Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
I found a lot to like in this week’s installment of Trinity. It advanced each major plotline, it showed characters behaving proactively, and it had some good, unexpected character moments. After all this time, I think I like Trinity best when it doesn’t go too small (like last issue) or too big (like the epic battles). I liked the super-team interaction which kicked off the issue, the frustration which ended it, and most things in between.
Of course, this is probably just the calm before everything goes big again.
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“They Who Taught Us” 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: North, Ms. Teschmacher, north! (And bring cookies!)
— Last week I was wondering when the magic-users were going to show up; and here they are. We’ve seen both Zatanna and Raven previously in Trinity, but mostly in crowd scenes.
— This has nothing to do with Trinity, or even his use on this page, but there’s something which always bothers me about the current Dr. Mid-Nite: he wears his costume in the operating theatre. Is there a reason for this beyond merely identifying him?
— I had a little trouble following the continuity of this scene from page 1. Dr. Mid-Nite is behind and to the right of Black Canary, but he (and Firestorm) must have moved into this bright courtyard from the shadowy ruins on page 1. Therefore, it seems like Zatanna and Raven located the “spell traces” heading into space; which is where Mid-Nite learned it. He then entered this two-page spread (off-panel, I guess) and repeated the information to Canary, explaining further that the energy was aimed at the Moon.
— Obviously the Justice League, Justice Society, and Titans have been working independently of the Trinity — that’s the point of page 4’s dialogue — but the way this spread reads, their respective exposition sounds a little redundant. That said, the JLA doesn’t work too differently here from how they did during the Konvikt fight, when the Trinity also went off on its own.
— I’ve said this before, but I like how Wonder Woman is connected to the Earth and Batman to the Moon.
— “Fallville” most likely refers to Fallville, Iowa, Barry Allen’s birthplace, last seen just a couple of weeks ago in The Flash: Rebirth #1.
— For some reason I don’t think this is the first appearance of Reina Doerr, but I can’t find anything on her; and yes, I used the Google, more than once. (She probably appeared already in Trinity, and I have been too lazy to look through 45 other issues.) Marcy Doerr was a character in the first issue of Astro City (September 1996), but I’m probably not confusing Reina with her.
— Google did say that “KFLV” was the call letters of a 1920s-era Rockford, Illinois, radio station associated with the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church. So, you know, there’s that.
— Evergreen City first appeared in Green Lantern vol. 2 #53 (June 1967). It is the home of the Evergreen Insurance Company, which once employed Hal Jordan. This map locates Evergreen City in southeast Washington State. The city was moved (forcibly) to Oa by an insane Guardian sometime around Green Lantern vol. 3 #4 (September 1990). Eventually, it became part of a “mosaic” community, made up of similarly-abducted cities from various planets, all watched over by John Stewart. The Mosaic residents were returned to their respective worlds before Hal-as-Parallax destroyed Oa, so it looks like the Evergreeners rebuilt.
— I didn’t think this was the first appearance of the current Ray in Trinity; but either way, it’s been a while. The (famous) original Ray, “Happy” Terrill (now deceased), was created by Lou Fine and debuted in Smash Comics #14 (September 1940). There have been three Rays, but this looks like the second, Ray Terrill, created by Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada and appearing first in The Ray #1 (February 1992). Ray is Happy’s son.
— Starshrike (real name unknown) succeeded the villainess called Shrike in the supervillain group The Cadre. She first appeared in The Power Company #1 (April 2002), which was written by Kurt Busiek and penciled by Tom Grummett. The team’s original Shrike was created by Gerry Conway and Chuck Patton and first appeared in Justice League of America vol. 1 #234 (January 1985). If I have the overall chronology straight, Starshrike will be bad again in time for JLofA vol. 2 #21 (July 2008), a Final Crisis tie-in.
— I take it that the “electronic signal” Batman wants to see looks in on this scene?
— “A chilling, unearthly laugh”: belonging to the Joker (who, come to think of it, didn’t laugh a whole lot in his recent appearances), and “buried” as part of the nine Articles Of Association.
— Remember, these items represented “friends” (Commissioner Gordon’s pipe, Etta Candy’s ID badge, Lois’s PDA), “foes” (the laugh, a sample of Luthor’s blood, and Max Lord’s skull), and “foundations” (concrete from Crime Alley, clay from Themyscira, and hull plates from the space-plane Constitution) of each of the Trinitarians.
— Mmmm … cookies. Kinda makes the pastries from issue #1 a little more important now, doesn’t it?
— Guess we know specifically what Lois wanted with her mother-in-law a couple of issues back. I bet it’s a fun story how those cookies got from Martha Kent’s oven (presumably in Kansas, unless Ma made a special trip) to Europe. Super-speed, Green Lantern express, teleportation…?
— Back when we were going through the “Trinity myths,” I wondered why we weren’t seeing anything about the Trinitarians’ parents. Looks like that was deliberate.
