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nail in someone's coffin

Eclipso

Eclipso is a fictional character, a supervillain in the DC Comics Universe. He is portrayed as having been the incarnation of the Wrath of God, the Angel of Vengeance who turned evil and was replaced by the Spectre. He first appeared in House of Secrets #61 (Aug. 1963), and was created by Bob Haney and Lee Elias.

Publication history

Originally, Eclipso was written as a generic villain with average superpowers, who would routinely enact an elaborate plot to fulfill his desires: money, power, etc. However, the Darkness Within mini-series modified the character to be an extremely evil and power-hungry entity. It has been shown repeatedly that Eclipso desires the kind of power he enjoyed while he served as a spirit of divine vengeance. He would always seek to possess beings of incredible power like Superman, Lar Gand, and Captain Marvel to achieve his ends. On several occasions, he would endanger, hurt, or even kill to achieve his goals with absolutely no remorse or hesitation. Eclipso himself is a being of spite, cruelty and hate that shows nothing but disdain for all other creatures. One of the most disturbing displays of just how evil Eclipso is was when he took control of Superman during the Lightning Strikes Twice arc. While possessing Superman, Eclipso said things to Captain Marvel like, "I'll fill the Grand Canyon with corpses!", "I'll fly to the heart of Metropolis and make a nuclear bomb seem merciful!", as well as "I'll slaughter children and wear the skins of their fathers on my back!" During the conflict, an Eclipso-possessed Superman threw an entire cruise ship (Captain Marvel managed to save the ship of people) in order to force Captain Marvel to surrender his body for possession. Ultimately, the wizard Shazam managed to summon the Spectre to banish Eclipso back to his black diamond where it later came into possession of Jean Loring.

Bruce Gordon

Eclipso's early comics debut is tied to his first modern host, Bruce Gordon, a scientist specializing in solar energy. While in the jungle in order to view a solar eclipse, Bruce was attacked by a tribal sorcerer named Mophir. Before plunging to his death off a cliff, Mophir managed to wound Bruce with a black diamond. After this, Bruce would find himself transformed into the villainous Eclipso whenever he was in the presence of an eclipse. An off-color (blue-grey or purple) circle would appear covering the rightmost two-thirds of his face, reminiscent of a partial eclipse. From this point on, Bruce would go through many Jekyll-and-Hyde-style misadventures in House of Secrets. During this period, Eclipso was portrayed as a more conventional villain, possessing super-strength, partial invulnerability and eye blasts (aided by his black diamond). Eventually, it would be found that any type of eclipse could summon Eclipso: lunar, solar, or any other object blocking out a light source. This was countered by the relatively easy way of banishing Eclipso; any bright flash of light would turn him back into Bruce Gordon.

The Darkness Within

In the early 1990s, DC revamped Eclipso in a company crossover built around the miniseries Eclipso: The Darkness Within. Here it was retconned that Eclipso was not simply Bruce Gordon's dark half, but a vengeance demon who had possessed Gordon. It also revealed that there was more than one black diamond like the one that allowed Eclipso to take possession of Bruce Gordon. There were in fact one thousand black diamonds that had been passed back and forth among people around the world without even knowing what they were. Originally, Eclipso's soul had been bound inside a giant black gemstone called the 'Heart of Darkness' in deepest Africa, until a treasure-hunter found it in the late nineteenth century. He brought it to London and had it cut into one thousand duplicate diamonds. This weakened the binding spell enough to allow Eclipso to possess anyone who became angry while in contact with one of the diamonds. No longer was he limited to possessing Gordon during an eclipse. This was just a pretense so Gordon would not know the truth about the black diamonds.

Furthermore, Eclipso could also possess multiple people and control them simultaneously. He could possess a person through a diamond and then pass it to someone else and possess him or her too. Eclipso also had the ability to "evoke" shadow-beings rather than possess a person. This happened when the person holding the diamond triggered it with anger, but that person remained passive. A shadow being would leap forth from them, leaving the host in control of themself and Eclipso in control of the shadow being.

