Every Wednesday I’m on the lookout for new #1’s and new series to pick up and find that next great book. This week I picked up Eclipse #1, which I believe to be the first book by Zack Kaplan to be published by one of the major publishers, Image/Top Cow. This book takes an interesting setting and puts it alongside a classic murder plot with some fantastic art and writing. As always be avoiding spoilers but we may have to go over some of the plot points and visual notes to give you a good idea of what’s happening in this book.
From the start, Eclipse #1 shows us a world affected by a catastrophic solar event that’s changed not only the landscape but everyone’s way of life. We are introduced to a new type of service worker, the Icemen, who perform maintenance during the day in suits that protect them from the deadly sun. As the new environment has changed the way people live and work, it’s also changed the levels people will go to survive. What really kicks off this story is a severally melted and deformed body found by our protagonist David Baxter while out on the job; from there he’s set on a path to help prevent any further murders.
The amount of detail and world building in the first few pages show us how the world has changed, from huge advertisements for vitamin D to a government mandated curfews. Some of the characters aren’t given enough time to explain their relationships to others as some talk like we should know how they know each other. As this is the first in the series, we can expect to see more development between them and their history before the sun decided to pummel the Earth with extreme prejudice. Before the end of this book we are left with some great threads to pick back up in the next issue and hopefully learn more about this blazing new world.
The art by Giovanna Timpano really defines the state of the world, it uses the background and texture to create a rich depiction of a world being roasted alive by the sun. The color is very evocative of a desolate wasteland, buildings looking like worn stone structures. The above ground and underground cities are accentuated with cooler tones with flood lights illuminating the streets. The divide between classes is also shown very well in the art, with the rich population having fresh clothes and expensive technology and the lower classes shown in distressed clothing and living in overcrowded squalor.
The art, environment, and plot all come together to create a world with the potential of creating a very interesting long running series, or a more contained short run that focuses on a singular character rather than the world at large. My only gripe with the book is like I said earlier, there is a bit missing of the relationships between the lead characters and some of the character do not have their own distinctive voice just yet. I will definitely be following this series because the world it has built has great potential for interesting, reflective, and compelling stories that speak more to me than some of the story lines Marvel is producing these days.