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Eclipso Pt. 6: House of Secrets #71-73


Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 71

Cover Date: March/April 1965

On Sale Date: 1-14-1965

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff

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The Trial of Eclipso

The most wanted criminal of the age… the most unusual defendant in legal history – Eclipso – is brought before the bar of justice! And ironically, his other self, Dr. Bruce Gordon, brilliant young scientist and benefactor of humanity, is called upon to be the star witness…

From a lab making space equipment for the government, Eclipso steals a “bug” moon lander. Later that day, preparing to rob Scientific Instruments…

Eclipso’s defense attorney argues that his client is not mere human. Indeed, a doctor finds no heartbeat and says his body temperature is unlike any human being he’s ever examined.

Eclipso sends a bizarre blackmail letter to Bruce:

Gordon! If you do not help free me… the world will know you and I are one and the same!

The day of the trial…

The impossible longshot worked and Bruce has re-interned Eclipso within his body. However, later when Bruce enters the space lab hanger, he’s exposed to an artificial eclipse. He transforms into Eclipso and is arrested.

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Eclipso’s henchmen activate a machine that changes one of them into an exact duplicate of the prison warden, who then releases Eclipso. This means that when he changes back into Bruce, he’ll be in the hands of the henchmen. But…

There’s yet another switcheroo, but Bruce has planned ahead and all ends well… this time.

Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 72

Cover Date: May/June 1965

On Sale Date: 3-11-1965

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff

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The Moonstone People

Long ago it hurtled across the wastes of space – the strange rock of legendary powers! Would it help Dr. Bruce Gordon in his ceaseless battle against his arch-enemy and secret other identity, Eclipso, or would the master of darkness be the only victor…

Bruce, Mona and Prof. Bennet go to Lost Man’s Island to find the legendary moonstone that they think might cure him… on the day of an eclipse.

If the moonstone is there, it has no effect and Eclipso splits from Bruce. They soon learn that the island is not uninhabited; instead. descendants of the original people who found the moonstone have been living there happily, away from the world’s troubles.

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Eclipso’s henchmen are also on the island, and they’re headed for the top of the volcano where the main piece of the moonstone is hidden!

Eclipso takes a fall, but rises to tell Bruce…

The moonstone’s aura only weakened me briefly… but it has given me immense new powers which will make me unbeatable!

As he reaches the airplane to make his escape, Eclipso becomes the victim of Bruce’s booby trap and returns to his body.

Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 73

Cover Date: July/Aug. 1965

On Sale Date: 5-13-1965

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff

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Eclipso Battles the Sea Titan

In his fabulous career, Dr. Bruce Gordon has had his hands full just to battle the evil force that is his other self… the notorious Eclipso! But now when a mysterious menace rises from the depths to fulfill a strange destiny, the young benefactor of humanity and his criminal other identity must join forces to defeat it!

Aboard a salvage rig, Bruce raises the wreck of U-236 when a hideous being emerges from its hull.

The “bad dream” hits land and makes its way for town.

Meanwhile, Bruce has forgotten about an eclipse and, when he falls unconscious, Eclipso splits from him.

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Eclipso encounters the monster and vanquishes it with the black light from his dark diamond. Bruce pursues Eclipso…

When Eclipso again tries to vanquish it, the monster splits into three. Using the new powers he gained last issue, Eclipso juggles the monsters in the air, then slams them back together. Because what happens to Gordon will also happen to Eclipso, the two must work together to save their lives.

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And they do. Then, Bruce catches Eclipso off guard with a light bomb. Mona embraces Bruce mentioning how heroic Eclipso was fighting that awful thing. Dr. Bennet responds…

Yes, we forget he has Bruce’s brains and courage! The only difference, besides his powers, is that he’s pure evil!

Notes

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Eclipso has only a banner at the top of the covers of House of Secrets #71 and 72; however, he has the entire cover of #73 to himself... well, and a sea titan.

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I think I've figured out the inconsistency of results of eclipses on Bruce Gordon. It seems that when he experiences a "fake" eclipse, Eclipso splits from Bruce's body and when he experiences a "real" eclipse, Eclipso takes over Bruces' body. I like that this gives Gordon some semblance of control when battling his villainous alter ego.

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I've got to again call out the complexity of these stories. With the twists and turns, smarts and outsmarts, they're well-plotted. The typical 2-in-1 becomes 3-in-1 with the story in House of Secrets #71 where there's an additional twist that I didn't expect.

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I've also got to again call out those "ha, ha, ha" final panels that simultaneously summarize the concept of the character and tease his next appearance. It's so lighthearted!

House of Secrets #73 is significant for the other feature in the series. Mark Merlin "dies" and becomes Prince Ra-Man. If I'm not mistaken, the paths of the two featured stars will eventually cross, so I'll probably return to talk more about Prince Ra-Man at a later date.

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Finally, there's again a sense of continuity, as fragile as that may be. Eclipso refers to "new" powers that we saw him receive in the last issue. It's nice to watch a character and story build rather than ignore what happened previously.

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I leave you with this... certainly a bargain at any price! Sign me up!


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