TRINGENUITY 1: "Trinity" Analysis & Commentary

By Brian K. Eason and Justin Eger

"Half-caf / decaf peaberry non-fat latte, steamed to 145 degrees, not too much foam, light cinnamon, shot of butterscotch. And the beignets, I think." -- Bruce Wayne


In DC Nation #116 (June 4, 2008), editor Mike Carlin reminds us "...that things that come in threes are inherently more satisfying, more effective and even funnier than other numbers of things!" With this being the third of DC Comics' weekly series following "52" and "Countdown to Final Crisis" and featuring the company's "Big Three" -- Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman -- Carlin clearly outlines his goal for the next 52 weeks by further stating that "It's not just that they were first (though that factors in)... but it is because on a cosmic level they matter." 

In "Trinity" #1, writers Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza attempt to make that statement a reality by featuring the heroes and their counterparts in a tale of epic scale. The series appears in a double-feature format with two fifteen-page stories. The first feature covers a meeting of the titular heroes, while the second tells the tale of a villainous trinity, opposite to the Big Three.

In the lead story, Kurt Busiek and artists Mark Bagley and Art Thibert introduce us to a strange scene in deep space. Somewhere in the darkness, an entity of great power is screaming for release. We then shift to the Keystone City Coffee Pier, where Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent and Diana Prince meet for a conversation and coffee. It seems all three have been dreaming of a disturbingly similar theme: Superman has dreamed of an alien intelligence warping space-time, Wonder Woman has had a vision of an ancient god imprisoned, and Batman's dreams feature a jailed criminal whose only desire is escape.

As the trio relates their tales, Clayface (from Batman's rogue's gallery) attempts a robbery at Keystone's Hibbard Museum. Batman alerts his companions the real reason he chose Keystone City for their meeting was that the city's protector, the Flash, would have things well in hand. Wally West and his children, Jai and Iris, quite literally wrap up Clayface and Wally joins the Big Three in their conversation. After a short talk with the Flash, the trio confirms they are the only heroes they can find that are having these disturbing dreams. The lead story ends with a bang when, while back in their various home turfs, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman begin hearing the voice from their dreams breaking into the waking world, culminating in the imprisoned enemy manifesting in Metropolis!

The latter half of the issue introduces us to the mysterious sorceress Morgaine Le Fay, who is paid a visit in her castle sanctuary by a mysterious man dressed in green, wearing half a mask, and carrying a cold iron staff, which helps him disrupt Morgaine's magicks. Accompanied by a technological servant that is apparently powerful enough to defeat even this mighty magic-user, the man we come to know as Enigma questions Morgaine on the recent influx of power that they both have sensed, a power that seems linked to the heroic trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Using her powers, Morgaine begins to scan the universe for more information about this unknown power. In so doing, she learns aforementioned heroic trinity are the focal points of the power, as well as possible glimpses of the future. In a meeting with a fortune tower, Morgaine glimpses into the future and sees Green Arrow and Speedy as the defenders of Gotham City, though they are challenged by Ragman and a similarly dressed boy sidekick. Elsewhere in the future, a team comes across a mountainous sculpture of an altered Superman, batman and Wonder Woman, images that dwarf the explorers, and there's even an image of Morgaine and Engima themselves, consulting with two alien life forms. Informed and yet disturbed, the two magicians realize they are to be the opposite of the heroic trinity: Morgaine the ancient power that stands opposite Wonder Woman and Enigma the technological savant to counter Batman. But a third power is needed and eventually discovered in the alien known as Despero, a powerful counterpart to the Kyrptonian Superman. With the idea of their trinity completed, Enigma and Morgaine leave to begin their quest for Despero.


Justin Eger: I guess the first thing we should say is, "Welcome back."

Brian Eason: Good to be back.

JE: It is. Not that the respite wasn't nice, but there's work to be done, and heroes to look after.

BE: Beautiful stuff this issue. As a big fan of his work on "Astro City" and "Superman," I'm very excited to see Kurt Busiek's work on this series.

JE: Busiek has had a very serious hand in some of the best stories of the last decade and beyond. Consider his bibliography: "Astro City," "Superman," "JLA/Avengers," "Avengers," Avengers Forever," and that's barely the surface. As a writer, Busiek is at home with the big guns, and they don't get much bigger than our lead trio.

BE: "52" will be hard to beat, but I like what we're seeing so far. Beautiful work by Mark Bagley, Art Thibert, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens as well.

JE: Everyone is in very good form. McDaniel and Owens' work was subdued, but considering the characters they've got to work with, it's pretty sharp. Owens has very heavy inks, which suit McDaniel very well. I like them as a pair.

BE: This story had an epic lead in. It had a very Silver Age feeling with the entity alone, screaming in space. This reminded me of Len Wein's JLA from the 1970s.

JE: It's an appropriate start, I think. We've got the best of the best, if you will, so we need something that can really be a challenge. A mystery in space that threatens everything seems to qualify.

BE: All that has been written about these characters over the past fifty years makes them mythic. For us to believe something can challenge them, it would have to be equally mythic.

