Trinity War Correspondence, Week Five: The Ghost Barf
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.
No one could figure out exactly what was wrong with Superman or why his heat-vision went off in Doctor Light’s face, but the two teams and the Justice League Dark went in three different directions to solve the mystery:
Superman, Martian Manhunter and a group of heroes pursued Doctor Psycho as a suspect, but then returned to A.R.G.U.S. headquarters to yell at Amanda Waller for having secretly assembled the Justice League of America to take down and replace the Justice League-Justice League.
Batman lead a team to the House of Mystery, where the Phantom Stranger took them to Heaven to interrogate the soul of the late Doctor Light.
And Wonder Woman and a team of Leaguers tracked Pandora’s Box, the mysterious magical artifact that made Superman cray-cray for a few panels when he touched it. Where did the trail end? Lex Luthor’s prison cell. When the box fell into Wonder Woman’s hands, she grew a third eye and went just as crazy as Superman when he touched the box — maybe even a little crazier.
Meanwhile, the villainous Outsider has been doing villainous stuff behind the scenes, like kidnapping Madame Xanadu, manipulating the teams of heroes, and blowing up A.R.G.U.S headquarters.
And that’s us all caught up, so let’s plunge in to ComicsAlliance’s Trinity War Correspondence, Week Five!
Justice League Dark #23
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Mikel Janin
Madame Xanadu, still chained to a chair in the unknown lair of the Outsider, uses her precognitive abilities to catch readers up on what has already occurred in the previous four chapters of the crossover. As far as precognitive powers go, that isn’t really impressive. I mean, it already happened. I could do that — I just did it a paragraph ago — and I don’t even have magical powers.
“When I block everything else out, I see the real battle at the heart of all this chaos…” Xanadu says, using what I guess are more post-cognitive than precognitive powers, “I see the final battle just beginning.”
And it’s beginning in Lex Luthor’s prison cell, where Wonder Woman still has a third eye growing out of her tiara and shooting lightning out of her pores (but no longer carrying a gigantic Final Fantasy sword chained to her arm). Frankenstein, Aquaman, Hawkman and Red Cabbage try to get the box out of her hands, but they all get THWACKED or sliced with Wonder Woman’s now smaller, sometimes-there, sometimes-not sword (If you’re not reading Wonder Woman, you may not know that her bracelets now have the power to make swords appear out of them. For real).
Enter Shazam! (the superhero who used to be called Captain Marvel), who is strong enough to WHAP Wondy across the room so hard he knocks the third eye right off her tiara and the box right out of her hands. At which point he says his own name name really, really loudly and — “Shazam!” — all kinds of crazy things happen. His costume turns black so he looks just like Black Adam without the widow’s peak! Magical superheroes from as far away as Earth-2 all get hit with red lightning! Deadman gets hit so hard that he literally barfs ghosts!
I don’t know what ghost-barfing means but as far as symptoms go, it’s got to be one of the more serious afflictions to befall any man — alive or dead.
Inside the House of Mystery, where Batman and his team have been hanging out, someone off-panel asks, “Deadman, are you okay?!” which seems like a pretty dumb question, so I’m going to have to assume it was either Vibe or Steve Trevor who asked. Perhaps both of them in unison.
Instead of responding, “Of course not! I was just struck by magic red lightning and was vomiting little ghosts, on top of the fact that I am dead!”, Deadman more diplomatically replies that he thinks he’s fine, noting that during the incident he felt connected to all the magical beings in the DC Universe, which Batman sees as a way they track down Xanadu
Meanwhile, atop the rubble that was A.R.G.U.S. headquarters, Superman and his group were totally not killed at all despite being caught in what Xanadu described an “apocalyptic blast” during her psychic recap. This was thanks to Element Woman encasing all of the superheroes in “the hardest metals” she could (you know, Amazonium, Supermanium, Shazamium, Adamantium, Mithril, Unobtanium, Jag Panzer, etc.). Everyone who is not Amanda Waller and not a superhero probably wasn’t so lucky, though, so Superman’s team immediately begins a rescue operation that keeps them busy for the rest of the book. Not so busy that they can’t blame Waller for everything that’s transpired so far, with various Leaguers coming clean about nasty things Waller put them up to: “Make me some Kryptonite in case Superman goes bad, Firestorm!” “Spy on the Justice League for me, Atom!” “Try on this costume with a high collar and no shorts, it will look awesome, Superman!”
