Eclipso

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Eclipso
Eclipso Gordon.jpg
Eclipso possessing Gordon as seen in Countdown to Mystery #4 (February 2008)
Art by Stephen Jorge Segovia
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance House of Secrets #61 (August 1963)
Created by Bob Haney (writer)
Lee Elias (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Galid
Partnerships Mordru
Obsidian
Notable aliases Prince of Darkness, Vengeance Demon, The Lord of the No-Man's Land Between Light and Darkness
Abilities Spirit possession, Immortality, Energy-vision, Energy blasts, Superhuman strength, Superhuman speed, Superhuman stamina, Invulnerability, Flight, Weather modification

Eclipso is a fictional supervillain in the DC Comics Universe. The character is the incarnation of the Wrath of God and the Angel of Vengeance that turned evil and was replaced by the Spectre. Eclipso first appeared in House of Secrets #61 (August 1963) and was created by Bob Haney and Lee Elias.[1][2]

Publication history[edit]

Originally, Eclipso was written as a generic villain with average superpowers, who would routinely enact an elaborate plot to fulfill his hedonistic motivations. However, the Darkness Within miniseries modified the character to be an evil and megalomaniacal entity. Eclipso's character laments the power he once had as a spirit of divine vengeance. Eclipso would frequently seek to possess beings of incredible power like Superman, Lar Gand, and Captain Marvel to achieve his ends.

Bruce Gordon[edit]

Eclipso's early comics debut is tied to his first modern host, Bruce Gordon (named after Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon as an in-joke),[3] a scientist specializing in solar energy. While in the jungle to view a solar eclipse, Bruce was attacked by a tribal sorcerer named Mophir. Before plunging to his death off a cliff, Mophir wounded Bruce with a black diamond. Afterwards, Bruce would be transformed into the villainous Eclipso whenever an eclipse occurred. A blue-gray or purple circle would cover the rightmost two-thirds of his face, resembling a partial eclipse. Bruce would experience many Jekyll-and-Hyde transformations and misadventures in House of Secrets. During this period, Eclipso was portrayed as a conventional villain, possessing super strength, partial invulnerability, and eye blasts (aided by his black diamond). It was later retconned that any type of eclipse could summon Eclipso: lunar, solar, or even an object blocking out a light source. This was countered with a simple means of banishing him again: any bright flash of light would turn him back into Bruce Gordon.

The Darkness Within[edit]

Wonder Woman possessed by Eclipso. Art by Joe Quesada.

In the early 1990s, DC revamped Eclipso in a company-wide crossover built around the miniseries Eclipso: The Darkness Within. Retconned again, Eclipso was not simply Bruce Gordon's dark half, but a vengeance demon who had possessed Gordon. Eclipso's soul had originally been bound inside a giant black diamond called the "Heart of Darkness" in Africa. A treasure hunter found it in the late nineteenth century and brought it to London in 1891, where he had a jeweler cut it into one thousand shards. This weakened the binding spell, allowing Eclipso to possess anyone who became angry while in contact with one of the shards. He was no longer limited to possessing Gordon during an eclipse, but pretended otherwise so that Gordon would not know the truth about the black diamonds.[1]

Over the next century, the Eclipso entity gathered the diamond shards with the intention of destroying them all, freeing his true power. When Lar Gand discovered Eclipso's palace on the moon and wandered inside, it inspired Eclipso to possess all of Earth's heroes and use them towards his ultimate goal, the conquest of Earth and revenge against God for imprisoning him inside the Heart of Darkness. Eclipso claimed he had spent the last several years "posing as a B-level villain" in order to remain undetected by Earth's heroes and had limited himself to targeting Gordon for the purpose of quashing Gordon's research into solar science. If Gordon had achieved his goal of making solar energy the planet's primary energy source, any solar-powered device could be used as a weapon against Eclipso.

In the climax of the story, several of Earth's heroes were possessed by Eclipso and transported to the moon during an eclipse. He then absorbed these heroes into his own body, gaining their mass and also their inherent powers. Gordon led a group of heroes armed with solar weapons to the moon in an attempt to defeat Eclipso once and for all. The absorbed heroes were freed in the end, but only after Will Payton destroyed Eclipso's moon base by detonating his own solar-powered body. Eclipso's diamond shards remained on Earth.

Eclipso series[edit]

Following the crossover event, Eclipso appeared in a solo series. He conquered the South American country of Parador by possessing one person at a time. The United States sent an investigation team consisting of Cave Carson, Bruce Gordon, and Bruce's fiancé, Mona Bennet. Cave's legs were broken and he was left at the border.

