Eclipso: The Darkness Within #2: Brilliant Men

  • Writers: Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming
  • Penciller: Bart Sears
  • Inkers: Randy Elliott, Mark Pennington, and Ray Kryssing
  • Colorist: Tom McCraw
  • Letterer: Gaspar Saladino
  • Cover Artist: Bart Sears
  • Editor: Michael Eury

Cover: Eclipso sits on his throne in the centre with various eclipsed heroes surrounding him. The gem he’s holding splits the cover into four very uneven quadrants but I’m going to use those to divide the page and move left to right within them.

Top left: Aquaman; Garv; Red Star; Lobo; Flash; just in front of Guy Gardner; Bloodwynd; Lar Fand; Deathstroke; Metamorpho (just in front of Deathstroke); Hawkman.

Top right: Power Girl; and Phase.

Bottom left: Pantha; Green Lantern Hal Jordan; Elongated Man; the Creeper; Klarion; Changeling; Black Canary; the Atom; and Stealth.

Bottom right: Starfire; and Nightwing on the far right.

As I’m sure you’ve just read the run down of the annuals, you’ll notice many of the heroes shown above weren’t eclipsed in the tie-ins. All will be explained…

Page 1: This picks up from the confrontation that was about to happen in the last pages of ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN ANNUAL #4 where the eclipsed heroes have gathered in Meteor Crater. Top to bottom, left to right we have Hawkwoman; Maxima; and Hal Jordan in the air; then Star Sapphire; Lady Quark; Power Girl; Red Star; Wonder Woman; Deathstroke; Flash and Starfire across the middle; with the Creeper in the foreground.

Page 2: The same scene but from the eclipsed heroes’ point of view. Facing off against them are Fire; Booster Gold; Hawkman in the sky and Crimson Fox on a rock; then Wildebeest (mostly obscured by Star Sapphire’s hair); Strata; Elongated Man behind her; Vril Dox; Bloodwynd; Nightwing; Starman; and Ice. Amongst the eclipsed, the only one who wasn’t shown on Page 1 is Mona Bennet who has turned to face us.

Page 3 – Panel 2: Between Vril Dox and Bloodwyn is Guy Gardner.

Page 3 – Panel 3: Starfire mentions a “full eclipse” that was mentioned once or twice in the annuals; it’s the reason the eclipsed have gathered here.

Page 4 – Panel 2: Shadow strike

Page 3 – Panel 4: Black Canary in the top left hand corner and, part-hidden by Dox’s speech bubble, is Bronze Tiger. His appearance here is noteworthy as he doesn’t appear in the annuals at all! This is his first appearance.

Page 3 – Panel 5: Lobo and Elongated Man share a moment.

Page 4 – Panel 1: Eclipso obligingly informs Dox what’s going on as a beam of shadow strikes Meteor Crater and the eclipsed heroes within.

Page 4 – Panel 2: The heroes are caught off guard by the beam. Most of the characters were listed on Page 2 but there’s a couple more on the ground here so, left to right, we’ve got Garv; Lobo; Starman; Wildebeest; Ice; Crimson Fox; Bloodwynd; Nightwing; Phase; Guy Eardner; and Elongated Man.

Page 5 – Panels 4 and 5: Dox mentions that “Starman was right” which refers to his claims that Eclipso lives on the moon; he made those claims in ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN ANNUAL #4. At this point, Dox and the other heroes don’t know that Starman is also eclipsed and is merely using his shapechanging abilities to mask the fact.

Page 6 – Panel 2: Starman insists on following the eclipsed heroes to the moon.

Page 6 – Panel 3: And on the moon we have the eclipsed heroes lined up before Eclipso himself. Just to recap, left to right we have Maxima; Hawkwoman; Star Sapphire; Changeling; Lady Quark (hovering); Flash; Power Girl; the Creeper behind Red Star; Starfire; Mona Bennet (you can just see her legs); Eclipso himself; Deathstroke; and Hal Jordan.

Page 7 – Panel 1: Starman still trying to convince Dox to head straight to the moon.

Page 7 – Panel 2: Phase and Dox with Starman on the screen. His mention of having fought Eclipso “a few months ago” refers to the four part Star Shadows storyline in STARMAN #42 to #45.

Page 7 – Panel 3: Crimson Fox and Booster Gold look on as Starman pushes for the heroes to head to the moon.

Page 7 – Panel 5: Behind Dox, on the left of the page, is Telepath.

Page 8 – Panels 2 and 3: Eclipso attempts to absorb the eclipsed Deathstroke; as far as I’m aware, this is a totally new power that Eclipso is demonstrating.