When Lar Gand, passing through space, discovered Eclipso's palace on the moon and wandered inside, Eclipso claimed it "gave him a new idea" about possessing all of Earth's heroes and using them towards his ultimate goal, which was ostensibly the takeover of Earth and/or revenge against God for banishing him inside the Heart of Darkness. Why Eclipso hadn't thought of this approach before was not answered; he merely claimed he had spent the last several years "posing as a B-level villain" in order to remain undetected by Earth's heroes and had limited himself to targeting Gordon for the purpose of quashing Gordon's research into solar science. If Gordon had achieved his goal of making solar energy the planet's primary energy source, Eclipso would find it a very inhospitable place to live, as any solar-powered device could be used as a weapon against him.

The climax of the story saw several of Earth's heroes possessed by Eclipso and transported to the moon during an eclipse, another of his new abilities. He then absorbed these heroes into his own body, gaining their mass and also their inherent powers. Gordon led a group of heroes armed with solar weapons to the moon in an attempt to defeat Eclipso once and for all. The absorbed heroes were freed in the end, but only after Starman Will Payton destroyed Eclipso's moon base by detonating his own solar-powered body. Eclipso's diamonds still remained on Earth.

Eclipso series

Following this successful miniseries, Eclipso received a solo series. In the beginning, he takes over the South American country of Parador, one person at a time. The United States takes note. The initial investigation team consists of Cave Carson, Bruce Gordon and Bruce's fiance, Mona Bennet. Cave's legs are broken and he is left on the border.

Bruce and Mona are taken on a tour and shown various horrific atrocities, such as dead children in piles. Assisted by the Creeper they manage to escape and form a group of heroes dubbed Shadow Fighters. This group is led by Amanda Waller, formerly of the Suicide Squad. In issue #13 of the series, Eclipso defeats them conclusively, killing Wildcat II (Yolanda Montez), the 2nd Dr. Midnight, the Creeper, Commander Steel, Manhunter IV (a Mark Shaw ringer), and Major Victory. Creeper has returned to action in his own series.

The Peacemaker is also involved in this action. He dies when he crashes the helicopter he was flying, in order to destroy some Eclipso-controlled tanks. These tanks were attacking the sole surviving member of the Shadow Fighter attack force, Nemesis.

It is shown during the series that Eclipso partakes of the occasional chess game with the powerful entity Darkseid.

The survivors of the Shadow Force, those who had not attacked Eclipso directly, reform. Eclipso attacks them with a Parador missile and they barely escape with their lives, using the teleporting power of Nightshade. During the teleportation Mona's father is stolen straight out the window of the vehicle they were in but he later returns alive. The survivors arrive in the United Nations building, just in time to foil another plot of Eclipso, mainly by landing their vehicle on his current victim.

Bruce Gordon and Mona Bennet, would lead the earth's superheros in an attack on Parador, in an attempt to destroy him once and for all. During this attack, it is revealed that the reason Eclipso simply did not kill Bruce and Mona is that they would soon have an important child. The child would grow up, travel back in time and become the one who frees Eclipso from the diamond in the first place. Eclipso dared not kill Gordon or Bennett before they birth this child, lest he create a paradox or at least alter the events, which led to his freedom.

Eclipso's threat was finally removed from the Earth when the Phantom Stranger completes the long task of gathering all one thousand black diamonds from around the Earth and fusing them back together into the Heart of Darkness. This endeavour is occasionally slowed down by the need to combat various Eclipso-caused events, such as the murder of a crew of white slavers. Eclipso is once again trapped. His form, the long-possessed child of Mona and Bruce, evaporates in front of his parents.

Spectre

Later in the '90s, the series The Spectre gave key revelations about Eclipso. The Spectre was not the first embodiment of the wrath of God, but was Eclipso's replacement. Series writer John Ostrander chose to portray this as a distinction between the Spectre's pursuit of vengeance and Eclipso's pursuit of revenge. In a Biblical context, Eclipso was responsible for Noah's Flood, while the Spectre was the Angel of Death who slew the first-born Egyptian children.

The Spectre puts the final nail in Eclipso's coffin by taking the Heart of Darkness from Earth, along with the remains of Eclipso's palace on the moon, burning them to ash with the holy power of God, and casting the ashes into space.