Bruce and Mona were taken on a tour and shown various atrocities, such as piles of children's corpses. They escaped with the assistance of the Creeper and formed a group of heroes dubbed the Shadow Fighters. This group was led by Amanda Waller, formerly of the Suicide Squad. In issue #13 of the series, Eclipso defeated them, killing Wildcat II, the second Dr. Midnight, the Creeper, Commander Steel, Manhunter IV (a Mark Shaw ringer), and Major Victory. Creeper has returned to action in his own series.[1]

The Peacemaker was also involved in this action. He died in a helicopter crash while trying to destroy Eclipso's tanks. These tanks were attacking the sole surviving member of the Shadow Fighter attack force, Nemesis.

The other survivors of the Shadow Force, those who had not attacked Eclipso directly, regrouped. Eclipso attacked them with a Parador missile which they evaded using Nightshade's teleportation ability. During the escape, Mona's father was snatched from their vehicle, but he later returned alive. The survivors arrived in the United Nations building, just in time to foil another plot of Eclipso by landing their vehicle on his intended victim.

Bruce Gordon and Mona Bennet led the Earth's superheroes in an attack on Parador, in an attempt to destroy Eclipso once and for all. Eclipso revealed that he dare not kill Bruce and Mona, because their unborn child will time travel to the past as an adult and free Eclipso from the diamond.

Eclipso was finally defeated when the Phantom Stranger gathered all one thousand black diamond shards and fused them back together into the Heart of Darkness, imprisoning Eclipso again. His physical body, the adult child of Mona and Bruce, evaporated in front of his parents.

Spectre[edit]

Later in the 1990s, the series The Spectre gave key revelations about Eclipso. The Spectre was not the first embodiment of the wrath of God, but was Eclipso's replacement. Series writer John Ostrander chose to portray this as a distinction between the Spectre's pursuit of "vengeance" and Eclipso's pursuit of "revenge". In a Biblical context, Eclipso was responsible for Noah's Flood, while the Spectre was the Angel of Death who slew the first-born Egyptian children.

The Spectre destroys the Heart of Darkness along with the remains of Eclipso's palace on the moon, burning them to ash with the Holy Power of God and casting the ashes into space.

Countdown to Mystery[edit]

In the Countdown to Mystery series, Eclipso puts a new plan into motion, corrupting the heroes Plastic Man, Creeper, and Dove, at the same time tasking a group of magi to recover and recombine the pieces of the heart of darkness.

In Countdown to Mystery #3, Crispus Allen, the Spectre's current host, tracks down Bruce Gordon. In #4, Eclipso once again takes Gordon as a host. Then, in #5, Bruce is shown to have some control over Eclipso's powers, but can be overwhelmed by his persona if he uses too much at once. In #7, Bruce manages to free the heroes from their corruption, but is overwhelmed by Eclipso when his ex-wife is threatened. Eclipso then joins with the completed heart of darkness, exponentially increasing his powers and faces off against the Spectre. In #8, Bruce, spurred on by Crispus, finally manages to take control of Eclipso, although the two cannot be separated.

Rise of Eclipso[edit]

During the Brightest Day event, a mysterious being known as The Entity tells Jade to help her brother, Obsidian "balance the darkness", as he will ultimately save her friends from an unidentified threat. As the Entity says this, a grinning vision of Eclipso appears behind Jade.[4]

Following this, Eclipso reawakens within Bruce, destroying Diablo Island and apparently killing Mona in the process. Eclipso subsequently kidnaps the Shade, Acrata, Nightshade, Shadow Thief, a French supervillainess named Bette Noir and a Canadian superhero named Dark Crow, all of whom possess shadow-based abilities. After brainwashing his captives and bringing them under his mental control, Eclipso travels to an extradimensional plane, where he frees a demonic entity known as Sythunu, who agrees to serve Eclipso. With his small team ready, Eclipso travels to the Emerald City that Alan Scott established on the moon, stating that he now wishes to capture Jade.[5] After taking over Jade, Eclipso defeats and possesses the Justice League's reserve roster (consisting of Cyborg, Doctor Light, Red Tornado, Animal Man, Tasmanian Devil, and Bulleteer), and then badly injures the angel Zauriel. With the Justice League outnumbered, Eclipso then reveals his ultimate goal is to somehow kill God.[6] Eclipso then tortures Zauriel, causing his screams to attract the attention of the new Spectre, Crispus Allen. The Spectre arrives on the moon, where Eclipso ambushes and kills him, absorbing the Spectre's powers upon his demise. With his newfound abilities, Eclipso reveals that God relies on the collective love of humanity in order to stay alive, and that by destroying the Earth, Eclipso will ultimately kill God once and for all. Just as the members of the JLA prepare to wage a counterattack, Eclipso destroys the moon, apparently dooming all life on Earth.[7] With the moon destroyed, Eclipso then seemingly kills Donna Troy, the physically strongest remaining member of the Justice League.[8] However, it is ultimately revealed that Donna's death was an illusion conjured by Saint Walker, who used his blue power ring to temporarily trap Eclipso in a state of euphoria. After the Atom and Starman break Eclipso's link to his brainwashed slaves, the combined heroes attack Eclipso together, defeating him.[9]

