In the words of a great leader of men, “I love it when a plan comes together.” We’re barely into Trinity‘s second quarter, but I get the feeling we’re about to wrap up the first act, and specifically the Tarot/Troika subplot. However, that still leaves Krona, Konvikt and Graak, and the possibility that the Troika could succeed….
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“And I Finally See It” was written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, assistant editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: The Trinitarians storm Castle Branek!
– For those who came in late, the nine artifacts represent a friend, a foe, and the foundation for each of the Trinitarians. Thus, in a nice touch, each Trinitarian gets an orbit around the Strength and Justice/Judgment sigils. The Joker’s laugh, Commissioner Gordon’s pipe, and a chunk of Crime Alley correspond to Batman; Max Lord’s skull, a bit of Themysciran soil, and Etta Candy’s ID badge correspond to Wonder Woman; and Lois Lane’s PDA, Lex Luthor’s blood, and tiles from a distressed spacecraft correspond to Superman.
– “[T]hey harmonize — strongly — with its basic structure”: here, I take it, is the Troika’s thesis in a nutshell. If I understand correctly, then, our heroes don’t quite represent ideal personifications of “light, darkness, [or] the living between”; although they have been “shaped” by those universal forces to such a degree that they have the potential to serve as “keystones.”
– I’ve written previously about Wonder Woman’s place in the “Big Three,” first with regard to the Justice League and later with regard to Trinity. Essentially, it seems to me that she hasn’t been treated as well as the guys, despite her publishing history and relative fame. Back in the Great Curve days, in a post responding to the death of Max Lord (and lost to an Internet graveyard), I wrote that
…Wonder Woman has historically been the least popular of DC’s holy trinity. The three earned their iconic status in the 1950s for being the only major DC heroes to survive the end of the Golden Age. Thus, when other characters’ revivals had to wait on the good graces of DC editorial, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were continually published. Even so, Wonder Woman got her own “revamping” in the late ’60s, losing her powers and costume for a few years at the hands of Denny O’Neil and Mike Sekowsky. Clearly, DC thought that Wonder Woman wasn’t as untouchable as Superman or Batman, and that no one would mind wholesale changes. When angry feminists, including Gloria Steinem, proved DC wrong, Diana’s traditional status quo was restored and her “Emma Peel” period is now a distant memory.
…[A] double standard has evolved from DC’s having more well-defined boundaries for Superman and Batman than it has had for Wonder Woman. On the bright side, this treatment has encouraged writers to take more chances with Diana and arguably has made her a far more complex character. The downside is that while Superman and Batman may have been treated like hothouse flowers, and not allowed to grow or change in the same ways Diana has, now she looks vengeful, even amoral [after killing Max], in comparison to someone who only knows her from Lynda Carter.
Thus, it seems to me that Diana’s role as the character “living between light and darkness” comes more from her treatment by various writers and editors over the past twenty years, and less from, say, the archetypal qualities which Superman and Batman have by virtue of their own publishing histories. Yes, some attributes of the character of Wonder Woman (her social conscience, for example) have remained pretty much intact since the beginning, but of the three, I’d argue she has changed the most over the years. Again, though, this has allowed various writers to play her off of the other two, and from those contrasts (and other influences, of course) draw out her own distinct personality. Therefore, while Enigma’s summary of the Troika’s plan seems to put Diana in the middle, defined by the two sides, the “real” Diana may not be so easily described.
– Superman’s sigil has changed from the one for Judgment to the one for the Sun.
– Here is a scan of the monitor screen, flipped for clarity:
– In case you can’t read it, the Big Board summarizes much of what the series has shown so far. From left to right (or right to left if you’re looking at the original):
[window] Brand Runes: Strength, Priestess, Sun, World, Emperor, Judgement
[note] Branding Disks – ??
[window] The Eternity Book
[notes] Gargoyles at M. Zodiac’s? Entrigan [sic]? Merlin?
