
Eclipso, the former spirit of vengeance, seeks to kill god by destroying the planet Earth. He has eclipsed a group of heroes and villains, each of whom has some power over shadows, and has led them in a successful assault on the Emerald City of the Starheart. Using the captured Starheart energy Eclipso summoned and apparently killed the Spectre. Then with power stolen in turn from the Spectre Eclipso cleaved the moon in two.
Eclipso’s growing power over shadows is felt even as far away as Talok VIII where the shadow priests and their congregation fall into a state of rapture. On Earth the splitting of the Moon has had disastrous consequences as tidal waves, earthquakes, and meteor storms hit major cities. On the remains of one-half of the Moon, in the ruins of the Emerald City, Batman (Dick Grayson) tells the Justice League that their goals are “fighting Eclipso and freeing everyone” he controls.
Batman and Obsidian theorise that the Shade hasn’t been totally possessed by Eclipso – even Eclipso isn’t that strong – and it is the Shade’s power which is holding everything together. If his self awareness was returned the Shade would be able to break free from Eclipso almost instantly. The plan is for the miniaturised Atom (newly summoned from Earth) and Starman to be transported into the Shade’s head via a special bullet created by Saint Walker’s ring. Once inside Shade’s brain the Atom will be able to create a brainstorm which should reawaken the Shade’s self awareness. Obsidian and the Shade go one-on-one as Obsidian tries to draw him into the open. Bill’s shot finds its mark and the tiny voyagers are injected into the Shade’s brain. They make their way into the his neocortex, but find it infested with shadow spiders.
Meanwhile Batman and rest of the Justice League rush Eclipso’s foot soldiers with the cry that “we must free Zauriel!” However, they are a decoy to distract Eclipso before he’s ambushed by Donna. Saint Walker sensed a bright light inside her, a spark undimmed by her endless trials. As she fights Eclipso she feels a wave of elation as she allows all her pain and anger to slip away. That makes her strong against Eclipso, but not strong enough and the villain runs her through with his massive sword.
The Justice League’s counter-attack against Eclipso involves breaking the Shade free from his control and an ill advised solo attack against Eclipso by Donna Troy. This bring Donna’s long arc to fruition and we get an explanation, of sorts, about why she’s been acting so out of character. We’re told that… we’ll I’m not really sure what we’re told… that she has anger issues caused by her repressed feelings of grief and loss? She piles all those past events together and channels them for emotional kapow. It is a leap that doesn’t really work logically, but we sort of accept it within the story. X-man reduces it to Donna trying to defeat Eclipso because “her life really sucks” while Mart Gray adds that she “is going to beat Eclipso with continuity”.
Saint Walker seems to think that Donna is some sort of bright light, but his belief just gets her killed. Walker seems to be having something off an off day – he’s making sniper rifles (an off move for a priest) and sending young women on suicide runs (they’d love him in al’Qaeda). Although do we believe that Donna Troy is dead? It certainly wouldn’t be unexpected for a few extraneous characters to be culled or killed off prior to the big DC relaunch, but I’m not so sure. Even impalement with a six-foot sword is but a flesh wound to a superhero.
The League gets to stretch their legs properly this issue. I particularly liked the return of the Atom. He was part of Robinson’s original expanded-line, but was left on the sidelines after the group shank. However, his appearances in Titans, where he is investigating the death of his successor Ryan Choi, have shown him to still be associated with the League. His stunt with the bullet and the running around in the Shade’s brain is great fun and is just the sort of b-movie fun you’d expect from a JLA adventure.
For me there was just something about last issue that didn’t work very well. There was a vast amount of standing around and talking and for some reason it just wasn’t that entertaining. That is in stark contrast with this issue where the standing around and talking part nicely dovetails with the action (that may have been the factor missing last issue). I’m reminded of scenes from heist movies (e.g. Oceans Eleven) where the discussion about planning the heist is inter-cut with scenes of the heist itself.
Brett Booth takes his leave as the Justice League artist and only contributes the cover for this issue (he’s moved onto the upcoming Teen Titans #1). Aaron Lopresti’s variant cover is rather fun and is a nice antidote to the Donna Troy gang-grapple. The interior art is handled by Daniel Sampere and Miguel Sepulveda and is generally of a high quality. Sepulveda worked on Superman/Batman Annual #5 (June 2011) (which tied into the start of this story). I particularly like the double-page spread on pages 2 and 3 showing the devastation on Earth. He’s providing the art for the post-Flashpoint Stormwatch series so that could be a title to watch. I’m not so familiar with Sampere’s art, but he “brings a more classic look” (as Comicbook Heretic says on Comics Vine) and there isn’t too much of a disparity in their styles once everything is inked and coloured.
Writing in Comic Book Resources’ review of this issue Doug Zawisza disclosed that he “tore the Subway ad out” before he read this book. The first ad was daft enough although it did get lamentations from Aquaman’s fans over his use as a damsel-in-distress for Subway’s finest to rescue. I just skipped this episode. I wish I’d had Doug’s determination, but the idea of ripping it out sparked some latent, old school concern for whether the issue would still count as “near-mint”.
|Reviews Portal||Comic Book Resources||Doug Zawisza||3/5|
|Reviews Portal||IGN||Poet Mase||8.0/10|
|Community Site||Comics Vine||2 reviews||4 & 2/5|
|Community Site||iFanboy||234 pulls||3.1/5|
|Character Site||Supergirl Comic Commentary Box||Anj||B|
|Character Site||Superman Homepage||Ralph Silver||3 (story) & 3 (art)/5|
|Character Site||The Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||3/5|
|Reviews Blog||Comic-pre-day Reviews||Timbotron||Fair|
|Reviews Blog||X-Man's Comic Blog||X-Man||7/10|
Page 1. Last issue opened with Mikaal Tomas’s recollections of his childhood on Talok III while this issue opens with a sequence on Talok VIII. When Starman first appeared in First Issue Special #12 (March 1976) his home planet was not identified, but it was mentioned in the letter column that he bore a resemblance to Shadow Lass from the Legion of Superheroes. Shadow Lass is from Talok VIII and it wasn’t until Starman (vol. 2) #28 (March 1997), 21-years later, that James Robinson established that Mikaal was from a lost tribe of Talokians who had left Talok VIII at some point to establish a colony. Talok VIII was revisited in the present day L.E.G.I.O.N. series where an obscure character from a pre-Crisis story, Shadow Lass’s ancestor, was reintroduced as Lydea Mallor (who is shown in this sequence).
