By Brian Eason & Justin Eger
You remember where you were when Superman debuted? — Firestorm
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.
Tarot and Gangbuster went on the run from Morgaine’s remaining minions, only to receive some unexpected help from adventurer Alfred Pennyworth -- or Freddie, as he came to be known. Freddie explained his quest to uncover the lost history of the world, a history that seems linked to the now-missing Trinity, and Tarot revealed her own origin, linked to the tragic loss of her father. Coming to grips with the new reality, the heroes left their new friend with thin memories of a life spent in service to The Batman.
Later, we followed a day in the life Desiree, a pregnant tour guide at the Smithsonian Space and Air Museum. Throughout her day, Desiree drew pictures of Wonder Woman, a person whom, as reality has been rewritten, does not exist. When Firestorm (who was elsewhere when reality changed) showed up in Washington, the arrival of the displaced hero brought to Desiree’s mind memories of not only Wonder Woman, but the Justice League of America, and the startling realization that the world itself had changed.
While trying to learn more about the new staus in this changed world, Firestorm finds himself remembering the greatest of Earth’s former Trinity, Superman. However, despite the fond memories, Firestorm realizes the mission is the most important thing, and begins digging into the history of this world’s “mystery men.” It seems that without the guiding hands of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, new heroes were rejected by the Justice Society, as the metahumans lead the United States, and then the world, into a deep isolation.
This week's backup feature follows the rogue Oan known as Krona. Having now escaped (or perhaps hatched) from the Cosmic Egg, Krona is now a being of pure primal Universal force and seeks the to uncover the Conscious Mind of this Plane. To this end, Krona visits a laboratory of the Controllers, who he uses to create a device that will draw and bind the Consciousness to him. But the Controllers have other ideas, and they use the device to trap Krona. He resists, destroying the Controllers, their planet and (inadvertently) releasing the sentience of the planet itself. From this event, Krona decides to gather and army of sentient life from the consciousness of other planets and stars.
Justin Eger: Last week we talked about seeing how Wonder Woman affected the world, and before that, how Batman affected the world.
Brian Eason: And this week we have Superman, and in the lead feature. I was surprised.
JE: Indeed. We expected to see a Superman story at some point, but would you have considered seeing it from the viewpoint of Firestorm?
BE: Not really. Firestorm was never a character I expected to bring the everyman point of view.
JE: Neither was I, but this version of Firestorm has been interesting in the fact that he's got some perspective on the whole superhero lifestyle.
BE: Count on Kurt Busiek to make this character interesting again.
JE: With Firestorm on the move in the new world, he does what Batman would have told him to do: get more facts.
BE: I like that even with the Trinity absent, their training and inspiration are still felt.
JE: Very much so. From the statue of Superman to the visions of Bigger Melvin and Desiree, we're learning that you can't rewrite reality completely.
BE: Then there is a flaw in the plan and the plan began with Enigma. Therefore, either he is flawed in his thinking or he didn't intend to supplant the Trinity at all.
JE: Actually, I'm wondering if, since he's from an alternate Earth, he can't be used to fill a gap in this world's Trinity.
BE: And there is still the issue with what's going on with Despero.
JE: We get a history of the new world order, beginning with the fact that the superheroes, or, excuse me, mystery men of the Justice Society never retired.
BE: Was it just me or was there a little of James Robinson and Paul Smith’s JSA: The Golden Age in that background?
JE: It certainly seemed that way. JSA: The Golden Age has certainly been a book that more writers should look to when reviewing the past. Then, during the invasion that formed the Justice League, the world rejected the new heroes because they seemed out-of-place against the old mystery men image.
BE: And there was no Superman to lead the way. Yes, this is a very good point, with the mystery men unmasking, everyone that followed seemed like a poser.
JE: It's hard to argue with the logic. After all, these sudden appearances would be worrisome if you hadn't seen a costumed adventurer for 40 years.
BE: And the JSI costumes aren't, are they? They're uniforms.
JE: What Jason only touches upon in his research is how the Society went global, how it started recruiting new metahumans right off the street, or imprisoned the others.
BE: We get to see Aquaman repulsed by the military as a foreign national. The world under the JSI seems very isolationist. Even the Green Lanterns are persona non grata.
