Category: 52 / countdown / trinity

Trinity #23

23In the lead: Commander Hall supervises all the disturbances around the world from the JSI HQ in NYC. Ragman’s dealing with a feline Catwoman in Gotham while Green Arrow’s in Star City…just where he’s always been? Also, Black Adam’s mysteriously shown up in Washington D.C. and taking his frustration out on Ares’ invading minions, while Tomorrow Woman is defeating the Ultra-Humanite in Metropolis. Brainwave reads Firestorm’s mind and sees a world where the Trinity existed, but Hall still doesn’t believe it. Gangbuster and Tarot split up outside of the JSI HQ; Gangbuster is going to deliver Khufu’s scroll to Hall while Tarot has business in Opal City. And while the JSI is distracted by all these changes in the timeline, Enigma and Morgaine Le Fay have conquered most of Europe.

In the back-up: Jon Stewart is in deep space trying to gain control over the Void Hound that he’s been infected with since the start of the series, but ends up accidentally opening a wormhole to Earth. As Kanjar Ro flees Earth to regroup, it’s revealed exactly when he replaced Despero (issue #4). But he didn’t finish off Despero, who’s formed an army and is headed to Earth to take revenge on Ro. GL, Ro and Despero all converge on the wormhole, as Krona looks on: “This is…interesting.”

My take: Boy, Busiek & Co. sure managed to squeeze a lot into this issue. Pretty much every existing plot thread got a bit of play this week. I’m especially glad to see the real Despero back in the picture, as it’ll probably throw a wrench into just about everyone’s works. (more…)

Trinity #22

22In the lead: Alfred the super-spy is on a freighter headed for America. He remembers his meeting with Tarot and the scroll case he gave her…

In the back-up: …which belonged to Prince Khufu, one of the past lives of Hawkman. Back in issue #16, after Hawkman helped Gangbuster rescue Tarot, he went back to help the Trinity and got hit with some magic that made him relive all of his past lives simultaneously. Turns out, the magic made at least one of his past selves do the same thing. Khufu realizes he’s seeing into the future and that something terrible is going to happen that he must stop. He writes his visions down and puts them in the scroll case that several thousand years later ends up in the hands of Alfred.

Back in the lead: The JSI’s non-meta shock troops attack Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma, who easily repel the assault. While this is happening, Kanjar Ro steals an airship and hightails it. Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Green Arrow and Speedy disappear in a puff of smoke while Ragman is giving them a piece of his mind. Seconds later, Ragman and Tatters don’t remember anything strange happening. The female half of Firestorm tries to escape from JSI custody but gets taken down by Tomorrow Woman. That’s strange, since Tomorrow Woman is also in Metropolis fighting giant robots. In another puff of smoke, the JSI’s Tomorrow Woman disappears.

My take: Busiek & Co. decided to change up the standard issue formula here by throwing the “back-up” after the first page of the “lead” and then switching back to the lead. And as a result, this is the first issue of the series that felt like one continuous 22-page story. I actually like this method of structuring an issue better than the way they’ve been using so far. (more…)

Trinity #21

21In the lead: After a little back-story on Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma, “Despero” is revealed to be Kanjar Ro in disguise. Due to his deceit, Morgaine Le Fey’s spell wasn’t completed as it should be. Le Fey and Enigma has become demigods, and their bad from the abyss on the newly Trinity-free Earth. But the super-police of this Earth are already hot on their tails…

In the back-up: John Stewart’s binary problem is revealed to be “the Void Hound, the Erdammeru,” a Qwardian super-computer thingie. The Erdammeru finally lashes out, but Firestorm arrives just in time to save the day. Stewart regains control just long enough to realize he has to flee Earth for the planet’s safety, and Firestorm is attacked by the JSI.

My take: This story seems to be all over the place since the Trinity got erased from existence. We’ve jumped from Tarot to Firestorm to the bad Trinity to Krona to random civilians. There hasn’t really been a coherent storyline since issue #17. It’s like this is all a 24-Hour Comic by me and Doom DeLuise. Hopefully things start to settle down and come together pretty soon.

We got a little bit of back-story on Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma this issue. Le Fey was a good girl until Arthur showed up to claim the throne of Britain which Le Fey thought was rightfully hers. She wants to become a god so she can rule the world. Enigma was a good family man until he became a superhero and Ultraman burned his face and murdered his family. He wants to become a god to bring his family back and save his home world from the Crime Syndicate. One of those seems a little more sympathetic than the other.

