Eclipse Vol. 1
Zack Kaplan, writer; Giovanni Timpano, artist; Chris Northrop, colorist
Image Comics, 2017

Writer Zack Kaplan makes his comics debut with this dystopian story. The setting looks contemporary. But ten years previously the world suffered a cataclysmic solar event, the Z4 Solar Flare. It killed billions of people--nearly everyone who was outdoors at the time--and rendered the surface of the planet uninhabitable during daylight hours. The sun is so intense it will melt your skin off. Naturally the societal changes are massive: society moved underground (exacerbating the distance between the haves and have-nots), and protective suits called "iceman suits" were developed to allow police and maintenance workers to move about on the surface during daylight.

It's an interesting premise, but right from the beginning the focus shifts to a murder. It turns out there was a death threat (by someone quoting Bible verses), and solar engineer David "Bax" Baxter is called in to help protect the daughter of a solar industrialist who has also received a threat. Someone is killing people using sunlight. Bax must figure out who it is, why they are doing it, and (perhaps most importantly) how they are doing it. Apparently the killer is able to survive the sunlight, so the "how" could prove extremely valuable. The story has all the classic criminal noir elements, with the added twist that these crimes happen in the light instead of the dark.

An exciting start to the series, this first installment ends with both resolution and a cliffhanger, so it will be interesting to see where it goes next. Timpano (The Shadow, Lone Ranger) seems an odd match to the material, or maybe I just don't like his art that much. He does come up with distinctive character designs, and is good at kinetic layouts in the action sequences. The collection concludes with a lot of process material: a discussion of the cover designs and page layouts; character designs and development; coloring process; lettering; a couple of faux official documents; and a cover gallery.

 

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