Page 8 – Panel 4: Maxima and Hal Jordan look on . . .

Page 8 – Panel 5: . . . as does Hawkwoman . . .

Page 8 – Panel 6: . . . as Eclipso succeeds in his attempt. Behind him, left to right, are Lady Quark (mostly hidden by Panel 5); Flash; Changeling; Starfire (mostly hidden by Eclipso); and Wonder Woman.

Page 10 – Panel 3: Behind the two leaders are the eclipsed heroes. It’s not easy to distinguish them but, working clockwise from bottom left are the Creeper; Lady Quark (probably – no-one else seems to fit); Hawkwoman; Wonder Woman; Hal Jordan; Deathstroke; Starfire; and the Flash.

Page 11 – The gathering

Page 9 – Panel 3: Having landed at the Las Vegas rendezvous, Hawkman and Dox discuss Starman’s eagerness.

Page 11: The traditional gathering of heroes (shown on the left). I’ve numbered the characters for ease of reference.

1) Lobo 2) Red Ryan 3) Professor Haley 4) Rocky Davis 5) Guy Gardner 6) Hawkman 7) Vril Dox 8) Fire 9) Blue Devil 10) Ice 11) Wildebeest 12) Nightwing 13) Atom 14) Aquaman 15) Booster Gold 16) Bronze Tiger 17) Elongated Man 18) Crimson Fox 19) Stealth 20) Nightshade 21) Garv 22) Metamorpho 23) Bloodwynd 24) Black Canary 25) Phase 26) Strata 27) Telepath 28) Starman.

It might be worth noting that some of these characters – the Challengers of the Unknown, Nightshade, Blue Devil – appear here for the first time in story terms. How they joined the team is not explained.

Page 12 – Panel 1: Dox being as pleasant as ever.

Page 12 – Panel 2: While everyone here was just listed above, kudos to Bart Sears for keeping them all in roughly the right place – in many crowd scenes, characters move around from one panel to the next.

Page 12 – Panel 4: Starman’s keen to get going . . . and we know why, don’t we?

Page 13 – Panel 2: Blue Devil, ever the joker.

Page 13 – Panel 3: Black Canary asks a pertinent question. As mentioned in the tie-in annuals page, Mike Grell was writing GREEN ARROW at the time and had something of a “no superheroes” rule – I’ve read somewhere that Ollie wasn’t even referred to as Green Arrow during his run – so Canary’s here in place of him.

Page 13 – Panel 6: Dox’s stated aim of killing Eclipso isn’t exactly what superheroes do.

Page 14 – Panels 3 and 4: The Earth heroes aren’t happy about Dox’s plan to kill Eclipso, though Metamorpho seems less concerned.

Page 14 – Panel 5: Heading to the moon

Page 14 – Panel 5: Behind Elongated Man, right at the back, is Lobo – see the image on the right. Remember that for a moment, would you?

Page 15: Eclipso attempts to merge with the remainder of his slave. Working clockwise from Eclipso at the top and centre of the page we have Wonder Woman; the Creeper; Mona Bennet; Changeling; Star Sapphire; Maxima; Pantha; Red Star; Starfire; Hawkwoman; Flash; Hal Jordan; Power Girl; and Klarion. Pantha is a best guess based on what I can see; Deathstroke has already been absorbed and, as we can’t see her, I’m assuming Lady Quark has been as well.

Page 16: Eclipso is saving Lar Gand to use as a weapon rather than absorb him and sends him off to attack the ships.

Page 17 – Panel 2: As Stealth notice’s Gand’s approach, Phase bemoans the lack of Lobo who, apparently, has remained behind in Las Vegas . . . even though he appears in Panel 5 on Page 14.

Page 17 – Panel 4: Eclipso is careful to keep the heroes alive in order to gain their powers.

Page 18 – Panel 3: Phase on the scanner, Hawkman at the controls, Elongated Man in the background and Guy Gardner being annoyed.

Page 19 – Panel 2: Gardner has a scar above his left eye that he picked up in the GUY GARDNER: REBORN series which detailed how he came to be in possession of Sinestro’s yellow power ring.

Page 19 – Panel 4: Which he uses to save the now crippled spacecraft.

Page 19 – Panel 6: Metamorpho, Starman and Ice in the background.

Page 20 – Panel 1: In the foreground we have the crew who were on the LEGION ship Wildebeest; Strata; Garv; Nightwing; Phase; Vril Dox; Telepath; and Stealth. Above them in the sky are Gardner, Starman and Hawkman. The remaining heroes are too indistinct to make out.