Things to keep an eye on: Without the real Despero, Le Fey’s spell wasn’t complete. Granted, the villains are still pretty godlike, but now there’s a chink in their armor, and a chance to restore the Trinity.

With John Stewart off-planet, Firestorm doesn’t have any allies left on Earth. He and Tarot are now the only two super-people around with any knowledge that the Trinity existed. How long will it be until they cross paths?

Trinity #20

20In the lead: Firestorm realizes this isn’t an alternate reality, but his own reality in an altered state, so he does what Batman says: “When you’re not sure what to do next, get more facts.” To the microfilm room! After studying up on this reality’s past, Firestorm is attacked by an army of giant Amazos. After escaping, Firestorm decides he needs to find John Stewart, who he believes will be able to help.

In the back-up: Krona travels to Laboratory World 7431, and enlists the Controllers there in his quest to commune with the universe and learn everything there is to know. The Controllers decide to betray Krona and get evaporated for their troubles.

My take: In this reality, the JSA never retired and became a worldwide charitable organization. With the JSA still active, they were the ones to repel the aliens that the JLA orginally formed to combat. Any metahuman that didn’t join up with the JSA was treated as a criminal. Hal Jordan is treated like a space cop outside his jurisdiction. Aquaman is treated as dictator invading foreign soil. Martian Manhunter decides to remain in hiding so he’s not treated the same way. Flash is accepted, but “he didn’t last long.” Hmmm…

Essentially, without the Trinity, this world never came to accept superheroes. The JSA, as part of the war effort, was still seen as a group of normal people with extraordinary abilities. No one in the JSA could leap tall buildings in a single bound, or create anything they could imagine just by imagining it. Without Superman to set the example, no one in the DCU grew to believe that someone that powerful could actually be in it for the good of the world and not just for themself.


Trinity #19

19In 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.

Trinity #18

18In the lead: Whoa! There’s lot going on here. Krona’s free, and looking a lot cooler as a glowing-sun guy than he did as a blue-skin-with-a-receding-hairline guy. Meanwhile, Lois Lane introduces us to the World Without a Trinity via her talk show “Fastlane.” Check out “My take” for more on that. And John Stewart seems to remember that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be, then goes binary and flies off into outer space. Finally, Firestorm returns from checking on the cosmic egg (which he did in issue #16) to discover that he didn’t return to the same world he left.

In the back-up: Charlie Melvin thinks he’s going crazy because he remembers some sort of a giant bat protecting Gotham. In fact, he seems to remember two other heroes that aren’t in his world anymore…

My take: Yowsa. Both the good and bad Trinities are out of the picture. John Stewart, Firestorm and some random civilian seem to be the only people who know something is wrong. And one of the most powerful villains in all of existence is on the loose. Kurt Busiek has got me really excited about the second arc of Trinity.

Wondering how the Word Without a Trinity is different from the real world? Well here you go:

-Dick Grayson never became Robin. He’s a mobster.

-Donna Troy never became Wonder Girl. She’s a nerd.

-Kara Zor-El never became Supergirl. She’s Interceptor, who has no idea she’s Kryptonian, and she’s extremely pissed off that a Green Lantern has involved himself in “terran missions,” which “could be taken as an act of war.”


Trinity #17

17In the lead: Morgaine Le Fey, Enigma and Despero cast the spell to retcon Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman out of existence. And Krona hatches from his cosmic egg.

In the back-up: Konvikt (remember him?) escapes from custody, and decides to head back to Thayer’s Notch to make amends for the one guy out of four he killed that wasn’t in the military. But then he just ends up sitting on the top of a mountain while a giant tidal wave overtakes him.

In the other back-up: The bad Trinity is engulfed in a golden glow. The good Trinity is trapped in total darkness. The world has been reshaped as if the Trinity never existed. And Lois Lane’s a smoker now!

My take: According to the DC Nation page at the back of the book, Trinity the series has come to the end of its first arc. According to their math, 16 1/3 issues is a third of the series. That means there’s going to be 49 issues of the series, which just seems like a weird number. Not quite 50, not a multiple of three…seems more likely that they just screwed up the math.

As a big fan of alternate universes (the Age of Apocalypse got me started on comics, and it remains one of my favorites), I’m looking forward to the World Without a Trinity arc. The WWaT is featured on the series’ covers through issue 24, but I’m not really sure they’re going to spend a whole seven issues on it. It would be kind of cool if during this period the WWaT story is the lead and the Trinity trying to escape the spell was the back-up. But I really have no clue how any of this is going to play out.