Page 2-3. Shown on this spread are the Knight and Squire in London (top left), Red Star and the Rocket Red Brigade in Moscow near St Peters (top right), the Manhattan Guardian in New York (center), Wonder Girl and Superboy in San Francisco (bottom right), and Firestorm (or Captain I think from the nuclear emblem) over a coastal city (bottom left).
Splitting the moon in half is a sign of the End of Times (see Annotations from last issue). However, splitting the moon in half wouldn’t actually have too much effect on the Earth in a geophysical sense. Notice that Eclipso has cleaved the Moon in two, but he hasn’t separated the two parts significantly. The moon’s radius is 1,700 km and its distance from the Earth is 380,000 km or about 220 times its own radius. So all that mass, all that material, is still in more of less the same place and at the same distance from the Earth and that is all gravity cares about. Over time that debris would be pulled out into a more disturbed orbit and that could cause a problem, but as depicted here its too soon to have an affect. Those two halves are gravitationally attracted to each other so they would probably just stay together.
There would be a large amount of debris and dust in near Earth space that would play havoc with satellites and may have environmental effects if it drifts into the atmosphere. It may even form a wide ring around the Earth. However, these effects are a lot longer term than the events show here. Its an odd thing in science fiction that the power requirements to destroy a celestial body is generally far greater than shown. And even if you could destroy a planet or moon the extra energy necessary to get it to fly apart on a time scale you can see with the naked eye (e.g. so many versions of Krypton) would require the individual pieces to be moving at an appreciable fraction of lightspeed.
Page 4-5. The figures with their backs to us are (left-to-right) Acrata, Dark-Crow, Cyborg, Bete Noire, and the Shadow Thief. Stood next to Eclipso is the Shade.
Page 6. Jesse Quick got her powers from her parents – super-speed from her father Johnny Quick and super-strength from her mother Liberty Belle.
Page 10-11. Brave and the Bold (vol. 1) #115 (Oct-Nov 1974) was a story called “The Corpse That Wouldn’t Die!” by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo. In it Batman is electrocuted by badguys and is left brain dead. The Atom is nearby and starts running around in Batman’s brain like some sort of manic microscopic neurosurgeon. It’s not just about restarting the Batman’s brain, the Atom is actually piloting Bruce.
The Atom-controlled-Batman saves the day is properly resuscitated in hospital before a grateful victim gives him a big kiss. The Atom looks on and laments that “half of that reward should go to the Atom, but I doubt Debbie would want to kiss a fellow only six inches high.”
Congorilla started life as Congo Bill, a character that dates back to 1940. Congo Bill was a big game hunter, something of a homage/pastiche to characters like Allan Quatermaine. Bill never got much of a backstory, but James Robinson has slowly been dip feeding details out during his JLA run. As mentioned here Bill’s father was a Scottish Games Keeper. Robinson has history with Quatermain, he wrote the screenplay for movie version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in which Quatermain was played by Sean Connery. So try to imagine Bill speaking with Sean Connery’s distinctive Scots accent.
Bill tells us to look up the history of snipers so here we go: the first modern unit of Snipers were indeed a Scots yeomanry regiment called the Lovat Scouts who were renowned for their sharpshooting. They were the regiment who first introduced the ghillie suit. It is the camouflaged tent-like suit that a sniper wears in order to blend in with their surroundings and had first been used by “ghillies” (Scots gamekeepers).
Page 12. I find it odd that the holyman Saint Walker is quite happy to create a deadly weapon like an sniper’s rifle.
Page 14. The Atom met Edgar Allan Poe in The Atom #12 (April-May 1964) via the Time Pool – a miniature time tunnel created by the Atom’s friend Professor Hyatt.
Page 16. Walker mentions his proximity to the Starheart’s energy. Normally a Blue Lantern ring cannot do much more than basic survival, communication, and flight. It needs to be near a Green Lantern ring to work properly as “hope” (the blue light) is powerless without “willpower” (the green light).
Page 19. Donna:
- “Losing Terry and by boy”- Terry Long was Donna’s husband in the New Titans comics. He divorced her and got custody of their baby-son when she regained her powers. He and the baby were killed in a car crash in Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #121. It was part of a story by John Byrne which re-established Donna as Diana’s sister and explained her shifting backstory by introducing a villain called the Dark Angel, a parallel Earth version of Donna, who kept tormenting her by altering her history.
- “My own death and rebirth” – Donna was killed by a rogue Superman robot in Graduation Day #3, the mini-series that transitioned Peter David’s Young Justice into Geoff Johns Teen Titans. It also set-up her return back to life by the Titans of Myth in The Return of Donna Troy mini-series during the lead up to Infinite Crisis.
- “the Blackest Night”- Donna’s dead ex-husband and her baby son returned in Blackest Night as the sickest Black Lantern zombies in the entire series. Donna had just come to the hospital to collect their bodies when Wonder Woman approached her in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #41 (March 2010) about forming a new Justice League.
- “helping to form this version of the JLA” – This current run of the JLA.