By Brian Eason & Justin Eger
"If you squint a little, you might just see it ... in a way you're more used to." - Tarot
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.
While Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma set off to track down the third member of their mystic Trokia, the members of the Justice Society International confronted the rogue heroes known as The League, eventually forming an uneasy truce. Meanwhile, Tarot arrived in Opal City to meet the mystic known as Charity, while the city transformed itself around her.
In our backup feature, Alfred "Freddie" Pennyworth gathered Lois Lane, Tom Tresser (Nemesis), Dick "Richie" Grayson, and Interceptor (Supergirl).Â After using a kryptonite amulet to subdue Interceptor, Freddie forced the group to come to terms with the missing Trinity and (at least partially) remember the world as it was. One supporting character remained uninvited; the former Wonder Girl, Donna Troy.
After her earth-shifting arrival in Opal City, Tarot's powers have dragged her soul into the past, where she relives the pervious lives of the other women throughout history who have shown a connection to the Worldsoul, revealed to be the living spirit of the planet. In some cases, the women with this special connection became leaders, and others were just as soundly driven mad by the power. Tarot herself seems on the verge of this madness, until Opal City's resident mystic, Charity O'Dare, acts as an anchor to bring Tarot back to reality. Unfortunately, Tarot realizes that the Worldsoul has been corrupted and could die, and if it dies, so does she.
In our backup feature, Enigma and Morgaine have realized what we knew all along, that the alien they need to complete the Troika is Konvikt. On cue, the story switches to Konvikt and Graak, who have returned to Massachusetts, where Konvikt discovers the human he slew is actually very much alive. Later, Konvikt's is approached by Morgaine Le Fey with an offer to join the Troika. The backup ends in the same way as the lead, as Morgaine and Enigma survey a group of spectral forms that represent the major arcana of the tarot.
Justin Eger: This first page gives us one hell of a skyline, don't you think?
Brian Eason: My hometown, with a bazillion planets in the sky.
JE: Now that we're at the midway point, we get introduced to some new conflicts courtesy of Mr. Busiek, chief among them being the shifting realities.
BE: Reptile people, bug people. The Universe is struggling to hold it all together.
JE: I hope the universe is doing a better job of it than I am. These are some pretty hefty thoughts to comprehend here, and I'm not ashamed to say I'm a little intimidated. Charity, for all her skill, is woefully out of her element here.
BE: Well, she is just a fortune telling and this is big, end-of-the-world stuff.
JE: And yet there's poor Tarot, stuck right in the middle of it all.
BE:Â She remains, in many ways, despite her power, the everyman character through which we can view all of this unfolding.
JE: And I like her for that. She's not experienced enough to just take it all in stride. She worries, she doubts. She a good focus for the story.
JE: So, once in a generation, the Worldsoul chooses, well, I guess you could call it an interpreter.
BE: And in this generation is it Tarot.
JE: Though we do have some references to previous holders of the power.
BE:Â Yes indeed, a whole line of women going back to the dawn of time.
JE: Though the relationships of the caveman era don't seem to be very healthy.
BE:Â I may be stretching here, but if we examine these past lives in more detail, I expect to see the immortal Vandal Savage.
JE: I wouldn't call it a stretch. Very few characters have such direct ties to the past, and Vandal is chief among them, since he lived it all. Looking at all the women throughout history that have spoken to the Worldsoul, as Tarot now does, I found myself reminded of another hero we're fond of: Carter Hall.
BE: Eternally reborn to fight evil? Yes, I was thinking the same thing. Did you notice that one of Tarot's prior lives appeared to be dressed as Super-Chief?
JE: Yeah, that was pretty awesome, though the other forms were pretty impressive, too, including the tree-person. But, going back to Carter Hall, did it occur to you that our heroic Hawkman may have actually met other Worldsoul interpreters throughout his own history?
BE:Â I wouldn't be surprised at all. There is surely a reason for making such a big deal out of Carter's serial reincarnations.
JE: Guess we'll have to wait and see, though the possibilities are astounding (and astoundingly cool).
JE: While I could take a shot at this, I'm going to bow to your knowledge of DC folklore for a moment and ask you if you wouldn't mind telling us all about Sindella and the Hidden City?