Page 20 – Panel 2: Dox’s mention of Starman being here before refers, as mentioned above, to the Star Shadows storyline in STARMAN #42 to #45.

Page 20 – Panel 3: Professor Haley of the Challengers of the Unknown suspects a trap as they approach Eclipso’s palace.

Page 21 – Panel 2: Starman leads the way to Eclipso’s palace, claiming he is willing to sacrifice his life. Careful what you wish for.

Page 22 – Panel 3: And just like that, Starman reveals that he has been eclipsed.

Page 22 – Panel 4: The heroes realise what we readers have known and as a result . . .

Page 22 – Panel 5: Heroes eclipsed

Page 22 – Panel 5: . . . they are eclipsed themselves as Eclipso explains that the slightest irritation can be used against them here. Left to right are Vril Dox; Strata; Starman; Garv; Aquaman; Fire; Nightwing; Blue Devil; Wildebeest; Bloodwynd; Guy Gardner; Metamorpho; Elongated Man; Booster Gold; and Bronze Tiger.

Page 23 – Panel 1: Eclipso appears, dragging his half absorbed victims with him. Wonder Woman’s on the floor, Flash’s boot near the top and Hal Jordan to the right.

Page 24 – Panels 1 and 2: Of course, like any good villain, he’s still obsessed with his enemy.

Page 24 – Panels 3 and 4: Eclipso removes the previously absorbed Mona from his body, revealing that they can be released intact.

Page 25: Not much point detailing these panels as everything’s clear enough although the burst of sunlight in the last panel leads to . . .

Page 26: The long awaited return of Bruce Gordon and his allies. In the air are Superman and Kilowog; left to right on the floor are Professor Bennet; Chunk; Zena Moonstruck; Emil Hamilton; Blue Beetle; Bruce Gordon; Doc Magnus; Dr Light; and Lex Luthor. As above with the Challengers and others, this is the first time Doc Magnus has appeared in this series.

Page 27 – Gordon’s alive!

Page 27: Bruce fires his solar weapon which separates the absorbed heroes from Eclipso’s main body. Working clockwise from the bottom left are Wildebeest; Elongated Man; Red Star; Starfire; Eclipso; Lady Quark; Flash; Deathstroke’s legs; the Creeper; Nightwing; Fire; and Metamorpho.

Page 28 – Panel 1: Chunk fires his solar weapon, scattering the eclipsed heroes. Left to right we have Aquaman’s leg; Prof Bennet; Crimson Fox; Chunk; Mona; Nightwing; and Black Canary’s legs.

Page 28 – Panel 2: Chunk rescues Mona as Prof Bennet fires his weapon at Eclipso; to the left is the still-eclipsed Flash.

Page 28 – Panel 4: And as Superman attempts to attack Eclipso, the villain releases Lar Gand to battle with him.

Page 29: Eclipso says Superman has many weaknesses, one of which is the need to breathe so he takes the fight outside the palace into the airless vacuum leading to . . .

Pages 30 and 31: . . . a double splash page of Superman and Lar Gand facing off. While Superman expects Eclipso to do his worst, the villain expects Superman to give him his best.

Page 32 – Panel 1: Wonder Woman is freed from Eclipso’s influence.

Page 32 – Panel 3: Lex Luthor on the left; Kilowog next to him; Bruce Gordon on the right. In Kilowog’s bubble are Vril Dox (possible – difficult to tell); Bronze Tiger; Lady Quark (based on Page 33 – Panel 1); Aquaman; Wildebeest; Garv; and above them all, Elongated Man.

Page 32 – Panel 4: Zena Moonstruck; Gordon again; Doc Magnus (still smoking his pipe!); and Blue Beetle.

Page 33 – Panel 1: Kilowog hooks out Hal Jordan; in the bottom left is Lady Quark which aids the identification in Page 32 – Panel 3 above.

Page 33 – Panel 2: Keeping Hal covered in sunlight is Professor Bennet.

Page 33 – Panel 4: Doc Magnus exorcises Eclipso from Hal Jordan.

Page 34 – Panel 1: The Creeper menaces Kilowog who’s starting to feel the strain of containing the eclipsed heroes.

Page 34 – Panel 3: Hal captures the Creeper and hands him to Bruce Gordon . . .

Page 34 – Panel 4: . . . who frees him from Eclipso.

Page 34 – Panels 7 and 8: Say what now?

Page 34 – Panel 5: As the Creeper recovers, Chunk, carrying Mona Bennet, arrives in the background.

Page 34 – Panels 7 and 8: Hal demonstrates that none of the heroes retain any memory of being eclipsed.

