In a world where regular sunlight can burn you to a crisp in a millisecond, humanity is forced to live underground and try to make a life for themselves in the darkness. Ex-fireman David Baxter is one of the survivors. After facing a killer that was immune to the sun’s deadly rays, he’s taken a job working for the new government, secretly trying to find out what they knew about the man and what else they aren’t telling the population. When just walking outside is a matter of life and death, how can he hope to survive if he goes against the leaders of the only sanctuary from the violence of the daylight? Eclipse #7 follows Baxter down that path. Is it good?
Writer: Zack Kaplan
Artist: Giovanni Timpano
Publisher: Image Comics
Last issue we saw the narrative split, with half of the story focusing on Baxter and the other on Cielo, the mayor’s daughter and target of the sunlight-immune killer from the first arc. Baxter, in his new full-time role with the city’s police department, was sent to investigate another sunlight-immune person that was reportedly being kept in West Point. Unfortunately for Baxter, the former mayor of New York who was cast out, is leading a new heavily armed faction that has the immune man. Negotiations with the militia involved Bax getting his teeth knocked out and the situation went from bad to worse as the wall exploded and sunlight poured in, killing everyone in its path.
Cielo, on the other hand, can’t get over the fact she was targeted by the killer and thinks it may be because of her father, the current mayor, and something he had done to the man in the past. After not getting any clear answers, she heads to a meeting with the “Conductor,” the leader of the black market activities in the underground, who she thinks might give her the information she wants. After the meeting is busted up by the city’s police force, and realizing they used her as bait to track down the Conductor, she went on the run and ends up being swept away in a drainage canal that would have dropped her to her death if the sunlight didn’t kill her first.
This issue picks up where it left off, of both cliffhangers. Bax finds himself luckily surviving the sunlight massacre, and finds the immune man amongst all the chaos. He’s forced to make a decision about whether he should turn the man over to the city or join up with Holden’s mercenary army, with either choice alienating him from one of the factions. Cielo delves deeper into the mystery surrounding the immune, as one of the Conductor’s “underground” members finds her and tells her if she wants to know the truth and go any further, her safety and the world as she knows it will come to an end.
As I said last issue, writer Zack Kaplan and the rest of the creative team are at the top of their game right now. This issue was full of action, but still managed to progress the story even while both characters were on the run. There’s a great balance between the narratives with Bax’s progressing the overall landscape of the story, while Cielo’s dives into the slowly unfolding backstory. It keeps the writing tight and the tension up, as Bax’s story doesn’t have to pause unnaturally during the action while someone gives lengthy explanations about the past. As different as the two angles are, they both arrive in a similar place with the two characters having to make life changing decisions if they want to continue on the path for the truth.
Artist Giovanni Timpano gets to spend a little more time in the dark this month, as there aren’t as many of the large scale panels depicting the barren landscape which have come to be the calling card of the series. The art is still impressive, nonetheless, in particular a scene underground where the Conductor is holding a conversation, and the use of darkened, shadowy illustrations fit with the mood of what is being discussed. It gives some insight into her character without spelling it out.
Flavio Dispense colors the scene in gray, black and red, adding to the intrigue and doubling down on the tone and character of the people having the conversation. As always, he does a great job illuminating the interior shots, with sunlight playing innocently on walls and through cracks in ruined buildings, beguiling its deadly nature.
Is It Good?
Although I have loved the series thus far, I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that with the introduction of Holden’s rival militia, that the story was veering towards a Walking Dead-type standoff between two factions in an apocalyptic setting. I was happily surprised to see the story isn’t going to be as predictable as I thought, with circumstances in the issue possibly paving the way for Baxter to become even more isolated in the barren world. Cielo, too, is headed towards some new ground, though her predicament looks to be filled with more intrigue, where we are beginning to see there aren’t many people she can trust as she steps out of the “sidekick” position and takes the lead in her own story. The issue was full of great balance and is making the world more interesting with every outing. As, long as the quality of the book stays at this level, Eclipse is a book you don’t want to miss each month.