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Bruce Gordon: I think I am god’s punishment for Eclipso… but… what did I do to deserve that fate?
Synopsis "Eclipso Rising Part Six: ...to be concluded."
Eclipso, the former Spirit of Wrath, has concocted a crazy scheme to kill the Presence by destroying the Earth and cutting it off from the conduit of love that it needs to sustain its existence. To accomplish this Eclipso has manipulated the Shade into helping him seize control of the Earth’s shadowcasting metahumans and entities. Together they successful stole the Starheart from Alan Scott, killed the Spectre, and split the Moon in two. The only people left to oppose him are the remains of the Justice League.
Eclipso sits upon a throne made from his enemies’ skulls and tells the conciousness of Bruce Gordon (his host body) about the day he killed Donna Troy. However, unknown to Eclipso, his “victory” is a waking dream, an illusion cast over him by Saint Walker’s blue power ring. Its usual ability to show people their heart’s desire has been boosted by the proximity to the Starheart’s energy and Starman’s cosmic energy. It keeps Eclipso numbed as he fights Donna. The unique purified nature of her soul gives her the final edge she needs to resist Eclipso’s baneful influence. However, even these tricks are just delaying tactics.
The miniatured Atom and Starman have reached the Shade’s brain. With a bit of prompting from the Atom Starman manages to shock the Shade into full conciousness, freeing him from Eclipso’s control and freeing all those that Eclipso was using him to control. Donna and Saint Walker continue to keep Eclipso off-guard as Starman, the freed Jade, and everybody else pours their light and energy into him. There is a blinding white light as their attacks converge and Bruce Gordon is left standing in Eclipso’s place.
In the aftermath Jade and Obsidian no longer feel a compulsion to merge into a single entity. They help Alan Scott, Saint Walker, and the newly arrived Supergirl join the Moon back together again. The Shade apologises for the chaos he helped cause, but Cyborg notes that they were all under Eclipso’s control. The Atom complements the Justice League for their handling of the situation, but… five weeks later Batman tells them “I hereby adjourn the last meeting of the Justice League of America.”
The Justice League’s last big arc before the September reboot concludes this issue with the defeat of Eclipso. This arc has been rather been rather over-shadowed by everything else that is going on at DC with the flash-bang of Flashpoint and the arguments around The New 52. This is a massive story – easily as big as any other Eclipso story – but it feels like it should have been some sort of massive deal. It’s certainly been a hectic arc, but has it veered between compression/decompression. This issue continues that theme with an opening the Major Spoiler’s Matthew Peterson describes as:
We start with a triumphant Eclipso remembering the moment that brought him to his triumph, and MY LORD is it wordy. The first SEVEN PAGES of the book (out of 20 pages of total story) are nothing more than Eclipso monologuing about how he destroyed the moon, killed the JLA, took over the world and eventually brought even the Guardians of the Universe under his thumb, laughing heartily all the time.
However, that grand opening is really just an old Martian Manhunter mindtrick. There is a famous issue of Justice League America where Despero is on an unstoppable, homicidal rampage which appears to result in the death of the League, their allies, and the entire world. Yet that “reality” is actually a telepathic construct created in Despero’s mind by the Martian Manhunter using a previously unrevealed superpower. It’s the sort of trick that usually only works once. However, this ability of the Blue Lantern’s ring has been shown before and is a founding part of its function. I did like the comment by Anj of Supergirl Comic Box Commentary this this power makes Walker a “walking Black Mercy flower”.
Some reviewers missed this ability of Saint Walker’s ring, but they can be forgiven as it wasn’t demonstrated in this particular story and won’t be known to people unfamiliar with the Blue Lanterns. A case of Petrov’s Guns in reverse, if you use a device to pivot the story you should really make sure that the device is foreshadowed/shown earlier in the story. It’s like the old Incredible Hulk TV series where David Banner changed into the Hulk exactly twice an episode – once in the first act to demonstrate that he could turn into the Hulk and then again to win-the-day during the third act.
I was amused that the Justice League put the Moon back together between panels (maybe all this explains why Stormwatch is fighting an angry Moon in the first issue of their post-Flashpoint series). Yet it also shows the opposite swing, to a really compressed wrap-up compared to the very drawn out dream world at the start of the story. Like many Robinson JLA stories this story was more about how the individual characters whethered the crisis than the crisis itself. The story is about answering Donna Troy’s altered personality. I can’t make up my mind if the explanation of Donna is a reset or just something that every later writer will ignore.
At some level this entire arc felt like one of those old massively plot-heavy Gardner Fox stories, but it lacked Fox’s ruthless rejection of anything resembling bloat. Upon re-reading the entire arc you realise that it actually ties together better than read separately as episodic chapters. Some of the things like the shadow association and the overall gameplay playout better. Even the weight of the exposition lightens, but it still feels that the second-half of the arc is too verbose.
