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By Brian K. Easn and Justin Eger
“*Sigh* Can’t take you anywhere. — Enigma
Welcome to TRINGENUITY, CBR’s ongoing commentary of DC Comics’ weekly superhero series, “Trinity.” The title is divided into two 15-page 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.
Tarot discovered her cards had transformed into the likenesses of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman and that each represented a trinity of powers. Surrendering herself to the Worldsoul, Tarot bore witness to the lives of the heroes and their symbolic nature; each being the embodiment of either truth, justice, or the American Way. On the JLA satellite, the Trinity began to realize they were three sides to the same equation. The issue ended as Morgaine Le Fey’s wolf creatures burst in on Tarot while in a pitched battle with Gangbuster. The wolf monsters escaped with Tarot in tow and Gangbuster incapable of stopping them.
Gangbuster sought out Tarot, only to become involved in yet another mystery — a series of robberies being investigated by Hawkman. All related to items of mystical origin, the thefts had been perpetrated by members of the Gotham Underground and led Hawkman to Los Angeles, where he aided Gangbuster in stopping the gang members that had been hunting Tarot. In turn, Gangbuster helped Hawkman stop Killer Moth, the most recent robber. Seeking some answers, the two heroes teleported to the Justice League satellite.
We begin our issue with the usual creative team of Busiek, Bagley and Thibert, as we see Superman engaged in an esoteric piece of science involving an “etheric scanner.” The etheric scanner is taking readings of “creation energies” and, as a precaution, the heroes check the status of the slumbering villain, Krona (more about him in the back-up feature). At the same time, other members of the League are researching all of the werewolves in their database in an attempt to find a clue to Le Fey’s lupine minions and a third team investigates the ever changing brand on Wonder Woman. Hawkman and Gangbuster arrive on the satellite and reveal the disappearance of Tarot and that Hawkman has discovered all the items being stolen from museums around the world are tied to tarot symbology. Hawkman also examines the permutations of Wonder Woman’s brand and declares them symbols from the Egyptian tarot. We close with Morgaine and Enigma meeting with Despero and offering him a change at being a “Lord of Creation.”
In the backup feature, writer Fabian Nicieza teams with artists Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher to examine Green Lantern John Stewart’s concerns about the transformation that took place when he first battled Konvikt in issue #2. Using the League’s combat simulation room, The Kitchen, Stewart calls up a number of dangerous protocols in an attempt to trigger the same response, a defensive weapons array, all to no avail. Ignoring the matter for the moment, John talks with Firestorm about Krona.
Brian Eason: The etheric scanner was very Kirby-esque.
Justin Eger: I thought it looked very Kryptonian. That thing looks like someone built it out of spare parts in their garage and is planning to unveil it in the park later on this week.
BE: While I am not sure if they will continue to keep this up, dividing the League’s tasks in three groups was an inspired choice, it keeps the focus on the nature of the number three.
JE: It’s very Silver Age; divide the team up and get to work.
BE: And don’t believe for a moment that those teams are not divided that randomly. The science heroesare doing science, the mystic heroes are doing mystic stuff and the hunters are hunting monsters.
JE: I like that each Leaguer recruited for the research is the most qualified. John has lots of experience with energy and space, Hawkgirl has history with, well, history, including runes and languages, while Vixen has some skill with the animal side of the world.
BE: Jimmy Olsen was in the werewolf database. That’s priceless.
JE: I knew you’d get a kick out of that. I certainly did. And that bow-tie is killer.
BE: That was perfect. I was hoping that I was right about the alchemy angle as it related to Wonder Woman’s brand, but the tarot symbols fit so well.
JE: Yeah, I was with you on the alchemy slant, but we should have seen the Tarot angle coming. Hawkman informs us that the three symbols are of the Major Arcana: Strength, the High Priestess, and the World. Since we’re all about threes and comparisons, which of the trinity to you associate with each card?
BE: I think all three are Wonder Woman and that if Batman and Superman were likewise branded, they would get three other matching symbols, the Sun and Moon for example.
JE: I think you’ve hit on a very good theory, there. In fact, if we check our back issues we see that Diana was attributed the Strength card by Tarot in “Trinity” #1 and the High Priestess card in issue #5. In those same issues, Superman was linked to the Justice card (issue #1) and, following your theory, he would be linked to the Emperor card in issue #5. Batman, as if issue #1, was tied to the Devil card, and then (if the theory tracks) the Magician card in issue #5. With the Sun and the Moon referenced in issue #6, the pattern is completed.