In the Countdown to Mystery series, Eclipso puts a new plan into motion, corupting the heroes Plastic Man, Creeper, and Dove, at the same time tasking a group of homo magi to recover and recombine the pieces of the heart of darkness.

In Countdown to Mystery #3, Crispus Allen, the Spectre's current host, tracks down Bruce Gordon.

In Countdown to Mystery #4, Eclipso once again takes Gordon as a host.

In #5, Bruce is shown to have some control over Eclipso's powers, but can be overwhelmed by his persona if he uses too much at once.

In #7, Bruce manages to free the heroes from their corruption, but is overwhelmed by Eclipso when his ex-wife is threatened. Eclipso then joins with the completed heart of darkness, exponentially increasing his powers, and faces off against the Spectre.

In #8, Bruce, spurred on by Crispus, finally manages to take control of Eclipso, although the two cannot be separated.

Alex Montez

Eclipso returned after several years' absence in the "Princes of Darkness" storyline in JSA as an ally of the other shadow-based villains Mordru and Obsidian. Alexander Montez, cousin of Yolanda, vows revenge on Eclipso for Yolanda's death. To this end, he gathers the 1,000 black diamonds, liquifies them, and injects them into himself; all save one, which he keeps to evoke Eclipso. Exactly how Eclipso's diamonds had returned was unknown. Alex covers his body in tribal tattoos he claims he had learned about on Diablo Island. With these tattoos, Montez could summon all the powers of Eclipso by triggering the diamond with his anger, while remaining in control of himself and keeping Eclipso trapped within. As the new Eclipso, he joins the short-lived team of loose-cannon heroes assembled by Black Adam, which was the subject of the subsequent storyline "Black Reign".

During Adam's reign in Kahndaq, Alex becomes romantically involved with his teammate Soseh Mykros, the female Nemesis. However, during a battle, one of Alex's binding glyphs (which keeps Eclipso in control) is broken via a shoulder wound. Eclipso soon kills Nemesis. Alex kills himself in order to prevent Eclipso from controlling him further. This story was significant as it meant that Eclipso no longer had a limitless number of black diamonds waiting out in the world for him to utilize.

Interestingly, this incarnation of Eclipso was never shown using any power but his eye blasts.

In Countdown to Mystery #4, Alex's body is acquired by Eclipso's followers for an as-yet-unknown magic ritual. In #6, all of the black diamond fragments in his body are recombined into their original form.

Lightning Strikes Twice

Despite the loss of the other black diamonds, the disembodied Eclipso then tries to possess Superman by antagonizing him through many deaths. He eventually possesses Superman by upsetting him via his possession of Lois Lane. At this point, the wizard Shazam steps in by sending Captain Marvel to fight the possessed Eclipso-Superman. Thanks to Superman's weakness to magic, Captain Marvel is able to do a significant amount of damage to Eclipso; a prominent method of attack he uses is to continuously trigger his transformations in close proximity to Superman, resulting in the lightning striking Eclipso.

Eventually, Shazam himself removes Eclipso from Superman by calling upon the hostless Spectre himself to do it. The Spectre forces Eclipso back into a lone black diamond. The Spectre then warns Shazam that he's made an enemy of Eclipso and that the Spectre will no longer defend him. At the end of this series, the black diamond is seen appearing in Jean Loring's cell in Arkham Asylum.

Jean Loring

In the Day of Vengeance miniseries, which tied into the Infinite Crisis event, Jean Loring, ex-wife of Atom (Ray Palmer) and murderer of Sue Dibny as seen in the Identity Crisis miniseries, discovered the last black diamond in her prison cell, became the new Eclipso and tricks the Spectre into attacking magic-based heroes as her revenge against Shazam, who was eventually slain while fighting the Spectre. After fending off multiple attacks upon herself, Eclipso-Loring was eventually teleported to a non-decaying orbit around the sun by Nightshade.

In the pages of Infinite Crisis, it was revealed by Alexander Luthor, Jr. that he had sent Superboy-Prime to recover the black diamond, and that the Psycho-Pirate delivered it to Loring on Alex's orders and manipulated Eclipso into manipulating the Spectre. This was all done in the interests of breaking magic down into raw magical energy, which Alexander could use for his own ends. The death of Shazam was particularly useful, as his various champions then became a tether of power; all Alexander had to do was capture one of them, make them say 'Shazam', and they would summon their lightning bolt to power his machine.

