By Zack Kaplan, Giovanni Timpano and Chris Northrop
The second issue of Top Cow’s Eclipse hits stands mid October. Don’t worry if you missed the first issue because it’s already going into its second printing. That’s right, this new series is hot and you’re encouraged to check it out.
You gotta love this comic for being so original, especially considering it’s based on something as evident as global warming. Eclipse creates a premise where the most incredible thing that can happen in the world is the discovery of a man who seemingly – and perhaps unlike everyone else on the planet – cannot be burned to death from instant exposure to sunlight. No, we’re not talking about vampires here, rather normal every day folks who have been forced out of the light due to the increasingly harmful effects of the sun. People go out at night, build neighborhoods underground and live in fear of exposure, literally. On top of that, there’s a serial killer on the loose going around during the day without any protective suit or gear.
Our hero, on the other hand, is more than prepared to meet the challenge of stopping the madman no matter what time of day it is. Beyond his credentials and his preparation, Solar Engineer David “Bax” Baxter is motivated by his past, which we steadily learn more about in issue #2. This is a layered mystery that does as much to fill us in on the crisis afflicting the planet and the personal drama of our protagonist, as it does to reveal clues about the murderous dilemma at hand. Writer Zack Kaplan neatly presents the story for us and knows when to give and when to hold back in order to keep us on the edge of our seats. It’s equally exciting to learn about the societal effects of living on Earth in its current situation, as it is to learn about who, or what, is killing people. And what a fascinating concept that the best time to commit atrocious acts of criminal violence is in broad daylight.
Giovanni Timpano and Chris Northrop make up the artistic team, with Timpano stepping into less familiar territory than he’s known for. His illustrations can be found on major franchise titles, like Green Hornet and The Lone Ranger for example, but Eclipse is new ground for the artist in that this is an all-new title. Timpani is clearly enjoying himself, as he builds a new and decayed version of our world…it’s one thing to draw impressive sprawling cityscapes, but it’s a lot more entertaining for readers when those cities are rendered with this much detailed ruination. Between Timpano’s art and Northrop’s colors, you really do get the impression that the world has become an unsafe environment. In this issue, during a flashback to 10 years earlier, there’s the addition of burnt corpses scattered around, so no matter how bad things seem present day, it was at one time a lot more horrific. At the risk of sounding repetitious, it’s remarkable the way in which bright light can feel so scary and threatening and Northrop is capable of appropriately rendering it as such. His pale and sickly yellow palettes suggest a burnt, if not burning, environment with hot white blasts of light that penetrate the scene. Even when the story takes place in the shadows the light creeps in intrusively to the point where you’re actually worried that characters may be at risk of impending doom.
With so many new titles hitting the shelves at local comic shops on a weekly basis, there’s no way they are all worth checking out. Eclipse is one of those original, standout concepts that brings the diversity in story so sorely needed in comics and issue #2 makes that even clearer.
Eclipse #2 will be released October 5th from Top Cow Productions