Eclipso Pt. 2: House of Secrets #62
Dr. Bruce Gordon is aware of the frightening fact that during an eclipse he changes to his other self – the treacherous genius, Eclipso! Yet he is unprepared for the trap his cunning foe sets on the most improbable battlefield of all – space –
Before this, though, we see Bruce and his mentor, famed physicist Prof. Bennett, heading underwater to test a different method for preventing the transformation: the darkness of the ocean depths. Heartbroken after their break-up, Mona is a stow away…
…to find out why Bruce and Dad are acting so strangely lately! There’s an awful mystery about Bruce neither will reveal.
Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, things don’t work out as planned…
Eclipso’s costume is hidden back in the lab, but not his black diamond. It has been ground into powder and placed into a fountain pen that he is able to reconstitute into his “raven jewel” ready to serve him. He then uses it to escape.
Once more, I’ve unleashed myself on a helpless world – and this time nothing will ever change me back into Bruce Gordon!
Nothing, that is, except a grounded high-tension wire that he crosses.
The next morning, the pair of scientists begins preparing for a test of the two-man space capsule they designed. Days later, in space, we learn that not only has Dr. Bennett been fooled, but so have we:
Not only this, but the man sent from the government to assist them with the test, Dr. Karko, is a foreign spy and Eclipso’s ally!
As the tail of a comet brushes against the capsule, Bruce temporarily returns and takes drastic measures to protect the ones he loves and his home planet…
Ultimately, Bruce is able to beat Eclipso at his own game by using a few pounds of thrust from his jet pack to alter the capsule’s position and avoid the black cone. Back on Earth, Karko is arrested and…
There’s nothing on the cover of House of Secrets #62 to indicate there’s an Eclipso story inside. Nevertheless, after a 10-page Mark Merlin tale, a two-page short (Door of No Return), and a one-half page/5-panel strip for Moolah the Mystic, we get an out of this world splash page for a 13-page Eclipso story, Duel of the Divided Man:
After reading comics for decades now, I’m rarely surprised, especially by one that’s as old as I am. However, I did not anticipate Eclipso’s ruse in the middle of the story. (Neither did I suspect that Karko was a bad guy, but that’s not really a significant plot point.) I liked the twist and we’re learning more about the villain’s mind than we are witnessing his actions.
This is a good follow-up to Eclipso’s introduction in House of Secrets #61 and, as the longest story in #62, it’s almost like two stories in one. We don’t see Eclipso in full, costumed form (and I don’t know why he is always compelled to wear it when he transforms), however, we do see a fun transformation that reminds me of those Man-Bat panels I love so much (see above.)
Title: House of Secrets
Issue #: 62
Cover Date: Sept/Oct 1963
On Sale Date: July 11, 1963
Writer: Bob Haney
Artist: Lee Elias
Editor: Murray Boltinoff