Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials
Trinity #2Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 11, 2008
Cover date: June 11, 2008
Lead Story: "A Personal Best at Giant Robot Smashing"
Lead Story Writers: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Lead Story Artists: Mark Bagley
Lead Story Inker: Art Thibert
Cover Art: Carlos Pacheco
Back-Up Story: "It's Gonna Throw the Car"
Back-Up Writers: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Artists: Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher
Back-Up Inker: Allen Passalaqua
In Metropolis, miniature planets begin reining down on the city.
Batman is in a strange city, where apparent monks talk about something not feeling right.
Wonder Woman battles three giant robots.
Superman flies into a miniature sun and hurls it and its planetoids out into space.
The monks want to capture Batman for Lord Gotham, but he says "no" and it all disappears.
Superman arrives to help Wonder Woman with the robots, but she refuses his help as a matter of pride since no innocents were in danger.
Morgaine le Fey and Enigma watch the trinity, and discuss how much they want their power. Batman's vision of the monks was due to Enigma, who is impressed that Batman could dispel it.
In the Batcave, Batman gets an emergency transmission from the JLA. John Stewart is being attacked by Konvikt and is unconscious.
Back-Up Story: "It's Gonna Throw the Car"
John Stewart notices a ship heading towards earth. He investigates to see if the occupants need help or might be a threat. It's Konvikt and his little friend Graak, who can read Konvikt's mind and responds to him verbally. Konvikt turns invisible, throws cars and attacks the police.
First Graak doesn't want Konvikt to attack John Stewart, because as a Green Lantern he could get them home. Konvikt attacks Stewart anyway, and then Graak changes his mind. John Steward doesn't fare too well in the fight, and at one point his eyes glow and strange weapons (not from the power ring) seem to form around him and fire at Konvikt. It doesn't help, and he's defeated. Graak tells the world to bow down before Konvikt because he defeated a Green Lantern.
Lead Story - 2: Let me start out by saying that I really dislike the narration style used here. I understand in comics we're going to get the characters' thoughts from time to time. I think that can usually be accomplished better with good, actual dialogue and good, emotive art, but it's a convention of the medium for some folks. Fine. But when a character is thinking, they're not thinking like they're talking TO someone.
I don't narrate my every action in my own head when I think to myself. I don't pause mid-thought, in my own head, while narrating my action, to explain the science behind what I'm doing. This is an ultra old-school, silver age flavor way of writing and it's outdated and, frankly, makes it feel like this comic doesn't take itself seriously.
Do you ever hear Superman or Batman's thoughts in movies? And if you did, would they narrate their actions and pause midway through for a science lesson, worded as if it was directed at YOU, the audience?
It just reeks of laziness to me, but enough griping about that. On to the story at hand.
First, I'd like to point out that I think I was right in reviewing the main and "backup" stories from last issue as one whole. Barry asked me if I wanted to review them separately, but I said no because I felt the "backup" was nothing of the sort and was indeed just part of the main story. Here we get proof of that as Enigma and Fey are now stitched into the stories of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Which makes the first backup nothing of the sort, but I digress.
Putting all of the physics issues aside with Metropolis being besieged by a mini-solar system and suffering minimal damage, at least it vaguely made sense in regard to Superman's dreamŠ about a cosmic extraterrestrial intelligence that was warping space-time. It's conceivable that could somehow be connected to this random mini-solar system in Metropolis.
Wonder Woman's dream, note, featured an "ancient, angry god". So how very apt that she'd be fighting three random giant robots with mandibles, oh so cleverly named "Mandib-1" (through 3, I'm guessing).
And then Batman is in this odd pseudo-Gotham, trapped by monks who want him for "Lord Gotham". Batman's dream was of "shadowsŠ a jailed prisoner". Okay, so then what's happening to Bruce also aligns with his dream. Except it doesn't, because what happened to Bruce was an illusion made by Enigma. All three have a dream, two random things happen to Superman and Wonder Woman *supposedly* related to their dreams, and nothing random happens to Batman with relation to his dream at all. Instead, he gets a specific event concocted and enacted by Enigma? Where's Bruce's random event tied to his dream? Why did Enigma only make an illusion for Bruce and not the others? What was the point?
And just how smart can Enigma really be if the way to dispel his illusion is simply by uttering the word "no"? What is this, the Adam West show?
