The evil Eclipso has ensconced the Earth in an eclipse, driving the denizens of the DC Universe to deranged and often deadly deeds. Can the Caped Crusader keep the crazies from killing his callous cohorts? Might the Main Man make mincemeat of these malevolent madmen? Will Waller wait out these wild wackos? Did anyone notice all of these alliterative intros?
Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad #6 (DC Comics)
It all comes down to this. With the sunblocker in place and the town aghast, Eclipso is on top of the world. Much like Mr. Burns, however, an enemy that our megalomaniacal villain underestimated will soon lead to hi inevitable downfall. D’oh!
In this, the final issue of the series that brought two of DC’s most popular teams together, the scary big bad is wiped out within the first 17 pages (including two splash pages) all to make room for an epilogue that sets in motion a few stories for the future that feel a bit undercooked. Unfortunately, trying to cram too much into a small space has become something of a theme with this event.
It may be the fate of all characters that are at some level elementally connected to darkness, but Eclipso goes out like every Care Bear villain ever when he’s defeated by the power of teamwork… well and light, but that fits the Care Bears’ MO as well. It’s a lame sort of pseudo-deus ex machina that feels unearned because the idea isn’t developed enough. When the dust is settled, Batman essentially offers League membership to two of the villains he fought throughout the series, apologizes to Waller for doubting the efficacy of the Task Force X program, we learn that the entire series of events the led to this showdown was orchestrated by Waller, they rip off Marvel by revealing that the X in Task Force X stands for 10, we see what happened to the escaped Catacombs prisoners and reveal that the Eclipso gem is still out there. This all happens within 12 pages.
Stories need time to develop, we need to care about the events and characters that shaped them – and I just don’t think it’s possible to do a self contained book (which this was seemingly intended to be given how it ends) that does justice to a cast of 18 unique characters – 26 if you count the villains. The trick to doing an ensemble book is to focus on one or two characters and let us see the world through their eyes – something writer Joshua Williamson really tries to do with Killer Frost, and to his credit, he does eke some growth out of the character. Unfortunately it just means that all of the other characters are treated as one-note caricatures.
The art in this issue is an uneven mix, though the highs tend to outshine the lows. Though character models are constantly shifting (seriously, Killer Frost is built like a linebacker at points, but a swimsuit model at others), the sequence where Eclipso corrupts Deadshot is fantastic. His are also the best renderings of Lobo in the entire series.
Still, while this issue has it’s pluses, so many of the negatives that have defined this series remain. Characters are underdeveloped, the pacing is uneven, the action is a little undefined and everything resolves in a cliche manner that leaves readers unsatisfied. Thankfully, both teams currently have books that are more enthralling than their joint venture proved to be.