By Brian K. Eason and Justin Eger
"Bruce Wayne, though? Bruce is a thrill ride..." -- Wonder Woman
Welcome to week six 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.
The Justice League had fallen to the monster Konvikt as the battle between the alien and Superman continued until Superman was summoned by the Batman to the escape pod that delivered Konvikt to Earth, leaving Wonder Woman to battle on alone. At the escape pod, Batman captured Konvikt's sidekick, Graak. After interrogating Graak, Superman and Batman returned to Wonder Woman's side and utilized a gas that kept the aliens immobilized to defeat Konvikt. In the aftermath, Batman discovered a wolf-like humanoid agent of Morgaine Le Fey. Before the creature could be questioned, it burned in a mystic fire and was, seemingly, destroyed. The feature ended with Tarot watching with shock as her cards took on the appearance of the Trinity.
Tarot's problems were only just beginning, though, as her friend Jose tried to keep her safe from three villainous mercenaries who came to kidnap the fortune-teller. Jose attacked the trio in his all-new Gangbuster armor, successfully defending Tarot and helping her escape.
This issue's lead feature is again brought to us by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, and Art Thibert. We pick up directly where we left off last week as Tarot fearfully examines her transformed cards. She begins to notice patterns in her readings; that each set of three cards would form a trinity of powers, each transformed into the likeness of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Tarot surrenders herself to the worldsoul and explores the lives and purposes of the three heroes. Meanwhile, on the JLA satellite, the Trinity performs their own self-examinations, with Wonder Woman guiding Superman and Batman to recognize they are each one of three sides of the same ideal and that each represents an aspect of Truth, Justice, and the American Way. At the same time, in her home, Tarot comes to the same conclusions. Upon that realization, the wolf creatures that serve Morgaine LeFey arrive to struggle with Gangbuster. The feature closes as LeFey's agents escape with Tarot in tow and Gangbuster defeated.
In the back-up feature, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens return to help Fabian Nicieza get us caught up with Gangbuster, but first it's a quick detour to St. Roch, where Hawkman captures the mysterious Nocturna, who was in the middle of robbing Hawkman's museum of a valuable mystic artifact. Nocturna reveals the artifact is just one part of a puzzle and that operatives of the Gotham Underground are about to make a play for the second piece, located in another museum across the country in Los Angeles. Hawkman arrives in the City of Angels just in time to help Gangbuster foil the robbery, conducted by some local thugs and Killer Moth. After Gangbuster explains his plight and gets a little more info from a friend at the Daily Planet named Lois Lane, the heroes decide to team up and Hawkman opens a door to the Justice League headquarters.
Brian Eson: I'm sure some fans get tired of me raving about the art on this book, but I'm going to do it again this week. For a story that was low on action, the artwork served to frame the piece beautifully, showing that the art team can portray personal moments as well as action.
Justin Eger: It was a pretty quiet week, and a lot of summary for the characters and their places in the cosmos, such as it is.
BE: Tarot deconstructs each of the titular heroes and their relationship to each other and the nature of their function within the Trinity.
JE: And all under the banner of "Truth, Justice and the American Way," our title this week.
BE: Indeed. This book is not long on subtlety, but it hits on the right notes.
JE: I enjoy the directness of it. Sometimes you just want to be entertained. Sometimes thinking too hard puts a damper on what you're doing, and it seems like a lot of books are putting too much work into being subtle, so much so that we're losing the actual flavor of the book behind all the "Is that what he really means?" moments. Here, we're getting right to the point, with just enough mystery to keep us coming back.
BE: I love that Wonder Woman has to guide Superman and Batman through the psychological hurdles involved in their self-examinations. While the men are hardly clueless, they seem disinclined to discuss their feelings.
JE: Because they're men, man, and while Wonder Woman can be tougher than most men, she was raised in a land of women mostly like her. Bruce and Clark, no matter how many people that they have around them, are loners by nature, or at the very least separated from others.