Page 35 – Panel 1: Back out on the moon, Superman needs to end his battle with Lar Gand quickly.

Page 35 – Panel 2: While in the palace, someone restores Guy Gardner . . .

Page 35 – Panel 5: . . . who in turn captures the Flash . . .

Page 35 – Panel 7: . . . who in turn volunteers to use the solar weapons on the remaining eclipsed heroes.

Page 36: Nothing much to report here – big fight, Superman wins.

Page 37 – Panel 1: Dr Light; Professor Bennet; Bruce Gordon; Guy Gardner; and Emil Hamilton.

Page 37 – Panel 2: The heroes gather again

Page 37 – Panel 2: Group shot – click the picture on the right to get a full size version. Working in rough rows left to right and top to bottom are

1) The Creeper 2) Wonder Woman 3) Strata 4) Black Canary 5) Elongated Man 6) Power Girl 7) Blue Devil

8) Kilowog 9) Hal Jordan 10) Garv 11) Vril Dox 12) Klarion 13) Telepath 14) Phase 15) Stealth 16) Bronze Tiger 17) Changeling

18) Dr Light 19) Emil Hamilton 20) Guy Gardner 21) Lady Quark 22) Starfire 23) Nightwing 24) Deathstroke 25) Aquaman 26) Red Star

27) Bruce Gordon 28) Flash 29) Blue Beetle 30) Metamorpho 31) Bloodwynd 32) Crimson Fox 33) Fire 34) Ice 35) possibly Wildebeest

36) Zena Moonstruck 37) Chunk 38) Mona Bennet 39) Doc Magnus 40) Lex Luthor 41) Hawkman 42) Hawkwoman 43) Professor Bennet

A quick note on some of the dialogue: Kilowog picking up on Hal Jordan not remembering he was eclipsed; Guy Gardner and Vril Dox trade insults; Klarion’s looking for his familiar; Aquaman’s line is the equivalent of the old fish out of water joke; Bruce’s comment about “junk food” refer’s to the Flash’s preferred method of refuelling calories; and Doc Magnus, as inventor of the Metal Men, would prefer the company of his robots rather than people.

Page 38 – Panel 1: Superman arrives carrying Lar Gand. In front of him is Telepath; then Bruce Gordon; then Hal Jordan.

Page 38 – Panel 2: Behind Superman are Elongated Man; Bloodwynd; and Power Girl.

Page 38 – Panel 3: Eclipso appears on a balcony and releases Lar Gand from his control.

Page 38 – Panel 4: Top to bottom are the legs of Wonder Woman and Blue Beetle; Starman; Pantha; and Lady Quark.

Page 38 – Panel 5: Eclipso merges with his palace which, as we know, is actually an extension of himself.

Page 38 – Panel 6: Strata in the foreground; Bruce Gordon; Metamorpho; and at the back on the right, Blue Devil.

Page 39 – Panel 1: The art on these pages is clearly Keith Giffen; whether he just wanted to join in or was helping Bart Sears out with a deadline is unknown. Either way, Giffen has Starman, The Creeper, and Vril Dox discover the place is alive.

Page 39 – Panel 2: Flash in the bottom right, possibly Lex Luthor on th eleft.

Page 39 – Panels 3 and 4: Guy Gardner saves Ice from Eclipso; Gardner and Ice had, by this time, had an on-off relationship for a while.

Page 39 – Panel 5: Bruce comes up with a plan as Klarion looks on.

Page 40 – Panel 1: Doc Magnus; Metamorpho; Wonder Woman; Strata; and Elongated Man above them.

Page 40 – Panel 3: Bruce Gordon and Blue Beetle lead the escape.

Page 41 – Panel 1: Hal Jordan at the top; Kilowog; Starman; and Bruce Gordon.

Page 41 – Panels 4 and 5: Run away!

Page 41 – Panel 3: Hawkman and Hawkwoman.

Page 41 – Panel 4: Fire; Flash; and Maxima.

Page 41 – Panel 5: Eclipso; possibly Ice; Starfire; Nightwing; the Creeper.

Page 41 – Panel 6: Chunk still carrying Mona Bennet; and Deathstroke. Deathstroke says (correctly) that there’s no air outside the palace. If Eclipso wanted to re-capture the heroes, and has control over the entire palace, why not simply allow the air to escape, render them unconscious and deal with them one by one?

Page 41 – Panel 7: Deathstroke; Emil Hamilton; Zena Moonstruck; Aquaman.

Page 42 – Panel 3: Doc Magnus and Professor Bennet wonder where Bruce is.

