Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Act One of Trinity featured a few big super-scrums, but to a certain extent, Act Two got away from that. Now Act Three is underway, and although we’re not too far into it, I daresay we’re already in for a few issues’ worth of super-team combat.
Not much in this issue discusses the nuances of the Trinity, and for the most part, the big character development isn’t all that surprising. However, the combat is choreographed well, and the last page is a welcome development.
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“Metropolis” (pages 1-6, 17-22) 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: It’s the big Cossack number!
— Last issue I nitpicked that Alan Scott’s ring was on the wrong hand. Here it’s on the right hand, which is Alan’s left hand. I could go into a whole routine here (or I could have just said “correct hand”), but you get the idea.
— In other costume news, J’Onn J’Onnz is now wearing more than he was last issue. Maybe Hawkman wanted to be the only bare-chested super-guy on the page.
— I have to say, it’s a little strange to see Jay Garrick in his prime and Barry Allen in a wheelchair.
— Didn’t expect the Dreambound to be here, since they’re supposed to be having second thoughts. However, so’s Konvikt, and he’s front and center.
— If I were more of a Marvel fan I’d make a “Red Konvikt” joke. Good news for everyone that I’m not.
— Anyway, most of these folks you know already. On Page 2, there’s the Trans-Volitional Man, the Royal Flush Gang, Sparx, Doctor Polaris, Sun-Chained-In-Ink, Giganta, the Joker, Morgaine Le Fay, Eclipso, Deathstroke, Mr. Nobody, the Floronic Man, the Parasite, Ra’s al Ghul, Gorilla Grodd, Prometheus, Brainiac, and the Scarecrow.
— Page 3 depicts Enigma (standing on S.P.H.E.R.E.), the Cheetah, Doctor Light, the Gentleman Ghost, Negative Woman, Negative Man, the Queen Bee, Konvikt, Swashbuckler, Shrapnel, Catwoman, Cat-Man, Lord Khyber, Vandal Savage, Solomon Grundy, Zoom, Brimstone, and Lady Shiva.
— The Parasite is making his Trinity debut. The Queen Bee and Shrapnel had cameos in issue #27.
— The Parasite, a/k/a Maxwell Jensen, was created by Jim Shooter and Al Plastino and first appeared in Action Comics #340 (August 1966). The character was revamped, although not in any meaningful way, by writer John Ostrander and penciller Joe Brozowski for Fury Of Firestorm #58 (April 1987). That Parasite, Rudy Jones, is probably the one here; but again, I don’t think the details matter. In any event, since the Parasite can siphon off super-powers into himself, he also has the potential to be very dangerous. Either that or he’ll get too close to one of the omnipotent combatants and absorb so much he explodes….
— Speaking of power-absorbing characters, where are those giant Amazo-sentinels we saw back at the beginning of Act Two?
— Shrapnel, a/k/a Mark Scheffer, was created by Paul Kupperberg and Erik Larsen and first appeared in Doom Patrol vol. 2 #7 (April 1988).
— Zazzala, the Queen Bee, was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky and first appeared in Justice League of America vol. 1 #23 (November 1963). Her current look dates back to JLA #34 (October 1999), which was penciled by Howard Porter.
— Here are some glimpses of the Justice Arcana, starting with Ragman in the background of panel 1.
— Panel 2: Dr. Mid-Nite, Citizen Steel, Ravager, Congorilla (?), Black Lightning, Red Arrow, and the Crimson Avenger.
— Panel 3 (discernable): Plastic Man, Cyborg, Atom-Smasher, and Firestorm.
— Panel 6: I can make out Red Tornado, Firestorm (again), Starfire, Booster Gold (? — the one with the star), and Triumph.
— There’s conflicting data on the first appearance of Congorilla (if that’s who that is), but apparently his origin was told by Robert Bernstein and Howard Sherman in Action Comics #248 (January 1959). Who’s Who also gives Congorilla’s first appearance as Action #248. He’s a gorilla whose mind is periodically switched with the mind of his friend Congo Bill (created by Whitney Ellsworth and George Papp and debuting in More Fun Comics #56 (June 1940)). He’s also in the upcoming no-modifier Justice League title headed by Green Lantern and Green Arrow and written by James Robinson. Congorilla is supposed to be orange (well, golden), but I say it’s him because he’s too big to be Detective Chimp, he doesn’t have the right wardrobe for Sam Simeon, Solovar, or a reformed Monsieur Mallah, and he wears too many clothes to be a miscolored Beast Boy. (Actually, he wasn’t colored gold on the cover of Action #248 either….)