There are also ridiculous leaps of logic. Superman and Wonder Woman talk and Superman says, "CLEARLY (emphasis mine) these events are related to our dreams!"
How is that clear? You might hypothesize what happened to Superman is in some way related to his dream, but it's only as clear as muddy swamp water. And to make any sort of connection at ALL between an "ancient, angry got" and giant robots with mandibles?
This is like a plot right out of "Super Friends", which was cool when I was eight. Now? Not so much.
Also of note: Bruce gets a visual in the Batcave of John Stewart fighting Konvikt. The emergency states John Stewart is unconscious. The visual clearly shows him wide, wide awake. Whoops.
This comic reads like it was written by someone completely out of touch with today's audiences. It's not modern and doesn't seem to take itself seriously. How could it, with ridiculous leaps of logic like that?
And if this book doesn't take itself seriously, why should we?
Where's the verisimilitude? Where's the big, exciting, dramatically honest story that these three characters deserve?
Lead & Back-Up Art - 3: It's growing on me from last issue, but there's still bits that don't work for me. Wonder Woman almost always looks off or far too thin, and Superman often looks like he's got a spiky box for a head. The best parts of the book, art-wise, are the portions with Batman. Perhaps that's where Bagley is more comfortable.
Hopefully he gets just as comfortable with Clark and Diana soon.
Back-Up Story - 3: An actual backup (as opposed to last issue), and it does its job of explaining Konvikt's arrival on earth and John Stewart's sad, failing attempt to stop him. Of course there's no explanation for Graak wanting Konvikt to not attack and then changing his mind and reveling in it without reason.
But I will say this, the dialogue and even the thought-boxes were a LOT better in this portion. While I feel nothing toward Konvikt but apathy, this story at least took itself seriously and it came off as a decent little action/drama pieceŠ and not some goofball nonsense that's not intended to be humorous but is regardless due to how far it misses the mark.
ANCIENT GODS beget GIANT MANDIB ROBOTS. It's all CLEAR, because Superman said so.
Cover Art - 4: This is a much better pose than the Superman cover. The Metropolis background is shiny and bright, but doesn't detract from Bats. Very nicely done.
Lead & Back-Up Story - 3: OK so did the events of the lead story actually happen or did they just happen in the heroes' own minds? I'm still as confused as I was last week and still as ambivalent about said confusion. It appears what happened to the heroes this issue did happen as the continued existence of the pocket solar system would seem to indicate. And wouldn't a growing solar system complete with sun that appears in our upper atmosphere wreak havoc with, well, everything. Exploding buildings would just be the beginning.
I like the interplay between Le Fey and Enigma particularly their differing views on the Dark Knight. The only thing I don't like about Batman's brainpower being his apparent role in the Trinity is it makes certain implied assumptions about the brainpower of Superman and Wonder Woman. Superman's not about brain versus brawn notwithstanding what Lex Luthor may think on the subject. Superman's about brain and brawn.
The best conclusions to Superman stories are those in which Superman defeats someone just as powerful or more powerful than he by out-thinking the bad guy. Like that moment in "Superman II" where he reverses the Fortress technology to sap the Phantom Zone villains of their powers. Could Superman have defeated three villains with his powers without using his head? Maybe, but he didn't have to because, and say it with me, SUPERMAN IS SMART.
What I do really like about the issue is the way in which the lead story and the back story pair up so neatly. I'm reminded of the late 1970s issues of "Superman Family" (the Dollar Comics years) in which there'd be a Jimmy Olsen story which at some point would intersect with a Lois Lane story. Or Superman wouldn't be available to help Jimmy or Lois at a pivotal moment and the next story in the book would be the story of where Superman was at that pivotal moment.
Here, the lead story and the back-up story both stand on their own as separate stories and yet the two stories detail what appear to be unrelated events happening at the same time that will merge or at least pass each other like ships in the night. This is the kind of smooth connecting of the dots that was so clearly missing from "Countdown" and "Death of the New Gods" as a lead-in to "Final Crisis".
Lead & Back-Up Art - 3: There's nothing particularly special about the art in either the lead or back-up stories. It doesn't detract from the plot, such as it is, nor is it so powerful as to enhance the story. It just sort of hangs there like a growing spare universe but without the corresponding corollary carnage. I guess that's saying something.