Page 42 – Panel 4: He’s busy and about to be attacked by Eclipso . . .

Page 42 – Panels 6 and 7: . . . but is saved by Starman.

Page 43 – Panel 2: Kilowog, Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner use their power rings to transport the heroes while Superman still carries Lar Gand.

Page 43 – Panel 3: In the lantern bubble are Hawkman; the Creeper; Bronze Tiger; a white faced character who might be a poorly drawn Klarion; Chunk; with Doc Magnus in the foreground who’s noticed something.

Page 46 – Panels 3 to 8: Starman’s sacrifice

Page 44: Eclipso rears up from the ruins of the palace in his true form, the super-villain costume gone.

Page 45 – Panels 1 to 4: As Bruce Gordon arms the bomb, Starman plans to distract Eclipso.

Page 46: Starman flies up through the guts of Eclipso’s new form and sacrifices himself.

Page 47 – Panel 1: The explosion of solar energy tears Eclipso apart from within.

Page 48 – Panel 1: Eclipso’s palace/body crumbles to the surface of the moon.

Page 48 – Panel 2: The heroes debate how they could have heard Eclipso’s cry. Left to right are Booster Gold; Garv; Blue Devil; Red Star; Black Canary; Changeling; Flash; Starfire; Metamorpho; Klarion; Wildebeest; “Red” Ryan; and Deathstroke.

There are two characters between Canary and Flash, one appears to be a blonde woman with a mask, the other a man with dark glasses. The man might be Nightwing with a poorly drawn mask (he’s next to Starfire and the pair are often together) but I’ve no idea who the blonde is.

Page 48 – Panel 4: Lar Gan suddenly regains consciousness and realises Bruce Gordon is still in the palace.

Page 49 – Panels 1 to 3: Bruce Gordon suspects Starman has sacrificed himself and determines to do no less.

Page 49 – Panel 4: Eclipso has other ideas but isn’t out to stop Gordon.

Page 49 – Panel 5: He just wants to ensure they die together.

Page 50 – Panels 2 to 4: Eclipso beats Gordon to within an inch of his life.

Page 50 – Panels 6 and 7: As the solar bomb ticks down, Lar Gand approaches.

Page 51: An even bigger explosion than that caused by Starman . . .

Page 52 – Panels 1 to 4: . . . and flying out of it is Lar Gand carrying Bruce Gordon.

Page 53 – Panel 1: The heroes leave the moon. Note that the Lanterns and Guy are no longer dragging their space bubbles; in the blink of an eye, the heroes have been transported back to their (apparently) repaired spaceships.

Page 53 – Panel 2: Dox and Phase on the LEGION ship say their farewells (of a sort) to Blue Beetle on the scanner.

Page 53 – Panel 3: Crimson Fox; Blue Beetle; and Booster Gold.

Page 53 – Panel 4: Metamorpho; Rocky Davis; possibly Ice; Professor Haley in the background; Blue Beetle and Maxima in the foreground. Maxima’s not known for her civility which is why her appreciation catches Beetle off guard. However, his crass attempt at a pick up line falls flat.

Page 54 – Panel 1: Lar Gand and Superman in the background; Nightwing; Flash; and Aquaman in the foreground.

Page 54 – Panel 2: And it’s Superman’s comment about Gand’s “act of valor” that later has him adopt Valor as his identity.

Page 54 – Panel 4: Hawkwoman and Black Canary.

Page 54 – Panel 5: Behind Superman are Red Star; Elongated Man; Hawkman and Metamorpho. I’m sure Elongated Man has done nothing in this series except extend his head above others!

Page 54 – Panel 6: Mona Bennet and Bruce Gordon behind Hawkman.

Page 55 – Panels 5 and 6: It’s not over

Page 55 – Panel 2: Professor Bennet joins them as, in the background, Booster Gold and Bronze Tiger chat with Elongated Man’s head appearing above them. Again.

Page 55 – Panel 3: Professor Bennet suggests they’ll be after Eclipso once more as soon as Bruce is healed.

Page 55 – Panel 4: Luthor claims Professor Bennet is mistaken and that Eclipso is defeated. Behind Luthor, clockwise from bottom left in this apparently very cramped ship are Wonder Woman; Wildebeest; Chunk; and Bloodwynd.

Page 55 – Panels 5 and 6: Bruce clarifies the state of play: Eclipso’s gone from the moon, but he’s still on Earth.

Page 56: As the dust settles on the moon, a single black diamond – the one that the eclipsed Starman swallowed way back in Superman: The Man of Steel Annual #1 – waits to be found.

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