By Brian K. Eason and Justin Eger
“I hate the talkers.” — Hawkman
Welcome to TRINGENUITY, CBR’s ongoing commentary of DC Comics’ weekly superhero series, “Trinity.” The title is divided into two features; the first focuses on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, while the second feature portrays background or tangential events that relate to the ongoing lead storyline. “Trinity” is a weekly series that is promised to be epic in scale and help define the trio of heroes’ mythical place in the DC Universe.
The Justice League overtook the Syndicate’s security systems while John Stewart’s transformations continued. Superman, whose personality continued to blend with that of Wonder Woman and Batman, battled and single-handedly defeated the Anti-Earth Trinity. Enigma, alarmed by the actions of the JLA, tried to convince the Troika to counter-attack the League. Morgaine Le Fey and Despero Were not easily swayed and Enigma escaped to Anti-Earth. Superman discovered the villains’ plan and banished the Anti-Trinity to an interdimensional void. Without their leadership, the people of Anti-Earth went berserk and conflict erupted globally.
Having learned how the Troika’s spell might work, Hawkman, Gangbuster and an assortment of DCU heroes including the Birds of Prey, the Outsiders and both the Titans and Teen Titans staked out villains from Wonder Woman’s past. Gangbuster and Hawkman took the cemetery where Max Lord is buried, and were the first to confront the Troika’s henchmen. As the duo began the fight, Sun-Chained-In-Ink’s powered began to erupt, and Oracle called in the reinforcements, teleporting everyone to the scene of the fight with the Justice League’s transfer system.
Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley and Art Thibert kick off the action once again this week, showing everyone (including the JLA) the ramifications of Anti-Matter Earth minus the Crime Syndicate’s leaders. Rioting is rampant, and the population has turned on each other, while other long-hidden metahumans have come out of the woodwork to carve a piece of the planet for themselves. As if that weren’t enough, the JLA surmised that the Anti-Matter Earth, now lacking its own Trinity, is trying to assimilate Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, and their own bond has begun to work against them, leaving the heroes indecisive and unable to respond to the threats.
Meanwhile, The Atom, John Stewart and Firestorm work with ray Palmer to create a device that will send everyone back home, including the CSA’s captured slaves. Constructing the device through John’s mysterious new powers and Firestorm’s ability to forge anything, the heroes ready their plan, only to have Enigma strike and use the device to send everyone away before the heroes made anything worse on his home planet. Back on Earth, Despero’s minions strike, branding Superman with another arcane symbol.
Our back-up feature this week is brought to us by Fabian Nicieza and Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher. Sun-Chained-In-Ink is threatening to unleash the power of the star bound within him while Hawkman, Nightwing, Robin and the combined forces of the Outsiders, Titans and Teen Titans attempt to stop the agents of the Troika from stealing the body of Maxwell Lord, the last element in the objects tied to Wonder Woman.
Recovering Lord’s coffin from Primat, Hawkman uses the vessel as a bludgeon against Sun-Chained-In-Ink. In the end, only the combined forces of the gathered heroes are able to contain Sun-Chained-In-Ink and remove him from the Earth, where the villain explodes, unleashing his stellar energies. Despite their victory, the Agent of the Troika called TVM escape with their prize.
Justin Eger: Something we’ve been neglectful of has been addressing the covers of each issue, each a triptych from some of the best artists at DC. This week is the second part of a design by Jim Lee featuring our Trinity and the Anti-Matter Trinity in battle.
Brian Eason: These covers have been amazing and have been sited by fans as drawing them to this book, and the amazing stories keep them coming back.
JE: The two Trinities are also a very important story element, as we get more bleed-over between the three leads.
BE: This is a bad thing. These three are becoming more incapable of acting effectively as a result. Their decisions have left Anti-Earth in a state of chaos.
JE: And not one of them has any idea how to react.
BE: And I believe that’s supposed to be the point. Without the Trinity in their position as prime movers, the League lacks their key direction.
JE: Then there’s the fact that the Anti-Matter Earth is trying to usurp our three heroes.
BE: I love that idea. Now that Superman has banished the Anti-Trinity, Anti-Earth needs a new one.
JE: And who better? Still, I wonder if, in the absence of our three heroes, would the immediate successors of the CSA’s leaders take over?
BE: I believe the CSA is having the same issues as the JLA. They are rudderless without their Trinity.
JE: I thought that Vixen putting the pieces together was pretty interesting.
BE: She’s a smart character and I’m glad to see her being written that way.
JE: And she’s got plenty of experience with assuming new characteristics. Busiek mirrors how well Dwayne McDuffie handles the character over in “Justice League of America.”
BE: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza are masters at characterization and “voice.”
JE: Consistency is the key when dealing with icons like the League. Oh, yeah, the world is going to hell, too.
BE: The natural state of Anti-Earth is evil and chaos. I particularly like the Anti-Deathstroke being burned at the stake for preaching peace.
JE: That was a brilliant touch. Did you also notice that his eye patch was on the opposite side of our Slade’s? Also, another transformation by John Stewart. Creepy.
BE: He’s a freaking robot. Weird.
JE: We’ve drifted far past OMAC infection here. To be honest, I’m lacking any clue as to what the hell is going on. Another good use of Firestorm, as well. His powers are so limitless, you might not ever think of all the ways to use them.
BE: He’s an excellent Deus ex Machina, Sadly, that’s why the character never holds onto a series without drastic changes. He can do anything.
JE: I’ve liked this version of the character the most out of I think all of them, because his rookie status helps offset that unbelievable ability.
BE: Much like the new Blue Beetle. Granting great power to a youngster has been a perfect staple since Spider-Man.
JE: Back on Earth (thanks to the stealth team of the JLA and the overreaction of Enigma), all seems well, and then Despero’s goons make a move.
BE: And now Superman has a brand on his face. Wow, Clark Kent will have trouble explaining that.
JE: Wonder if you can cover it up with makeup, like a pimple. At least he’s not a broadcast journalist.
BE: Great art on the back-up. I love this team.
JE: They do fine work, and the more time they get with these specific characters, the better the work gets.
BE: I love that Nicieza gave Sun-Chained-In-Ink the gravitational powers of a sun.
JE: And the ability to generate solar winds. Very cool.
BE: This is the sort of cleverness that turns a good book into a great book.
JE: As well as books where you can tell the creative teams are having a good time, and I think we have that here, as well.
BE: Hawkman was at the center of the action.
JE: Where he belongs. Back when “Justice League of America” was getting its feet back on the ground, Clark and Diana called Hawkman a tank, and when you see him like this, you have to agree.
BE: But the winning solution comes from Nightwing.
JE: Always the thinker, that one, and quick to take charge in a crisis. A friend and I have an ongoing debate that moments like this both define Nightwing and prove that, in some aspects, he’s better than Batman. He’s a born leader.
BE: Dick is a character that has evolved naturally. It’s hard to believe that it has been 24 years since the transition from Robin to Nightwing and he’s come into his own. It’s a rare thing, like last week when we were discussing Oracle. He’s handled very well here.
JE: But going back to our previous discussion of “voice,” Nicieza did take a turn at the “Nightwing” title not that long ago and, as he did there, slides into the character pretty effortlessly.
BE: And the Troika gets away with Max.
JE: Or at least his skull. And it’s this that puts Hawkman into an interesting state: regretful.
BE: Expect that to go from regret to vengeance in record time.