Cover Art - 5: I am really enjoying this issue by issue revelation of the triptych. For those who didn't notice last week, as each cover melds into the other, it becomes clear that each hero/heroine is standing in front of another Trinity members 'home-town'. Last week, we had Superman hopefully floating above Themyscira (no men on Paradise Island after all), this week it's the Batman with the Metropolis skyline behind him. And with this being a Batman cover, it's the Batsignal on top of the other title icons this issue. Surely we all see where this is going with next week's issue. Though I admit to being more interested in whether the title logo will change with each issue on a regular basis or will top logo billing go to the hero who perhaps takes a bit more of the center stage in the particular issue.
If every three issues in "Trinity" forms its own triptych all through the run, and they find a way to keep it clever and fresh, I think that could be a fun artistic experiment. Though I hope that wouldn't preclude a single cover from using more than one of the Big Three at a time.
Lead Story - 1: Okay, where did all that promise go, and what the hell is this?
We go from an establishing scene where Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are characterized and interacting as a (pardon) Trinity, and the issue ends with a massive threat demolishing a building in front of Superman. Okay. That jazzed me up, gave me some character, and an intriguing dilemma.
And what was this issue? Three random, depthless encounters, with a mischaracterization of Wonder Woman. Did you read that scene with Supes and Wondy? It was glad-handed and ridiculous. Like Superman doesn't know Wonder Woman by now. Like Wonder Woman would endanger lives in order to suit her own potential lust for battle. Ridiculous.
The only singular motion this sets in line is the idea that now they're going to get together to go and figure out the dilemma they established next issue. Which is what this should have covered, but instead treaded water and killed space.
As for Batman's scene where he disperses a universe he's teleported to (as we learn through DIALOGUE) with the word "No" without any real explanation... uh, okay, whatever.
This is probably the quickest nosedive I've ever seen in a series. I hope it's a fluke. The writing was choppy, rushed, and didn't seem to flow organically. Damn.
Lead Art - 4: Bagley continues to do well. There are a few confusing and hastily put together parts, like where exactly Supes is throwing the universe, and why it's sticking together and not sucking our universe apart, but a lot of that is a writing issue. The design of the bug robots was pretty plain. But the action was well done. Bagley rules.
Back-Up Story - 1: Giant purple man with Salacious Crumb on his shoulder spouts awful dialogue while fighting Green Lantern in a book called Trinity (as in Supes, Batman, Wonder Woman, not Green Lantern).
Back-Up Art - 4: Despite awful character design for Konvikt (hello, 1992) and his buddy, the action is depicted very well and compellingly, even if the story is utter crap.
Cover Art - 5: Again intriguing, a good picture of one of the big three, and I'm loving the logos. After three, I'm curious to see where they go with the idea.
Mild Mannered Reviews
2008Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
- Superman #670
- Action Comics #859
- Superman Annual #13
- Superman/Batman #42
- Superman/Batman #43
- Superman Confidential #9
- Supergirl #23
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #36
- Teen Titans #53
- Countdown to Final Crisis #25
- Countdown to Final Crisis #24
- Countdown to Final Crisis #23
- Countdown to Final Crisis #22
- 52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #4
- Justice League of America #15
- JLA Classified #46
- JLA Classified #47
- Infinity Inc. #3
- Death of the New Gods #1-3
- Justice League Unlimited #39
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #8
- Superman #671
- Action Comics #860
- Superman/Batman #44
- Superman Confidential #10
- Supergirl #24
- Teen Titans #54
- Countdown to Final Crisis #21
- Countdown to Final Crisis #20
- Countdown to Final Crisis #19
- Countdown to Final Crisis #18
- Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Red Son #1
- Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman #1
- 52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #5
- Justice League of America #16
- JLA Classified #48
- JLA Classified #49
- Justice Society of America #11
- Infinity Inc. #4
- Death of the New Gods #4
- Justice League Unlimited #40
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #9
- Superman #672
- Action Comics #861