— By the way, far be it from me to tell anyone how to run their business, but I bet Trinity would sell even better with more gorillas on its covers.
— Uh, boy. Those not previously seen in this issue include Deadman, Hawkgirl, Skyrocket, Booster Gold (seen clearly here), Tomorrow Woman, Luthor, Power Girl, Black Adam, another gorilla (maybe the same one, colored differently?), Vixen, Nightshade, Brain Wave, Aquaman, the Phantom Stranger, Mr. Terrific, Black Canary, Hourman, the Flash (Wally West), Green Arrow, Metamorpho, and what appears to be Shift.
— Shift, the “offspring” of Metamorpho, was created by Judd Winick and Tom Raney and first appeared in Outsiders vol. 3 #1 (August 2003).
— Not sure who the “red giants” in panel 2 are, unless they’re Morgaine’s minions.
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“The Power You Deserve” (pages 7-16) was plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Tom Derenick, inked by Wayne Faucher, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: Konvikt’s second thoughts are confirmed by tragedy.
Page 7 (story page 1)
— I take it that the detail of Triumph saving Tomorrow Woman is meant to link this page with page 6.
— Is Konvikt supposed to be throwing that bus at a building?
— Wow, Cheetah’s gotten big!
— You’ll excuse me being thick, but I’m having a hard time with the significance of the frog. Is it supposed to remind me of Graak? Will it start singing at some point? The only thing I can come up with is that it and the other animals represent the fact that Konvikt isn’t trying to hurt anything but the humans and their creations.
— Gotham City’s not supposed to be that far from Metropolis, so while Morgaine took time out to power-up Konvikt, the Justice Arcana probably had time to regroup.
— Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Graak was encouraging Konvikt to conquer Earth. However, his experiences with Morgaine have been changing his perspectives on his and Konvikt’s places in the grand scheme of things.
— “Laying waste of urban mudball domiciles”: okay, maybe Konvikt was throwing the bus at the building for the heck of it.
— No annotations.
— Well, I wasn’t expecting that. Here’s hoping he comes back when the timeline is restored.
— “Wipe that irritating thing off your face”: man, she’s cold!
— “He will use it to remake the world”: thus, Morgaine is outnumbered two Troiksters to one, plus there’s the Joker’s incentive to reset the timeline, and whatever blueprint is in the Construct’s consciousness.
— “Embody those roles, fill the gap”: well, in a way they do sort of map to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Hawkman has extraterrestrial connections, Green Lantern’s ring comes from the magic-oriented Starheart, and the Flash’s powers come from science. However, in terms of the Trinity’s moral dimensions (truth, justice, hope), the Justice Society’s leaders seem too similar, especially Jay and Alan.
— Of course, the Joker/Luthor/Cheetah trio would match up even better with the departed Trinity.
— “The momentum’s gone”: because Luthor has been turned? If there are members of Morgaine’s team who are normally good (I’m thinking particularly of the Negative Couple), might they be turned as well?
— Part of me thinks that J’Onn’s death (and Triumph’s, on the next page) is related to the timeline trying to reassert itself, but it seems more likely that it’s just a consequence of the world getting more evil.
— I guess it’s appropriate that Deadman can fight the Gentleman Ghost, but it’s still weird that we can actually see Deadman in action.
— No annotations.
— Again, at first it looks like there are perspective problems with the characters in panel 1, but I think it’s the villains getting physically bigger.
— Nice! The next thirteen issues just got a lot more interesting….
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In fact, it looks like the Trinitarians, in their newly-altered states, are starting to resemble their old selves. (I presume they’re still giant-sized.) Kellel isn’t too far from Superman. Atmahn isn’t bestial anymore, although I can only think to describe him as a wraith in a costume. Dinanna actually looks the least human, but it could just be full-body armor like Morgaine used to wear. Perhaps this latest round of changes is meant to bring them closer to their “divine ideals,” now that they’re back on Earth.
I wonder if, or how closely, Konvikt’s transformation parallels the Trinitarians’. They’ve each been changed by creation energy, but Konvikt’s change is different in a couple of ways. First, his shot of creation energy might be tinged with Morgaine’s evil, and therefore might be exacerbating his own violent tendencies. He’s not just helping the world to be more evil, he’s perhaps fueled by an energy which is evil to begin with. However, unlike the Trinitarians, his transformation has been accompanied by a running commentary from Graak, who knows the real Konvikt and won’t let him forget it. Therefore, by the time Morgaine kills Graak, Konvikt may already have overcome the corrupting tendencies of Morgaine’s creation-energy infusion. You’d think this will make it easier for the good guys to defeat Morgaine, but of course there’s still Krona to consider….
See you next week!