By Brian Eason and Justin Eger
"Is this justice?" — Konvikt
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.
Despite a powerful assault on the part of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, the Trokia declared victory. Though the heroes were at the peak of their abilities thanks to the magical meld they were experiencing, Morgaine Le Fey, Enigma and Despero were able to complete the mystic ritual by finally branding the Batman.
Deep behind the walls of Castle Branek, Tarot freed herself from her persistent dreamstate and her tarot cards began to read the world itself, predicting destruction. Gangbuster and Hawkman arrived to rescue Tarot from Morgaine's minions, and the lesser trinity battled their way towards Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. As reality began to unravel, Hawkman attempted to reach the Trinity, but instead he fractured into his previous incarnations as Batman was branded. Then Castle Branek exploded.
Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley and Art Thibert check in for the first (and last) parts of the story this week, beginning right where we left off. As the mystical energies unleashed last issue claim Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, the villainous trio of Morgaine Le Ley, Enigma and Despero work to complete the spell. Focusing this newfound power through the previously collected artifacts tied to the ancient tarot and the heroes themselves, the villains summon the reality warping power of Krona’s egg, freeing the superpower and unleashing an explosive burst of energy that catches all unawares and seemingly begins to rewrite the world.
This week's second feature is written by Fabian Nicieza and Busiek, with art by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens. Our story begins with the alien giant, Konvikt, who is revealed to be an honorable veteran who saved the life of a wealthy man and fell in love with the man's daughter, and was imprisoned for it. Konvikt relives his imprisonment as he is processed by the United States government for the deaths caused in his battle with the Trinity earlier in the series. Kovikt is shocked to discover that during the fight, a non-combative was killed. His honor in tatters, the alien goes berserk and escapes in an attempt to right the wrong he has done. With the diminutive Graak at his side, Konvikt makes his way to the ocean, just as reality begins to change and a tidal wave comes towards the alien duo with destructive force. The feature ends as reality completes its change, the Trioka stand victorious and we see the world without the Trinity, all while mysterious burning footprints lift off into the sky
Justin Eger: So, wow. Looks like the bad guys are really on top of things this week.
Brian Eason: Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. We couldn't very well have the villains be defeated a third of the way through the story. It's been twists and turns all the way: first, we were surprised that the Trinity showed up with an army to the Troika's door, and now the Troika has turned the tables on our heroes. Busiek and company are keeping us hopping.
JE: In the midst of the spell, we've got two things of interest. One, we saw all the pieces of the puzzle once again. The tarot images and the pieces of each hero’s past.
BE: Yes, we see all of the disparate components finally come together. The complexity is impressive.
JE: Seeing the villainous plot come together has been very interesting. In that same scene, it looks like each of the heroes is calling upon some higher power, something they believe in that's larger than their individual skills.
BE: That was the best. Rao, Gaea and Demeter, and, because Batman is awesome, the Bat, the symbol of fear.
JE: We tend to think of the Trinity as so superhuman that we neglect the thought that there are things even they bow down to, after a fashion. And then there's the fact that the baddies unleashed the powers of the cosmic egg.
BE: Which means we ramp up to the next phase and Krona.
JE: I was wondering how we would get through the next phase of our story development. Perhaps the Trinity is key to defeating Krona.
BE: Defeating Krona is never an easy task; I'll be very interested to see who is fighting at the Trinity's side when the final showdown comes.
JE: Lois Lane a TV reporter?
BE: In a world without a Superman, what could have happened?
JE: Well, for starters, it looks like all the villains ran a little bit rampant. Somehow, oddly enough, I'm expecting to see Lois and Lex Luthor together.
BE: That's an idea that would give us an even more skewed universe. Would Lex even be a villain without a Superman to loathe?
JE: Probably not. After all, Supes is really what pushes Lex off into his madness throughout DC history. Quick question: Is that Power Girl in a variation of her Justice League Europe uniform standing over a lot of fallen heroes?
BE: It's possible. This could be another case of the re-write of reality.
JE: Just seemed a little out of place, to me.
BE: Could be the choice of coloring in that light.
BE: Gorgeous back up feature this week. McDaniel and Owens are on their game as always.
JE: I thought so. For a story that essentially featured nothing but new territory, it was well handled.
BE: That's a strong point for McDaniel as we saw in "Countdown: Arena" and all of the new characters that were introduced during the "Nightwing" run he handled, as well as the development of BlÃ¼dhaven as a city.
JE: Right. So many of those things are staples of the DCU now, and I have a feeling Konvikt might also get there someday.
BE: I was very surprised to see the life of Konvikt as a back-up feature.
JE: Completely unexpected. In fact, I had all but forgotten about the poor guy until now.
BE: He seemed like an ancillary character, but obviously Busiek had more plans when he was introduced.
JE: I'm glad for that. I've never been fond of throwaway characters, especially in a universe that's already so densely populated.
BE: And Busiek never throws away anything. Who thought we'd see Quizmaster and the Cosmic Egg again?
JE: You did, I would imagine.
BE: Actually, I did and I knew there was more to Konvikt than just another mindless alien.
JE: I will cede the point to you. I was one of the people thinking he was just a new tank to fight. Now, though, there's so much more to him.
BE: A potential ally for the Trinity or perhaps a hero for the world without a Trinity?
JE: This origin feature did show us something very particular about Konvikt: he seems to be an embodiment of all that's best in our own Trinity.
BE: Dead on, partner. I was thinking the same thing.
JE: I like when we're on the same page. I was reading through that section and started picking up on the little things: the strong warrior, the sense of honor, and our quote of the week above really clinched it.
BE: While it is a bit of a cliche, the story of this wronged, honorable warrior is very powerful.
JE: It’s more classic than cliche. To me, cliche usually implies poor handling. Nicieza really put some polish on the character and made me feel for him. Again, no small feat considering my previous consideration of the character.
BE: It's a strong point for Nicieza. I am sure this is not the end of Konvikt, only the beginning.
JE: I hope that is the case. I really enjoyed how well he was used here.
BE: We transition to the primary art team as we see what was promised from the beginning, a world without the Trinity.
JE: Very neat, actually. And it touches on something else that's bugging me: Why is Despero the only one in pain from the transition? He mentions some bad feelings twice.
BE: And there is the question of his sudden agility from last issue. You headed somewhere with this, partner?
JE: Try this: What if Despero isn't the alien that was intended to complete the Anti-Trinity?
BE: If not Despero, then who?
JE: Originally, I was honestly thinking that it was Konvikt who was supposed to be the otherworldly alien, but his embodiment of the heroic Trinity seems to negate that. Thoughts?
BE: I think we're just going to have to wait to find out if we're right or at least until we have more to work with. I, for one, will be digging through my Busiek back stock looking for potential candidates.