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The Great Eclipso Superhero Massacre of 1993

This is "Death Takes Its Toll," a feature spotlighting comic book deaths that I thought were particular wastes of a worthwhile character. This is sort of like my feature about notable examples of characters being "fridged," except that this is open to all sorts of characters and not just those that have been fridged.

Although, unsurprisingly, the first few heroes featured have all been women. My buddy Will Harris suggested this one, the deaths of Doctor Mid-Nite and Wildcat in the great Eclipso massacre of 1993.

Eclipso: The Darkness Within was one of the better company-wide Summer Annuals crossovers that either DC Comics or Marvel Comics came up with. Written by Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming, the concept of the series was that Eclipso, a relatively minor villain from the 1960s (who had the great hook that he was stuck in the body of a heroic scientist named Bruce Gordon, but whenever an eclipse occurred, Eclipso would take over Gordon's body and go off and do some villainous stuff), now had the ability to possess anyone who was holding a special black diamond (that had been scattered around the globe) when they were angry.

Eclipso planned to possess as many superheroes as he could as part of a plan to eventually conquer the Earth. The Annuals showed various heroes getting possessed and then an awesome story where the remaining superheroes have to free a possessed Superman (one of Guy Gardner's best moments of all-time took place in that story arc, when he was the only superhero able to break Eclipso's control of Superman - a victory made all the more sweet by the fact that Eclipso had previously possessed Gardner and then discarded him as not being useful enough to him, since Guy had then-recently lost his Green Lantern ring). The heroes then stop Eclipso's plan from his base on the moon (they are led by Bruce Gordon, who has built a variety of solar-powered weapons for the non-possessed heroes to use - most of the non-possessed heroes were of the weaker side of things, power-wise), but Starman seemingly dies in the process (all crossovers have to include at least one superhero dying, apparently).

Eclipso then decided that his problem was that his plan was too visible and he tried to work in secret, but Lar Gand (the superhero who was known as Mon-El before Crisis got rid of Superboy's existence) took on the new superhero name of Valor and stopped Eclipso's SECRET plan. So now Eclipso was like, screw it, I'm going to just take over my own country. So he possessed the people of the small South American country of Parador (likely a reference to the then-recent film, Moon Over Parador, where Richard Dreyfuss plays an actor hired to impersonate a small South American country's dictator after the dictator dies suddenly) and used the drug money from the country to help fund his future attempts to take over the world.

Bruce Gordon, through his connection to Eclipso, figures out what the villain is up to and he tries to get the big league superheroes to help him but they all turn him down...

He then turns to Amanda Waller, who was in semi-retirement following the end of the amazing Suicide Squad comic book series.

She sends Gordon, Gordon's wife, Mona, the Creeper and Cave Carson into Parador to see what Eclipso is up to...

(Bart Sears and Ray Kryssing drew the first three issues of the series to help give it a big launch before they moved on to other titles)

Their mission goes horribly wrong and Carson's legs are both broken, but at least they know Eclipso is a credible threat, so they put together a team of superheroes known as the Shadow Fighters. The Shadow Fighters specifically go into Parador to save a little girl who has been kidnapped by Eclipso.

Things do not go well for the Shadow Fighters...

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