By Brian Eason & Justin Eger
"The problem is worse than we feared." — Prince Khufu
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 glimpse into history provided motivations for the villainous members of the Troika. Fearing loss, subversion and death, Morgaine Le Fey turned to magic to find strength to survive the rise and fall of Camelot. On the Anti-Matter Earth, similar fears drove Edward Nash to become the Quizmaster, though the loss of his family at the hands of the Crime Syndicate forged him into Engima. And Despero? It was revealed that Despero was not a part of the equation at all, his place in the Troika having been subverted by Kanjar Ro, which led to the failure of the world-changing spell.
In the newly re-written reality, John Stewart is married with children, but the Void Hound -- still trapped within Stewart’s power ring -- continued to try and transform him into something more like itself. During John's struggle with the machine entity, Firestorm appeared and restored John's memory of the Trinity. Stewart realized that he must leave Earth to protect the world from the creature. Firestorm was split into his two halves and captured by Justice Society International.
In ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu and his army do battle against the forces of the encroaching dark gods. As the worshipers of the Sun, Moon and Earth slowly lose ground to the evil armies, the man who would be Hawkman begins seeing visions of the future, of a heroic Trinity now lost to darkness. Bound by honor to save the future, even at the cost of his own life, Khufu sends messengers throughout the world to leave behind images of how the world is supposed to be, including the scroll that Alfred Pennyworth offered to Tarot, one he felt certain would change the world.
Picking up immediately where the lead feature leaves off, the backup begins with Carter Hall commanding the forces of the JLI to engage the Troika. Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Green Arrow and Speedy disappear and Ragman and Tatters take their place as the defenders of the city. Gehenna (one half of Firestorm) has escaped the clutches of the JSI using her teleportation powers, but is subdued by Tomorrow Woman, who also disappears.
Brian Eason: This week, the normal lead feature is doing the backup and the backup team is doing the lead.
Justin Eger: That's some freaky stuff, to be sure. Threw me for a loop when I opened up the book. We get a little glimpse of Alfred, and a whole lot of background on the scroll he gave to Tarot.
BE: Yes, if was a slightly jarring flashback sequence, nut it had a cinematic quality to it. On the whole, I really liked it.
JE: It seems that the Troika's rewrite of the world is actually having grave consequences for the past as well as the present.
BE: One would assume that to have a rewrite of history, that there would have to be critical moments in the past that were changed as well. The fact that the Justice Society never retired, for example.
JE: And now all the way back to Prince Khufu's reign in Egypt, as well, where dark gods are overthrowing the powers of the Sun, Moon and Earth.
BE:Ã‚Â The very same symbols used for our Trinity.
JE: Exactly. Khufu's reign in Egypt is threatened by the arrival of these new changes, and perhaps even his whole future. After all, if the dark gods rule, Khufu and Chay-ara may never be resurrected.
BE: Which is where I get cross-eyed on this whole thing, because he is reincarnated, he runs the JSI, but the lack of the Trinity has certainly impacted him.
JE: Lack of a Trinity and, perhaps, lack of a partner. Has anyone seen a Hawkgirl around lately?
BE: Not among the JSI.
JE: I know we've talked about this before, but the history of Hawkman is very rich, and this is a great example of that.
BE: It is and ties nicely into the Egyptian tarot that was mentioned earlier in the series. These trinitarian symbols are ancient.
JE: And crucial to our plot. Gotta say, I do think one of my favorite lines was from Khufu, as he remembered all the lives he's yet to lead.
BE: And that line would be?
JE: "Of Hannibal Hawks, staring at Cinnamon's hair, aflame by the lamplight." It was very poetic, and highlights all that's good about Hawkman. Here is a character that, quite simply, has seen it all, and the different versions of him found throughout history makes for good reading.
JE: Nice shot of the Thanagarian warship that started the whole ball rolling, too.
BE: I'm glad this was mentioned. We finally have a Hawkman that will make sense in the DCU.
JE: That in and of itself is a huge accomplishment, what with all the variations on the character over the years. So, under power of Nth Metal, Khufu's scroll made it all the way to Europe. That's some distance.
BE: Or Carter has a hell of an arm.
JE: Maybe they should have established an ancient Egyptian football team?
BE: Green Arrow and Speedy disappear, the JSI appear to notice, but Ragman and Tatters do not. Reality coming apart?
JE: Or is it doing its best to simply reset?
BE: Moving Green Arrow back to Star City where he belongs and finding a replacement that belongs in Gotham?
JE: Bingo. I'm loathe to think that Arrow and Speedy were simply wiped off the map, but the world seems to have filled the Batman void with Ragman and Tatters.
BE: Catwoman is turning people into humanoid cats. Apparently without Batman, she turned into a far darker villain.
JE: I found this very reminiscent of a Joker plot, myself.
BE: Yes, exactly, as we have seen, the world is one of extremes. The poor are very poor, the rich are very rich. The heroes are an army that addresses every need, the villains are much darker.
JE: Exactly. There's a serious amount of weight coming down on all sides of the equation, reflective of the influences of Morgaine and Enigma.
BE: A world out of balance.
JE: And certainly not helped by the fact that Morgaine and Enigma are getting hammered by the Global Police Agency.
BE: Where's OMAC when you need him?
JE: A fine question, though it seems that none of this is slowing down Kanjar Ro.
BE: That weasel will do fine on his own, I'm sure.
BE: Hmmm. Maybe Tomorrow Woman is the Superman analog in this reality.
JE: Strange visitor from another world? Possibly, though there's a touch of Wonder Woman there, as well (being a created woman and all).
BE: Both ladies owe their origins to Galatea, that is for certain, Triumph, I feel is the other part of this equation, I initially had him pegged for the Superman analog, but, frankly, that was a bit sexist of me.
JE: I wouldn't admit any fault. Heck, this version of Triumph even has the standard Superman good looks.
BE: And dark hair. You may be onto something.
JE: You saw it first. I'm just reinforcing your beliefs. What a team, eh?
BE: And Tomorrow Woman disappears after seeing that she is in two places at the same time. What the heck is going on here?
JE: Like I said earlier, I'm leaning towards a reset. There were a few clues here and there that supported the fact that the world isn't capable of functioning without a proper Trinity, so it's rewriting itself to supply one.
BE: With Ragman as a Batman replacement, he certainly is a better fit than, say, Green Arrow.
JE: Precisely, and when the changes occurred, did you notice the shift in references to Arkham? First, when Green Arrow was around, it was a prison. Ragman refers to it as the Asylum once again.
BE: As the world shifts one step closer to the original reality.
JE: Right. But here's a thought: what if Firestorm (and Ghenna) are influencing the reality around them? After all, the JSI's Tomorrow Woman fought with Ghenna, and then was erased from reality.
BE: Like anti-bodies attacking a disease. That's a good line of thought.Ã‚Â
JE: Something to consider, at least.