Last week, I wrote about beginnings, something comics as a medium has a lot of. Setting aside all the business reasons for new starts, the preponderance of beginnings might be because comics are often pretty good at them. Consider all the knockout first issues you have read, only to drop the book before it hits number 10. It happens a lot.
This week, I want to talk about something Big Two comics don't quite do so well: end things.
And we're back for the final time as Trinity War reaches its epic conclusion, no doubt resolving all of its many mysteries and conflicts, tying up all of its loose ends and definitely not just leading directly into the next big DC Comics event. Right?
When we left off Pandora was trying to find someone capable of opening the skull-shaped "box" and restore the world to its pre-sinful state. She thought to try old "more powerful than a locomotive" himself, Superman, but touching the box turned him so (temporarily) evil that in a stand-off with between the Justice League and the Justice League of America, the Man of Steel accidentally killed fellow superhero Doctor Light and started getting really, really sick.
That sent Wonder Woman and the magical heroes of Justice League Dark after Pandora, but everyone who touched the box also went evil. A few issues of flying around, arguing, and fighting later, the box, all three Justice Leagues and the behind-the-scenes villain calling himself the Outsider all found each other in the same place at the same time.
What's that, up ahead? Can you see it? Why, it looks like the end of DC Comics' Trinity War crossover! It's now in sight!
But before we look at the events of this penultimate chapter, let's cast a glance over our collective shoulder to see how we got here. First, the Justice League and the Justice League of America had a tense stand-off regarding international borders or somesuch, which ended with the Justice League's Superman accidentally killing the Justice League of America's Doctor Light, and then growing extremely ill.
Welcome back, Trinity Warriors! The Justice League Vs. Justice League Vs. Justice League conflict that is Trinity War is back in full force after a few week's downtime, and thus so are we.
What terrible event could cause three superhero teams with almost identical names to do battle with one another? The pale, purple-clad, villainous community organizer The Outsider and a gun-toting version of the mythological Pandora (a card-carrying member of "The Trinity of Sin") both had designs on the Justice League: Outsider wanted to destroy them to take over the world or whatever, while Pandora wanted the pure-of-heart Superman to re-open her magic box and thus re-imprison the sins of the world. Later, Shazam (nee Captain Marvel) flew to Khandaq on a personal errand and caused a violent international incident. During the stand-off between Shazam, the Justice League and Amanda Waller's hand-picked Justice League of America, Superman seemingly murdered the hero Doctor Light. Thinking Pandora and her magic box were the key to Superman's unusual outburst, Wonder Woman recruited the occult Justice League Dark to help her track Pandy down. Meanwhile, Batman and Trinity of Sin member the Phantom Stranger have their own ideas, as do Superman and the Question, the third component of the Trinity of Sin, who believes the villainous mind-manipulator Doctor Psycho may have been behind the Man of Steal's murderous actions.
The story so far? When the hero Shazam entered Khandaq in order to spread the ashes of his fallen enemy Black Adam in the sands of the villain's home country, the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, those guys) sprang into action, hoping to avoid an international incident by kicking Shazam out of Khandaq. At the same time, the Justice League of America, a team of second-stringers assembled by the government agency specifically for the task of taking down the other Justice League, arrive with the same idea.
In the midst of all the arguing that ensues, Superman suddenly loses control and uses his heat-vision to kill Dr. Light, a member of the rival of America League. Superman surrenders himself and is imprisoned by Amanda Waller, leader of the ARGUS (Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate) and the of America squad, and all the Leaguers convene to try and figure out what exactly what happened between Superman's eyeballs and Dr. Light's face.
When we last left our heroes of the Justice League and the Justice League of America in Justice League #22 -- the initial chapter of the Trinity War crossover between DC Comics' three Justice League titles (and a few other tie-in comics) -- the two Leagues were facing off over a literal line in the sand in the deserts of Khandaq. And then stuff got real, when Superman heat-visioned Dr. Light's face clean off, killing the newest recruit to the JLA in the process. That act was like a bell ringing at a boxing match, and so everyone came out of their respective corners fighting (Except for Shazam, who was sitting in a hole in the sand, watching the two Leagues fight all around him). And that's where we pick up in Trinity War's second chapter.
DC Comics began its week-ish slate of Comic-Con programming with an "All Access" panel which mainly spotlighted previously announced publishing plans including the recently launched Trinity War and forthcoming Forever Evil and gave readers an opportunity to get some questions answered by: VP of Sales Bob Wayne, Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, Justice League Dark/Animal Man/Green Arrow writer Jeff Lemire, The Flash co-writer and colorist Brian Buccellato, Batgirl and The Movement writer Gail Simone, Fables artist Mark Buckingham, Fairest cover artist Adam Hughes, Li'l Gotham co-writer Derek Fridolfs and Injustice: Gods Among Us writer Tom Taylor.
What is Trinity War? A long-teased, long-foreshadowed and long-hyped DC Comics crossover event story devised by the company's most popular and most influential (and most handsome, to hear some tell it) writer, Geoff Johns. The story prominently features Pandora, the mysterious, sometimes glowing lady with the hood who created The New 52iverse in the concluding chapter of Johns and Andy Kubert's 2011 event series Flashpoint, and subsequently appeared in all 52 first issues of DC's relaunched superhero line. As such, Trinity War may finally explain what exactly The New 52 is really all about (aside from a whimsical preoccupation with the number of weeks in a year and a questionable predilection for Nehru collars).
What does the "Trinity" in the title refer to? DC usually uses that word to refer to their "Big Three" heroes: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Will they be going to war with one another? Over what? (Maybe romance? You know, Superman and Wonder Woman are dating now, but in the old universe she and Batman dated for, like, an issue of JLA sooooo...). Could the title refer to the "Trinity of Sin," a trio of cosmic wrongdoers including Pandora, The Phantom Stranger and The Question? Is the titular trinity a reference to the three Justice Leagues (Of America,Dark and Original Recipe)? Are they gonna fight?
After more than a year-and-a-half of waiting, we finally found out when Trinity War kicked off in earnest with this week's Justice League #22 and we're going to tell you all about in the first installment of ComicsAlliance's Trinity War Correspondence!
If you're the kind of person who keeps up with comic book news online -- and the evidence would seem to suggest that you are -- then you may have already heard a few things about what happens in Justice League #22. It's the kickoff of the big Trinity War crossover, and Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis have already got people talking about it, some of whom are even going so far as to call it this month's Worst Comic Ever™. And it is, but probably not for the reason they're mad about.
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