Throughout this arc events are wrapped around clever descriptions rather than being shown visually and when things are set-up as big visuals them seem to get lost. Both Booth, earlier in the run, and Sampere here do well, but a number of the big moments – like the bullet ride into the Shade’s brain, the Moon splitting in two, or the eclipse fading from the shadow thrawls – fail to zing. They should have been massive visual moments, but they never quite pay off on the page and are lost amongst the waffle.
Have a I written about how dumb the entire God/Earth/love-sponge thing is? I want to like this story, I really do. But, the shear mind-numbing cluster-smuck of the metaphysics overwhelms anything good that is in the actual story. Although… maybe I’ve misjudged this story. Maybe the entire thing is a satire on religion. The atheist man would say that man created god and that it/he/she only exists within our beliefs. Kill everybody and there will be nobody left to believe in god’s existence, ergo no god. It’s a very Terry Pratchett stance – i.e. that the belief in a thing creates that thing. Or maybe not.
|Community Site||Comic Vine||Comicbookheretic||4/5|
|Community Site||iFanboy||218 pulls||2.9/5|
|Character Site||Supergirl Comic Box Commentary||Anj||B-|
|Character Site||Superman Homepage||Ralph Silver||2 (story) & 3 (art) /5|
|Reviews blog||A Comic Book Blog||Wayland||50%|
|Reviews blog||Comics-Per-Day Reviews||Timbotron||Average|
|Reviews blog||Major Spoilers||Matthew Peterson||1/5|
|Reviews blog||X-Man's ComicBlog||X-Man||7/10|
|Character Site||Captain's JLA Homepage||Jason Kirk||2.5/5|
Page 1. Eclipso is sat on the green cloak of the Spectre, his rival and successor as the Spirit of Vengeance/Wrath.
Page 4-5. Eclipso’s shadow forces fighting the surviving heroes. A lot the Batman villains have been eclipsed – Joker, Harley Quinn, Bane, Poison Ivy, Man-Bat, Two-Face, and the Penguin.
The full roster of the charaters (left-to-right): Aquaman (foreground), Beast Boy, Penguin, Vigilante (behind Harley), Blue Beelte III, Red Tornado, Harley Quinn, Joker. Tattooed Man, Poison Ivy, Flash II, Manbat, Ragman, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, Superboy, Bane, Mera, Clayface, Robin V, Eclipso, Power Girl, Solstice (from recent Teen Titans), Black Canary, Batwoman, Dove, Superman, Skeets, Booster Gold, Zatanna, Bulleteer, Rocket Red, Green Arrow, Batman (one of them), Etrigan, Wonder Woman, Batman (foreground, the other one), Hawkman, Two-Face, Captain Atom, Lex Luthor, Doctor Fate, Plastic Man, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Catwoman.
There is one figure I can’t recognise – a figure with red gloves and pants just above Wonder Woman’s head.
Page 6. These are all members of the various Green Lantern Corps or their chromatic brethren or allies.
Most of these are members of the Green Lantern, Re Lantern, Sinestro, and Blue Lantern Corps with members of the L.E.G.I.O.N. and a couple of alien races thrown in for good measure. There are a couple I can’t get – one between Brother Hynn and Tribulus is one I know I should know, but I can’t think from where.
Page 10. I do like the caption “The Shade’s brain (interior thereof).” A slight thing, but Starman is shown firing energy from his hands. It’s the crystal in his chest that processes cosmic energy and he usually fires energy blasts directly from it. However, he seems to internalises that power in these panels.
Page 15. I rather like the design of Jade’s energy attack. It’s like some form of planet and invokes the powers of her mother, a golden age villain called the Thorn.
Page 16. Jesse notes her speed has changed. This is being followed-up next issue.
Page 18. Obsidian and Jade were shown to have the compulsion to merge in “The Dark Things” and have been forced to stay apart since then to counteract it. Supergirl was with the League until she was kidnapped by Doomsday in Superman/Batman Annual #5 (June 2011). That span out into the conclusion of Paul Cornell’s Action Comics run with she and Superman fighting the Doomslayer, the Doomsday of Doomsdays, in Action Comics #901-904. Supergirl’s appearance here must happen between the events of Action Comics #902 (her escape from Doomslayer) and Action Comics #903 (the coordinated fightback against the Doomsdays involving the JLA).
Page 19. Alan Scott mentions a new costume. He’s technically paralysed at the moment, after the events in the JSA, and cannot heal himself due to the amount of effort that he needs to expend controlling the Starheart. That wasn’t a problem whilst Eclipso had stolen it, but not he’s regained control his body is failing. His solution is a rather odd Lantern-shaped bodycast that he started sporting in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #49. (May 2011). Which means this story takes place between issues #48 and #49.
The Shade makes his apologies. James Robinson is writing a new Shade maxi-series which will appear in October.
Page 20. What happened to Mikaal’s hand? Why is the Justice League disbanding? Tune in next issue for the final issue of this Justice League and this series before the post-Flashpoint reinvention of the DC Universe!