BE: Despero is finally in the lead feature. Hopefully this means the Trioka will get together and became a more active threat.
JE: If they aren’t directly antagonistic, I’m certainly looking forward to their own journey to becoming a trinity, adn all the comparisons with the Big Three that will entail.
BE: I loved Enigma’s reaction to Le Fey’s bluster, he is so calm and cool and she is, well, not.
JE: Morgaine is the perfect over-the-top villain, and Enigma is well on his way to being my favorite character of this series. Interestingly enough, if Diana was a little meaner, i could see those same words coming out of Wonder Woman’s mouth.
BE: She is a dark reflection of Diana, and Enigma is definitely a Batman sort, and oh look, Despero is an alien powerhouse.
JE: No correlation there, I know.
BE: And by none, we mean a lot.
JE: So we get to catch up with John Stewart as he looks for the source of his previous transformation.
BE: And he comes out of the gate swinging. I love John when he is portrayed as being as tough as he is.
JE: Which he’s only really become over the last few years. It wasn’t that long ago I remember him being just a mild-mannered architect on Oa. Now, he’s all sorts of tough guy.
BE: Well, John started out in the ’70s as kind of a hippy and now his back-story is that he was a Marine. So, he has that gung-ho mentality and I think that is appropriate.
JE: We also get to talk with Firestorm, who in all his incarnations seems to be the perpetual rookie in the League.
BE: Yeah, and I love this concept, but it just never made it to that top tier of characters.
BE: A scientist obsessed with viewing the creation of the universe, Krona was an Oan, one of the same race as the Guardians of the Universe, the benefactors of the Green Lantern Corps. Krona created a time viewer that pierced the veil of creation and allowed him to see the beginning of time. What he saw was the infant universe cradled in a giant cosmic hand. At the time of the viewing, Krona’s machine was destroyed and the Multiverse (the first one) came into existence. This also created the first Monitor and the Anti-Monitor. The Oan’s destroyed Krona’s physical form and turned him into pure energy as punishment. Krona’s monumental act is what caused the Oans to become the Guardians of the Universe in the first place. Krona returned a couple of times as a being representing Entropy rather than creation. What’s interesting about the “cosmic egg” is that he was imprisoned there during “JLA/Avengers” #1-4 (September-December 2003). That means that, at least in part, that crossover fits into official DC continuity. Oh, and it’s called an “egg” because a new universe will hatch from it some day.
JE: Well, Busiek did write “JLA/Avengers,” so it makes sense that he would take the opportunity to call back to his own story. It’s also helpful that Nicieza backed him up on it.
BE: I was thinking the same thing, but was surprised that it passed editorial.
JE: I hesitate to speculate on editorial processes, so we’ll just move right along.
JE: Krona looks to be one of the next big threats coming down the pipe at our heroes.
BE: You’d have to think so. Why go to the trouble to mention a villain this epic and then not have him be a major force driving the story.
JE: And while we’re there, when was the last time you actually saw an editorial reference box like we saw this issue?
BE: I thought that editorial footnotes had gone the way of the dinosaur. Actually the last time I saw one was either in Image Comics’ “GÃ˜DLAND” or in “Mighty Avengers” #10, where they time-traveled back to the 1970s.
JE: John’s history lesson is a unique way to introduce us and Firestorm to the character.
BE: Very visceral. The immersive nature of the history lesson was key to the scene.
JE: It was important to “feel” the anger and the hate, though it worries me some that such a technique might have unintended consequences, like giving Krona a chance to make contact with the outside world.
BE: And now, with the “Let me out!” uttered by Krona, we know who the threat is that the Trinity was dreaming about in issue #1.
JE: And who has enough power to warp reality as we know it. We also get to see a near-transformation of John. I had said earlier that it reminded me of Darkstar armor (which was shown during the lesson), but this time around, I’m getting an OMAC vibe. How about you?
BE: I was completely thinking it was the Reach from “Blue Beetle.”
JE: Very nice, and logical when you look at it. Yet another mystery with several possible answers. And it looks like Krona has escaped.
BE: It does indeed, that didn’t take long.
JE: Not that we would have minded the wait, I’m thinking.
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