Alex Montez[edit]

Alex Montez as Eclipso. Art by John Watson.

Eclipso returns after several years' absence in the "Princes of Darkness" storyline in JSA as an ally of the other villains Mordru and Obsidian. Alexander Montez, cousin of Yolanda, vows revenge on Eclipso for Yolanda's death. To this end, he gathers the 1,000 black diamonds, liquifies them and injects them into himself; all save one, which he keeps to evoke Eclipso. Exactly how Eclipso's diamonds had returned was unknown. Montez covers his body in tribal tattoos he claims he had learned about on Diablo Island. With these tattoos, Montez can summon all the powers of Eclipso by triggering the diamond with his anger, while remaining in control of himself and keeping Eclipso trapped within. As the new Eclipso, he joins the short-lived team of loose-cannon heroes assembled by Black Adam, which was the subject of the subsequent storyline "Black Reign".

During Adam's reign in Kahndaq, Alex becomes romantically involved with his teammate Soseh Mykros, the female Nemesis. However, during a battle, one of Alex's binding glyphs (which keeps Eclipso in control) is broken via a shoulder wound. Eclipso soon kills Nemesis. Alex commits suicide in order to prevent Eclipso from controlling him further. This story was significant as it meant that Eclipso no longer had a limitless number of black diamonds waiting out in the world for him to utilize.

Interestingly, this incarnation of Eclipso was never shown using any power but his eye blasts.

In Countdown to Mystery #4, Alex's body is acquired by Eclipso's followers for an as-yet-unknown magic ritual. In #6, all of the black diamond fragments in his body are recombined into their original form.

Alex Montez makes his New 52 debut in Team 7 issue #2. Five years in the past, Alex is depicted as a doctor from Arkham Asylum who was working a new formula set to rehabilitate prisoners on a prison called "The Float". After the prisoners rebel, he helps Team 7 take back control. However this is revealed to be a ruse as Montez was controlled by Eclipso in order to crash the Float into Sentinel Island, where the Black Diamond is kept, and retrieve it is.[10] In the present, Alex recovers the Black Diamond, becoming Eclipso's new host.[11]

"Lightning Strikes Twice"[edit]

Despite the loss of the other black diamonds, the disembodied Eclipso then tries to possess Superman by antagonizing him through many deaths.[12] He eventually possesses Superman by upsetting him via his possession of Lois Lane.[13] At this point, the wizard Shazam steps in by sending Captain Marvel to fight the possessed Eclipso-Superman. Thanks to Superman's weakness to magic, Captain Marvel is able to do a significant amount of damage to Eclipso. A prominent method of attack he uses is to continuously trigger his transformations in close proximity to Superman, resulting in the lightning striking Eclipso.[14]

Eventually, Shazam himself removes Eclipso from Superman by calling upon the hostless Spectre himself to do it. The Spectre forces Eclipso back into a lone black diamond. The Spectre then warns Shazam that he has made an enemy of Eclipso and that the currently-hostless Spectre will no longer be able to defend him as he lacks the coherence necessary to effectively recall anything beyond his 'mission'. At the end of this series, the black diamond is seen appearing in Jean Loring's cell in Arkham Asylum.[14]

Jean Loring[edit]

Jean Loring as Eclipso. Art by Justiniano.

In the Day of Vengeance miniseries, which tied into the Infinite Crisis event, Jean Loring, ex-wife of Atom (Ray Palmer) and murderer of Sue Dibny as seen in the Identity Crisis miniseries, discovered the last black diamond in her prison cell, became the new Eclipso and tricks Spectre into attacking magic-based heroes as her revenge against Shazam, who was eventually slain while fighting the Spectre. After fending off multiple attacks upon herself, Eclipso-Loring was eventually teleported to a non-decaying orbit around the sun by Nightshade.