— I don’t recognize Gangbuster’s plane, but with the tail fin and red canopy it looks a little like the Martian spaceship J’Onn J’Onnz flew during the “War Of The Worlds” (Justice League of America #s 228-230 (July-September 1984)). That ship didn’t have wings, though.
— “Directly over the North Pole”: Oh no — Krona’s killed Santa! (You bastard!)
— As of Action Comics #840 (August 2006), the Fortress of Solitude is back in the Arctic, but it’s never been particularly close to the North Pole. (Don’t want to encroach on the toy workshops, of course.) This is not to suggest that Krona’s lab would set off any Fortress alarms, because the Arctic is a big place.
— I shouldn’t go overboard on the Santa jokes, but I will point out that Kanjar Ro has a red nose. (Not, however, one like a lightbulb.)
— I’m guessing that the various unidentified women intertwined between Tarot and SPHERE are the previous links to the Worldsoul.
— No annotations.
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“Not What Heroes Do” was plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Scott McDaniel, inked by Andy Owens, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: The Dreambound find Konvikt, and the Crime Syndicate finds Enigma.
Page 13 (story page 1)
— Man, McDaniel and Owens can draw the hell out of some mountains, huh?
— Same goes for Konvikt. I especially like the little snow/frozen bits in his hair.
— No annotations.
— The Dreambound left Castle Branek two issues ago, “warping out” once they got to a safe distance. I presume they knew he was alone because TVM detected only his “funky energy smell?”
— I’m a little surprised that Morgaine would cast Konvikt away while leaving him with his creation-energy power-up. She gave it to him, and I figured she could take it away. (Probably still can.)
— “I am a force of creation”: if SCII isn’t just speaking metaphorically, that could also give the Dreambound an edge Morgaine and Krona aren’t expecting. Still, back in issue #10, he said “I am the center of your universe….”
— “The strain’s flowing through to us”: We’ve seen, here and elsewhere, that the Anti-Matter Earth is affected by events on the positive-matter one. (That’s why there are Lois Lanes, Jimmy Olsens, James Gordons, etc., on both Earths.) Accordingly, our Earth getting a new Worldsoul might reasonably have repercussions for its anti-matter counterpart. (Makes me think about the A-M Earth’s Worldsoul — she’s gotta be like Lady Macbeth.) Enigma could also be caught between his “bond” with the positive-matter Earth and some desire on the part of his home Earth to make him one of its gods.
— By the way, most of you know this already, but as Crisis On Infinite Earths taught us, red skies are never good (“Batman: The Animated Series” excepted). The A-M Earth sported red skies during Trinity‘s first visit, back in the teens, but things weren’t much better then.
— Owlman’s glider looks very familiar, doesn’t it?
— The Most Unworthy Ten have got to be this Earth’s counterparts to the Great Ten of DC-Earth’s People’s Republic of China. The Great Ten were created by Grant Morrison and first appeared in 52 #6 (June 14, 2006).
— The Young Offenders were first named (but not seen) in JLA #114 (July 2005), which was written by Kurt Busiek. They are, most likely, a group of ne’er-do-well sidekicks and other bratty super-kids, being counterparts of the Teen Titans or Young Justice.
— “This is what we’ve been reduced to?” The Crime Syndicate’s Earth-3 predecessors were a little more altruistic when an antimatter wall destroyed their world in the opening pages of Crisis On Infinite Earths.
— “We can’t be heroes”: (Not just for one day? … sorry) Ultraman probably doesn’t like the idea of predestination, because no one and nothing is the boss of him; but apparently neither does he enjoy stepping too far out of his comfort zone. Still, it’s not like the universe is always asking Superman to be a villain.
— Looks like Enigma has just as much power on the Anti-Matter Earth as he does on the regular one.
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With Trinity rapidly approaching its end, I’m thinking that the Trinitarians pretty much have to stay “divine” for much of the rest of the series in order to stand a chance against Krona. Although Ma Kent’s cookies and (again, I’m guessing) Batman’s checking up on Alfred seem to pull our heroes back towards their familiar selves, as a practical matter I doubt we’d see them relinquish their extra power in the face of the current threat.
After a few issues where the Trinity tells the world essentially to relax and let them do the work, I liked the way they realized their true place in the nature of things. They are not separate from the rest of humanity, and they cannot separate themselves from it, no matter how godlike they become. They’re important “keystones,” naturally, but as the altered timeline showed, the world will get along (albeit imperfectly) without them. Indeed, DC itself has been removing the Trinitarians from certain parts of its fictional history for over twenty years now, mostly with regard to the Golden Age and the early years of the Justice League. Only in the past few years (since 2006’s JLofA vol. 2 #0) have they been restored to the JLA’s history.
Anyway, the Trinitarians finally seem to have found a good middle ground with their colleagues and friends, and it looks like this will carry them through the next few issues at least. That is, unless they start to lose their godlike power the more “human” they become….
Six issues to go–!