BE: Interesting that the mark Morgaine's agent put on Wonder Woman has changed to a different symbol. Thoughts?
JE: If I were to speculate, which is why we are here, I'm going to bet that the mark will change again and will somehow be linked to Tarot's readings.
BE: The new symbol looks a great deal like the alchemical symbol for the element Lead and also the symbol for the planet Saturn (which is associated with lead). Having considered that Morgaine is likely an alchemist, I went and looked at the original symbol. That sloppy looking omega looks much closer to the symbol for the chemical process of Digestion. What all of this means is anyone's guess, but I am positive that Busiek is too good of a writer for these symbols to have no meaning in the real world.
JE: Let's see what we have here: Superman as Savior and Immigrant. Not the first time we've heard this about Big Blue. He's got so much power, it's not hard to look at him being a god-like figure, and his alien status is well-known.
BE: I love the way that they point out that his immigrant status is the "American Way."
JE: It was pretty much the exact point they needed to make to keep Superman grounded as a believable character and relevant to our times.
BE: And Wonder Woman as Agent of Truth and Warrior for Justice.
JE: Again, nothing to surprising here. When you carry a Lasso of truth, you're going to be seen as the embodiment of such.
BE: And finally Batman as Self-Made Man and Punisher of the Guilty.
JE: As a huge Batman fan, I am inclined to agree with this as well. Still, nothing new here. However, we do get a few glimpses into how the three look at each other in-between Tarot's visions. That, I think, is what made the issue so interesting for me.
BE: Again, three sides of the same equation.
JE: Exactly. Diana references the sun, the Moon and the Earth, and Clark counters with a discussion of being an outsider, Bruce being an insider, and Diana on the border.
BE: Apparently Batman is a "thrill ride." I guess Wonder Woman would know.
JE: I have to wonder if Clark is a little envious of Bruce's "bad boy" image, being the stalwart, steadfast husband-type.
BE: While I'm sure any normal man would be, jealousy seems to be beneath the Man of Steel.
JE: The let's counter the argument: Could Bruce be jealous of Clark?
BE: Bruce is too consumed with his own path to be concerned with jealousy. Besides, he's rich, handsome and a badass.
BE: Gangbuster got his head handed to him.
JE: That was harsh. Still, in spite of the visions, I have to think that Jose would have been making one heck of a lot of noise before the roof caved in. And I always love it when monsters are attacking, someone yells "Run!" and everyone freezes.
BE: And now Morgaine has Tarot.
JE: That seems likely, considering the introduction of her furry captors and the revelation about the last furry monster we saw, which was the one that targeted Wonder Woman. However, the information revealed in the back-up feature introduces the possibility that Tarot's captors are somehow involved with the Gotham Underground.
BE: Indeed it does and that makes me wonder if Enigma is tied in with it.
JE: That would be interesting to see: an unknown quantity always shakes up Gotham, but Enigma might take the cake. Also in the back, we get to see the first appearance of Hawkman within these pages.
BE: I've always been a fan of this character and solo stories with him are a rarity.
JE: Hawkman's Nth Metal has always astounded me, and I like how it's used here. Such a simple touch.
BE: This was very creative and since the Nth metal as always been about the anti-gravity, making a suborbital flight is in perfect keeping with the design. But, man, with no shirt -- that had to be cold.
JE: For some reason, I remember Nth Metal generating a comfort field, like Superman's aura, but I could be mistaken. Though if it isn't, that suborbital jaunt makes Hawkman way more of a tough guy than either of us could aspire to. And yes, there is Gangbuster once again, looking a little better than he did in the lead-in.
JE: This part of the issue really has a kind of "Brave and the Bold" vibe to it.
BE: And I am perfectly happy with that. I love obscure team-ups.
JE: Me, too. Here's hoping for more of the same as the year progresses. I'd toss out ideas here, but, for now, I'm just happy to be led along by the writers.
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