By Brian K. Eason and Justin Eger
"...is she going to kill them all, or will she get bored at some point?" - Despero
Welcome to 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 Trinity and the Justice League began to research the recent strangeness in their lives, with Superman and a team of science heroes scanned space for signs of "creation energies." A visit from Hawkman and Gangbuster began to shed light on these matters as Hawkman revealed that the shifting symbols on Wonder Woman were ideograms from the Egyptian tarot. Additionally, Hawkman brought to the team's attention that a series of thefts he had been investigating were also tied to the tarot. The feature concluded with Le Fey and Enigma offering Lord Despero a chance to become "a Lord of Creation."
Also, John Stewart and Firestorm worked to find some answers as to what has been happening with John's powers (not the Green Lantern kind). Meanwhile, he provided the rookie Firestorm with a history of the villain called Krona, whom the JLA has kept under surveillance since battling him several years ago. Unbeknownst to the League, though, Krona's prison, the Cosmic Egg, has gone missing.
Our lead feature is by the pilot creative team of Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley and Art Thibert. The issue begins in Lord Despero's throne room as Morgaine LeFey unleashes her wrath on Despero's minions. Enigma outlines the nature of the Trinity and how Le Fey, Despero and himself will usurp the heroes as the Troika and how each of them represents a perfect opposite number to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Despero, for his part, shows his villainous compatriots the Cosmic Egg that contains the essence of the Oan, Krona. The feature concludes as Morgaine's Howlers attack Bruce Wayne in an attempt to brand him!
Our back-up feature from Fabian Nicieza, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens shows us the machinations of the evil Troika, now grown even more powerful with the addition of Despero. Enigma keeps track of all the players while Despero taps the energies of the Cosmic Egg and Le Fey does her part by tapping into the arcane energies surrounding Tarot's predictions. Combining the three, the Troika summons an additional trio made up of a tattooed man, an inhabitant of Gorilla City and a psychotic man, preparing to unleash them on their foes.
Brian Eason: Is it just me or is Busiek a master of blending humor and drama? Morgaine attacking Despero's men while Despero and Enigma calmly watch was priceless.
Justin Eger: It's another of those juxtapositions that we've been seeing so clearly, except this time we're on the other side of the Trinity, so to speak.
BE: I was also very happy to see the villains working as a team. If they are going to be a credible threat, they need to have unified goals.
JE: I'm not too certain about the whole "unified goals" thing yet. After all, Despero is hardly the world's greatest team player at the moment. I'll just be satisfied if the three of them don't tear each other apart.
BE: I think godhood can be a unified goal. But I see your point.
JE: Godhood would put me into bed with people I would otherwise maim and dismember.
BE: I think I know who Enigma is, keeping in mind how much Busiek likes to use characters he has created or used previously. In "JLA Secret Files 2004," Busiek introduced the Justice Underground. This group was the Earth-3 equivalent of The Secret Society of Super-Villains. Their leader was Edward Nigma, the Quizmaster. Since New Earth's Riddler has reformed, it is possible that Quizmaster, in like fashion, went over to the dark side and, as I said, we know how much Busiek loves bringing back characters he has created.
JE: That would be cool, and would tie into the notion of another three. And with godhood, he could very well clean up his Earth.
BE: Unless, like Riddler, he's turned over a new leaf -- a bad leaf.
JE: An interesting proposition, though we did see the current version of the Earth-3 Riddler back during "Countdown to Final Crisis" teaming up with the Jokester. But, again, a bad turn could mean all the difference.
BE: We also get to see our heroes in their element, as it were. Batman struggles with having to deal with being Bruce Wayne, Superman saving the world in little ways, and Diana -- shopping. Okay, I didn't see that one coming.
JE: For some, it seems to be in their element, but not the element that they prefer, at least. Bruce was very reluctant to get in on the party, but he falls right into the playboy act without any real effort.
BE: Batman is nothing if not a master actor. Bruce Wayne is just another mask, no matter how much he may loathe it.
JE: I have to mention: Diana and Tom Tresser / Nemesis? Didn't see that one coming, either.
BE: Over in the pages of "Wonder Woman," Diana and Tresser are courting in a traditional Amazonian way. I didn't realize that the Amazons had courtship rituals, but, according the series author Gail Simone, they do.
JE: Ah, Simone makes another interesting and just plain nifty addition to the Wonder Woman mythos.
BE: And, as we discover in the back-up, the creatures that attack Bruce are called "Howlers."
JE: Yes, Morgaine's pets are now named, though they still defy description, despite the best efforts of the Justice League last issue.
BE: The back-up feature also several new key elements, one of the first being the retrofit of Morgaine's castle.
BE: Much more middle ages and less Kirby.
JE: I particularly liked the customization for each of the Troika. Despero has his Egg-room, Morgaine has an arcane room, and Enigma is using his room to keep track of the all the players.
BE: Alien, Mystic, and Science, just like the Trinity, a very nice touch.
JE: We also pick up the thread only touched upon briefly in the opening act: Despero is the source of the destruction surrounding Krona's egg-like home.
BE: Considering his power levels, I am not surprised.
JE: Nor am I, though I must apologize to our readers as I implied that Krona had found a way to escape by himself last week, and now we know the truth. Tarot also makes an appearance, a victim of Morgaine's magic.
BE: There is a great deal of focus on this character. Obviously her visions are the key to exactly what all these Trinity concepts are about.
JE: I'm looking forward to her providing a reading on the Troika.
BE: Since the Trinity continues to take the roles of matching sets of three major arcana in the cards, I can only assume that the Troika intends to usurp the heroes' place in that imagery.
JE: But I imagine that the Troika has their own place in the deck, so to speak. Like many other parts of this series, it's a great way to tease us and get us thinking. I've got to point out that McDaniel's artwork is very nice here. There's so much going on in every panel and on every page, but it flows well.
BE: He has incredible storytelling skills. This reminds me why I fell in love with his stuff on "Nightwing."
JE: I hope to see the "Batman: Confidential" arc he's penciled on the previews list sometime soon, though I really just want to see him on a regular book again. I like him here, but he's got a gift for very kinetic artwork that deserves some serious action written for it. We've also got another pair of trinities. First up are the new players, including a tattooed man, a romance reading gorilla and an imprisoned psychotic.
BE: Good point, I frankly had gotten so used to the number three, that the fact that they were yet another trio was transparent.
JE: Correct me if I'm wrong, but we're dealing with another wave of new characters, aren't we?
BE: No, that's spot on, nice observation, though these are a lower tier of characters, perhaps representing lesser cards in the tarot. There were three villains after Tarot as well.
JE: That was my take, as well. Secondly, there's the trinity of power: Enigma's museum thefts, Morgaine's capture of Tarot, and Despero's liberation of the cosmic egg.
BE: This is starting to be an Easter-egg hunt of 'threes.'
JE: It's an interesting way to look at the storytelling. I'd like to find out if, as Busiek and Nicieza continue to write, they've become so used to installing threes in everything it's become second nature.
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