Eclipse has gone from a mini-series to a regular monthly comic with the release of issue #5. In the world of Eclipse, a solar event referred to as the “Flare” has turned daylight lethal, with anyone caught in its rays being burnt to a crisp. David Baxter was a fireman when the event happened; one of the lucky survivors, while billions around the globe died almost instantly. The survivors have rebuilt an underground city and only go out at night when it’s safe, except for the few people tasked with wearing refrigerated “Iceman” suits that can move about in the daylight hours and do repairs. Baxter, who is now one of those Icemen, tracked down and killed a murderous priest who was somehow immune to the sunlight. Now the next chapter starts. Is it good?
Eclipse #5 (Image Comics)
The first arc of Eclipse was a well thought out story that didn’t rely on exposition to give readers every detail of the plot. In fact, one of the strengths of the book was the haunting panels following Baxter’s path through the lifeless remnants of the scorched city that had almost no lettering at all. A highly visual experience, many of the action scenes were inventive and would have been right at home on a storyboard for a TV show or film. In the end, Baxter had to kill the priest in order to save Cielo, the mayor’s daughter, and sacrifice humanity’s chance at discovering what made the killer immune. Wary of the government that runs the city and the solar power company that controls the electricity people use, David took up the offer to join the Police force full time so he could find the truth from the inside.
Since I was a fan of issues #1-4, I was eager to find out where writer Zack Kaplan would take the story next. The first arc spent the entire time following the story from Baxter’s point of view, however, issue #5 starts out with Cielo as the focus. She was a supporting character in the other issues and now that Kaplan is starting to expand the world, she was a good place to start.
He uses her to give the reader a better understanding of the dynamics between the poor and rich in the post-Flare world. Showing her questioning how she’s lived her life since the event and a strong plot-line that, as of now, seems independent of Baxter’s arc, is a smart way to cover more ground and build the mystery of what is going on in the city. It’s a good sign for the first issue since the mini-series concluded, as there’s always the worry a good story might be a one trick pony and begin to flounder after the initial great idea.
Artist Giovanni Timpano returns to the book, although there’s a new colorist in Flavio Dispenza. If you loved the washed out, daytime panels from the first four issues, like I did, no worries as the book still looks great. Timpano captures emotions in the expressions of the characters in a very lifelike way, especially the close up panels. It’s not exaggerated or over the top and he does good work conveying emotion with the eyes. There are some impressive landscape views that have a lot of detail, like the lifeless highway Baxter is traveling down and the alleyway Cielo runs through. Dispenza has some moments where he uses lighting and shadow to great effect, such as Cielo’s face in the firelight, from the beginning of the book. Both artists bring a sense of realism to Eclipse that fits well with the tone of the book.
Is It Good?
It was a great way to kick off the rest of the Eclipse series. Kaplan writes another tight story, with great visual action set pieces and some surprising reveals that lay the groundwork to keep the plot moving forward in upcoming issues. It looks great, with a distinctive style that has a different imagining of a post-apocalyptic world than we’re used to seeing in comics and TV. This is a great issue of a series that is on top of its game.