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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #59 Justice League of America #59

Justice League of America #59

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 20, 2011

Cover date: September 2011

"Eclipso Rising" - Part 6: "Eclipso Triumphant"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Daniel Sampere
Inker: Wayne Faucher

Reviewed by: Ralph Silver

Click to enlarge

Eclipso is triumphant. Eclipso sits on a throne riddled with skulls. He gloats and revels in his overwhelming victory. Looking back, he decides that the death of Donna Troy was the turning point. He asserts that by subsequently controlling the populace of Earth, he broke their link to God; and thus God died.

Eclipso relives the carnage in his mind, and we view images of Donna, Batman/Dick Grayson, and Jesse Quick bleeding profusely from fatal injuries inflicted by the sword of Eclipso. Others, such as Congorilla, fall victim to Eclipso's shadow army. Eclipso then grabs the Starheart and heads to Earth, leaving the remaining heroes to die on the severed moon.

On Earth, we see Eclipso engaged in a cataclysmic battle with Earth's mightiest heroes. Many heroes and villains, such as Flash, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Superboy, Joker, Bane, Aquaman, Firestorm, Power Girl, and Harley Quinn are under Eclipso's control and are engaged in an unholy battle with other heroes and villains, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, Green Lantern (Guy Gardner), Green Arrow, Hawkman, Zatanna, Catwoman, and Lex Luthor. Eclipso plunges his sword through the torso of Superman. Death is in the air.

Eclipso's death march then moves off-planet and becomes an interplanetary event. Even the Guardians of the Universe fall victim, along with members of the Green Lantern Corps and the members of the different corps of the various colors of the spectrum.

Now Eclipso sits on his throne of skulls, alone in perfect bliss, having eliminated everything and everyone. He has only Bruce Gordon to talk to; the man who shares a body with Eclipso.

But wait! We return to the moment when Donna is engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Eclipso, as Batman urges her on. Saint Walker says that with his powers augmented due to proximity to Alan Scott and Starman, he can show someone their heart's desire. He can even do one better, and make Eclipso actually believe he has attained his heart's desire. Thus everything we have seen so far is imaginary; just Eclipso's dream!

Inside the brain of the Shade, Atom and Starman battle vicious spiders which somehow represent Eclipso's control over the Shade. Starman unleashes a mighty energy blast to vanquish the spiders. As he does that, the Shade breaks free of Eclipso's control. And since the Shade has been the conduit through which Eclipso controlled everybody; in that moment everybody wakes up.

Jade says she is really pissed at Eclipso. While Eclipso is still lost in his dream of victory, Jade and the others combine their powers to take Eclipso down. In the process, Jesse Quick reveals that her speed is back. When Donna questions her, Jesse explains that her speed never left her, it just "changed". But the full explanation will wait until next issue. The heroes pour it on, and Eclipso is defeated.

Eclipso disappears, and Bruce Gordon is left behind to bemoan his terrible fate; being forced to merge with Eclipso over and over.

Supergirl arrives, having been occupied by the battle with the Doomsdays. Then Supergirl, Alan Scott, Jade, and Saint Walker combine their powers to put the moon back together. Thus 12 minutes and 3 seconds after Eclipso split the moon in two with his sword, everything is back to normal.

As the JLA prepares to head to Earth to clean up the mess caused by the gravitational changes due to the severed moon, Atom takes a moment to praise this version of the Justice League for doing a great job. He expresses the hope that they will stay together for a long time if they want to.

Five weeks later, Batman makes it official, and disbands this version of the Justice League.

2Story - 2: This issue was rather anti-climactic. As is often the case, when a threat gets so much buildup, the resolution can be a bit of a letdown. Everything just seemed too easy. Putting the moon back together should not be a trivial task, even for these heroes.

There were few surprises this issue. Everything was predictable. We knew the journey into the brain of the Shade was going to be the solution to everything. And it was, just as expected. This felt like a "lazy" end to a very intense story arc.

But my biggest disappointment was that Robinson gave us 7 pages of Armageddon in all its horror, and then wiped it away with the "it-was-all-a-dream" explanation. I thought this was particularly lame.

There were just too many story elements that I found puzzling. For example, when Eclipso is reminiscing about how he gained control over the people of Earth, he says that he broke their link to God; and thus God died. I just don't see how one follows from the other. This notion that God is dead because people have stopped relating to Him is interesting but rather perplexing. From a previous issue, I understand that Eclipso's plan was to hurt God by hurting the people God loves. But I would think that calling this a "death" is really a misnomer; it is figurative, not literal. And it suggests that God is real, but not omnipotent. Many theologians would not agree.

When Atom and Starman encounter vicious spiders inside the brain of the Shade, we are told that this somehow is the manifestation of Eclipso's control over the Shade. I really had trouble accepting this. It seemed kind of silly.

And what was that business last issue about Talok VIII and the Eremites of the Divine? It would appear that this had nothing to do with the storyline. Why was this irrelevant scene included? And if it was actually relevant, where was the explanation? I expected the explanation to come this issue.

In Eclipso's dream, he sits on a throne in complete isolation having destroyed everything and everyone. Even the stars are gone. No companionship. No conquered hordes. Just Eclipso all alone. And he tells Bruce Gordon that he has never been happier. This is Eclipso's idea of a good time? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me that Eclipso would willingly engineer his own complete and permanent isolation.

On the final page, we see that Batman/Dick Grayson is calling for the dissolution of this version of the Justice League. This seems to come out of the blue. Now you and I know the real reason; the upcoming DC relaunch will feature a much different Justice League, as James Robinson's tenure on this book comes to a close.

But Batman certainly has his own reason. We will have to wait till next issue to find out. Next issue, #60, is the final issue of this run. It should be an interesting issue, as all personal issues hopefully find closure.

I can't wait for Justice League #1, which kicks off the relaunch!

3Art - 3: The artwork is competent, but not remarkable. A couple of images I enjoyed somewhat are the shot of Eclipso sitting on his throne of skulls on page one, and the two-page battle scene showing the heroes and villains in what amounts to a civil war, as Eclipso plunges his sword through Superman's upper body.

5Cover Art - 5: This is a grizzly and effective cover. Eclipso sits triumphantly clutching his sword, having killed all the Justice League members. At his feet are the skeletons of Batman and Saint Walker, with the skeletons of Starman and the others in the background. Eclipso looks so very satisfied.

3Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 3: Obsidian and Jade pose with a yin yang symbol behind them. This is an interesting idea that David Mack doesn't quite pull off. Obsidian looks good, but Jade looks a bit anorexic. If you want to see a great image of Jade drawn by David Mack, go back and look again at the variant cover for Justice League of America #44. Now that's a cover!

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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