"DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 Contains a Surprising, and Likely Controversial, Crossover
Lots of payoffs in this week’s installment of Trinity, and not just for this miniseries. Many of the plot threads and other elements about which I’d been curious show up here, which makes for a pretty exciting issue.
As the great tactician said, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
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“Power To Spare” 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: Big fight at the North Pole!
— “Your hour of reckoning is at hand”: I know this isn’t a new thing, but what is it about godlike power that makes these folks elevate their speech patterns?
— No annotations.
— “Three times the god”: In part because this is not 52, which played more overtly with that number, I have slacked off keeping track of Trinity‘s “three” references, but of course this one was pretty obvious. Just as obvious, I doubt Krona’s comment is meant to be taken literally. It’s not like the Trinitarians and Troiksters each have 1/9 of the Cosmic Egg’s energy, leaving Krona with 1/3.
— (And you probably thought I’d do a “once … twice” joke.)
— What are the black areas of panels 2 and 3? Are they merely the blank spaces beyond the panels? At first I thought the heroes and armada were in space, and the black areas represented the nighttime Earth; but that would mean Supergirl could hear Despero’s taunt from orbit.
— This is the first time I’ve seen Cyborg with built-in jets. Cyborg is able to jump great distances, but I’d never seen him flying under his own power before. Oh well, if it was good enough for R2-D2….
— “Smack ‘em up” is a phrase I, in my sheltered life, haven’t encountered outside of Busiek-written comic books and Prodigy songs. I can guess what it means, but I was a little surprised to see it didn’t have an Urban Dictionary definition. Even the venerable comic-book expression “Holy Hannah!” has an Urban Dictionary definition….
— By the way, does Supergirl remember much of her Interceptor leadership training? She seems pretty take-charge here.
— Here’s one payoff: Krona’s keen insight into the Trinity. The more the Trinitarians settle into their godlike roles, the more they are, in fact, abandoning their friends and colleagues. Apparently the truth hurts so much that they stop fighting.
— Payoff #2: the Dreambound and Xor make good on their side-switching. This has been a long time coming (the Atom helped nudge the Dreambound away from Morgaine back in issue #36, and Morgaine killed Graak back in issue #39), but I’m not really complaining.
— I do note that Morgaine was directly responsible for making these five characters what they are presently, so there’s a nice irony in them turning on her.
— In fact, could that relationship to Morgaine make the Dreambound’s powers a little more effective against her?
— The armada’s rocket-scooters (seen firing on Sun-Chained-In-Ink in panel 1) were a little confusing to me throughout this issue. They look a little like something Owlman would ride, and they also remind me of similar craft which the Teen Titans (and probably other groups) used. I got confused because the good guys are seen riding similar scooters (which I suppose could have been commandeered) in the second story.
— Payoffs #3 and #4: Enigma reclaims the Idol-Head, something I hoped for a couple of issues back; and attacks Morgaine’s forces in earnest.
— Nice touch having Ultraman’s eyes glowing heat-vision red. Superman’s only light up that way when he’s really angry; but as you’d expect, Ultraman’s angry most of the time.
— “That favor we owe you” was for stopping the Void-Hound from completely destroying the Anti-Matter Earth back in JLA #114 (July 2005). Funny that the Void-Hound is here now, isn’t it? Wonder when the Crime Syndicate will find out?
— I can’t keep track: does Enigma now owe the CSA a favor?
— Appropriately enough, Power Ring is attacking the Void Hound, which may still have his counterpart inside.
— If memory serves, “L.O.S.2″ (which I think should be L.O.S.T. 2) stands for Low Orbit Supersonic (Transport), version 2. I don’t think we’ve been told why it crashed, because it seemed to be doing fine last issue.
— See, here’s an (unidentified) good guy riding a rocket-scooter in panel 2.
— No annotations.
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“A Role To Play” 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: Luthor’s been busy.
Page 13 (story page 1)
— “Kory” is short for Koriand’r, Starfire’s real name. Yes, like the spice.
— “X’Hal” (which I don’t think is pronounced “exhale”) is the warrior-turned-goddess who Starfire worships. She was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez and first appeared “in person” in New Teen Titans vol. 1 #24 (October 1982).
— I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but the fight scenes in this story focus on the adult Titans, most of whom were New Teen Titans together.
— “I kept his clothes from that night in storage”: huh. I don’t know whether this detail has ever been previously mentioned.
— Payoff #5: Luthor’s plan, arguably foreshadowed by issue #42’s reference to the “Hierophant complicating matters.” I had thought Luthor would try to steal the Trinity’s creation energy (and he still might), but he’s not above helping Superman save the planet when things get really tough.
— Luthor was elected President in 2000’s Superman: Lex 2000 special (January 2001), beating out both Vice-President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush. He didn’t finish out his first term — something about going insane with rage, strapping on the green battlesuit, and attacking Superman — having been impeached following the events of Superman/Batman #6 (March 2004). Luthor’s Vice-President, Smallville’s own Pete Ross, succeeded him; and Ross was succeeded by one Jonathan V. Horne. Therefore, as far as I know, Bill Clinton was the last Commander-In-Chief which the DC-United States shared with the real one.
— Luthor is flashing back to issue #42.
— “You can’t allow anything that doesn’t make them praise you”: … and here, he’s projecting.
— One could make the case that apart from their ethical differences, both Batman and Luthor stand in much the same relationship to Superman, since each represents a pinnacle of human achievement. This page shows Luthor as science-detective, which of course is one of Batman’s more familiar roles. Luthor using magic is something unusual, though (by his own admission).
— Going by the Dreambound appearance, Luthor’s investigation must take place between issues #42 and #43, since the original Sun-Chained-In-Ink returns in #43’s first story.
— Back in #42, Firestorm mentioned a “hound” as part of his message to the Trinity about GL/John, but later in the issue, the Void Hound doesn’t come up in the JLA’s meeting. Now it seems from Alfred’s narration that the JLA knew the Void Hound was involved, and just didn’t mention it at the meeting. I guess when it’s no longer controlling a massive Qwardian engine of destruction, it’s (literally) not as big a threat.
— I imagine a smug voice saying “you’re stuck in a cave, but your party’s at the North Pole fighting for the survival of the planet. Yep, there’s an app for that.”
— In panel 2, it looks like Donna’s about to have a wardrobe malfunction. The shape of the costume doesn’t match the shape of her body.
— No annotations.
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Like I said, lots of payoffs, and that doesn’t even include obvious things like Despero’s armada finally arriving, or Tarot and SPHERE being rescued. Now our heroes must simply heal the planet’s animating spirit, and how hard could that be? (Might take all of the Trinity’s creation energy, though….)
Again, this was a fairly satisfying issue. As a longtime New Teen Titans fan, I especially enjoyed seeing the Titans in action as a team (considering that we’d been focused previously on the Justice League or Justice Society). I also appreciated the coordination between Alfred, Dick, Lois, and Donna, 2/3 of the League of Extraordinary BFFs.
Finally, I know I don’t mention the covers here, but since we’re getting to the end of the series, it was good to give the second-story artists their share of a triptych. Mike Norton and Walden Wong’s cover for next issue was exactly what I’d hoped it would be.
So, on that note, I’ll see you next week!