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Trinity #7

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2008
By: Jim Beard

Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza
Mark Bagley, Tom Derenick (p), Art Thibert, Wayne Faucher (i)
DC Comics
Another great issue, my friends, laid at the altar of "everything a good super-hero comic needs." If you haven't taken the Trinity plunge or have "been there" and left, I think it's getting real good-like, and you'd be doing yourself a favor by pulling up a pew.

Godhead: The trinity puts their collective head together with those of the JLA and a neat bit of group deductive reasoning (GDR) occurs. Meanwhile, the bad-guy trinity is finally assembled in one place and John Stewart Krona-izes Firestorm…

The Sacred: I want to try and dispel this misconceived notion about Trinity once and for all: there are no separate stories; there is only one. This week, the Hawkman/Gangbuster narrative – coupled with the original Gangbuster/Tarot line – slams headlong into the "main" story, and rather neatly I might add. A "new" narrative plays out in the second half of the issue, that of John Stewart educating Firestorm on the saga of Krona, and it is a direct digression from the main narrative. I can see why at first there may have been some disillusionment with the perception of main story/back-up story, but I'm here to tell you, friends – there is no separation of church and state. Read this issue and view the tapestry. It's one big, biggedy-big story.

Which leads me to – big. Things get BIG this week. Superman detects "primal energies" at play, those that foster "universal creation." There is referencing to the humongous JLA/Avengers series from a few years back – also by Busiek – and worries over the "Cosmic Egg" that encapsulates that old ne'er-do-well Krona and his dreams of capturing the creation of a universe. The scope of Trinity just widened ten-fold and it's exciting. Best of all is that as big as things are getting, Busiek never forgets the human element, and we the readers get to play on more than one scale.

The ensemble cast of the trinity and the JLA proved to be a fascinating study in characters supporting each other, and I really got a hoot out of Hawkman's interactions with his fellow heroes, especially Batman. Carter, as last issue, is perfectly in character and the reliance of the narrative on him and Green Lantern John Stewart makes me wonder if a second-tier good-guy trinity is not being forged also. I mean, I've always considered the concepts of Green Lantern, Flash, and Hawkman to be second only to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and hope that perhaps Wally could step more into sync with the series and fill out that possible trinity. There's certainly a sense of it in the wind, or so I perceive.

Details of the DCU and its many corners, nooks, and crannies continue to be another plus for Trinity, as this issue we're treated to the JLA's database of werewolves (so cool to see Anthony Lupus, a lycanthrope from my childhood, again), mentions of more lower-tier Bat-villains, and the story of Krona. Busiek adds all these elements in a way that does not demand that you know what they are but also provides another layer of fiction should you care to look them up. Bravo.

And before I forget, extra points for a story where Our Heroes don't sit around wondering what's going on when we the audience more than see the obvious. This week, some snappy deductions were made that cut to the chase; none of this horror movie cliché where everybody's wandering around in the haze and not buying a few clues. This week, they got the symbols on Diana's back, the idea of looking in on Krona and the Cosmic Egg, and the preponderance of mystical artifacts being stolen. Bravo times two.

I should probably note too that Bagley's art is top-notch, getting better all the time, and the appearance of artist Tom Derenick pleased me to no end. Can always count on Tom; he was one of the saving graces of Countdown.

The Secular: Though many readers can pat themselves on the back for guessing that Krona would enter into Trinity's goings-on, for myself I cannot muster too much interest for the cosmic baddie. I'm sorry to say that he's becoming a bit of a punch line: "What villain's origin is guaranteed to be trotted out for every DC event?" How many times have we seen Krona's tampering, trial, troubles, and that omnipresent hand-and-swirly? I'm hoping there's something more to this, this time.

Also, I'm unsure of what we're supposed to be seeing on the last page. The Egg is gone, but it's been gone all along? Or did Firestorm accidentally free it? And Krona is where? I realize it's a cliffhanger, but I get the sense that it was intended to make a bit more sense.

The Profane: Err, Busiek allows the trinity to slip back into the surrounding cast again, despite the well-crafted scene of deduction and development this week. I think it's a completely valid criticism that's been raised by readers: this isn't a JLA book. It's been a tough call for me, as I like Kurt's use of the wider DCU, love it in fact, but also feel as if it's a slippery slope when you call a book "Trinity" and allow your three leads to become faces in the crowd. It's not at DefCon 1, not yet, but I could see it becoming worse. More trinity, please, and more tension between them – not their fellows!

Batman Ascending: He's quicker on his deductive feet than his brethren, and that's the way it should be. He sees the connections others don't or too slowly and he musters his forces accordingly. The beauty of this is that Batman does it all brusquely and usually ruffles a few feathers. Said feathers this week belong to Hawkman. Great scene. Would have loved to see its culmination.

Wonder Woman Descending: Diana pretty much coasted this issue, having little to add to the conversation and when she does deduce the origin of the symbols on her back, she's one or two steps behind Batman. I got a kick out of how she didn't know Gangbuster and Superman kind of stepped on her lines. Ah well, D. Can't shine every time.

Superman Ascending: I think this week reminds us that along with a super-physique, Clark also possesses super-gray matter. It was cool to see him operating the "etheric scanner" with a sure hand and competent manner and to understand what he was dealing with: "quantum resolution," etc. He's as inquisitive as the next guy, and you have to figure a brain like his never stops cogitating – which dovetails into one of my most favorite bits in issue #7. Superman can obsess over something. Hanging in space, searching for signs of the pocket solar system from issue #2. He just can't stop mulling over "trinities." Even when having a conversation with Firestorm and John Stewart, he can't stop pondering the multi-ponderables of what exactly he and his chums stand for. Great stuff. It makes him all-too human, and I love that.

Scripture: Not too much in the dialogue-department stuck out for me this week, but I am amused that it's more than just Batman who mumbles, "hnh." Cool thing with Batman is that he mumbles it at perfect comedic moments – like when Hawkman points out all the Gotham criminal activity that's going on right under Batman's pointy nose. Funny.

Monsignor Wanty: wants to indulge in a bit of speculation for a moment, if you'll grant him that, dear friends. What if – what if, mind you – Trinity, with its playing in the backyard of JLA/Avengers, was leading into a new DC/Marvel crossover? I mean, think about it: it'd be HUGE. And so secret that not even gossip-gurus have gotten a wriggle on their line from it. I have to be frank with you, my flock – I think there has never been a better time for such a company crossover, in this current atmosphere of "feud" and backbiting between their fans and even some of their creators. Imagine the latest weekly DC series leading into one of the biggest ball-busing DC/Marvel events ever. It'd blow the doors off of everything that's come before. Creation of a new universe? Huh. And wouldn't the Marvel-ers detect the hinky-pinky with the Cosmic Egg, too? Perchance to dream…



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