- Superman/Batman #45
- Superman Confidential #11
- Supergirl #25
- Teen Titans #55
- Countdown to Final Crisis #17
- Countdown to Final Crisis #16
- Countdown to Final Crisis #15
- Countdown to Final Crisis #14
- Countdown to Final Crisis #13
- 52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #6
- Justice League of America #17
- JLA Classified #50
- JLA Classified #51
- Justice Society of America #12
- Infinity Inc. #5
- Death of the New Gods #5
- Justice League Unlimited #41
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #10
- Superman #673
- Action Comics #862
- Superman/Batman #46
- Superman Confidential #12
- Supergirl #26
- Countdown to Final Crisis #12
- Countdown to Final Crisis #11
- Countdown to Final Crisis #10
- Countdown to Final Crisis #9
- Justice League of America #18
- JLA Classified #52
- JLA Classified #53
- Justice Society of America #13
- Infinity Inc. #6
- Death of the New Gods #6
- Justice League Unlimited #42
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #11
- Superman #674
- Action Comics #863
- Superman/Batman Annual #2
- Superman Confidential #13
- All Star Superman #10
- Supergirl #27
- Countdown to Final Crisis #8
- Countdown to Final Crisis #7
- Countdown to Final Crisis #6
- Countdown to Final Crisis #5
- Justice League of America #19
- JLA Classified #54
- Justice Society of America #14
- Infinity Inc. #7
- Death of the New Gods #7
- Justice League: The New Frontier Special #1
- Tangent: Superman's Reign #1
- Justice League Unlimited #43
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #12
- Super Friends #1
- Superman #675
- Action Comics #864
- Superman/Batman #47
- Superman Confidential #14
- Supergirl #28
- DC Universe #0
- Countdown to Final Crisis #4
- Countdown to Final Crisis #3
- Countdown to Final Crisis #2
- Countdown to Final Crisis #1
- Justice League of America #20
- Justice Society of America #15
- Death of the New Gods #8
- Tangent: Superman's Reign #2
- Justice League Unlimited #44
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13
- Super Friends #2
- The Batman Strikes! #44
- Action Comics Annual #11
- Superman #676
- Action Comics #865
- Superman/Batman #48
- All Star Superman #11
- Supergirl #29
- Justice League of America #21
- Justice Society of America #16
- Final Crisis #1
- Tangent: Superman's Reign #3
- Justice League Unlimited #45
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #14
- Super Friends #3
- Action Comics #866
- Superman #677
- Superman/Batman #49
- Trinity #1
- Trinity #2
- Trinity #3
- Trinity #4
- Supergirl #30
- Justice League of America #22
- Final Crisis #2
- Tangent: Superman's Reign #4
- Justice League Unlimited #46
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #15
- Super Friends #4
- Action Comics #867
- Superman #678
- Superman/Batman #50
- Trinity #5
- Trinity #6
- Trinity #7
- Trinity #8
- Trinity #9
- Supergirl #31
- Justice League of America #23
- Justice Society of America #17
- Justice Society of America Annual #1
- Final Crisis #3
- Tangent: Superman's Reign #5
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #16
- Super Friends #5
- Action Comics #868
- Superman #679
- Superman/Batman #51
- Trinity #10
- Trinity #11
- Trinity #12
- Trinity #13
- Supergirl #32
- Justice League of America #24
- Justice Society of America #18
- Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1
- Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1
- DC Universe: Last Will and Testament #1
- Tangent: Superman's Reign #6
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #17
- Super Friends #6
- Action Comics #869
- Superman #680
- Superman/Batman #52
- All Star Superman #12
- Trinity #14
- Trinity #15
- Trinity #16
- Trinity #17
- Supergirl #33
- Justice League of America #25
- Justice Society of America #19
- Final Crisis #4
- Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #2
- DC Universe: Decisions #1
- DC Universe: Decisions #2
- Tangent: Superman's Reign #7
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #18
- Super Friends #7
- Action Comics #870
- Superman #681
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen Special #1
- Superman: New Krypton Special #1
- Superman/Batman #53
- Trinity #18
- Trinity #19
- Trinity #20
- Trinity #21
- Trinity #22
- Supergirl #34
- Justice League of America #26
- Justice Society of America #20
- Superman & Batman vs. Vampires & Werewolves #1
- Superman & Batman vs. Vampires & Werewolves #2
- DC Universe: Decisions #3
- DC Universe: Decisions #4
- Tangent: Superman's Reign #8
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #19
- Super Friends #8
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Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.