BE: Busiek really pulled this one out of his back pocket. Sindella is the mother of Zatanna Zatara and wife of John Zatara. She was a member of a race of sorcerers called the Homo Magi. She made her first appearance in "Justice League of America" v1 #165 (April 1979). This was a way to provide a more unique origin for Zatanna, who, up to that point, had just been the daughter of Zatara, a poor man's Mandrake the Magician. The Hidden City was the home of the Homo Magi.
JE: Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Homo Magi aren't just limited to the Hidden City. I seem to remember a link to Skartaris somewhere in there.
BE: There are many references to the Homo Magi since they first appeared, weaving their way through the DCU. They originated on the continent of Atlantis, while Gemworld and Skartaris were both Homo Magi colonies. The Hidden City, Doctor Mist's African kingdom of Kor, and even the Nightshade dimension have been populated by them.
JE: So, with this wisdom in mind, do you think there is a possibility that Tarot herself has some link to the Homo Magi, or was this just a great way to tie the Worldsoul deeper into the DCU?
BE: She wouldn't be the first DC Character with Homo Magi blood, I think we'll find that that's the case here.
JE: And, of course, we have a very big climactic revelation at the end of the first half of the issue: if the world can't be set right, the Worldsoul, and the whole of the planet, will die, and so will Tarot.
BE: And what's up with all the ghostly Major Arcana?
JE: A very strong interpretation of the Worldsoul's behavior, maybe. Your thoughts?
BE:Â Each of those Major Arcana represent a concept, many of them have been shown in sets of three and represent the Trinity. The Worldsoul has been pointing this out to Tarot and, as we'll see later, by others as well. What this manifestation is about, I can't guess yet. But I'm very interested to see where this goes.
JE: Indeed. On second glance, I counted fifteen tarot symbols represented, easily divisible by three, and there are representations of both the major (and more familiar) characters in the deck, like the Hanged Man, the Magician, the Devil and the High Priestess, as well as representatives of three suits, namely Wands, Cups and Swords (I saw no reference to Pentacles). Links both to threes and to the Trinity itself, as revealed in the character cards.
BE: Our backup has art by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens, good looking stuff.
JE: As always, though a little more stoic than his regularly dynamic stuff. Very cool.
BE: I think the brooding and solid looking storytelling suits the main subject, Konvikt, very well.Â
JE: Precisely. While I know it's too soon to tell, I'd like to see more of Konvikt beyond this series.
BE: Busiek loves to reuse characters and storylines, as we've seen here, so it's likely to happen. Morgaine and Enigma appear to have cast off the godly trappings for a more traditional look.
JE: That's a good thing in my book. The big demon woman and the living shadow looks were starting to creep me out a little bit.
BE: And look, Kovikt is the third part of the Troika. You may take a bow now.
JE: Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.
BE: As we suspected, Konvikt was railroaded and his ship (as we know) crashed on Earth. The surprise comes from the cause of the breakout and crash.
JE: Yes, our friend Krona's escape from his cosmic prison had some serious repercussions. An escape that was created by the machinations of Morgaine and Enigma. That's some tight plotting, there.
BE: Very tight plotting. As always, everything means something with Kurt Busiek.
JE: Nothing is coincidence.
BE: Morgaine makes Konvikt an offer.
JE: Yes, he can take his place in the Troika and then use his newfound power to make things right, or as right as they can be when compared o his code of honor.
BE: They will definitely be a divided trio. Morgaine is driven by her hate, Enigma by his desperate love for his child and his broken world, and Konvikt by his honor.
JE: As I believe we touched on some weeks ago, Konvikt does have all the pieces of our world's Trinity represented in his personality. His honor, being driven by loss, and the strength of his (forgive the use of the word, here) convictions.
BE: He does as well as personal loss, loss of his home world, warrior traditions and many other elements that make him very interesting in this context.
BE: And the backup ends the same as the lead.
JE: More ghostly tarot images. In fact, the same ghostly tarot images. Considering our lead feature, I have to wonder, are Morgaine and Tarot envisioned as two sides of the same coin?
BE: I have to think that they have all along. Morgaine was the prime mover behind the tarot based crimes and she and Tarot share some sort of link in that regard.
JE: And Tarot did use her as a focal point for her magic. Interesting.