Robot 6

Annotations for Trinity issue #32

Trinity #32

Trinity #32

Welcome to week 32 of the Trinity annotations, your periodic dose of trivia and cursory analysis. The grim specter of death haunts this week’s issue, as we look at characters who have died, might die (say, next issue), and should be dead.

So, on that cheery note…

SPOILERS FOLLOW

* * *

LEAD STORY

“Lady Of Bounty And Teacher To All” was written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.

In Brief: Tales of Atmahn and Dinanna.

Page 1

– Another callback to Jason Todd’s fate in Batman #428 ([Holiday] 1988).

Page 2

“It can’t be done” seems to refer to the Trinitarians’ task of guiding this world along the right paths.

“[D]reaming only of vengeance”: In fact, after Jason’s death, Batman’s crusade did become even more violent, as shown in the “Lonely Place Of Dying” storyline which began in Batman #440 ([October] 1989). By that time Jason’s death was already twelve issues in the past, but I suppose DC needed the room to figure out what to do next (and especially what to do if the little whippersnapper had pulled through). “LPOD” helped Batman get back on track through interventions by Nightwing and an eager youngster named Tim Drake.  Only one Robin/Rabat here, apparently.

– Of possible interest to Trinity readers is Superman’s role in the aftermath of Jason’s death. In Batman #429 (January 1989)), the Joker somehow becomes Iran’s new ambassador to the United Nations and Superman tries to stop Batman from doing Mr. Ambassador grievous bodily harm. That may make it a little harder to say that Atmahn’s embrace of vengeance could have been avoided through the Man of Steel’s counsel, since Batman was pretty dadgum mad at Superman’s refusal to help him. However, the flashback story in Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #7 (October 1999) takes another look at Jason’s death and related events, with our heroes consoling each other on more friendly terms after Superman’s return from self-imposed exile in space and the Joker’s assaults on Jason and Barbara Gordon.

Page 3

– No annotations.

Page 4

“The elements of that legend … did happen”: again, it seems to me that the Trinitarians entered this parallel timeline unaffected by its changes. They lived their lives as we knew them until the Troika captured them and created the new timeline. Therefore, Atmahn’s wrath may come at least in part by the knowledge that even as a god, he couldn’t stop yet another Robin from being killed by criminals.

Page 5

– No annotations.

Page 6

“‘Arus’ or ‘Areez’”: referring to Ares, the Greek god of war, a constant opponent of Wonder Woman and the Amazons … but you knew that already.

Page 7

– No annotations.

Page 8

“Dinanna Truthqueen”: remember, Diana was Goddess of Truth briefly, from Wonder Woman vol. 2 #s 127-36 (November 1997-August 1998).

Page 9

“…[F]rom the heavens, but formed her godly body of the loam and rock…”: a nice parallel with Diana’s regular origin, being formed from the clay of Paradise Island and given life by the gods.

Page 10

“Every woman can be a Wonder Woman”: this phrase actually goes back to the original William Moulton Marston/H.G. Peter stories. I remember it being cited in my well-read Michael Fleisher Wonder Woman Encyclopedia, which is unfortunately in a) sad shape and b) storage. Thus, I have resolved – resolved, I say! — that 2009 will be the year I get up to speed on the Golden Age Wonder Woman.

Page 11

“The Gray Lord”: seems like he’s an analogue of Maxwell Lord IV, onetime sponsor of Justice League International who died at Wonder Woman’s hand. Max was created by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire, and first appeared in Justice League #1 (May 1987). In his JLI days, Max was a well-meaning manipulator who could, in a pinch, use his powers of mind control to achieve his goals. Eventually, though, Countdown To Infinite Crisis #1 (May 2005), revealed Max to be the sociopathic mastermind behind Checkmate, a rogue government agency which Max was using to eradicate superheroes. When Max took control of Superman’s mind and caused him to beat Batman almost to death, Wonder Woman realized (after using the magic lasso on Max) that killing Max was the only way to stop him. This she did in Wonder Woman vol. 2 #219 (September 2005).

– “Gray Lord” also makes me think of The Gray Man, another Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire creation first appearing in Justice League #2 (June 1987).  TGM was a rebellious agent of Doctor Fate’s old bosses the Lords of Order, but that doesn’t exactly square with the Gray Lord’s origins.

Page 12

– See, panels 1 and 2 line up pretty well with the story of Max’s death.

* * *

SECOND STORY

“A Better World” was plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Mike Norton, inked by Ande Parks, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.

In Brief: Triumph and Tomorrow Woman learn the truth about themselves.

Page 13 (story page 1)

– Not Tunisia!  For heaven’s sake, protect the Star Wars hotel!

“All the time I’ve done this”: remember, in our timeline Triumph lost several years, and with them his place as a founding member of the Justice League. Here, obviously, things were different.

Page 14/2

– For whatever it’s worth, I got Firestorm’s Tarot assignment right, but I missed Booster’s. I thought Luthor would be “The Devil,” which Tarotpedia suggests stands for “any sort of addiction or obsession.” I was probably thinking of “our” Luthor, obsessed with beating Superman. Maybe Booster’s addiction is gambling, or his obsession is fame…?