[window] The Howlers
[window] “Power readouts” [not otherwise identified]
[notes] “Sympatetic [sic] items”
[window] “Tarot Objects,” otherwise blank
[note] Swords, Chalices, Pentacles + Staffs
[note] Tarot!!! (Check with Dr. Fate?)
[note] Nightmares? Visions? Dream Big?
[window] Thayer’s Notch, Mass.; with a note, “Targeted?!!”
[note] “Let Me Out!!!”
[note] Who’s running the Gotham Underground?
[note] Magic + Science = ?
– We know many of these various big-board references already: Enigma has been coordinating the “Gotham Underground,” for example. I suppose the “dream big” reference has yet to be explained fully, assuming you don’t connect it with information from the solicits.
– Wonder Woman’s sigils are Strength, the Priestess, and the World. Superman’s sigils are the Sun, the Emperor, and Judgment.
– Doctor Fate was created by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman and first appeared in More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940). Originally, Doctor Fate was Kent Nelson, trained as a sorceror by the ancient mystic Nabu. Later, Nabu was revealed as a Lord of Order, one of many omnipotent beings dedicated to the well-being of the universe, etc. There have been many Doctors Fate (and one plain ol’ Fate), with the current one being Kent V. Nelson, grand-nephew of the original. Doctor Nelson, a psychologist, was created by the late Steve Gerber and Justiniano and first appeared in Countdown To Mystery #1 (November 2007). The current Fate doesn’t exactly have the same connection to ancient Egypt that previous ones did, but he’s new enough that the Justice League might not know that.
– We’ve seen a lot of Tarot cards so far, but I’d say the best indication of which ones apply to the Trinitarians has been in issue #6. There, the groupings were the Sun, the Moon, and the World; the Emperor, the High Priestess, and the Magician; and Justice, Strength, and the Devil. The current issue assigns Strength, the World, and the High Priestess to Wonder Woman; and the Sun, Justice, and the Emperor to Superman. As Hawkgirl says, that leaves the Moon, the Magician, and the Devil for Batman.
– “My memories of ancient Egypt”: naturally, Hawkgirl has a history of reincarnation similar to Hawkman’s, at least until Jim Starlin says otherwise.
– “The Riddler’s report”: we saw in issue #12 that Dick Grayson, in his capacity as museum curator, had hired Edward Nigma to find out who was behind the Tarot-related robberies.
– Superman’s sigil changes quickly, from Judgement to the Emperor to the Sun in a matter of seconds.
– I take it that Madame Zodiac’s gargoyle was seen last in her home, in issue #12.
– There’s the story title, but I’ve already had that “Suddenly I See” chorus running through my head for the past seven pages.
– Appropriate that Batman uses three clues to arrive at Castle Branek.
– “She can be bought”: I wouldn’t be surprised if this were a literal statement, considering Bruce Wayne’s vast resources. He’s done it before, for example in the JLA storyline “Rock Of Ages,” where he paid the mercenary Mirror Master to turn against the Injustice League.
– No annotations, although I wonder how the heroes got the mines so close to the Kirbytech Cosmic Machine (TM) without the Troika noticing. The Atom(s) and/or the Flash, maybe?
– No annotations.
– This is a nice surprise: most of these folks have been discussed already. The only newcomers are Power Girl and Citizen Steel of the Justice Society and Beast Boy of the Titans. Green Arrow makes his first “real” appearance in Trinity, outside of the alternate world seen in issue #1. Likewise, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) makes his first actual appearance, having been seen previously in flashback in issue #7.
– Power Girl, the current leader of the Justice Society of America, was created by Gerry Conway and Ric Estrada and first appeared in All-Star Comics #58 (January-February 1976). She’s Kara Zor-L, an older Supergirl from a parallel Krypton where Superman began his career in 1938. (I hesitate to say she’s from Earth-2 because that’s a topic for current issues of JSA.)
