“In a world where sunlight kills, solar engineer David “Bax” Baxter and police detective James Everly hunt for a mysterious butcher who doesn’t burn, but their investigation into the post-apocalyptic wasteland raises more questions than answers”. The story picks up where we left off in issue one, with Bax on the run below ground with Rose. Is it good?
Eclipse #2 (Image Comics)
I really enjoyed the first issue of Eclipse and it ended with a bang. After a solar event turned common daylight deadly, everyone had moved underground. A select few, with refrigerated “Ice Man” suits could move around in the daytime–anyone else was toast. Enter a man immune to the harmful sunlight and he happens to be a killer that likes to leave his victims out to burn. Bax, one of the Ice Men, is recruited to save a girl name Rose, next on the killer’s list. In the finale they were forced underground to escape the killer and the tension was building for a game of cat and mouse as they tried to make it back to safety.
Unfortunately, that situation is resolved quickly and uneventfully. The rest of the issue sees lots of conversation between Bax and Rose’s father along with a woman in a lab that is hinted at having a past relationship with him. We do get a little backstory from ten years ago, when Bax was an ordinary fireman and saved the mayor of the city from burning up in the “Flare” event. Eventually he’s back out in the sun with another team of policemen, trying to find the mysterious and immune killer. Although we do get to see some more of the killer and some people obviously burn up, there isn’t a lot of detail shared about his identity, just some teasers for what’s to come.
I was a little disappointed with this one, especially considering its fantastic first issue. Some of the criticisms I have for this issue might have been forgiven if this wasn’t a number two and a chance to build on what happened last time. We do get a little background on some of the characters, like Rose’s dad and how he handled the change from city mayor to ruler of a post-apocalypse underground refuge. However it didn’t seem like we learned enough about anyone to for the needle to have moved much, for the story as a whole. In fact, by the end of the issue, we’re right back to where we were at the end of issue #1, with Bax reluctantly leading a group of policemen out in the sun to hunt down the killer. I know writer Zack Kaplan doesn’t have a lot of real estate to work with each issue and you don’t want to give everything away so early, but the issue just felt like it ended abruptly.
The book still looks good, with Artist Giovanni Timpano adding a realistic touch to all the characters. He’s good with subtle expressions too, as there aren’t any jarring, too-wide-eyed reactions during the action scenes. The way he draws the characters, especially Bax and Rose, reflect the hopelessness and exasperation they feel with their situations in the burned up world. Colorist Chris Northrop, again, does a fantastic job with a small palette, making the daytime world really feel hot and desolate as the characters travel through it.
Is It Good?
I had my hopes up for this one, but I don’t think my expectations are the reason I feel let down. It’s still a compelling world and story. It keeps me interested enough to want to know where its going, but this issue felt like it would come off better if it was read as part of a collected volume, as the story doesn’t stand so well on its own. There’s some background that will be important moving forward, I’m sure, but by itself this issue isn’t particularly memorable.