This week examines the reach of the Troika’s plans with a look at DC antiquity; and introduces a couple of new mysteries about the altered timeline. Let’s get on with it, shall we…?
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“A Hope For Tomorrow” (pages 2-10) 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, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: A flashback to ancient Egypt sets up turmoil in the present.
– For those who came in late, this is Alfred Pennyworth, who’s a little more hands-on in the altered timeline.
– As the son of Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward I) and the grandson of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert Victor (1864-1892) was second in line to the British throne all his life. (Clearly this is not unlike Morgaine le Fay, as we saw last issue.) For our purposes I suppose it’s noteworthy that he was one of the “Jack the Ripper” suspects. The idea of his reign was also the subject of a series of alternative-history novels (King and Joker and Skeleton-In-Waiting) written by Peter Dickinson.
– As we know, Khufu grows up (so to speak) to be Hawkman.
– Set is the Egyptian god of evil.
– Nephthys represents the head of the household, and is also apparently the closest thing the ancient Egyptians had to Death personified.
– I am not just saying this because he’s been a frequent commenter here, but I do think that Allen Passalaqua’s coloring job was especially good in this story, and especially on these pages. I would ask “what can brown do for you,” but that might be too cute.
– Syene is another name for the Egyptian city of Aswan.
– Hath-Set and Chay-Ara are familiar to us from Hawkman’s origin. Like Chay-Ara, Hath-Set goes back to the first Hawkman story in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940), written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Dennis Neville.
– We’ve covered Nabu before briefly, in the annotations to issue #15. He was an ancient Egyptian magic-user prior to being revealed as a Lord of Order.
– Ra, Toth, and Ma’at are indeed the ancient Egyptian gods of the Sun, Moon, and truth/order/balance/justice; and Geb is the god of the Earth. I like the notion of these atavistic gods fading in influence now that the “rightful” Trinity has been displaced.
– Naturally, we remember the spinning wheel of Hawk-fortune from issue #16. I don’t think there are any new lives to catalogue here.
– No annotations.
– “Ki No Tamayoshi”: the Internest isn’t coming through for me here. As listed in issue #16, there are two Japanese Hawk-incarnations, one in the 15th Century and one in the 17th, so I suppose he could be either one.
– Like Hannibal “Nighthawk” Hawks, Kay “Cinnamon” Manser was an existing DC character later incorporated into the Hawkman mythology (in Hawkman vol. 4 #7 (November 2002)). Created by Roger McKenzie and Jack Abel and first appearing in Weird Western Tales #48 (September-October 1978), she was a red-haired Old West gunslinger eventually revealed as the reincarnation of Chay-Ara.
– No annotations.
– The Thanagarian starship was first seen around JSA #20 (March 2001). According to Chris Miller’s chronology, this places the story at approximately 1270 B.C.E.
– “Died in my service for the salvation of a world they would never see”: this is not exactly a rare sentiment, but it’s put pretty eloquently here.
– “The world’s soul”: there’s that term again….
– The casing is made of gravity-defying Nth Metal, of course.
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“Winds Of Change” (pages 1, 11-22) was written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: The JSI struggles with the Troika, Gehenna, and a spare Tomorrow Woman.
Pages 12-13 (story pages 1-2)
– I just realized … Kanjar Ro is (shudder) naked.
– The idea of the Justice Society “taking over the world” in an altered timeline was also explored in the excellent DC 2000 miniseries, written by Tom Peyer, pencilled by Val Semeiks, and inked by Prentis Rollins. The villain T.O. Morrow changes the world of the 1940s with inventions from, yes, the year 2000 … but once the original JSA gets a look at the horrific turn of the millennium, they decide they have to stop it from happening. Read it just for the Spectre’s reaction to a laptop. Oh, and the line “… your consciousness couldn’t threaten a kitten.”
– No new Justice Socialites here; only Power Girl, Atom-Smasher, Triumph, Sky Rocket, Red Tornado, and Black Lightning.
– Hey, it’s page 23 from issue #1! The differences in dialogue are mostly degrees of specificity: no mentions of “after-patrol cocktails” or “protect[ing] business interests” in the original.
– Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to know what’s going on here. (No sarcasm intended, either.) Sending Green Arrow and Speedy “away” with a word might be one of Ragman’s (or Tatters’) powers. However, it might also be a callback to issue #2, when Batman left the Magic!Gotham with a single spoken word.
– Catwoman, a/k/a Selina Kyle (although we’re not sure it’s Selina in this timeline) was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and first appeared (as “The Cat”) in Batman #1 (Spring 1940).
– Remember from issue #18 that in the altered reality, there is no Joker … so here, Catwoman has taken up his poison-the-water-with-your-signature-chemical schtick.
– Brainwave Jr., a/k/a Henry King Jr., is the son of the original Brainwave (Henry King, of course), a villain who fought the Justice Society. Junior was created by Roy Thomas, Jerry Ordway, and Mike Machlan, and first appeared in All-Star Squadron #24 (August 1983). Dad was created by Gardner Fox and Joe Gallagher and first appeared in All Star Comics # 15 (February-March 1943).
– “Quadri-lobed mutant brain”: this is part of the cover story programmed into the android Tomorrow Woman, who didn’t realize she was an android until too late. In her first appearance in JLA #5 (May 1997) she supposed herself to be a mutant, “the first of a new species, born ahead of my time.”
– Forgot to mention that Tomorrow Woman is yet another character who is dead in the regular timeline (as of JLA #5) but alive here.
– Remember from issue #17 that the Ultra-Humanite has been terrorizing Metropolis.
– “Richard”: no idea.
– No annotations.
– This Tomorrow Woman sports her original costume, designed by Howard Porter.
– No annotations.
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I’ll close this week by answering a question from commenter Julius Brown: would I still buy Trinity if I didn’t have to?
Yeah, I would; and I say that without hesitation. Trinity isn’t without its flaws, but this space is more about immediate reactions and I would prefer to discuss the overall pluses and minuses from more of a distance. Even with its roots in Busiek’s JLA and Superman, I don’t know that I would call it another Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, or Justice League series. I’m not even sure it’s World’s Finest Plus One. It’s becoming a story about DC-Earth itself — about the way that this conglomeration of characters dreamed up by dozens, if not hundreds, of different people can actually share a universe. Now, I’m not going to start humming “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing,” and I know that there’s more to the names I list every week than just who created what, but there is a certain elegance to the way Busiek, Bagley, Nicieza, et al., bring these characters to life.
I have said before that the central conceit of this series comes out of what some might see as a happy accident of publishing. Well, with over half the story still to come, Trinity is justifying its conceit pretty well. It’s been a fun series, and I think it will hold up well over the long term.
Back next week!