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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Trinity #31

Trinity #31

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 31, 2008

Cover date: December 31, 2008

Main Story: "The Empress, The Chariot and Judgment"

Main Writers: Kurt Busiek
Main Pencillers: Mark Bagley
Main Inker: Art Thibert

Back-Up Story: "The Legend of the Hunting Hawk"

Back-Up Story Writer: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Story Penciller: Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens
Back-Up Story Inker: Allen Passalaqua

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman with Neal Bailey and Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

London is burning. Meanwhile, a mystery figure talks to le Fey.

A variety of super villains take advantage of the world's problems under the thrall of Morgaine le Fey. Tarot is being used by le Fey to access the Worldsoul.

At JSI headquarters, Charity fills Carter Hall in on why the world's such a mess, that the magic spell has to be completed with a third to stop the world from falling apart.

The heroes assemble in groups of three to stop the bad guys. There is fighting all over the world.

The mystery figure is revealed as Lord Khyber.

In New York, Hall organizes the Justice Arcana with versions of Phantom Stranger, Firestorm, Luthor, Plastic Man, Deadman, Starfire, Booster Gold, and others.

To be continued...

Back-Up Story: "The Legend of the Hunting Hawk"

The group of hard-traveling supporting characters comes on a pool of lava. One of the purple guys explains about the Trinity. It turns out the purple people's gods eventually made war. But at first things were good. Until a family of blue-skinned performers were attacked by a gang leaving only their lone child alive. Athman takes the child in and he eventually joins Athman's fight as Rabat of the Golden Wing.

But it turns out Krona's actions caused some of the blue people to embrace chaos. They called themselves The Laughing Chaos and their leader's mask resembled the Joker's. The Laughing Chaos kill Rabat.

Dick Grayson, on hearing this, says this isn't about him, that the story is about "Jason."

To be continued...

Barry's Review:

1Main Story & Back-Up Story - 1: I appreciate it when Busiek tells one tale continuing into the next. I can combine all my criticism and/or praise together. As usual, however, it's a week of all harsh criticism and no praise.

If le Fey, Enigma, and Konvikt make three, why not finish the spell? What role will the less than memorable Lord Kyhber - a Busiek creation during his abysmal run on "Superman" - ultimately play? I need a new way to say I don't give a rat's...

Athman freaks out when Rabat is killed by aliens in a gang led by a dude in a clown mask? How original. And to end the issue with Dick saying that it's about Jason? One, this isn't Jason's origin (though it's close to his pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths origin where he was also a performer whose parents were killed by Croc). And two, who the heck is Jason to these supporting characters?

I really don't have the patience to go on a journey with the supporting characters that has already gone on and on and on where each experience re-awakens one more memory. I need a new way to say this s**t's boring the heck out of me.

4Main Art - 4: Bagley good, Busiek bad. Just another week in "Trinity".

3Back-Up Art - 3: Only the parallel of Rabat's death to Jason's makes the back issue art interesting. And can't Supergirl remember she doesn't wear goggles already?

3Cover Art - 3: As the Trinity falls, so does the Earth. Ya, I get it but enough with the statues already. Cool rendering of Earth though.

Neal's Review:

1Main Story - 1: A friend recently said to me, "God, I just wish Trinity would end."

The reason? The same as with Countdown. A 52 week series is a long, drawn-out commitment, but has unlimited potential, as 52 showed. And when it sucks, every issue is like pulling teeth.

Ninety three dollars now, and each issue certainly outdoes the last, but only in a culmination of what was awful about each previous issue.

I'm going to stop reviewing JSA soon, not because it's a bad series, but because the Superman component is going to take a backseat with the departure of the Kingdom Come Superman. It makes me wonder why I still review this when we haven't seen Superman in any real sort of characterization since the seventeenth issue, which I'll now point out is 14 issues where we haven't seen Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in a book ABOUT Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

You could say, "Well, it's about Trinities!" given that in this issue, we see a few. And I could smack you in the face and give you a purple nurple, but I won't, because it's wrong. And besides, if you're a gal, that'd be socially inappropriate.

This issue is about, I think, a fight between Zoom, Polaris, and some lady, vs. Green Lantern, Power Girl, and Ragman. Why is this compelling? I suppose if you like odd combinations of heroes set against each other, it might be interesting... slightly. Or if you're really digging the Tarot card angle, given that Tarot cards are loose metaphorical examinations of practically anything you want them to be. You give them meaning. It's like a horoscope.