But let’s get back to the only Leaguers doing any Trinity Warring at the moment: Wonder Woman’s team. They’re getting increasingly nutty in close proximity to Pandora’s Box, with each of them fighting one another and saying unkind things. Frankenstein calls everyone sinners and abominations; Aquaman calls Frankenstein a freak; and Wonder Woman tells Hawkman he looked better when Rob Liefeld was drawing him.
After a vigorous round of what looks a bit like superhero rugby, John Constantine appears and grabs the box. Pandora’s burden can’t corrupt Constantine on account of his being such a bastard already, apparently. Or, as he puts it, “Can’t soil a pot that’s already filthy, love.” Suddenly John and Zatanna are transported to the ruins of an ancient Greek temple of Hephaestus. There they find the imprisoned Xanadu, Batman’s team, and the Outsider.
The Box isn’t a prison, Xanadu says, it’s a doorway. The Outsider concurs, poses for a full-page splash and says, “…and now it’s time to open it.”
What will they find on the other side of that doorway? The old, pre-New 52 DC Universe? An immense closet containing all of the heroes’ old costumes? A seven-issue limited series called Forever Evil by Geoff Johns and David Finch, the first universe-wide event of the New 52? Extra copies of the allocated 3D motion lenticular covers for Villains Month?
But wait! That’s not all the Trinity Warring for the week! There’s also a tie-in!
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #3
Written by Ray Fawkes
Art by Daniel Sampere and Vicente Cifuentes
Rather than taking place between chapters of Trinity War, this tie-in is actually set during the events of Justice League Dark #23. It’s basically the events in Luthor’s prison cell, in which Shazam!, Wonder Woman and her squad of Leaguers all punch, toss and stiff-arm one another in an attempt to get their hands of the skull-shaped box, which we witness through Pandora’s eyes.
And, boy, does Pandora see things a lot differently. Per her curse, Pandy can actually see the Seven Deadly Sins she released from the skull-box all the way back in week one. These are the monstrous entities she’s spent her life learning to fight and hopes to put back in the box — if only Superman or Luthor or someone could open it for her.
It would seem that rather than the magics of Pandora’s box, it’s the presence of the Sins that’s causing the Justice Leaguers to act so un-heroically elsewhere in the crossover. The various Sins brag about what’s going on, how they’re growing stronger the more the heroes give in to their poisonous influence, and how Pandora is powerless to stop them. Even her magic guns are useless!
But then Pandora remembers meditating with a white bearded guy on Mount Song in China in the 14th century, and talking philosophy with Robin Hood (?) in the 16th century, and studying with another hooded aficionado named Lehrer (not this guy) in the 18th century. She puts it altogether and comes to the conclusion that she can kill the Sins if she first recognizes the sin within herself. In practical terms, this means dropkicking the Sins in the chests and shooting them repeatedly in the face with her magic guns.
This she does to Envy, the best-dressed of the Sins, whose head she makes explode into a pile of green pulp. He slowly dissolves away into a cloud of green mist. Has she really discovered a way to destroy the Sins and break her eternal curse?
Well, this is only the third issue of an ongoing series, so probably not, but let’s not tell Pandora that. She’s had a rough last few thousand years, and could use a win.
Who will win the Trinity War? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to pick up next week’s Justice League #23, the conclusion of the crossover. Well, there’s two ways to find out, really; picking up next week’s Justice League #23, or returning here next week for Trinity War Correspondence, Week Six!