In the pages of Infinite Crisis, it was revealed by Alexander Luthor, Jr. that he had sent Superboy-Prime to recover the black diamond and that the Psycho-Pirate delivered it to Loring on Alex's orders and manipulated Eclipso into manipulating the Spectre. This was all done in the interests of breaking magic down into raw magical energy, which Alexander could use for his own ends. The death of Shazam was particularly useful, as his various champions then became a tether of power. All Alex had to do was capture one of them, make them say 'Shazam' and they would summon their lightning bolt to power his machine.

In Week Twenty-Seven of 52, Ralph Dibny, on a quest to restore his wife Sue to life and guided by the helmet of Doctor Fate, approaches the Spectre and promises to fulfill any bargain that the Spectre demands in order to restore his wife to life.

The Spectre, desiring revenge on Eclipso for his manipulations of him during the Infinite Crisis but rendered incapable of taking it owing to his present lack of a host, orders Dibny to punish Eclipso in return for his wife's life. Dibny, realizing that this meant punishing Jean Loring, his wife's murderer and temporarily granted the power of the Spectre, takes Eclipso back to the point at which she (as Jean Loring) murdered his wife and, restoring Jean's sanity, ruthlessly intends to trap her in a permanent time loop and force her to watch herself murder Sue Dibny over and over for all eternity.

Her sanity restored and Eclipso purged out of her, a terrified Loring tearfully begs for forgiveness, screaming that she was crazy when she murdered Sue and that it 'wasn't me!'. Dibny, affected by her pleas, his sense of compassion and his own feelings on watching his wife's death, finds himself incapable of such ruthlessness and refuses to complete his pact with the Spectre, returning Eclipso to her orbit around the sun.

She has most recently been seen in Blue Beetle #16, searching for a new host. Having come to the conclusion that her hosts' corrupted souls are a cause of her failures, she tries to possess a baby with great magical potential and a pure, uncorrupted soul. She is foiled in this attempt by Blue Beetle and Traci Thirteen. She even manages to take control of Blue Beetle and grants him his "supreme desire of power", intending to use the corrupted Beetle to kill the defenders of the baby. To her utter mortification, this means Beetle's supreme wish, to become a dentist, is fulfilled, and is easily swatted aside.[15]

It was revealed in Countdown To Mystery that all of Eclipso's black diamonds were mined on Apokolips millennia ago and that Eclipso was created by Darkseid.

In "The Seduction of the Innocent" ad campaign for DC's Countdown, Eclipso's arm can be clearly seen, with Mary Marvel looking off-page and her face half-shadowed. Indeed, Eclipso is seen in Countdown #38 watching Mary Marvel and plotting to make Mary into her minion. Increasing her anger and suspicions around the other magical being around her, she manages to warp the sunny and cheery disposition of Mary into sheer anger and distrust and then offer herself as friend and confidante. After attempting to make her Darkseid's concubine, however, Mary rebels and attempts to kill her.[1]

In Countdown To Mystery, Eclipso corrupts more heroes, first Plastic Man and then setting her sights on the Creeper. Mary discovers Eclipso's manipulation of her and in Countdown #17 she sacrifices her abilities and attacks Eclipso with all her power, leaving Mary and Jean freefalling to the oceans surrounding Themyscira. Loring is last seen sinking into the ocean with a shark approaching and Eclipso returns to inhabit Bruce Gordon, declaring her lost.

The New 52[edit]

In The New 52, Eclipso is depicted as god of vengeance and once again trapped in the Heart of Darkness.[16] However a criminal organization working for Kaizen Gamorra tries to steal the item with Team 7 trying to stop them. During the fight Slade Wilson is briefly possessed by Eclipso.[17] With the help of Essence the other heroes manage to trap him again in the black diamond, which is then sent to somewhere safe.[18] Five years later, Catwoman is hired to steal the diamond, now kept in one of A.R.G.U.S secret rooms, she succeeds although she is affected by the item's magic.[19]

Eclipso is subsequently revealed to be an inhabitant of Gemworld with the powers of House Onyx and House Diamond. He was trapped in the diamond by the then Princess of House Amethyst centuries ago.[20] Now possessing Alex Montez, he is sent back to Gemworld by John Constantine, where he seizes control of the two Houses he's connected to.[21] Seeking revenge on House Amethyst, he is defeated by Princess Amaya and again trapped in the diamond.[22]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Eclipso is the primordial manifestation of God's wrath and was responsible for the Great Flood of Biblical fame. A magical being of incalculable strength, Eclipso has demonstrated the powers of flight, immortality, invulnerability, superhuman speed and stamina, advanced intellect, and the ability to emit deadly rays of dark light from his/her left eye by looking through a shard of the Heart of Darkness gem. He carries with him a seemingly unbreakable mystical sword and is a considerable swordsman.[23]

