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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Trinity #35

Trinity #35

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 28, 2009

Cover date: January 28, 2009

Main Story: "The Unsolvable Riddle"

Back-Up Story Writer: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Story Penciller: Mike Norton & Walden Wong
Back-Up Story Inker: Allen Passalaqua

Back-Up Story: "The Gods Themselves"

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

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges with Barry Freiman and Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Note: As the delineation between the lead and back-up stories is unclear, the plot synopsis will cover both stories --

Donna Troy et al fight the machinists.

Morgaine et al fight the JSI. Enigma, even though he now possesses godlike powers, pokes around on a computer and tries to figure out more about the "dark Arcana."

Enigma put his dying daughter's consciousness into SPHERE and looked for a way to bring the rest of his family back to life, and settled upon remaking his universe while he was floating around in a head full of angel spirits. Enigma finally regrets all the pain and suffering he's caused in trying to ease his own.

Nightwing et al finish off the Machinists and learn more about Kellel. He couldn't go with the "normal people" who had died, so he got mad at some monsters and flew up from underground to return to life, and then killed Doomsday. Then he married a Lois stand-in simply so he could try to be like "normal people" and be "Superman" as a "job", which led to the Godwar.

Alfred somehow thinks this world was made from the Trinity's... thoughts? And Lois says that means Clark thinks Lois broke him and was his downfall. So she shouts for him and the Trinity suddenly appear. To be continued...

Jeffrey's Review:

1Main/Back-Up Story - 1: I suppose it says something in that it hasn't taken so many words to sum up an issue of Trinity in quite some time. In that respect, at least, something actually happened.

Sadly, it's nothing I can condone. We finally get the life and times of Enigma, explaining his motivation and who he is, but it's three months too late. I might have cared about his plight these last three months had I KNOWN ABOUT IT before now. At this point Enigma is mostly just a non-character who is irrelevant to the DCU at large and I'm beyond caring what his motivations are. I just don't want to see him anymore.

We also get all kinds of nonsense, like Alfred now somehow randomly thinking that the world they're in was shaped and created by the Trinity's subconscious. BECAUSE THAT IS ONLY OBVIOUS, YOU SEE?

Rao on a cracker, what the hell is going on in this book.

But of course the worst offense here is the implication that Clark would only marry Lois so he could "be like humans" and not out of any actual genuine love, affection or caring.

It's just more ridiculous nonsense, and I am BEYOND tired of it.

Only seventeen weeks to go, thank Rao, and then the pain and torture will be over.

...although this makes me realize, now, that there are only 17 issues left. What has happened in this book? What impact has it made? What glorious story has been told about the Trinity?

Nothing, none, and we can only lament what could have been.

THIRTY-FIVE issues of this comic and where we are now could have been gotten to in THREE issues, and even THEN by the third one I'd be wondering how this in any way is a story worth telling, much less one that's actually about the Trinity.

3Main/Back-Up Art - 3: Enigma! A chrome sphere! Blue people! How exciting.

2Cover Art - 2: This has absolutely nothing to do with anything.


This cover actually looks like it would have made for a better issue than what was inside... perhaps Busiek should scrap the entire story and just start making it up as he goes based on whatever random cover image we have that week.

It could only be an improvement.

Barry's Review:

3Main/Back-Up Story - 3: I'm really not disturbed by the fact that I can't distinguish the lead story from the back-up story; I'm more puzzled by the question of whether it was intentional.

If you haven't read the issue, someone decided to place the credits for the first story in front and then put the credits for the second story on its final page, thus making it very difficult to discern where one story ends and the second story begins. Not surprisingly, presenting this in its entirety as one story, it actually reads better with more time for character development. The Enigma story is a bit over-the-top but it did touch me as a father. I know it's just a fluke but I'll take it where I can get it when it comes to Trinity-inducing emotional moments other than shock, mock, and laughter.

