This issue of Trinity was pretty much devoted to one plot point. Considering that we're on issue #48 of 52, it was a crucial plot point, but still. Just enough trivia to retain my regular format.
Mind you, I am not complaining, because I liked the issue pretty well. However, the days of obscure references and extended riffs on tangential Easter eggs are probably behind us.
But that's not why we read Trinity, now is it?
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“Batman Said They Had A Plan” was written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: ... And here's the plan.
-- Every time the book refers to the Trinity thinking in unison, it reminds me of the subplot towards the end of Act One where their thoughts and emotions were intermingled. That all changed when they became gods in Act Two (and it probably contributed to their problems as gods), so it makes me wonder whether the "intermingling" was just a byproduct of Morgaine's spell.
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-- "A third the might": There Krona goes again, talking about relative power levels, and while "a third" makes sense, I still find it hard to take him literally.
-- The Worldsoul doesn't have the multiple female forms coming out of it like it did in previous issues; but I take it that's not because it's getting any better.
-- By the way, shouldn't the health of the Worldsoul be reflected in the physical world itself?
-- Again I note that Batman and Enigma both have similar all-encompassing shadow powers, but I'm not drawing any conclusions from that.
-- "You are the Void Hound? I am the Void." Nice. I don't think it diminishes the Void Hound at all. I mean, Batman is still a god at this point….
-- I also like the fact that they bond because they are both relentless. John Stewart's consciousness must be completely submerged.
-- "I'm just learning to take your energy": again, no doubt drawing on his brief Electric Superman career.
-- "You three cling to the past": I'd say there is some truth to that, considering that the Trinitarians' fundamentals will never change. In a way, the point of Trinity seems to be to identify those fundamentals, place them in context, and ultimately affirm them. This obviously includes returning to their original selves, something in which Krona would have no interest.
-- "They already are [noble]": considering Kellel's "secret identity" phase (among other things), this isn't really a new insight into Superman's character, even for Trinity. However, in light of the Trinity's more recent attitude towards the people of Earth, it's a big step.
-- "We're just the conduit": more about this at the end.
-- "Power flows downward … meeting power flowing upward": ditto.
--"It's your own spell": do I have to say it?
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“Lesser Beings” was plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Scott McDaniel, inked by Andy Owens, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: Exploring the new trio.
Page 13 (story page 1)
-- I do like the new trio of Tarot, the Void Hound, and SCII. I like how they each come from different storylines, and aren't merely a collection of three characters thrown together by chance (although I liked the trio of Tarot, Gangbuster, and Hawkman).
Pages 14/2 and 15/3
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-- Hemi's frustration as an artist reminds me of issue #19's Desiree, who drew Wonder Woman despite the altered timeline. I liked her, and it would be nice to see her again.
-- Is that the Iron Fist tattoo in panel 6 (next to the Sun Boy symbol)…?
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-- For whatever it's worth, Mrs. Guzman may have been the woman from issue #5. Back then, her reading was interrupted by Throttle, Blindside, and Eraserhe-- I mean, Whiteout.
-- You know, in all these shots of the various superheroes, I still haven't seen any Teen Titans. I guess they're being held in reserve.
-- I did appreciate this page's narration. It's helping to bring the point of the series back in focus. After all, it is something of a happy accident that these three characters -- and not, say, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman -- have been published continuously since the late '30s/early '40s. We might explain it in business terms, but there was no conscious "mythmaking" behind it. Nevertheless, here we are; because myths have sprung up around them. I won't get too philosophical yet, but without myths to give them meaning, the world's everyday practicalities are just mechanics.
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As we know from last issue, the Trinitarians (and friends) were able to cast Morgaine's spell over Krona thanks to Luthor's "thorough analysis" of his findings at Castle Branek. However, looking back at issue #17, when Morgaine cast the original spell on the Trinity, we see that the outward mechanics of the two procedures are quite different.
The Troika and its associates spent much of Act One pursuing three general components of the spell. First, they assembled items representing the Minor Arcana of the Tarot: swords, staves, pentacles, and cups. Second, they gathered items representing each Trinitarian's friends, foes, and foundations. Third, they "tagged" each Trinitarian with an "anchor-sigil" corresponding to his or her place in the Major Arcana. The spell was finally ready when Batman was tagged, after he misjudged the agility of "Despero" (actually the disguised Kanjar Ro). We never actually saw what happened to the Trinitarians between Batman's tagging (at the end of issue #16's first story) and their captivity at the start of issue #17. Presumably, the tag completed some sort of mystical circuit (for lack of a better analogy) which allowed the Troika to have its way with our heroes. At least, that seems to be what's happening with Krona.
Before we go too far with this, let me just say that yes, it's a little silly to put a whole lot of analysis into a magic spell, which by definition includes a substantial fudge factor. This is the kind of thing for which the phrase "a wizard did it" was invented. Besides, I tend to misinterpret the mechanics of this series.
Anyway, the good guys may still have all the material components of the original spell. I suppose by now it's a moot point whether those components -- the staves, pentacles, friend-foe-foundation items, etc. -- survived the mucking with the timeline. No one needed them when the timeline was altered, so it didn't matter whether they had been erased from history. Now that the timeline has been restored, the good guys have found the friend-foe-foundation items still in Castle Branek, so it's reasonable to assume that the other items would also be there.
In fact, I doubt that the Trinitarians' 3-F items would work on Krona, because they're not his friends, etc. That’s where Sun-Chained-In-Ink, Tarot, and the Void Hound come in. Seems to me that they represent Krona's friend (the Void Hound), foe (Tarot), and foundation (SCII, whose "star in his belly" -- and this is a stretch -- literally personifies Krona's hunger for cosmic knowledge). Furthermore, the assembled superheroes may well represent the Arcana themselves, just as the JSI members did in the altered timeline. We haven't seen Krona tagged expressly with an anchor-sigil, but Superman could have been doing something similar with all the punching.
It's worth pointing out that the original spell was supposed to switch the Troika for the Trinity, and so far Krona doesn't seem to have established a comparable connection with the Earth. Therefore, the spell mechanics may only be in the service of channeling the Earth's creation (?) energy so that it can be one side of the "pincer" holding Krona in place. In the original spell, the Troika may have provided the "incoming" energy which Superman now projects. I presume he didn't do anything special for that part, but the spell was necessary for the "outbound" stream.
Since the Trinity apparently isn't using the spell in quite the same way as the Troika did, my guess is that they'll modify it, using Krona's creation energy to heal the Worldsoul. Heck, there may be enough to heal SPHERE/Stephie as well, and perhaps install her as the conduit to the Anti-Matter Earth's worldsoul.
Sadly, my track record for predictions speaks for itself….
Eleven months down -- one to go!