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The sun is the bringer of life, but what if it became the cause of death?
Zack Kaplan and Giovanni Timpano’s dystopian creation, Eclipse, begs that exact question. In a world where, what is called the Z4 Solar Flare having the power equal to two trillion megatons of TNT, hit Earth, killing billions. Forcing humanity underground, the populace has gone nocturnal, with the sun ruling the day threatening to melt flesh from bone.
The beginning narrative is compressed and sweet, bringing you up to speed with the world and characters at large quickly. We’re introduced to our main character, David “Bax” Baxter, one of the “Ice Men” who help maintain the city’s electrical grid. Some of Bax’s colleagues shortly stumble across a burnt corpse, weighed down by a cinderblock, with a cryptic passage from the Bible written in blood accompanying the body.
This begs the question, who left the body? Was it a fellow Ice Man?
After the CEO of Solarity Inc.’s daughter, Cielo “Rose” Brandt, calls for the police, who then seek out Bax. They require his help to train some officers in the Ice Men suits to find the murderer.
Kaplan makes it seamless to dive into this murder mystery story. The pace is efficient and to the point, yet manages to provide the reader with enough detail to keep you up to date. Bax’s character develops at a satisfying pace in the first issue, highlighting his traits of a loner, brooding type with a shady past as a “hero” clearly.
The last three pages, I found, were the most well crafted out of the whole issue. Pointing out our main antagonists blatantly yet simply, gave each character their due shot in the sun, so to speak. Not only is Bax given a large portion of one page, but Cielo as well. The final page is dedicated to our mystery villain, basking in the sun with no apparent Ice Man gear, making them feel more menacing they already are. Personally being a ginger, the sun killing people is scary enough, but someone who wields it for fun with no protection in sight? Terrifying.
Timpano manages to draw you in easily, not with only the landscape at large, but the minute details you don’t usually notice. You see billboards for underground fresh farms, ads for “total tanners” and no cars in sight. Just bikes and horses, and a welcomed police presence with citizens candidly following curfew orders.
Then the sun rises, and you can feel the heat and humidity radiating out of the book. You can see, and feel, the unforgiving power the sun holds over this sweltering dystopia. There are boards covering all windows above ground, barricades at every underground entrance and makeshift shelters for those letting loose at “day clubs”. Timpano can effortlessly switch from a crowded day club panel to a desolate landscape that can be appealing to the eye.
Kaplan and Timpano make an admirable team, and it’ll be interesting to see how the duo continue the murder mystery. With things heating up so quickly (pardon the pun), I’d like to see the pair take this new dystopian society to someplace we haven’t been before.
I give Eclipse #1 an 8/10.