Eclipso possesses vast magical powers that allow him/her to perform such godlike feats as manipulation of the weather and seas to cause natural disasters (floods, thunderstorms, etc.), increase his/her size to that of a giant, absorb the powers of The Spectre, and project powerful energy from his/her hands that can stun or kill his/her opponents. As a former servant of God, Eclipso is able to "speak" the angelic language; a combination of harmony, discordance, vibration and telepathy.[23]

Eclipso is able to possess anyone who touches or comes into contact with the cursed Heart of Darkness gem, controlling the host's powers, behaviors and memories to Eclipso's own ends.

Other versions[edit]

JLA: The Nail[edit]

In the Elseworlds story JLA: The Nail, a restrained Bruce Gordon/Eclipso makes an appearance in Professor Hamilton's Cadmus Labs.[24]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Eclipso appears in a Justice League episode called 'Eclipsed'. Although never referred to by name, Eclipso is characterized as the collective souls of an evil race of serpent-like humanoids called "Ophidians" who imprisoned themselves in a black diamond called the "Heart of Darkness" to eventually destroy the human race. One of Eclipso's possessed human hosts, General McCormick (voiced by Bruce McGill), appears wearing the original Eclipso costume worn by Bruce Gordon, having been told by one of the general's colleagues that the best way to lure out the Justice League is to "put on a gaudy costume and threaten to hurt a lot of people". This Eclipso attempts to permanently darken the sun and possess all of the Justice League except the Flash and Batman (Batman did not appear in this episode). At first, Eclipso possesses one member of the team at a time as the black diamond is passed from hand to hand, but when Hawkgirl hastily smashes the stone, all but Flash become dusted with the fragments and are possessed as a group. However, the Flash was able to drive the spirits out of his teammates and subsequently helped them create a wormhole to drain away the black energy 'Eclipso' was using to darken the sun. Mophir (voiced by Tracey Walter) still exists in this version, but instead of helping to create Eclipso, he is a member of a tribe that guards the Heart of Darkness diamond and fights the Ophidians whenever they manage to possess a human host.

Video games[edit]

  • Eclipso appears in DC Universe Online voiced by Jason Liebrecht. He removed the Spectre's humanity on Circe's orders, driving the Spectre insane. The player joins Green Arrow and Green Lantern to fight Eclipso, and the Spectre possesses the player and easily defeats Eclipso. The Spectre then makes Eclipso disappear. Eclipso is also an ally for villain characters, assisting them in a fight against the Demon Etrigan and Zatanna.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Wallace, Dan (2008). "Eclipso". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 112. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017 
  2. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1960s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "In August's House of Secrets #61, writer Bob Haney and artist Lee Elias used a black diamond to transform Dr. Bruce Gordon into Eclipso." 
  3. ^ "Bob Haney Interviewed by Michael Catron Part Four (of Five) « The Comics Journal". Tcj.com. 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2011-01-16. [dead link]
  4. ^ Brightest Day #7 (August 2010)
  5. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #54 (February 2011)
  6. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #56 (April 2011)
  7. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #57 (May 2011)
  8. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #58 (June 2011)
  9. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #59 (July 2011)
  10. ^ Team 7 (vol. 2) #2 (January 2013)
  11. ^ Catwoman (vol. 4) #16 (March 2013)
  12. ^ Action Comics (vol. 1) #826 (June 2005)
  13. ^ Adventures of Superman #639 (June 2005)
  14. ^ a b Superman (vol. 1) #216 (June 2005)
  15. ^ Blue Beetle (vol. 7) #16 (August 2007)
  16. ^ Team 7 (vol. 2) #2 (January 2013)
  17. ^ Team 7 (vol. 2) #3 (February 2013)
  18. ^ Team 7 (vol. 2) #4 (March 2013)
  19. ^ Catwoman (vol. 4) #15 (February 2013)
  20. ^ Sword of Sorcery (vol 2) #6 (May 2013)
  21. ^ Sword of Sorcery (vol 2) #7 (June 2013)
  22. ^ Sword of Sorcery (vol 2) #8 (July 2013)
  23. ^ a b Justice League: Rise of Eclipso
  24. ^ Justice League: The Nail #3 (October 1998)

External links[edit]