This issue really wasn’t very good though. (more…)

Trinity #16

16In the lead: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman take the fight to Morgaine Le Fey, Enigma and Despero, and are working better as a team than ever thanks to Le Fey’s merging spell. During the battle, Superman and Wonder Woman realize Enigma is the Antimatter Earth’s Riddler, and Batman notices that Despero isnt really Despero, but not before “Despero” can brand Batman with the final tarot symbol. While on monitor duty, Firestorm discovers that Krona’s Cosmics Egg is missing.

In the back-up: Hawkman and Gangbuster rescue Tarot. Hawkman turns back to help the Trinity and gets blown up, presumably as a result of Morgaine Le Fey casting her spell.

My take: Not a whole lot of excitement this week. We all knew this was going to end with Batman getting marked so the bad guys could do their magic and make Ragman the new guardian of Gotham. The fight was kind of cool, with the heroes constantly changing opponents to keep them off guard. Certainly nothing to write home about, though (or apparently write a blog about).

I really don’t care about Tarot anymore. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever liked Tarot. She’s obviously just there to serve a purpose in the story, and Busiek doesn’t seem to be doing a lot to make her unique. I had actually forgotten that Tarot was still being held captive when Gangbuster rescued her this week. I’m guessing she still has more of a role to play, so I hope her character becomes a little more interesting than a plot device.

Things to keep an eye on: Superman immediately wonders why the Antimatter Riddler isn’t a good guy when he realizes Enigma’s true identity. I guess I assumed that since our Riddler is now a good guy, the Antimatter Riddler would be a bad guy. But now it looks like there’s more to that story.

So if Despero isn’t Despero, than who is he? Immediately I thought of Lex Luthor, but how could he have possibly known Le Fey and Enigma would seek him out? The story is pointing towards Krona being behind everything, so is he just influencing events to facilitate his rebirth? Does that mean “Despero” is working for Krona?

The Numbers v3: Week 13

JIM DOOM: The August sales figures were released yesterday, and regarding these new Trinity numbers, there are two things going on here.

There’s the obvious drop-off in the number of readers who gave up on weekly comics, presumably due to Countdown’s awfulness. You have to get to week 36 of Countdown, which is past the point I gave up, to get sales as low as the first issue of Trinity.

But the second thing going on here is the astounding drop-off since the first issue. After 13 issues, 52’s sales dropped 15.3% since the first issue; Countdown’s dropped only 3.4%. Trinity dropped 34.9% from issue 1 to issue 13. More than a third of the people who picked up the first issue have given up on this series in only 13 weeks.

Though the first two titles’ week 13 numbers were clearly aided by the artificial spike seen above, that still doesn’t change the fact that 52 never lost 35% of its first-issue numbers. Neither did Countdown.

52’s lowest point was at #43, which was a 33.7% drop from first issue sales, but it never dipped that low again. Countdown’s lowest sales figure was at issue 9 (week 42), which was a 26.0% drop from its first week.

It’s also worth noting that 52’s first issue was much more of an outlier than Countdown’s.

DOOM DeLUISE: Whoa. I think a lot of people bought issue 1 of 52 just to see what it was all about, and then just decided against it for whatever reason. The second two weekly series suffered from people knowing what they were getting themselves invested in from the start.

Trinity #15

15In the lead: Enigma, Morgaine Le Fey and Despero are all making up in their secret castle HQ when the Trinity shows up unexpectedly. The story cuts to a flashback of the heroes figuring everything out, and then the two Trinities have a throwdown. Oh, and Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman brought along a few dozen super-friends too.

In the back-up: As the heroes fight the minions of the bad Trinity, Gangbuster and Hawkman try to break into the castle and rescue Tarot.

My take: Holy crap! That was certainly a bit of a surprise, and a damn good surprise at that.

We’re barely a quarter of the way through this year-long series, and the heroes have already hunted down and confronted the villains. So where does the story go from here? There’s still the “World Without a Trinity” side quest that was teased in the first issue, but I don’t see the bad Trinity supporting the story for another 40-ish issues. Maybe this will be like every Legend of Zelda game ever, and right as we think out heroes our victorious, a previous unknown and even deadlier enemy will come onto the scene.

Things to keep an eye on: The bad Trinity just needs to brand Batman in order to complete the spell they’re working on. Future covers of the series show both a world without a Trinity and a world that’s honoring the Trinity with giant, crumbling statues. Makes sense that the spell would be tied into one of those. The bad Trinity story can’t be over already, so something’s got to happen to delay the inevitable ass-whooping.