Friday, May 31, 2013

DC Comics Presents: Some Quick Thoughts on Eclipso #13 (November, 1993)

Ah, Eclipso #13.

I was twelve when I picked this one up. Keen on the idea of seeing my then favorite character, the Creeper, in action. Not realizing that he’d be dead within three pages. Not realizing that he’d be the first of several C-List characters to be wiped out in that issue.

Peacemaker. Wildcat II. Manhunter [Mark Shaw]. Dr. Mid-Nite II. Commander Steel. And Major Victory.

All dead, tortured and butchered and burned alive, in a single issue.

This is the worst kind of story. The type where low-profile heroes, rarely used and so full of potential, are wasted simply to illustrate how powerful and merciless the villain is.

Even if you’ve never read this issue [or heard of -any- of its victims], you’re probably familiar with the concept. Like Superboy-Prime tearing through the ranks of the Teen Titans in Infinite Crisis. Where he punched Pantha’s head clean off her body and then proceeded to kill two more members— Bushido and Wildebeest. This happened only three issues after the deaths of Phantom Lady, The Human Bomb and Black Condor at the hands of the Secret Society of Super-Villains.

There are comic fans who couldn’t care less about these obscure characters and that’s okay. Not every hero is going to be Batman or Iron Man or Wolverine. They won’t get movies, action figures and lunch boxes. Most of them won’t even get their own mini-series. But to some readers [like myself], they matter. It hurts to see them torn apart for the sake of a body count in a Big Event or to show how dangerous a bad guy can be. 


  1. Couldn't agree more with the sentiment. Just because the company (or the writer) doesn't feel like the characters are worth the time and effort any more, it doesn't mean they have to be led to the slaughter. A lot of characters were treated this way during the after-math of the Marvel Civil war when they were hunted down and killed to show how serious Registration was. Nomad was trotted out and executed during Brubaker's Winter Soldier run. Ted Kord during Infinite Crisis... Hell the entire Green Lantern League facing Hal Jordan during Emerald Twilight... I hate that small but lovable characters are always the one that suffer in the stunt-killings that big events seem to require.

    1. Ted, at least, had a moment to shine before being snuffed out in Countdown to Infinite Crisis. They showed that he could be just as [if not more] clever as Batman, since he was the only one to figure out what Maxwell Lord was up to. I was still pretty upset by his death; and was hoping with the Nu-52 reboot, maybe we'd see Ted and Booster reunited. Nothing so far.

      You're absolutely right about Nomad, though. His death felt gratuitous. A bad hint at the Winter Soldier's true identity by targeting a former "Bucky". Brubaker would follow it up towards the end of his run by killing off Demolition Man. I genuinely worried for Cap's longtime ex, Diamondback, when she started to show up, too.