So here we are again, a week older and 22 pages wiser. Thanks to all who commented last week on the main site, including Kurt Busiek himself! (By the way, I can only remember the old Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage and Law-enforcement Division acronym. I just liked how the movie never abbreviated it.)
Just a few words before we get started on issue #2: despite having volunteered for this 52-week project, I don’t think you should need annotations to enjoy any artistic work. I also believe that Trinity stands on its own pretty well, without much need for specialized knowledge of the characters or situations. However, if it ever gets to the point where there are no Easter eggs to find, and Waldo’s come out of hiding, I may just offer some pithy thoughts on (gasp!) the work itself.
Still, we’re not there yet. Beware of SPOILERS.
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“A Personal Best At Giant Robot Smashing”; written by Mr. Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, lettered by Pat Brosseau; Elisabeth V. Gehrlein, assistant editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: Superman stops a miniature solar system from destroying Metropolis. Wonder Woman defeats a squad of giant robots. Batman escapes from an alternate version of Gotham City. However, there’s a distress signal from Green Lantern….
– Castle Branek, Morgaine le Fay, and Enigma are all picking up from issue #1.
– I thought comics shops had it bad here on Earth-Prime–!
– For once, the Daily Planet globe isn’t the big explodey sphere.
– The miniature sun can’t help but remind me of Solaris the Tyrant Sun (created by Grant Morrison and Val Semeiks), a future foe of the Superman Dynasty who first appeared in DC One Million #1 (November 1998). The All Star version of Solaris made his first real appearance just recently, in All Star Superman #11 (July 2008), after being referenced in issue #2 of that series. Of course, Solaris is sentient, and so far our little sun isn’t.
– This magic-influenced version of Gotham City has “carrier bats” (shades of Hogwarts) and organic streetlights. In the post-52 Multiverse, Earth-33 is supposed to be magic-based, but I don’t think this is it.
– The “Techno-Hive” appears to be new with this issue. If they had more limbs, I might even have been tempted to call them “iron spiders.” Still, why would a spider need a suit of armor…?
– Well-established Superman lore (going back at least as far as Action Comics #262 (March 1960)) holds that Kryptonians’ powers are fed at least in part by the rays of a yellow sun. The Earth-1 Superman also benefitted from Earth’s weaker gravity relative to Krypton. However, since the character’s 1986 revamp, yellow-sun radiation has been the dominant factor. In John Byrne’s The Man Of Steel #1 (October 1986), Jor-El notes that his infant son’s “Kryptonian cells will become living solar batteries, making him grow ever more powerful.” Indeed, Superman has been “overloaded” before, including Superman vol. 2 #10 (October 1987) and vol. 2 #89 (May 1994).
– “Not from this universe”: of course, check your local listings. For example, as Busiek explained in JLA/Avengers, certain fundamental forces of one universe don’t work the same way (or may not even exist) in another. As we’ll learn later, though, that’s not quite the case here.
– The “ecliptic” is the path of the Sun, so Superman has pushed the little star out of harm’s way.
– “Runes of ash and thorn”: as this article explains, “ash,” “thorn,” and “wynn” were three new runes added to the Latin alphabet by “early English scribes” to accommodate English sounds that didn’t otherwise fit the Latin letters. “Ash” corresponded to “ae,” and used the a-sound of “cat” (or “bat?”). “Thorn” represented “th,” and “wynn” represented “w.” Naturally, the particular runes also represented ash and thorn. Once again, though, here are two parts of a trinity….
– “No” reminds me of the venerable Justice League villain Doctor Destiny (created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky for Justice League of America #5 (June-July 1961), who could manipulate reality through dreams. One Justice League (including the Trinitarians) was brought together by a being called Know-Man (“no” — get it?) who was using Destiny’s powers to make everyone else on Earth “super.” (Justice League: A Midsummer’s Nightmare #s 1-3 (September-November 1996)).
– “Tannin” has a bitter taste. I don’t think Batman drinks alcoholic beverages, but there are plenty of other ways for him to taste it.
