So yeah. Let's talk about Eclipso.
I used to be a really huge fan of Eclipso. I like crazy costumes, evil powers, and general ominousness. (is that a word?) Eclipso's got all of those. Or at least he used to.
And yeah, I am
referring to Eclipso as "he" even though the current host of Eclipso is one Jean Loring. But solicitation previews
prove that Eclipso's going back into Bruce Gordon where he belongs.
Eclipso is a brilliant idea with a truly unique character design. But somewhere along the way Eclipso lost his way. I think it all started during the Eclipso: The Darkness Within
event (of which I own every issue) that ran through all of DC's annuals sometime back in the 90's. It was an attempt to jazzercise Eclipso into a "hip," "radical" 90's super-villain. Which meant he had to kill a lot of people. And not in a stylish, 1930's Joker kind of way.
So Eclipso's one diamond was split into multiples and everybody and their brother got possessed by Eclipso. There was a lot of nasty stuff, a palace on the moon, and then it ended. Also, one of the Starmen was involved. I think it was the one that no one liked.
Anyway, after that Eclipso had a short-lived series where her killed a lot more people and also tried to kill Sherlock Holmes. (seriously!) He'd lost his nifty costume by this point and had been redesigned with an edgy, 90's sensibility. It was pretty awful.
So Eclipso needed fixing by this point. And lo, when the character with broken continuity needed fixing the Geoff Johns did descend from the heavens and all was right again. And so it was in Johns' JSA
arc Princes of Darkness
where Eclipso was back to his old tricks (and costume). He wrecked up a good portion of the JSA in that way he does until Jay Garrick stopped him with some well-thrown bricks and his hat. Stylish.
Eclipso was back to one diamond and all seemed right with the world. But then Infinite Crisis
started sneaking up on us. And who got the diamond? Resident DCU crazy lady, bad guy, and murderer Jean Loring. And that, my friends, does not work
. I will tell you why.
The thing that made Eclipso work as a character were not his evil powers or his awesome hat. It was the dichotomy. That classic dichotomy of good and Evil. When Bruce Gordon was Eclipso, he knew that at any moment something could go wrong and he'd lose control of his body to a dangerous, malevolent entity. And that equals drama
If the person Eclipso is possessing is just as bad (or possibly worse) than Eclipso, then that dichotomy does not exist
. And without it, the Eclipso concept is simply broken. You end up with just another super-villain who shoots beams out of his eyes (or eye, as the case may be).
Eclipso's host needs to be in a constant struggle with him, a representative of that internal struggle between good an evil. Writers at DC often try to use Two-Face to represent that struggle. But as smarter men than me have pointed out, Two-Face isn't about that: he'ss a character for whom there is no difference between good and evil. Flip a coin: it doesn't matter what the answer is because they're both the same.
But it's not that way with Eclipso. For Eclipso is distinctly about that struggle. And without it, the character simply will not work. Luckily, things seems to be getting back on track in Countdown to Mystery
(which is awesome and you should all be reading it). Eclipso is being returned to Bruce Gordon -- where he belongs.
And once again we will get to see the conflict between good and evil that rages inside all of us played out in a grand fashion on the streets of the DCU.