By Brian K. Eason and Justin Eger
"Now this is kickin' it old-school!" -- Green Arrow
Welcome to TRINGENUITY, CBR's ongoing commentary of DC Comics' weekly superhero series, "Trinity." The title is divided into two features; the first focuses on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, while the second feature portrays background or tangential events that relate to the ongoing lead storyline. "Trinity" is a weekly series that is promised to be epic in scale and help define the trio of heroes' mythical place in the DC Universe.
The JLA was returned from Anti-Earth with the knowledge that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman had begun to bleed into each other, their personalities mixing, leaving them ultimately unstable. Then, as Despero's minions attacked, Superman found himself branded, just like his cohort Wonder Woman.
The villain Sun-Chained-In-Ink began to unleash the power of the sun bound in him. Hawkman lead the onslaught Sun-Chained-In-Ink, and only the combined forces of the Outsiders, Titans and Teen Titans were able to contain Sun-Chained-In-Ink's explosive power. The victory was short lived, as the Troika took possession of the skull of Maxwell Lord.
Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley and Art Thibert get right to the point this week. Tying together the tarot imagery, the thefts by the Gotham Underground, the Riddler's investigations and all the other steps that have brought us to this point, the Trinity makes their way to Castle Branek using some borrowed magic from Madame Zodiac. Confronting Morgaine Le Fey, Despero and Enigma, the Trinity readies for the fight by first detonating some explosives laid around the castle before the heroes revealed themselves, and then by calling in reinforcements from the JLA, the JSA, the Teen Titans, the Titans, the Outsiders and the Birds of Prey.
This week's back-up feature is by Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza, Scot McDaniel and Andy Owens. This week's feature actually picks up where the lead leaves off, with the battle at Castle Branek, but with Hawkman and Gangbuster on a personal mission. Together, the pair battles their way past the armies of the Troika to save Tarot from captivity. Tarot, locked in a dreamstate, continues to unwittingly provide visions for the Troika, but she is beginning to realize that something is amiss. Hawkman reveals to Gangbuster that he has unearthed the blade of Mordred, son of Morgaine Le Fey. Consecrated in dragon's blood, the blade will be needed to defeat Morgaine's guardian monster: a three-headed dragon.
Justin Eger: Well, that's an unexpected introduction: the Trinity has tracked down the Troika.
Brian Eason: Rather than stick to the traditional comic book tropes, the heroes actually headed the villains off. Nice work.
JE: I have to say, I really like the digital light board the team uses to get all the information together. It reminded me of Rip Hunter's white boards from "52" and "Booster Gold."
BE: I was thinking the same thing and I read everything (even though it was written backwards).
JE: So did I. We are such nerds.
BE: Did you use a mirror?
JE: Hardly. I just settled in and went a little Bizarro for a few minutes. Well, "Bizarro" or "awesome."
JE: The League also catches up to us and discusses the symbolism of the tarot as it relates to the Trinity.
BE: An exposition is handy for that, and this was not terribly heavy-handed.
JE: Interesting thoughts from Superman. I never expected him to be the first willing to give in.
BE: I think it's less a case of "giving in" as a case of self-sacrifice. Superman does have that messianic quality.
JE: And while I usually find it oppressive, I see how it works here. Maybe there's also a touch of being truly unafraid of his friends, even at the core.
BE: And accepting of them.
JE: I sense Batman's hand in planning the siege of Castle Branek.
BE: Ya think? To paraphrase "The Princess Bride," Batman can plan my castle onslaught any day.
JE: "Have fun stormin' the castle, boys!"
BE: Nice Scott McDaniel artwork this week, which really suits the sense of action.
JE: About two weeks ago, we mentioned that it would be hard to find a better artist to top Tom Derenick with that crowd scene. This does, and in spades.
BE: It does and McDaniel gives a real dynamism to the scene.
JE: There's a lot of action without any clutter.
BE: Very interesting to see the back-up spawn directly off of the lead like this.
JE: We had that happen once before, and it's a nice change of pace. However, the back-up still goes in its own direction as we move along.
BE: So far, weaving these features has been done flawlessly.
JE: I wouldn't expect that to change. Everyone, from the writers through the different art teams, is on the same page. It's making for a very strong book.
BE: We were correct last week. Hawkman is ready for payback after losing Max's skull.
JE: And he's back with a both a vengeance and some heavy artillery.
BE: I know you're happy to see Gangbuster back in the spotlight.
JE: I am. Jose has never really had a big role in the DCU, and here he is fighting alongside the biggest names around. And Scott really does handle the action with a careful hand.
BE: Hawkman changes from tank to bulldozer when he busts down the door to Castle Branek.
JE: Just an awesome scene, from the ground up. First, Jose goes ballistic all alone, then gets backed up by Hawkman? Very nicely done.
BE: Is that a three-headed dragon?
JE: It is. I first started mining my knowledge of Arthurian mythology for a specific dragon that would meet the criteria on our final page, stemming from the links to Morgaine and Hawkman's awesome new sword. However, the dragon here is more of the Eastern European / Slavic kind, where, historically, dragons are represented as three-headed winged beasties with snake bodies. Earlier in the issue, we learned that Morgaine's Castle Branek is located in the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe, so I'm going to assume that's where this dragon originates.
BE: Somehow I knew you were going to have that answer.
JE: See the aforementioned "nerd" reference. Or the "awesomeness" reference, whichever you feel applies.