Thursday, October 17, 2019

Eclipso #1

Remember the early 90s when DC desperately tried to make Eclipso a serious threat?

How often has DC given a villain a comic book series of their own? Deathstork doesn't really count because even though he's a murderous pedophile, he still tends to be portrayed as somehow ethically chaste. Why else would Superman and Batman continue to let him run around murdering people? It's because he always murders bad people whom Batman and Superman don't find worthy of their protection. I'm assuming Eclipso works differently but I can't fucking remember what his motivation as a super villain is. The cover says "The Face of Vengeance" so I'm assuming he darkens the souls of people who feel wronged so that they can claim their revenge. And while that sounds like a motivation that can make Eclipso an anti-hero, I'm hoping he doesn't give a shit if the person feeling wronged actually was wronged. He's practically the face of evil in the DC Universe in 1992 so he'd better get up to a whole lot of evil! Besides, isn't The Spectre the good guy who helps people get vengeance for being wronged? Or murdered? Eclipso can't step all over The Spectre's territory.

This series is by Giffen and Fleming so I'm expecting evil Ambush Bug. At least, that's what I'm positive I was expecting back in 1992 when I purchased this. I feel like I remember being disappointed in that it wasn't funny at all. I hope I'm re-disappointed in realizing my disappointment was a false memory.

Okay. Motivation spelled out pretty clearly on the third page.

According to this comic book, Eclipso killed the dove Noah sent out of the ark that time it never returned. This comic book doesn't mention the raven that Noah sent out and then refused to let back on the ark even though it was trying to warn him of the psychopathic asshole wading through the receding waters waiting to murder everybody on the ark. Does that mean Eclipso has some kind of relationship with God? Maybe Eclipso is the one who created the flood because God promised him everything would die in it. And then God fucking betrayed Eclipso and allowed a whole bunch of creatures to survive.

Although the most probably explanation of this moment is that Giffen and Fleming needed a quick way to portray Eclipso as some kind of legendary evil. What better way than to make him practically immortal and associate him with the greatest massacre in the "history" of mankind (perpetrated by fucking God himself, the diabolical monster!)?

In the present, Eclipso has taken possession of a South American guy with a grudge against his village. He was cast out for unknown reasons (probably really fucking good reasons!) but it was enough of an excuse for Eclipso to possess him to grant him vengeance. So I guess that's Eclipso's thing, just like I speculated based on the cover pretty much telling me exactly that. I'm good at understanding! Eclipso possesses people so that they can get revenge then helps them murder as many people as possible so that everything will eventually be killed. But can Eclipso really kill everybody on Earth during the finite amount of time during eclipses? I bet more babies are born during an eclipse than Eclipso can kill!

As Eclipso thinks about his recent past, the editor makes sure the readers know he's talking about the big blockbuster Eclipso event in the annuals. But he also mentions something that happened in Valor #1 and my initial reaction was, "Like fuck I'm going to read that." My second reaction was, "I'm pretty sure I own that comic book and it's in the current stack of old comic books to read." I hate myself.

Eclipso discovers that the people of the village he just murdered have stockpiled tons of cocaine. So now he's going to run a criminal drug enterprise to fund his murder spree. I suppose he can possess more than one person at a time with the use of his black diamonds. And I think he can continue to possess them even if there's no eclipse? But if that's the case, why the fucking stupid name? Maybe he's just more powerful during an eclipse. Or maybe the only way somebody can shake his possessing spirit is by exposure to sunlight. So he's really just kind of a shitty vampire.

Eclipso gives a little Eclipso history lesson for the newer readers.

"The dark side of the moon" doesn't actually mean it never gets sunlight, you stupid turd. The entire concept of his name comes from an event where "the dark side of the moon" is bathed in sunlight!

It could be I'm not parsing Eclipso's speech correctly. Maybe he means that by being banished to the dark side of the moon, he was forever having to hid from the sun whenever the dark side was turned toward the sun. Maybe he means he wasn't susceptible to sunlight until he was banished to the dark side of the moon. But then the assumption, I think, is that he was in the dark for so long that sunlight became his greatest weakness. There's a few possible interpretations here and while some people might like to give Giffen and Fleming the benefit of the doubt, I would rather rake them over the coals and call them fucking idiots.

Fucking idiots.

Eclipso abandons his possessed man in the hopes that the black diamond will pass on to The Count, the man who was using them to grow and process the cocaine. In works and The Count is an angry man who easily falls victim to the darkness in his heart. Now Eclipso is the kingpin in an international drug smuggling operation. Seems like a weird and boring place to start his super villain career but maybe drug smuggling stories weren't as played out in 1992 as they seem to be today. Or are they? People fucking still eat that shit up, don't they?!

Eclipso murders The Count's wife just in case any readers weren't sure if they should root for him or not. Certain readers almost certainly only began rooting for him after he threw The Count's wife out of the second story window. Here at Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea, we prefer to pretend that those kinds of readers don't exist. Oh, sure, sometimes I'll reference them if I want to mock their weaselly little beta cuck beliefs. Mostly though, I only remember they exist when one of them becomes irate because I called Deathstroke a pedophile. Imagine that being the thing I wrote that finally crossed a line for you!

Eclipso kills all of the drug lord's bodyguards and then takes over the town's sheriff when he stops by to investigate. The sheriff kills all of the cops so now I guess Eclipso has nearly conquered the South American country of Parador? What a dumb fake country name! I would have gone with Uruzil.

The next issue blurb just says "Eclipso for president." Man, that sounds like a dream compared to what we have now.

Eclipso #1 Rating: C-. I'm not impressed. Apparently in 1992, I was impressed enough to keep buying it. Or I was just intrigued by a comic book about a brutal villain. Either way, I kept buying it even after this mediocre start. Maybe I was supposed to be impressed by the way Eclipso sort of rules the minds of these men from between the panels. Or maybe I was supposed to appreciate his dark humor in the narration. At least I think it was dark humor. He did say "Not!" at one point. That was funny in 1992, right?

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