By Zack Quaintance — After its first arc, Eclipse grew from a murder mystery that largely concerned two main characters into a full-blown examination of the motives of those who seek power, all set amid a complex conspiracy. This decision served the book well. Coming into the start of the third arc with Eclipse #9, I didn’t expect the same expansion. It seemed like the book had hit a cruising altitude, so to speak, at the end of the second arc and it would be just fine exploring ideas from there.
Eclipse #9, however, seems to indicate that this is a comic hellbent on upping the complexity of its story yet again, expanding it both in terms of its scope and its aspirations. Basically, Eclipse started out as a creepy horror story with an interesting sci-fi backdrop, but it has now become a deeper look at power dynamics, one that also has an interesting plot set in a world disrupted by disaster (a mysterious solar event has turned sunlight lethal, forcing society to spend its days underground).
The book hasn’t thrown out the killer and tense action sequences that made its earliest issues such satisfying reads either, which is a very good thing. No, basically it has now split into a dual plot, one about what’s happening inside New York City (where the most surviving humans seem to be located) and another that’s set in the world at large—both of which are liable to have interesting action scenes (in an especially cool bit in this issue, a character shot holes in a wall with a nail gun, thereby allowing the lethal sun in). The idea to split the comic into two settings like this is a really strong one that shows just how quickly writer Zack Kaplan is growing as a creator (this is his very first book, after all).
And the rest of the team is doing strong work, too. Giovanni Timpano’s art has been detailed and intricate from the beginning, expertly capturing the crumbling that has occurred above ground and the squalor beneath, while colorist Flavio Dispenza expertly uses hues that Clearly separate the shade from the light (which in this book literally separates life from death). It seems like this may end up being the third and final arc, and if that’s the case, fine, but I hope Kaplan and Timpano team together again soon because they’re partnership continues to get stronger with each issue.
Overall: Eclipse is a series that just keeps getting better, and issue #9 is no exception. The tense action and looming sense of danger from the start is still very much here, but the book has also really grown into a unique and complex look at power structures. 8.5/10
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