By Brian Eason & Justin Eger
"It roars now, snarling, bellowing, screaming to get out." — John Stewart
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 quick trip around the history of this new-New Earth with Firestorm revealed how the Justice Society revealed themselves to the world and forged the Justice Society International.
Krona left the confines of the Cosmic Egg prematurely and had become a being of "pure primal Universal force." In his new state, he sought to find the "Conscious Mind of this Plane." Traveling to the laboratory-planet of the Controllers, Krona commanded the aliens to create a tool to draw theÃƒ‘€šÃ‚Â Consciousness to them and bind it. The Controllers betrayed Krona, attempting to use the device to capture and bind him to their control. Krona escaped the trap and destroyed the Controllers and their planet, releasing the sentient mind of the world. This revelation drove the villain to seek out an army of planetary and stellar minds in his continued quest for the Mind behind our reality.
Stepping back from the new-New Earth as we are coming to know it, this week’s issue focuses on the creators of that very world: the Troika of Morgaine le Fey, Enigma, and Despero. Not seen since they completed the spell that reshaped the world, we catch up with the villains as the transformation triggers their individual memories. From Morgaine’s upbringing in Camelot to Enigma’s life as one of the Anti-Matter Earth’s leading heroes, we see how each has come to this point in their lives, but something is drastically wrong. The spell has not worked correctly, thanks to the interference of the villainous alien Kanjar Ro, who has been impersonating Despero this entire time and thus disrupting the Earth-altering magics.
Returning to John Stewart's ongoing struggle with the machine consciousness that continues to possess him, we discover that in the new reality he is married with two children and runningÃƒ‘€šÃ‚Â very successful architecture firm. The identity of the machine entity is finally revealed as it begins to attack John in the offices of his business.Ãƒ‘€šÃ‚Â Firestorm appears and successfully returns John's memories of the Trinity. His willpower restored, John fights back against the invader and regains control. Realizing that he cannot protect his family from the entity inside him, John leaves Earth in search of a solution. Firestorm, however, is split into his constituent parts and captured by the Justice Society International.
Justin Eger: Though there was very little action, this was a pretty interesting week for "Trinity," I thought.
Brian Eason: I love origin flashbacks and this was a great one.
JE: The Mark Bagley/Kurt Busiek combo hit one right down the middle this time around. Now that we've seen what the world looks like without the Trinity, we finally check back in with the Troika to see what they're up to.
BE: And we get a look at Morgaine and Enigma's background. But why not Despero, I wonder?
JE: That had occurred to me, as well, but we'll get to that in a few minutes. First, Stuck in the mystical vortex, we get history lessons, first with Morgaine Le Fey.
BE: Kurt Busiek successfully melds "Morte d'Arthur" with Jack Kirby's "Demon" series to give a concise origin. Bagley does a great job with the look of Camelot. The costumes are particularly inspired.
JE: Morgaine and her sisters look properly royal and fantastical. Very nice. I've always enjoyed the Arthurian legends, and seeing the tale told through Morgaine's eyes is interesting. I had never really considered that Morgaine made her political plays in Camelot out of fear.
BE: I think this is unique to Busiek’s perspective. I don't recall it being part of the "Demon" series. Morgaine's motivations were more black and white.
JE: That's what I had been thinking, as well, but it’s been a while since I've gone back through what issues of "The Demon" that I have. It's a nice depth to have added.
BE: Mark Bagley captures the look of The Demon books and makes it his own. Nicely done.
JE: Then we get to see the history of Enigma, or, as we've been calling him for so long, The Quizmaster.
BE: It's a tight origin piece and I'm glad it was done this way.
JE: Pretty tragic background, I must say.
BE: Such is life on Anti-Earth and S.P.H.E.R.E. is his daughter Stephanie. Yeah, that's kind of weird. The Justice Underground members, by the way, are Star Sapphire, General Grodd, Sir Solomon Grundy, and Q-Ranger.
JE: That was pretty much the coolest thing I've seen in a while. I love the idea of the Justice Underground. Heck, we've been at this so long, we might as well say it: we're just suckers for alternate continuity.
BE: I am sure that's been blogged somewhere.
JE: But he, also, seems motivated by fear. Fear of losing everything else he held dear.
BE: Enigma is obviously a control freak. His obsession with finding out the answers is just another aspect of that.
JE: And to realize that you're not as smart as you think you are is never, ever a good thing. Edward just got it in spades from the CSA.