JE: When you get down to it, what's left that can challenge them? In almost any situation, Bruce can outthink it, Clark and overpower it and Diana can outclass it.

BE: At the Coffee Pier we get two nice bits that help define the differences in our heroes, the more obvious is that Diana points out that Bruce and Clark have secret identities, whereas she has a "private" identity. Their behavior validates the view that Bruce Wayne is a "mask" for Batman, while Superman is really Clark Kent at heart and Diana is always just Diana.

JE: Bruce is very well rehearsed with his "mortal" interactions, but, thanks to some good work by the creators, it's a very obvious moment when the mask slips and he shifts into business mode. Clark looked comfortable as a civilian, and yeah, Diana is just Diana at home or abroad, so to speak.

BE: The second, less obvious item is what they order to drink: Bruce has the typically complicated fancy coffee, Clark has juice and Diana has black coffee. All of which proves the former point. Bruce Wayne is the false identity with his trendy order, Clark is still a farm boy and Diana is simply who she is.

JE: That's the exact moment you could almost tell Bruce had rehearsed, but the farm boy in Clark was just happy to be there. Again, Diana was Diana (I have a feeling we'll be beating that horse for some time to come).

BE: I love that each of the heroes viewed the entity differently, again, showing off their different viewpoints.

JE: An interstellar power, a god-like entity, and a criminal in chains, for Clark, Diana and Bruce, respectively. There's a lot going on in these pages that very, very quickly establishes these characters for people. If you'd never picked up a DC book before, Busiek makes this very inviting, while still establishing his tone for us old hands.

BE: The stuff with the Flash family was cute and in keeping with the continuity in "The Flash."

JE: I liked that a lot, and I liked the fact that Bruce made a point of making Keystone City the meeting place. One, they knew any trouble could be handled and two, they could catch up with a fellow Leaguer and see what he knew.

BE: Heck of a closing with the creature appearing in Metropolis.

JE: Sudden, without a doubt. I was surprised, since I didn't think we'd be getting this friendly with the baddie for some time yet. With a quick look at the second half of our tale, we've got the reintroduction of Morgaine Le Fey.

BE: With the death of the New Gods, Kamandi in "Final Crisis" and OMAC in "Countdown to Final Crisis," Jack Kirby's characters are getting a lot of love at DC right now. Morgaine Le Fey first appeared in "The Demon" #1 (1972) by Jack Kirby and is based on the character of the same name that appears in the King Arthur legends. Stories in the past involving Le Fey focus on her quest to regain her youth and immortality.

JE: And as I lovingly caress my copy of that very issue, I must ask: What are the odds of seeing Jason Blood in the near future? As drawn by this art team, and written by Fabian Nicieza? That would be amazing.

BE: That would be great, but I imagine Jason Blood/Etrigan will be busy over in Keith Giffen's "Reign in Hell" miniseries.

JE: Score one for the first exterior solicitation plug of the new series!

JE: Interesting that we start with an established, if esoteric, villain, then introduce a new one in this so-called Enigma.

BE: Crooked staff, talks in riddles, Enigma. I think this is some alternate Edward Nigma, the Riddler.

JE: And yet scarred as Two-Face might be, and packing additional heavy hardware. I thought the cross sections of Bagley's artwork with McDaniel's in these pages was a nice touch, and a good linking device between the major and minor stories. Do you think we'll be seeing more of these images in the future? Are we looking at alternate worlds or the future as we know it?

BE: I certainly hope so. The Green Arrow as Gotham's guardian was very interesting. I am well known for my love of alternate worlds and futures.

JE: As am I. My collection boasts many the Elseworlds tale, and any new takes on classic characters should be treasured. Either way, there are some interesting things to think about.

Let's play lightning round: thoughts on the mysterious fortune-teller?

BE: In an April 17, 2008 interview here at CBR, Fabian Nicieza saidthey would be introducing a new character in "Trinity" #3 named Tarot.

JE: Well done on the plug and good for CBR to have caught up with the writer so early on. The new guardians of Gotham (both teams!)?

BE: The Green Arrow and Speedy bit is not surprising considering that for a long time GA was written like Batman with a bow. He had an Arrowcar, an Arrowcave and an Arrow Signal. But Ragman and a sidekick were nice to see, as Nicieza mentioned that he liked Ragman in the same interview. I liked the bit with Lois Lane on the billboard. This appears to be a world without a Batman or Superman. I imagine that, considering the nature of our story, that Wonder Woman is absent as well.

JE: Seems a logical conclusion or, in yet another alternate world twist, it's a merger of the legends. And the glimpse of Enigma and Morgaine's own path?

BE: Konvikt is slated to appear in "Trinity" #2, so we may not have to wait long to see this scene play out.

JE: Perhaps the meeting with the aliens is actually just a rest stop on the path to the being that completes their own trinity of villains: Despero.

BE: That's my assumption, the Troika (as the villains are called) won't be complete until Despero, the tyrant of Kalanor, appears. I'll cover his history in more depth when he makes his first major showing in "Trinity."

JE: As long as you mention his possession by L-Ron, I'm with you.

Now discuss this story in CBR's DC Comics forum.

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