Black Adam doesn’t seem to have a Tarot assignment.  This is strange to me, because he seems to have taken Wonder Woman’s place (or part of it) in the reordered timeline; and the other “stand-ins” (Ragman, Green Arrow, and Tomorrow Woman) all have spots on the Justice Arcana.  I’m guessing that B.A. does have an assignment which Tommie didn’t mention — maybe the Hierophant or the World? — but as long as she’s offering exposition, why not?

Page 15/3

– No annotations.

Page 16/4

“[W]here my family is still alive and I am not a mass murderer”: well … no such luck. When Adam’s family, specifically his wife Isis and her brother Osiris, were killed in 52 #44 (March 7, 2007), it pushed Adam over the edge, into a week-long orgy of destruction known as “World War III” (see 52 #50 (April 18, 2007) and the four related World War III specials). Since WWIII forced Adam into hiding, I presume that his actions in this timeline haven’t been quite so bad.

Page 17/5

– No annotations.

Page 18/6

“If it was worse, would Hawkman … be fighting for it?”: again I’m reminded of DC Two Thousand, where the 1940s Justice Society tries to stop the nightmarish future of our year 2000 from happening, and ends up contaminating the timeline instead, with horrific results.

Page 19/7

“Whatever we might lose”: at the end of the “Crisis Times Five” storyline, the Spectre turns a corrupt, once-omnipotent Triumph into an ice statue. Before Spec can smash Triumph with a flaming sledgehammer, the angel (and Justice Leaguer) Zauriel intervenes, and Triumph is put into cold storage on the JLA Watchtower (JLA #31, July 1999). Since the Watchtower was subsequently destroyed, I suppose Triumph could have been killed in the process, but as far as I know it hasn’t been confirmed.

Page 20/8

– No annotations.

Page 21/9

“A world in which both of them are dead”: again, maybe not in Triumph’s case. Basically, I see Firestorm as a less-than-100-percent reliable source, in case someone wants to bring back Triumph in “our” timeline.

Page 22/10

– No annotations.

* * *

I was going to make some crack about how no one really dies forever in DC Comics anymore, and both Triumph and Tomorrow Woman were probably seen in a “Justice League Unlimited” crowd scene, so they can have adventures in that context … but you know, now that I think about it, they may be two of the few DC characters not to have animated counterparts. Both were created with irreversible flaws: Triumph can’t reclaim his rightful place in history without losing the thing which makes him interesting as a character; and Tomorrow Woman was always supposed to be a one-off character, subsequent appearances like this one notwithstanding. Therefore, they have a certain tragic resonance that characters like Aquaman or the Martian Manhunter, who are probably at most temporarily dead, would lack.

It’s also intriguing to me that the Trinitarians’ individual mythology stories have both involved death: Atmahn and Rabat, and now apparently Dinanna and the Gray Lord. Makes me wonder which analogue (or set thereof) will die in the Kellel story: the Phantom Zone criminals Superman was forced to kill in John Byrne’s last issue? Pa Kent? Lois?

In any event, comparisons are inevitable: Batman can’t stop Robin’s death; Wonder Woman chooses to kill Max; and Superman … I suppose Superman accepts that death is inevitable under any circumstances.

Boy, have I turned a relatively innocuous installment into a downer, or what? Better stop before I get much further….

See you next week!

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Issue #31

Issue #30

Issue #29

Issue #28

Issue #27

Issue #26 and previous

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Comments

6 Comments

I look forward to an article on the Wonder Woman mythos. And in regards to Triumph, that’s one of the funniest lines I can remember – Plastic Man, asking who Triumph was, “and what flavour would he be if I licked him?” , from the end of issue #31. :-)

Cheers,

B

DC reprinted the Fleischer WW Encyclopedia last year (ISBN-13: 978-1401213657), if you can’t find your copy or want one in better shape.

Thanks, Jeff. Yeah, there was a copy at the LCS yesterday, along with some of the Archives. I have a bibliography ready, I just need to find room in the budget. :-)

“This is strange to me, because he seems to have taken Wonder Woman’s place (or part of it) in the reordered timeline; and the other ‘stand-ins’ (Ragman, Green Arrow, and Tomorrow Woman) all have spots on the Justice Arcana.”

The stand-ins, though, have different assignments than their Trinitarian’s. Green Arrow (Batman stand-in) is Judgement (attributed to Superman). Tommie (Superman) is the Empress (Wonder Woman). Maybe their spot on the Justice Arcana has more to do with story economy than their stand-in roles.

I hope Black Adam’s on the team, though. He’d make a good Emperor.

A well written Black Adam makes any series even better.

Triumph and Tomorrow Woman going head first into their end is also well done in that it’s like their normal universe fates. Triumph giving up everything and getting eased during the Apellaxian invasion and Tomorrow Woman using herself as a weapon to stop ID in her JLA issue.

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