Why is this bad? Well, from a storyteller's perspective, it makes you seem like you're going for a deeper context without actually providing one. From a comic book perspective, it's because we've been reading TEN ISSUES about fricking Tarot card analysis, and had thirty-one stinking issues about nothing. And not in that cool Seinfeld kind of nothing, in that dumb, reality TV kind of nothing where drama is hinted at but never accomplished if you're paying any attention.

I saw so many examples of dialogue explaining what we're seeing that I almost found a knife and went to stab whoever the editor of this is.

And the dialogue, sweet Jesus:

"And I can magnetically burst your skull using only the hemoglobin in your brain just as easily as I did his."

And Freuidian writing at its best:

"Things stagnate if all remain entrenched." (NO S$#T STATEMENT OF THIS COMIC.)

Green Arrow: "I'm judgement. You're the empress. He's the chariot. This is so dumb."

The JUSTICE ARCANA? Are you kidding me?

Why is Tarot helping the villains?

O'Dare fulfilling the same role as Tarot diminishes her, and is too convenient to give the JSI a deus ex.

KHYBER? Khyber again? I swear, he's just doing this to bring back my repressed memories of the run. So let me understand the logic. They've suddenly recruited all of the villains of the world to help destroy the world with no benefit for the villains, and then they've conned KHYBER, portrayed as a kind of Machiavellian villain of the ages who is wise enough to survive the centuries, and all of a sudden he wants to cede power to a dude with a question mark on his face, some bint with a gold headdress, and a purple hairy non-verbal?

God help me, there are a full 21 of these left, and this is just the first half of the story. It even manages to create two repeating panels at the very end bleeding into the next story instead of, I dunno, writing two stories that are coherent together and relate on a consistent basis.

3Main Art - 3: It's hard to put my finger on what exactly is making Bagley's arc wane over the last few issues. Maybe it's because he doesn't have much compelling to draw, maybe it's because things are slightly rough hewn. I'm not positive, honestly, but my gut says this is average art, and it's all I have to go by when I can't come up with qualitative analysis, not being a penciller. Some of the faces are still a bit off, and there are times when, crappy as dialogue explaining a scene is, it was necessary to figure out what was going on, which isn't supposed to happen in a comic as I understand how they're written.

1Back-Up Story - 1: Let's play word association. I'll say something, and you see if "suck" is what comes up in your brain, because it's what comes up in my mind.

She-Lane Lo-is.

Lava as dilemma.

Kellel, Dinannah (banana? Monkeys?), and Atmahn.

Batman: Made of gold.

Smurf Robin. Excuse me, Smurf Rabat.

Joker Monkey. Well, actually, Joker Monkey looks kind of cool, but that's not the story, that's the artist.

Jason Todd as a Circus Performer.

Yeah, still suck in my brain. It's also enough to make a guy want to cry, reading an issue that confronts the idea of deities made manifest in the comic book world like was presented in JSA 22 next to this.

So, what, Batman, Supes, and Wonder Woman are still there, only as deities, and yet they don't influence anything? I don't get it. I just don't.

5Back-Up Art - 5: I still very much enjoy McDaniel and Owens, and this is no exception. It's distinctive, it's fun, and it's generally rad for me. Joker was a highlight, as was the depiction of Batman, even if the concept is insanely boring and ridiculous.

2Cover Art - 2: Well drawn mean looking image of the Trinity falling over. It doesn't happen in the book, it isn't symbolically representative of anything in it, and it's so dedicated to the color blue that it's hard to get any sense of life out of the image. A good example of how well rendered doesn't mean compelling.

Jeffrey's Review:

1Main Story - 1: Look, all the good guys are going to fight all the bad guys, without Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman, in a book about Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

You know what though, I'll tell you this... this book is a GREAT cure for insomnia.

3Main Art - 3: As meh as it gets.

1Back-Up Story - 1: Oh man, there's Lava! And the Trinity were some kind of gods and there's an analogue for Jason Todd.


Good lord.

4Back-Up Art - 4: I really dug Supes, Bats and Wondy as constellations, that was very nicely done.

2Cover Art - 2: I... don't even know what this is.

What a waste of Jim Lee.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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