– Citizen Steel, a/k/a Nathan “Buckeye” Heywood, is the latest version of Steel, the Indestructible Man, a character created by Gerry Conway and Don Heck who first appeared in Steel, The Indestructible Man vol. 1 #1 (March 1978). The original Steel, Henry Heywood (also sometimes called “Commander Steel”), fought in World War II. His grandson, the late Hank III, was a member of the Justice League during its “Detroit phase.” Nathan first appeared in Justice Society of America vol. 2 #2 (March 2007) and first donned the Steel costume in issue #7 (September 2007) . Nate is made of “living steel,” which represents an upgrade from his other relatives’ mechanical components.
– Beast Boy, a/k/a Garfield “Gar” Logan, f/k/a Changeling, was created by Arnold Drake and Bob Brown and first appeared in Doom Patrol vol. 1 #99 (November 1965). While in Africa with his scientist parents, he contracted a rare disease; and the cure left him with green skin and hair and the ability to change into any animal, lizard, bird, or insect (which would also be colored green).
– Representing the Justice League: Hawkgirl, the Green Lanterns, Red Tornado, the Flash (but see below), and Black Lightning.
– Representing the Justice Society: Stargirl, Citizen Steel, Power Girl, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Damage.
– Representing the adult Titans: Raven, Starfire, Donna Troy, the Flash, Nightwing, Cyborg, and Beast Boy.
– Representing the Teen Titans: Wonder Girl, Miss Martian, and Robin.
– Representing the Outsiders: Katana, Geo-Force, Metamorpho, and Grace.
– Currently unaffiliated (although they’ll be part of James Robinson’s Justice League along with Hal Jordan): Supergirl and Green Arrow.
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“A Bit Of Overkill” was plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Scott McDaniel, inked by Andy Owens, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, assistant editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: It’s Carnage in the Carpathians, the Transylvania Throw-Down, the Wrassle At The Castle….
Page 13 (story page 1)
– Looks like Madame Zodiac and Tarot share a similar connection to the cosmos.
Pages 14/2 and 15/3
– Joining the melee are Red Devil, Red Arrow, Black Canary, Misfit, Vixen, Gangbuster, Hawkgirl, Ravager, Lady Blackhawk, and Thunder.
– Thunder was seen previously in issue #10, but apparently I didn’t have any biographical data on her there. She’s Anissa Pierce, the daughter of Jefferson “Black Lightning” Pierce, and was created by Judd Winick and Tom Raney for Outsiders vol. 3 #1 (August 2003). She agreed to her Dad’s restriction not to start her crimefighting career until she graduated from college, so stay in school, kids! She can increase the density of her body, making herself virtually invulnerable and turning her foot-stomps into shockwaves.
– I think this is Gangbuster’s first team-up with the Kara Zor-El Supergirl. When he was originally active in the Superman books, the Supergirl who patrolled Metropolis was a shape-shifter from an alternate Earth (and also in love with Lex Luthor Jr., but that’s a whole other story).
– No annotations.
– We’ve seen a lot of Batman and Nightwing together in Trinity, but Green Arrow and Red Arrow present another original mentor/protegé combination — in fact, one of the few remaining among active heroes.
– “A personal debt to settle”: When Starfire was a little girl, her jealous sister arranged for her to be sold into slavery. Therefore, when full-blown war erupted in that part of the galaxy, and the sisters ended up on opposite sides, their eventual duel (in New Teen Titans Annual vol. 1 #1 (1982)) was definitely personal.
– Boy, that Nth Metal has 1,001 uses….
– Apparently, many versions of the Arthurian legends say that Mordred is the son of Morgause, not Morgaine (or Morgan) Le Fay. Here, obviously, he’s Morgaine’s son, and that’s fine. Also, I can’t find a reference to this particular sword, but then again that Demon Omnibus isn’t out yet.
– I am likewise unfamiliar with the three-headed monster; although again, it’s at least superficially appropriate for this series. Not that Trinity is a monster, that is….
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And on that note, we bid farewell to Trinity for another week. I’m guessing that the story is going to look a lot different in a fortnight or so, going by what I read in the solicitations and what seems pretty obvious from the wrap-up of this part of the overall story. Should be fun, or at the very least full of references. Can’t wait!