(November 2005)


Chapter Six: "The Death of Magic"

Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Justiniano
Inker: Walden Wong
Colorist: Chris Chuckry
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Associate Editor: Michael Wright
Editor: Joey Cavalieri


The Spectre is literally untouchable, but his ghostly essence is fading—not fast enough, unfortunately, since Black Alice can already feel the Spectre power slipping from her grasp. While Spectre heads for higher ground, the [Shadowpact] turn full attention to Eclipso whom—owing to a tip from the Phantom Stranger mouse and to Detective Chimp's nimble mind—they dispatch by tossing her through a Nightshade portal into a close solar orbit, leaving Eclipso powerless in perpetual sunlight.

No more time lost, the Spectre has already perceived the Wizard Shazam's plan and has brought his fight to the Rock of Eternity. With a word, he depowers Captain Marvel and puts little Billy Batson to sleep, then gets into it with the Wizard.

This is a level of the game way above the capabilities of the Shadowpact, but the de-mousified Phantom Stranger has just enough power to allow them to view it as it all goes down. The Spectre takes a beating, but being a creature of pure magic—power embodied—he draws all mystic energies from his surroundings and even the Wizard, himself, and destroys everything.

Shadowpact group shot's that bad. The Rock of Eternity shatters into a million little pieces,1 distributing wild, dark energies across the globe. But the Shadowpact have lived to fight another day.



I think this is where this mini-series falters for some readers. In the true climax to the series, the Shadowpact take a back seat. Realistically, it was inevitable that this group would fail to suppress the Spectre—and you would hear plenty calling "foul" if it ever happened—but there is still something less than satisfying in having your book's heroes functioning as a passive audience to the story's dramatic conclusion. This was a bold gambit on the part of Bill Willingham, and it almost pays off but for a problem inherent to this Countdown to Infinite Crisis concept, itself: it doesn't have a true ending.

Because this is essentially a mere lead-ins to a much larger event, INFINITE CRISIS, a satisfying ending was probably too much for which to ask from DAY OF VENGEANCE. Still, you can't shake the feeling that you've just been to a baseball game that got rained out half-way through.

In fairness, the Shadowpact do handle Eclipso, and that's fun. Willingham is good at coming up with unexpected paths to solving a tough problem. I read an issue of FABLES once where instead of attempting to defeat a powerful djinn, the characters merely hexed the wisher so that he unwittingly wished for his own doom. Hurling Elicpso into a non-decaying orbit around the sun probably doesn't rank up there with twists like that one, but it's still more interesting than a simple beat-down.

Not that there's anything wrong, really, with a simple beat-down (and after issues of our heroes getting the tar beaten out of them, it might have been cathartic to witness them take some retribution out of Eclipso's hide, but oh well). People have pointed out logical holes in this solution, but not knowing too much about Eclipso, myself, I don't really care. It works for the purpose of this story, so I'm willing to give Willingham a pass on anything else.

This page last updated 22 October 2007.

1. Go to hell, James Frey. You can't own that expression.

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