"Eclipse #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Zack Kaplan
Illustrated by Giovanni Timpano
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 7th, 2016
Humanity lives like vampires in the near future after a massive solar flare makes sunlight deadly. The survivors are driven underground as to avoid having their skin melted off. As if this wasn't bad enough, there's no a killer on the streets using sunlight to burn his victims alive.
Eclipse has a premise that you can't help but be intrigued by. We've seen the opposite in dystopian stories, with the world plunged into a nuclear winter, but less so when the surface can turn you into a shriveled puddle of flesh. Artist Giovanni Timpano brings some haunting imagery to the book, especially in the opening pages, showing a handful of “ice men” wearing special suits to allow them to walk around in the daylight. There is no other life for as far as the eye can see and they're walking around a major city. Timpano even captured the steamy haze that comes up from the street on a hot day. Unlike other post-apocalyptic tales, plant life hasn't overrun the cityscape. It doesn't stand a chance in that sun.
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The suits the ice men wear each look like a cross between a soldier and an astronaut. They're bulky, but part of that has to do with the men inside. Tubes run all over them, presumably pumping air to various parts of the body from a large tank on the back. The helmet's visor gives you a rough shadow of a face, although not enough to tell who it is in any detail.
It's one thing to see a vampire encounter sunlight and turn to ash. It's quite another to see a regular human's flesh bubble up and burn in seconds. No amount of sunscreen can prevent the near instant death that comes from this exposure. Timpano captured the sheer pain that these individuals must be going through in a single panel. They're writhing in agony as skin melts off their limbs like warm butter. You'd almost think that they were being shot with the way it flies off of them.
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Society in Eclipse is one that's completely upside down, in some cases literally. Sending everyone underground in a cramped place causes tension to ride high. Crime is rampant. Electricity is a problem. It's crowded and people are right on top of one another. I'm curious as to how Solarity, Inc, the large corporation seemingly in charge of everything, plays into the events both in the past and the present, especially with the final page reveal that is rather jaw-dropping.
Eclipse hits with a one-two punch of sci-fi and horror. It's got a dynamite premise and some tight pencils presenting a dystopian world that will have you reaching for sunscreen. Humanity hasn't risen to the skies in this future. We've burrowed underground like rats, fearful of the day and the terrors it can bring.