By Brian K. Eason and Justin Eger
"Hairy, you are in for one serious world of hurt now..." -- Black Canary
Welcome to week three of TRINGENUITY, CBR's ongoing commentary of DC Comics' weekly superhero series, "Trinity." The title is divided into two 15-page 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.
PREVIOUSLY IN TRINITY
Our trio was faced with three trials, as Superman disposed of a miniature solar system that had invaded Metropolis, Batman was transported to and escaped from a fragile mystical version of Gotham City, and Wonder Woman battled giant robots in Washington D.C. As the three concluded their respective challenges, a Justice League distress call came from Green Lantern John Stewart, who was battling for his life against the alien monster known as Konvikt (the full tale of which was depicted in the backup feature).
Our lead feature this week is by series writer Kurt Busiek and the art team of Mark Bagley and Art Thibert. We pick up the action where we left off last week as members of the Justice League of America respond to John Stewart's distress call. The monstrous alien criminal, Konvikt, with color commentary by his sidekick Graak, turned from his one-sided battle with Stewart and the local military and attacked the league. Despite their impressive array of powers, the League members could not contain Konvikt as he shrugged off their counter-attack. As the League attended to the wounded, Superman was left to go it alone against Konvikt, a battle that none of them doubted he could lose. Yet, when the dust settled, Konvikt stood victorious, leaving the League stunned at the sight.
In the backup feature, Fabian Nicieza and Busiek join artists Mike Norton and Jerry Ordway to show us a day in the life of Marguerita Arroyo Covas, the young woman known to us as Tarot, last seen briefly in issue #1 of "Trinity." As we catch up with Rita, we see that she uses her powers of fortune-telling to not only learn more about her own life, but to make a living, as she tells fortunes on the street. Tarot is seen to use her powers for good, but on occasion she also uses her powers just for the joy of it, as when she advised a local street gang that ended up robbing a bank with her unplanned help. In the end, when Tarot goes to read her own fortune, she is too scared. But as her earlier reading predicted, she will soon have to take a side, and will likely become a great player in some new cosmic game.
Brian Eason: Can I tell you how much fun I am having with this series? Busiek is an outstanding writer and uses our heroes to their best advantage. While it might be tempting to start with the title characters, he instead picks up the action from the previous issue in a cinematic fashion and lets the big three ride in to save the day.
Justin Eger: It was an interesting way to handle the story, and yet another interesting glimpse into the interpersonal relationships between all the DC heroes, as noted by Enigma and Morgaine.
BE: I am also completely sold on the art team. Bagley has always been a Marvel guy, but he has such a firm grip on the DC characters that it feels very natural to see him at work here. I think his time on "Thunderbolts" served him well, since team titles give one a lot of variety to work with.
JE: Bagley's "Thunderbolts" does hold a special place on my bookshelf, though he does seem to have hit his stride early on with the appearance of the Justice League.
BE: Also, Thibert's style has always been very Kirby-inspired and that gives a certain weight to the inking that makes the characters appear as heroic and mythic as they should be.
JE: It's only recently that I started to see how much an inker can change the tone of things. The duo of Bagley and Thibert has a very complimentary style that's making it feel like they've been doing this forever.
BE: Konvikt and Graak are basically mopping the floor with the League. Is it wrong that I take such glee from Graak's commentary?
JE: I wouldn't be too worried about it. I enjoyed it immensely, especially considering that the League was too busy getting taken apart to have any banter time.
BE: Certainly, Graak did fill any potential dialog void.
BE: Great by-play with Le Fey and Enigma. In perfect opposition to the mutual admiration that the members of the Trinity share, these two snipe at each other over their perspective viewpoints. It's a nice way to draw a distinction between the villains and the heroes.
JE: I would have liked to see a bit more of the heroes. I imagine we'll get more of that in the coming weeks, but for a book about the Big Three, they were in it precious little time.
BE: And I like that the book doesn't have to see them on every panel. It reads like a 52-part novel.
JE: That's a cool way of looking at it. We get the asides with the other characters, then jump back to the main focus when the moment arrives. I like it.
BE: I also love that the scenes with the heroes are so bright and the villains lurk in the dark.
JE: My only worry with too much of that imagery is that you lose the flavor of someone like Batman, who spends the majority of his time in the shadows.
BE: Batman's a subtle character, that's why the piece from last week worked so well. A gloomy Gotham-like city and he defeated his challenge with a thought and a word.
JE: I have a feeling it's going to take more than that to bring down Konvikt, though. Perhaps this is where we'll see the ability of each hero to rise to different challenges.
BE: After this fight with Konvikt, I am wondering if you might be right and this might indeed the third member of the Troika and Despero may be a red herring. Anyone who can go toe-to-toe with Superman and come out on top is a heavy hitter.
JE: That was one hell of a haymaker that Konvikt laid out on Clark, wasn't it?
BE: Almost Doomsday-like. It was a great end shot, it gave the character the impact he needs to be more than just another alien threat.
JE: And it was a really great way to close out that part of the issue. You could almost hear the unspoken, "Uh-oh, this thing just popped Superman without breaking a sweat..."
BE: I hate to gush, but Busiek continues to impress me with the way he makes Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman into mythic heroes. The League defers to them because they are the ideal, not just because they were the first, but because they are the best.
JE: This is an area that I was on the fence about. On one hand, yes, they're the ones everyone looks up to. But on the other hand, I dislike it when people think the League can't function without the Big Three. Thankfully, that was all averted this week by Konvikt's ability to take down even Superman.
JE: Returning to someone we saw just briefly two weeks ago, we get a second and far more in-depth look at Tarot.
BE: I like this character. I like the look and I like the gimmick. The cards make for powerful imagery.
JE: The Tarot is nothing if not an interpretation of imagery, and it's perfect for a visual medium such as this.
JE: Ever since the dawn of the new magical age in the DCU, which was foreshadowed way back in "Day of Vengeance," I've been looking for someone to give me a better understanding of what, if anything, has changed. Tarot seems to be a good place for that, as she's just on the cusp of magical power.
BE: And she makes the perfect everywoman as we learn the nature of magic along with her.
JE: Bingo. Tarot also has something else going for her, in my opinion. She's a character in the DCU that isn't very experienced. I like seeing heroes, or potential heroes, go through a learning curve.
BE: There is nothing I like better than a well-constructed fledgling hero going through the process of learning. This is something Marvel used to do very well when they would introduce new characters. "New Warriors" comes to mind, which was also written by Fabian Nicieza.
JE: And drawn by Mark Bagley, another team book that hit a good stride early on, and yet another book I'm proud to have issues of, just like this one. She also goes through a rather unfortunate experience with her local gang, and a helpful but vicious guardian angel.
BE: A lot of power in that scene. I have to credit Jerry Ordway's inks on this. He is a master of facial expressions and Tarot's reaction sold the scene.
JE: As for Rita's other guardian angel, it seems like forever since we've seen Gangbuster gracing the pages of a DC comic in any significant fashion.
BE: Yes, and I'm very glad to see someone has hauled him out of obscurity even for just a little while. His down-to-earth look and style is not star-power material, but he's a great supporting character.
JE: I'm looking forward to his continued presence as well as, perhaps, a revamping from a minor-league character into, if not a major player, than a respectable mid-carder.
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