BE: Evil triumphs on Anti-Earth. Poor guy never stood a chance.
JE: Now, my friend, we get to "Despero." Didn't I tell you something was wrong with him all those weeks ago?
BE: And I believe you went as far as to say who you thought he was. Go ahead.
JE: Yes, Despero was actually Kanjar Ro that whole time. Sometimes, I just love being right.
BE: You nailed it.
JE: And even though he's the wrong person for the alien Troika, he made his moves out of fear, as well.
BE: Good point. That seems to be the prime mover for the Troika. The Trinity are established to be motivated by truth, justice, and the American way. So, the Troika, is fear, power and what?
JE: Control, perhaps? Self-interest? Some combination of the two? I think there's some evidence here to support that.
BE: While Busiek can be subtle, I am sure he will address that directly, probably through Tarot again.
JE: So now what do they do? Morgaine and Enigma are all sorts of different and powerful now.
BE: Elemental in fact. Very interesting.
JE: I thought it was quite stylish, and all the more dangerous for our heroes.
BE: Gods are always a challenge, even ones that aren't completely gods.
JE: Well, we'll get to see real soon, since the Global Police Agency has discovered the trio.
BE: Look familiar at all? These guys look just like the Global Peace Agency from OMAC. Global Peace Agency was a group of faceless people who protected the entire world using pacifist weapons. They employed OMAC (the One Man Army Corps) as their only soldier.
JE: And, as we saw last issue, they've become quite the force to reckon with, using Amazo robots to crush any opposition.
BE: The world is a very different place without the rise of the Silver Age as we know it.
BE: Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens return to the art in our backup feature.
JE: You know I love them. I really do, and seeing them play with characters they don't normally hang out with is always fun. In this case, it's John Stewart.
BE: And Firestorm.
JE: Yes, and Firestorm. Never thought you'd be seeing Firestorm do so much headlining in these stories, did you?
BE: The machine consciousness that is taking over John is a Qwardian Void Hound, the one that John absorbed into the ring. That was so obvious; I don't know why I missed it.
JE: Can't say I would have picked it up, but you're right, you should have (ha ha).
BE: John is married to Tawny Young, who was a reporter in the Len Wein/Dave Gibbons run on "Green Lantern" back in 1984. He has two boys named?
JE: Hal and Guy. Nice touch on the part of Fabian Nicieza, I have to say. Heck, digging up Tawny was inspired.
BE: We're seeing a lot of these clever bits. Key points where history went a different way. In our reality, John ended up with fellow Green Lantern Katma Tui. With the corps banished from Earth, this is a likely scenario.
JE: And he's been keeping his powers a secret, just in case the JSI came calling. Good to see that the Lanterns didn't abandon Earth altogether.
BE: I can see Firestorm making plushy Trinity toys, but manipulating John's mind intangibly is a new trick.
JE: That was wild. Atomic brain surgery is at once both amazing and, when you think about the possible implications, terrifying.
BE: Further proof that some characters can do anything with enough applied thinking on the part of the writer. John has to leave Earth to protect the world (and his family) from the Void Hound. His destination? I'd bet on Oa. After all, everything in this story — from Krona on down — starts and ends with Oa.
JE: You're on the right trail, partner. There's no other place that John can likely expunge his infection, though I bet it'll be interesting to see this Earth's Green Lantern Corps.
BE: How much of a change should we expect in a universe with no Trinity? I'm laying money on a Sinestro appearance.
JE: Quite possibly. After all, without Hal Jordan around, Sinestro might still be top dog.
BE: That was what I was thinking. And we end the issue with Firestorm captured by the JSI.
JE: Not good. Not good at all. Jason looked surprised, and rightly so, since it didn't take them an awful long time to get a fix on how his powers worked.
BE: And the members present? Atom-Smasher, Cyborg, Starfire, Tomorrow Woman, Triumph, Liberty Belle, Skyrocket, Hourman, and the fellow on the right may be Brainwave II.
JE: You are correct, and though i originally thought it was odd to see Tomorrow Woman in the mix, it then hit me that the JSI also uses Amazo robots on a regular basis (as we recently saw), so grabbing another robotic invention from Ivo would be child's play.
BE: I'll go you one further, you are looking at possible replacements for the Trinity here, perhaps. Triumph and Tomorrow Woman certainly fit the bill. The world wants a Trinity, will it create one?
JE: Oh, very nice step in the logic. Despite the mystical changes the Troika have wrought, even the heroes themselves look for natural leaders. Interesting.