JE: Which provides some history to Supergirl. I mean, Interceptor's reaction when the shift occurred. John Stewart was in the wrong place at the wrong time (even though the girl herself is an alien).
BE: But she's a good alien, since she's with the JSI. Very isolationist indeed, and her origins appear to be a mystery to her as she didn't know what a Kryptonian was.
JE: Interesting to think that she might be the last vestige of Krypton, and doesn't even know it.
BE: Or what became of Kal-El. Something had to make him not exist, what was it?
JE: Then we get back to Firestorm's memories of Superman. Admit it, you got a little misty when he got to shout Look, up in the sky!
BE: I did. This was a great piece and what Kurt Busiek is best at, giving us the view of the man on the street, showing us why super-humans are truly super.
JE: Here's something that just boggles my mind (and kudos to Busiek for this one): a world without a single word - Superhero.
BE: Exactly. Perfect in every detail. It's a world where the beauty of being unique has died.
JE: This even shows in the assimilated costumes of all the heroes in the JSI.
BE: Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher turn in some nice artwork this week. They are well suited to cosmic events.
JE: Very much so. This was a big back-up feature, and the scenery reminded me of some better moments from Countdown to Final Crisis.
BE: Krona has hatched from the Cosmic Egg. Not a sentence you get to write every day.
JE: Somewhere along the lines of ...And he held a planet in his hands on the level of heavy.
BE: Krona has always been a heavy hitter. And with phenomenal cosmic power comes raving lunacy it appears.
JE: No doubt. Imagine being able to do what Krona does: splits himself into a dozen versions of himself, all supervising a different segment of the experiment.
BE: I can't and I rather think that that is exactly the point. Krona is too alien to contemplate.
JE: Unlike our other alien friend and the sort-of star of this week's lead-in, Superman. Neat contrast, there.
BE: The Controllers have always been one of my favorite races in the DC. For the uninitiated, the people of Maltus colonized the planet Oa and became the Oans. The Oans felt responsible for the catastrophic creation of the multiverse by Krona. In some versions of the story, Krona unleashes evil into the universe. The Oans became divided over how to handle the results. One group sought to contain evil and they became the Guardians of the Universe and formed the Green Lantern Corps. The other group wanted to destroy evil and became the Controllers and formed the Darkstars. The Darkstars were eventually abandoned by the Controllers and the organization is now effectively defunct. In the upcoming Green Lantern storyline Blackest Night, the Controllers are rumored to be the source behind the Orange Lanterns, the color on the emotional spectrum that represents avarice.
JE: Get all that, readers? Good. There will be a quiz later. I have a thought, though: with their history, could the Controllers have something to do with John Stewart's transformations? We called a link to the Darkstars many, many issues ago when he first busted out the new weaponry.
BE: Possible, but I'm still searching obscure Busiek stories for a binary spewing machine-form.
JE: Happy hunting.
BE: Are you getting a Thanos vibe from Krona? He's looking for his cosmic girlfriend.
JE: I did, and it was more than just the raving cosmic madman seeking all knowledge.
BE: I think he is looking for Kismet, who was used by Busiek in “JLA/Avengers.” Who was the villain of that story? One of them was Krona. Kismet is, roughly, the DC equivalent of Marvel's Eternity: a cosmic consciousness that represents the totality of existence.
JE: As I said earlier: heavy. But, despite the cosmic significance, I find myself looking for how this ties back to the main story on Earth.
BE: The Troika is a symptom of the bigger issue: Krona. In issue #1 we get a good establishing shot of what Krona is and what he wants the rest is just repercussions of the prime event and in the end, it will take the Trinity to defeat Krona.
JE: Though I have to wonder if it will also take a complete failure by the Troika, thanks to the mistakes we've surmised about Enigma. That could mean some serious death and destruction.
BE: Busiek? You think they'll have to be. The Controllers attempt to trap Krona and he didn't see it coming. I did, but then I'm not a megalomaniacal god.
JE: It’s a bad move on the part of the Controllers, since they were trying to strap down a megalomaniacal god.
BE: And now Krona is going to start blowing up planets and stars to build an army from their souls. Is it wrong that I have always loved this psycho?
JE: Yes. I think that, as of this moment, you should start seeking professional help.
BE: I'll make that appointment as soon as I am finished looking for my Cosmic Girlfriend.
JE: Just remember, you have to destroy at least one planet before she considers it a first date.