– “Alfred” is Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler and Batman’s chief assistant. The “subway rocket” is a high-speed vehicle which uses abandoned subway lines to run between downtown Gotham and the Batcave. Although developed by Bruce Wayne, it was introduced during Jean-Paul Valley’s brief tour as Batman, ’round about Detective Comics #667 (October 1993).
– No annotations.
– Once again, the lead story’s title is a bit of Wonder Woman-related dialogue.
– “Clearly connected with the dreams we’ve all had”: remember, as per issue #1, Superman saw “a cosmic, extraterrestrial intelligence, enraged, warping the fabric of space-time.” Wonder Woman saw an “ancient angry god,” chained like Prometheus. Batman saw “a prisoner … intent on escape.” Beyond the reality-warping, though, none of this issue’s menaces seem to have much to do with the Trinitarians’ perspectives on their dreams.
– About that prisoner, though…. Looking again at the last page of issue #1, the angry guy does resemble Krona, an Oan who tried to discover the secrets of creation and ended up becoming a cosmic villain. (Green Lantern vol. 1 #40 (October 1965); revisited in Crisis On Infinite Earths). Krona was last seen trapped inside a “cosmic egg” at the conclusion of Avengers/JLA #4 (December 2003). At that time it was thought that, were the egg to hatch, the universe it birthed would contain Krona’s essence, and he would have his answers about creation by being part of it. In the meantime, the Justice League was studying the egg, as shown at the beginning of JLA #107 (December 2004), also written by Mr. Busiek. That was on the old Justice League Watchtower, though, which has since been destroyed.
– This wouldn’t be the first DC title to take its cue from a DC/Marvel crossover. Besides that JLA storyline, the 1995-98 Sovereign Seven series had some roots in the 1982 X-Men/New Teen Titans crossover (both written by Chris Claremont).
– Busiek says that Enigma has “been seen before,” and not under that name, “but you’ll be learning a lot more about him in Trinity.”
– “Green Lantern” refers to any member of the intergalactic peacekeeping force called the Green Lantern Corps, several of whom have been affiliated with various Justice Leagues. The GL Corps is organized, powered, and overseen by the Guardians of the Universe on the planet Oa. Krona’s actions led eventually to the Corps’ creation.
– This Green Lantern is architect John Stewart, created by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams for Green Lantern vol. 2 #87 (December-January 1972). As the backup Green Lantern for Earth’s space sector 2814, he was a reserve member of the original Justice League of America and joined full-time around JLA #76 (February 2003).
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“It’s Gonna Throw The Car”; plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Mr. Nicieza, pencilled by Tom Derenick, inked by Wayne Faucher, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brousseau; Elisabeth V. Gehrlein, assistant editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: As Graak provides color commentary, Green Lantern loses a fight with Konvikt.
Page 13 (story page 1)
– The “heliopause” is the boundary between the heliosphere and the interstellar medium, ‘way out in the solar system. In smaller words, it’s where the solar wind peters out, and extends past the orbits of Neptune and Pluto. Thus, the “escape pod” might have been coming towards John as it “ripped through” the heliopause.
– A Green Lantern’s main tool is its power ring, which responds directly to its wearer’s commands. The rings have gotten a lot more talkative since the GL Corps was most recently reorganized, around the time of Green Lantern vol. 4 #1 (July 2005).
– The coordinates look to be near the corner of Depot Street and Front Street in Housatonic, Berkshire, Massachusetts … but I seem to remember that DC-Earth is bigger than ours, so of course I can’t be precise.
– I didn’t notice last issue that the “double-M” on Konvikt’s head looks a lot like an inverted version of Wonder Woman’s double-W.
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– John’s ring hasn’t heard of Konvikt’s species or Graak’s…
– … but, not surprisingly, Graak has heard of the Green Lantern Corps.
– No annotations.
– John’s “guns” seem similar to powers used by the Vuldarian race and once possessed by John’s fellow GL Guy Gardner. Guy had those powers from Guy Gardner: Warrior #0 (October 1994) to Green Lantern: Rebirth #2 (January 2005).
– “Blew my concentration”: power ring constructs depend on the ringbearer’s willpower.
– No annotations.
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Not as much trivia this week, but more to think about. What did I miss?