In Week Twenty-Seven of 52, Ralph Dibny, on a quest to restore his wife Sue to life and guided by the helmet of Doctor Fate, approaches the Spectre and promises to fulfil any bargain that the Spectre demands in order to restore his wife to life.

The Spectre, desiring revenge on Eclipso for his manipulations of him during the Infinite Crisis but rendered incapable of taking it owing to his present lack of a host, orders Dibny to punish Eclipso in return for his wife's life; Dibny, realizing that this meant punishing Jean Loring, his wife's murderer, and temporarily granted the power of the Spectre, takes Eclipso back to the point at which she (as Jean Loring) murdered his wife and, restoring Jean's sanity, ruthlessly intends to trap her in a permanent time loop and force her to watch herself murder Sue Dibny over and over for all eternity.

Her sanity restored and Eclipso purged out of her, a terrified Loring tearfully begs for forgiveness, screaming that she was crazy when she murdered Sue and that it 'wasn't me!'. Dibny, affected by her pleas, his sense of compassion and his own feelings on watching his wife's death, finds himself incapable of such ruthlessness and refuses to complete his pact with the Spectre, returning Eclipso to her orbit around the sun.

She has most recently been seen in Blue Beetle #16, searching for a new host. Having come to the conclusion that her hosts' corrupted souls are a cause of her failures, she tries to possess a baby with great magical potential and a pure, uncorrupted soul. She is foiled in this attempt by Blue Beetle and Traci Thirteen.

It was revealed in Countdown To Mystery that all of Eclipso's black diamonds were mined on Apokolips millennia ago and that Eclipso was created by Darkseid.

In the recent "The Seduction of the Innocent" ad campaign for DC's Countdown, Eclipso's arm can be clearly seen, with Mary Marvel looking off-page and her face half-shadowed. And indeed, Eclipso is seen in Countdown #38 watching Mary Marvel and plotting to make Mary into her minion. Increasing her anger and suspicions around the other magical being around her, she manages to warp the sunny and cheery disposition of Mary into sheer anger and distrust, and then offer herself as friend and confident. After attempting to make her Darkseid's concubine, however, Mary rebels, and attempts to kill her.

In Countdown To Mystery, Eclipso corrupts more heroes, first Plastic Man and then setting her sights on the Creeper. Mary discovers Eclipso's manipulation of her, and in Countdown #17 she sacrifices her abilities and attacks Eclipso with all her power, leaving Mary and Jean freefalling to the oceans surrounding Themyscira. Loring is last seen sinking into the ocean with a shark approaching, and Eclipso returns to inhabit Bruce Gordon, declaring her lost.

Bruce Gordon once again

The Eclipso diamond however, finds a home in former host Bruce Gordon in Countdown to Mystery #4. In the same issue, Creeper and Plastic Man appear still under Eclipso's sway despite the change in power. They are at the home of billionaire Rosario Occotto, who is feeding on the Eclipso-laced blood in Alex Montez's veins. They are joined by one more corrupted hero - Dove.

Other media

  • Eclipso appears in a Justice League episode called 'Eclipsed'. Although never referred to by name, Eclipso is characterized as the collective souls of an evil race of serpent-like humanoids called "Ophidians" who imprisoned themselves in a black diamond called the "Heart of Darkness" to eventually destroy the human race. One of Eclipso's possessed human hosts General McCormick appears wearing the original Eclipso costume worn by Bruce Gordon, having been told the best way to lure out the Justice League is to "put on a gaudy costume and threaten to hurt a lot of people". This Eclipso attempts to permanently darken the sun, and possess all of the Justice League except the Flash and Batman (Batman did not appear in this episode). However, the Flash was able to drive the spirits out of his teammates and subsequently helped them create a wormhole to drain away the black energy 'Eclipso' was using to darken the sun.
  • Eclipso also appears in the video game Justice League: Chronicles, which, though based on the animated series, shows him closer to his comic version.

References

External links

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