By Brian K. Eason and Justin Eger
"We're just getting started," -- Superman
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.
A team composed of Superman, John Stewart, Red Tornado and Firestorm invaded the Crime Syndicate's orbiting headquarters. John's continued changes caused him to sprout weapons and armor. The Troika, observing the conflict from their headquarters, debated that Anti-Earth might be a superior planet for their conquest. Enigma maintained that Anti-Earth reacted to the "Keystone" Earth, and that the Keystone must remain their focus. Enigma also showed odd behavior by proclaiming that Anti-Earth remain "untouched."
Meanwhile, The Riddler got onto the trail of the Gotham Underground's museum thefts at the behest of museum curator Richard Grayson. After meeting with The Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Madame Zodiac and even Robin and Nightwing, all the information Edward Nigma gathers points to only one conclusion: that the mastermind behind the crimes could only be... The Riddler. Reporting his findings, Nigma went on the run in an attempt to clear his name while Morgaine Le Fey questioned her cohort Enigma as to his whereabouts, which coincided with The Riddler's own movements.
Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley and Art Thibert bring us our lead feature as both Ray (The Atom) Palmer and Ryan (the All-New Atom) Choi join John Stewart's team aboard the CSA satellite. The two Atoms make quick work of the Syndicate's security systems as Stewart recovers from his continuing transformations. Back in the "plus" universe, the Enigma, panicked by the destabilizing effect of the JLA's invasion, attempts to manipulate the other Troika members into launching a counter-attack against the League. Morgaine Le Fey and Despero see through the feeble plan and Enigma escapes to Anti-Earth. Meanwhile, Superman tricks the Anti-Trinity into revealing their own plans and, using their own weapon against them, the Last Son of Krypton banishes Ultraman, Owlman and Superwoman to an interdimensional void. Without the Crime Syndicate to rule Anti-Earth, the populace goes mad and worldwide riots erupt as we close the lead feature.
In the second feature, as told by Fabian Nicieza, Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher, the heroes have learned the links between all the items stolen by the Troika's henchmen and begin staking out the likely stops for the last piece of their magical puzzle: something from one of Wonder Woman's greatest enemies. Dividing their forces, the heroes keep a watchful eye on Cheetah, Giganta, Ares, Dr. Psycho and the Silver Swan. However, it is Gangbuster and Hawkman who stake out the villain's true target: The grave of Max Lord. The Troika's henchmen arrive and battle ensues, with Oracle summoning all the heroes to the graveyard via the Justice League's teleporter system, only to see that the damage done to the evil Sun-Chained-In-Ink has unleashed the power of an actual sun.
Brian Eason: Three weeks in a row and the action has been fast and furious.
Justin Eger: When you're fighting evil on a foreign planet, I'd imagine that's the only way to go.
BE: Two Atoms for the price of one.
JE: Been a while since I've seen either -- not since our "Countdown to Final Crisis" days -- and I'm glad for it. Didn't we talk last year about how we'd like to see Ryan Choi get himself a stint on the Justice League?
BE: Perhaps Dwayne McDuffie is listening. Looks like we are getting no quick answer of John Stewart's transformations.
JE: Though John himself has the answer. Interesting.
BE: Superman as warrior and tough guy punks the Anti-Trinity. This is one bad Superman.
JE: Tough to contend with, that's for certain. He's certainly got the best elements of his partners pushing him along.
BE: But we haven't seen the same out of the others really.
JE: Perhaps his normally calm demeanor is keeping Batman and Wonder Woman in check.
BE: That's a whole lot of calm.
JE: I suppose it would have to be, wouldn't it? Superman's usually pacifistic overtones must be working overtime.
BE: Enigma has a headquarters on Anti-Earth. What about that?
JE: It's interesting. On first read, I thought that the "Idol-Head" seemed very Easter Island-like, which made me think about the fact that those are enigmas of our own world. A second look later and I'm thinking it clearly represents what Enigma values most: the mind.
BE: The man lives in a big noggin.
JE: Very insightful. And that he's obviously from the Anti-matter Earth points clearly towards your assumptions about his origins.
BE: A ruthless Superman is scary.
JE: No hesitation on his part when he carried out sentence on the CSA ringleaders. Knowing Superman as we do, though, I have to wonder if he'll regret it later.
BE: He's not a big regret kind of guy. That's Batman's bag. But he may go through some self examination, but he'll place the blame on the Troika, where it belongs.
JE: Seems logical enough. After all, Superman has only ever had to perform a very final solution to very few villains (Zod and his henchmen, in previous versions of Superman continuity) and even though they were still alive, he always kept it in the back of his mind.
BE: And as we close the lead feature, did we expect a world of evil people to not go nuts?
JE: Just like our JLA keeps evil in check, so did the CSA, it seems, in their own twisted way. I guess with the big dogs gone, it's time to party.
BE: And I'm very interested in seeing what this instability does to Enigma's plan.
JE: I wonder if it might put Enigma over the edge. After all, he's now going to see what the world he'd like to have created looks like.
JE: Oracle and her teams play catch-up in the back feature.
BE: I am such a fan of Oracle. I loved Batgirl, but as Oracle, Barbara Gorden is far more interesting and you can do things with the character that are different.
JE: She's a very useful character, and one you can add to so many different situations. All that's left is the item of villainy from Wonder Woman's lifetime, as we had previously surmised. For the record, our running tally was Crime Alley concrete, the Joker's laughter and Commissioner Gordon's pipe for Batman, a piece of the Space Plane, Lex Luthor's blood and Lois Lane's digital notebook for Superman, and now clay from Paradise Island and Etta Candy's ID badge for Wonder Woman.
BE: Your geek cred is still in place.
JE: I was never worried, were you?
BE: Not at all.
JE: Lots of villains on the list, including our original guess, Cheetah. Some of those folks, though, I wouldn't have thought of.
BE: All but one of them was on my list -- the dead one.
JE: Max Lord.
BE: Perfectly logical choice.
JE: And perfectly obvious when you think about it (though I still regret no mention of Red Panzer).
JE: So, four tough villains versus one big pile of heroes. How many teams did you count on that roster?
BE: Birds of Prey, Outsiders, Titans, Teen Titans, and the Justice Society. Five. Basically every big team that isn't the JLA.
JE: Gotta hand it to Tom Derenick for getting all those folks onto one page, even if it wasn't the complete roster for each team.
BE: Not quite a George Perez crowd scene, but pretty close.
JE: So does everybody know Batman's JLA teleporter access codes?
BE: Apparently so. Batman's just a giver.
JE: Or he's going to be mightily angry when he gets back to New Earth. A new twist with Sun-Chained-In-Ink.
BE: Yes, he can unleash a Sun.
JE: Or be destroyed by it. Even though it's literally right there in his name, I hadn't really considered the fact that he might be all that actually stands between the planet and an actual freakin' sun.
BE: Someone I know wondered if we'd see the mini-solar system that appeared in "Trinity" #1. Thoughts?
JE: Do you mean that Sun-Chained-in-Ink could be housing the center of that universe? Man, that'd be something, wouldn't it? And Busiek is not one to have forgotten about that plot point, is he?