In the lead: Tarot and Gangbuster are in Europe, with no recollection of how or why they’re there. While being chased by some Howlers, they bump into Alfred Pennyworth, British super-spy. Freddie (as he prefers to be called here) is there researching ancient artifacts of bats, warrior women and the letter S. Tarot offers to read Freddie’s cards and sees him as a servant and a father figure in a cavern, then asks if the word “Batman” means anything to him. Freddie feigns ingnorance, but as Tarot and Gangbuster leave him, Freddie mutters the name “Bruce.”
In the back-up: Desiree is a tour guide at the JSI museum who has visions of a strong female hero that she assumes are her own imagination. But when she witnesses Firestorm apprehend Mammoth, she realizes that these are visions of another world where three missing heroes lead a League of sorts.
My take: Since the Trinity went bye-bye, both back-ups have focused on ordinary people who remember the Trinity, but aren’t quite sure if they’re imagining things or not. The guy last issue remembered Batman because he was afraid of him, and the woman this issue remembered Wonder Woman because she was inspired by her. Clearly Busiek is trying to show that the Trinity are just as important as symbols in the DCU as they are as heroes. But I’m not sure if these specific civilians will be playing a role in the story to come or if they themselves are just symbols.
Tarot, on the other hand, is apparently going to be a major part in this. While she doesn’t remember the Trinity outright the way that Firestorm does, she’s still getting visions of them through her cards. Tarot’s cards drew her to Alfred, who drew even more out about Batman. Logic suggests that as a magical character, Tarot will most likely be the one to undo the spell that undid the Trinity. But how long can Tarot and Firestorm support this series?
Things to keep an eye on: Tarot met Alfred this issue, who’s a surrogate parent to Batman. Julia Kapatelis, a surrogate parent to Wonder Woman, was introduced in the back-up. Odds are we’ll be seeing Jonathan or Martha Kent showing up any time now, or possibly Perry White.
When Tarot is leaving, Alfred says “Bruce.” He’s visibly shaken when Tarot mentions viewing him as a father figure, and nearly breaks down when she mentions “a cavern.” While Batman does not exist in this reality, Bruce Wayne did, and Alfred knew him. And it seems like Alfred feels more than a little guilt over the fact that he isn’t around anymore.