Writer Zack Kaplan discusses “being hopeful in dark times” in a letter to fans, which can be seen in the trade paperback, Eclipse: Volume One. The theme of hope in this story does not get lost in translation, especially since Kaplan has created a world where life must be preciously captured in the darkness.
This volume collects issues one through four, clearly demonstrating the aftermath of an epic catastrophe known as “the flare,” without showing any signs of this being Kaplan’s “first comic book.” The introduction of this story immediately showcases that something is terribly wrong with this world; a large crowd is being told to vacate Times Square as nighttime comes to an end. Many of them leave the area by walking down into a subway, and as the clock ticks, a massive metallic door shuts to seal everyone inside before morning’s first light crosses their paths.
Artist Giovanni Timpano and colorist Chris Northrop come together to reveal the devastating effects of the sun, perfectly realized in the cover page. The enormous sun beams brightly indicate why buildings are damaged beyond repair, as if sections have been burned out of existence from the heat. One structure, seemingly near its inevitable collapse, provides a landing point for our main character, Bax. Despite the destruction amongst the barren, yellow-tinged background, Bax and his protective suit show that survival is possible in the light of day. The uncertainty of the ground he stands upon further foreshadows the dangers associated with being outside. A simple electrical or plumbing issue on a rooftop somewhere means taking extra precautions to avoid damaging your suit.
Living in a world where only a select few have the ability to wear these suits, it emphasizes how difficult it’s been to adapt to such a harsh reality. Making matters worse, those brave enough to walk in the sunlight uncover a gruesome scene of a murder mystery, with the sun as the weapon, and steaming, gooey remains as the result. The ingenuity of creating such a villain further intensifies a tale already clever enough to survive without him. Hiding in the shadows for survival has become normal; however, if someone were to cast reflections of the sun through mirrors, then the world becomes much scarier than previously thought possible.
Eclipse allows the reader to follow Bax, eventually learning about his background as a hero and the ultimate heartache that’s left him alone in the darkness. This four-part collection holds a great self-containing story, while producing enough character development and conspiracy to definitely want to follow future issues from Top Cow Productions, an imprint of Image Comics. In addition to a great science fiction and amazingly surreal images, this trade paperback includes “a peek behind the scenes of the creative process of Eclipse!” Kaplan, Timpano, Northrop, and letterer Troy Peteri give personal descriptions on their approach to writing and drawing particular characters or scenes, which also include bios and sketches of some of our characters. There is also a comic book cover gallery for each of the first four issues, and a look at governmental letters that provide a unique glimpse into the political makeup tangled within. The creators of this series have heat-fused dystopian fiction with murder and intrigue, making the world of Eclipse delightfully chilling.
Eclipse: Volume One is available in print and digital form.