The JLA’s battle against Eclipso and his horde continues, with brains proving as important as brawn, as the team recognises that the Shade is key to defeating the dark god. Batman organises the fightback into two fronts – one subteam distracts Eclipso while another shoots a bullet – carrying the Atom and Starman – into the Shade’s brain. As the Atom and Starman reach Shade’s corrupted control centres, Donna Troy is revealed as the JLA’s secret weapon against Eclipso. And she dies …
… well, maybe. She’s certainly skewered, but the Blue Lantern, Saint Walker, has set up an expectation that Donna will be renewed with energies certain to prove potent against Eclipso. The key is Donna’s ruddy miserable past – dead husband, lost child, thousands of tragic alternate lives … this sort of thing changes a gal. Basically, Donna is going to beat Eclipso with continuity.
And it’s continuity that is key to several surprises here. Atom is summoned by Batman Dick because he remembers that Batman Bruce was once given micro-surgery by him (in a 1974 issue of the Brave and the Bold, no less); Congorilla is used as a sharpshooter rather than a brute because he’s also big game hunter Congo Bill; and long-lost L.E.G.I.O.N. member Lydea Mallor appears in an effective piece of foreboding.
Robinson is strong on character too, with all JLA members and guests getting something to do, but no one hogging the action, even while Donna gets the splashiest moment. This Rise of Eclipso serial really has seen Robinson’s JLA click as a team, facing a massive challenge and proving worthy of it. I’ll be sorry to see this era end – had it continued, I can only see the book getting better.
Especially with the addition of new penciller (according to the lettercol – yeah, right) Daniel Sampere. He doesn’t actually draw the whole issue, sharing the pages with Miguel Sepulveda, but as it’s all rather stunning my speculation stands, I think. Donna’s costume is a tad skimpy, but in the grand scheme of things – page after page of excellently choreographed action peopled by powerful, expressive heroes – it’s a minor matter. Sepulveda inks himself, while Wayne Faucher adds blacks to Sampere’s lines. Well, presumably – DC aren’t breaking down the credits as they should. The artists gel superbly, and every page has something to offer. Standouts include a splash spread on the moon showing the forces of good about to confront evil, and a right old ruckus featuring giant gorilla vs giant cephalopod (click to enlarge, and I’m only using big words cos I don’t know if that’s an octopus or a squid!).
Colourist Andrew Dalhouse and letterer Rob Leigh’s contributions are also noteworthy, as is that of most recent regular artist Brett Booth (hey, he must have done at least three issues), a cover showing Donna at her most determined.
I’ve no idea how the post-Flashpoint Justice League comic will shake out – with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee in charge, it’ll certainly sell – but I hope this run one day gets the raves it deserves.