3Main/Back-Up Art - 3: It was a decent story for a change and the best I can say about the art is it didn't detract from what it appears they were trying to do this issue.

That I have difficulty distinguishing between the two groups of pencillers is both a plus and minus this issue. It's a plus in that it helps me read the two stories as one. And it's a bit of a minus for the artists who failed to do anything particularly eye-catching (with an exception discussed in the following paragraph).

That exception to the so-so nothing special good or bad artwork is the wink-wink end to Kellel's protective god days. This basically recreates the last moments of the so called final Superman story, the epic Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? by Alan Moore. It's all staged and laid out - and drawn, inked, and colored (see next paragraph) - perfectly.

I want to give a shout-out to regular Trinity colorist Pete Pantazis whom I discovered last week to my surprise is a regular reader of the Superman Homepage. Thanks for answering all my questions about what a colorist does versus what an inker does. I had virtually no idea what a colorist added to the artwork, particularly vis a vis the inker's duties, so I certainly appreciate you taking the time to explain. And again thanks for, as we reported a few days ago, writing in to explain that you mis-colored Donna's lasso last issue. As you promised, the issue is rectified this time out.

5Cover Art - 5: I know the cover has absolutely nothing to do with what's inside. But come on: Superman is watching over a battle between Lex Luthor in his power suit and Batman's immortal foe R'as al Ghul. The mind reels at the story possibilities. For instance:

    R'as envisions that, as an immortal, he will ultimately be virtually alone on the planet. That would pretty much just leave himself, Vandal Savage, and maybe Resurrection Man to share the planet with. These are hardly equals to keep ultimate eternity interesting. He sees Superman as an immortal equal, who is worth keeping around simply for the intellectual challenge, though he does find the thought a step-down from the Detective. Lex represents a genuine threat to that. Fight. We find out Superman is not immortal, or not necessarily - the answer is nobody knows as he's the first Kryptonian with plans to live his life out on Earth.

As you can see, I was not lying: my mind indeed did reel; I'm back now.

It doesn't hurt that it's a beautifully iconic rendering of Superman using - and validating in some ways - the Gary Frank look as the source of Superman's contemporary but classic look.

Overall, I love it. It's got a beat and you can dance to it.

Neal's Review:

1Main Story - 1: We see a little bit of fighting with the Luthor blue guys, and then the blue guys are taken care of in a fight that doesn't really have much compelling in it (Lois is trying to remember, as she was many, many issues ago and continues to do, re-establishing the dilemma about 40 times with nothing new or novel to it beyond remembering the name Clark).

Then a semi-incoherent story continuing Superman's history that may or may not be true and may or may not be one year later and may or may not have any impact or bearing on the future of this book (money says nope), followed by the heroes appearing, saying, "All right! Enough extrapolation!" Where were you six issues ago? Man, Superman IS a d#$k!

But at least there's actually Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in a book about Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

3Main Art - 3: Blue guys are hard to make compelling, and a lot of the art was a bit rough hewn. I also don't find the "GOD" Supes that compelling either, so though the art depicted (and well) what went on, it doesn't have that extra spark Bagley usually has to give it a 4 or 5.

4Back-Up Story - 4: And from the midst of absolute crap, some character. Granted, it's surrounded by stuff like S.P.H.E.R.E. and a dude talking to himself, but his dilemma is one you can feel for, and he explores it in a decent way. The real consequences of doing what you have to in order to get what you want. Strong, surprisingly strong, and out of nowhere. Every so often the backups in this book do that.

3Back-Up Art - 3: Stock in some ways, but also with very cool paneling style, great conveyed emotion, strong depictions of all involved save in the awful clich little TAROT ANALOGUE board that I'm sick of. Good work.

1Cover Art - 1: Absolutely irrelevant to the issue at hand, cashing in on fanboy expectations, and featuring a Superman who looks like he's taking a school picture and is afraid a booger hangs from his super nose. Under a bat symbol.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2009

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