When DC Comics published "Gotham by Gaslight," it spawned an entire line of alternate universe stories termed "Elseworlds," some more effective than others. The one thing I remember hearing more than anything else, though, was how for the really good Elseworlds people were always wishing that the comic was a little longer. In the case of "Trinity" and its 52-issue length, it seems like people are finally getting that chance.
For the past three months, "Trinity" has ended its middle section, a surprisingly fun extended alternate-universe where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman never existed. That basic idea is one we've certainly seen before, but Kurt Busiek's encyclopedic knowledge of comics has meant that anything and everything goes here. What's fun is that even if you don't recognize all the characters, seeing a team-up of Black Orchid, Space Ranger, Vibe, and Green Arrow is bound to elicit a strange combination of, "Cool!" and "Huh?" Which is, really, a great way to sum up "Trinity" as well.
With the latest issue, we're getting into the meat and potatoes of the story, as all the pieces come together: the location of the lost trinity of heroes, Tarot's mysterious powers and how it plays into the plans of the heroes and the villains, Krona's imprisonment inside the cosmic egg, and just why some of these faces are resurfacing in conjunction with each other. It's nice to see how well it all snaps into place, and for those who have been reading this far along, the payoffs are well worth it.
The switching between the Busiek and Mark Bagley sections, and those with Fabian Nicieza helping out on the writing and different artists illustrating the book is also coming across a lot smoother and more effortless these days. I like that now the book is able to flow right from one half to the other in the blink of an eye, even while there's still a clear division between the two halves if you stop and think of it. It's a good way to create a much richer end product, with multiple viewpoints and stories interweaving, and it doesn't feel forced or artificial. With this issue it certainly helps that it's Mike Norton's pencils to go along side those of Bagley; both artists have a real smooth style in their comics, and it's a sharp looking end result.
"Trinity" is the kind of book that I think gets harder and harder to jump on board, because of how Busiek is taking full advantage of a 52-issue story. It's certainly one of the longest Elseworlds stories from DC (and probably the absolutely longest one), and we're getting a much stronger realized final product as a result. At this point, I can't help but think that releasing a collection of the first 17 issues might not be such a bad thing so that people could get caught up in the rest of the series to date. Still, though, it's a lot of fun for those who have been around since day one.