Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Eclipso #11, #12, And #13

We are rushing to the end of my Leviathan Wednesdays. Checkmate is coming out in two weeks. We will see just what Mark Shaw is planning on doing as Leviathan. 

Last week I covered Manhunter #14 and #15 in which we learned just how broken Mark Shaw was, just how devious the DEO was, just how horrible Shaw was used by the various espionage agencies in the DCU. No wonder he rebelled.

In that review we were shown how Manhunter was killed by a thrall of Eclipso. But that Manhunter was not Mark Shaw; it was another DEO agent programmed to think he was Shaw, including all the backstory.

Given I knew that Manhunter wasn't Shaw, I thought I could skip reviewing the Eclipso issues. But the truth is, if I was deep diving into Shaw's history, I thought I should cover it. Moreover, I ran a twitter poll asking if I should run it. God bless the 16 people who voted! 12 said cover the issues.

So here we are. Eclipso #11-13 was written by Robert Loren Fleming with art by Audwynn Jermaine Newman and Ray Kryssing. Succinctly, it is a bloodbath. Fleming has a unofficial Suicide Squad invade a tropical island under the complete control of Eclipso. Not many make it out.

Now I will try to look at this story from the perspective that this is Mark Shaw. I'll also look at it from the viewpoint that this is that nameless DEO agent thinking he is Shaw. Either way, Shaw has reason to be angry.

The art is very much 90's extreme. Newman and Kressing have a style that looks like a perfect amalgam of Erik Larsen and Bart Sears. Somehow it works for this story and it's crazy plot. 

On to the book. Settle in.

'A Call To Arms' opens at the Peacemaker's headquarters. Someone is in there unannounced.

Nothing like a splash page of guns to say 'Exxtreme'!

The trespasser is the original Commander Steel .

Amanda Waller needs to get to the island of Parador, currently completely under the control of Eclipso.

But more importantly, inside Parador is Carmina Burana, the young daughter of a drug lord imprisoned in Belle Reve. Little Carmina is the only person alive who knows where 3 billion in American cash is hidden on the island. The drug lord promised Amanda Waller the money, perhaps for some leniency of his sentence.

Waller asks Sarge Steel for help invading. She makes it sound like she is doing it to rescue Carmina or to get the cash? Is Steel in it free a country from a demon or for the money? Unfortunately, I can't 100% believe they want to do it to save this girl or these people.

We have seen how self-serving Steel and Waller can be. We can see how they throw bodies at problems. And we see how they can destroy people like Mark Shaw.

And what a motley crew they assemble.

We know about the Peacemaker and Commander Steel. We see Bruce Gordon, the former human host of Eclipso and his fiancee Mona. And then they get the Creeper! 

And the Creeper goes and recruits Mark Shaw Manhunter.

We see the Creeper break into Southern Cross Salvage Corporation, the business Shaw retired to in his Manhunter solo title. But the sign is hanging askew, the fence bent. It is clear that business isn't booming.

Shaw almost immediately agrees to join The Creeper. He sends a mental message to the Manhunter leader N'Lasa to send him his staff.

But you can tell that life hasn't gone well for Shaw. The business condition and the speed in which he agrees to don the Manhunter gear again shows that. Why sign up for Waller's missions again unless you're desperate for validation.

And then even more people join the group. Chunk, Will Magnus, Major Victory, Dr. Mid-Nite, Wildcat, and Nemesis all sign on.

Look at them. Would any of them be missed horribly at this point in the DCU? 

The writing was on the wall.

They set up shop on a nearby island to prepare the mission.

They have a flying saucer ship. They have Peacemaker's attack helicopter. They have solar weapons including the Sunburst 3000, a sunlight bomb that will light up the whole island for 300 seconds. .

But you can see how they simply aren't prepared.  There is no clear plan. 

And the flying saucer goes out of control forcing the team to run for cover from themselves!

I am as big a Creeper fans as there is. But this Creeper is sort of gross.

Inside the Burana estate, Carmina is being tortured by her uncle who is under Eclipso's control. But she isn't saying anything. 

As for the squad, inside the Burana compound is a man named Guzman. He cuts the wires to the defense system letting the group in. They land with the Sunburst 3000 (which looks like a little version of Solaris the Sun-King) and get down to it.

But it is clear from the opening page of 'Hour of Darkness' that this team is not a team and in a whole world of trouble.

Everything on this island is Eclipso corrupted. Not just the people. Even the animals are in the darkness.

In the opening pages, the Creeper is hunted down and killed and eaten by Eclipso hyenas. 


When they hear the Creeper die, the band knows they have a problem and they need to get ready.

Instead of using his skills and his souped up Manhunter staff, Shaw instead grabs a mega-gun the team has bought to hold off the Eclipso horde.

The weapon doesn't work. Shaw is impaled by a giant rock.

So interesting that this Manhunter died because technology failed. Using the highest technology and grabbing it where and when he can is a Leviathan motif.

As he is dying, Shaw psionically sends his staff back to N'Lasa. He won't let that fall into Eclipso's hands. 

And so, this Manhunter dies.

If it is Mark Shaw, he was once again set up by Amanda Waller and Sarge Steel, ramping up the vendetta against them and their groups. 

If it isn't Mark Shaw, Shaw still has beef for Steel sending this guy off as cannon fodder.

As I said, it's a bloodbath.
Carmina's uncle is freed from Eclipso's control. But when he tries to run with the money, he is stabbed to death by young Carmina.
She is then shot in the head.
Most every other hero is killed in action. Only Bruce and Mona escape.
The Peacemaker dies when he crashes his ship into the Sunburst 3000 detonating it.

But the bodies are piled up, including Manhunter.

In Back Issue #126, Fleming talks about how he knew the intent of these issues was just to kill off these heroes to amp up Eclipso as a threat. I like how he reached out to the creators. Interesting that Kim Yale was upset. But I like that Fleming at least tied it into all the Manhunter plots and history we learned in his own book. 

But this all makes more sense in the context of Event Leviathan.

We know this isn't Shaw but someone programmed by nanites to think he is. Perhaps it is that technique he uses to convert people to his cause. How else did he enlist all those agents from those spy groups. Perhaps that is why he says 'we are Leviathan' because he has programmed them all to be sort of copies of him. And with Waller and Steel continuing to be duplicitous, no wonder Shaw is vengeful. 

I don't know if I needed to cover these books. But knowing this wasn't Shaw made it click even more.

See you next week!

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