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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Trinity #3

Trinity #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 18, 2008

Cover date: June 18, 2008

Lead Story: "Kplow"

Lead Story Writer: Kurt Busiek
Lead Story Penciller: Mark Bagley
Lead Story Inker: Art Thibert
Cover Art: Carlos Pacheco

Back-Up Story: "Earth to Rita"

Back-Up Writers: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Penciller: Mike Norton
Back-Up Inker: Jerry Ordway

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey with Jeffrey Bridges and Barry Freiman

Click to enlarge

Konvikt and his impish companion take on the Justice League after taking out the Green Lantern.

Graak explains that he is Konvikt's mouthpiece and his role and function as the battle continues to rage.

All of the heroes try to stop Konvikt, failing. Ultimately, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman arrive to take charge.

Morgan Le Fay and Enigma watch, and commentate.

Superman attacks Konvikt. Konvikt knocks him out with one punch.

Back-Up Story: "Earth to Rita"

A gal named Tarot does a Tarot reading, and wonders if she has what it takes to be a hero. She notices that a robbery has occurred, and departs with haste, thinking it a crime she's caused.

She sees Jose Delgado (I think... Neal) putting up posters.

A gang that forced her to give them a reading about a bank robbery finds her, asks for more help, and chases her when she refuses. As they catch her, a voice comes from nowhere, saying she is meant for the three who will rise.

When she looks up, they're all dead, and Jose is there to help her.

She goes home, confused and afraid, and considers a Tarot reading.

Neal's Review:

1Lead Story - 1: Again, what was a promising beginning/idea drops immediately into crap. The universal threat that looked so great and interesting is thrown to the backburner for some half-cocked Busiek creation, just like he did for the Superman run. Wow! Look! I can create a character. We get that. We do. But unless the character has some kind of character implications or dramatic impact on the plot, I submit, what's the point?

What's new about Superman and the Justice League responding to a threat in this book? What twist on this story does this issue add?

Do you feel like you've gotten NINE DOLLARS of fun and recreation out of this book so far? I don't.

So I'm dropping it. I will borrow copies to review to keep you appraised, but this book, like Countdown, has not proven itself entertaining in the requisite three issues, so goodbye. And three issues is generous with things like Goon, Walking Dead, Ex Machina, and Legacy on the shelves. Things where the threats are real and the character palpable.

What made Countdown one of the biggest, if not THE biggest blunder in DC history storytelling? Most of the action is procedural. People explain every one of their actions instead of having it flow from character naturally. Actions are telegraphed with dialogue. The heroes of the universe are made to look like either narcissistic fools or second-rate idiots. Talking with no purpose. Threats that are ill-defined.

This issue has ALL of that. The action is all very telegraphed, very procedural. There's no heart to it, really. People explain all of their actions. Flash is going to rescue people. Black Canary is very OBVIOUSLY LEADING (he said with faux dramatic emphasis). There are names in dialogue in places where it's clunky. And worst of all, the Justice League is made to look like idiots who can't handle a funky looking purple nobody from 1993. This is the LEAGUE. And not the Giffen league where half the shtick was their failure to accomplish things, but a League in its own right.

Graak explains everything he does, including using, ralph, colloquialisms from our Earth despite being an alien. Like, "Graak cool, Graak cool."

The intent here was clear, and could have come off well. The League encounters a foe that it can't handle, and Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman sweep in with their leadership skills to save the day. The problem is, the villain is so second-rate and laughable that it comes off as "Why can't they stop this joke?" while making Supes, Bats, and Wondy look like a group of grandstanders who can't work with the team or don't have time to. Way to make the Justice League look like a group of second-rate idiots.

The talking with Morgan Le Fay and Enigma sought to establish their character, I suppose, that Enigma is Batman's doppelganger, etc. Problem is, that's already established, so it's just treading water, killing time, akin to the Monitors repeating their motivation endlessly. ACT on their motivations, or why feature them in a scene at all?

I saw Konvikt punch Superman and knock him out. I don't believe it in a million years. So you're saying this second-rate purple freak can knock Superman out? Superman?

To give you an idea of how off this is, compare a previous story with this one. When Doomsday, the man who would KILL Superman, walked up to him the first time, Superman offered him a best shot. Doomsday punches Superman dead-on in the stomach, and Superman doesn't flinch.

ARROWS PIERCE KONVIKT'S SKIN, and you're telling me Superman can't take his punch?

Get real. I'm out of here. This is two issues too long for crap like Konvikt. Get back to something of substance or threat, and you've got me. You can show Superman being one-punch knocked unconscious. Doesn't mean it's realistic. Why not have Batman's punch make Darkseid flinch? You can draw it, I won't buy it.

And judging from the fact that the NEXT THREE ISSUES, if you believe the covers, seem to involve Konvikt... I'm not optimistic.

5Lead Art - 5: Bagley continues to impress with his work. I'm glad I finally get to review him on this side of the aisle, and I'm sad to see it put next to such awful dreck. I mean, hey, Bagley, welcome to DC. Draw a big purple guy called Konvikt. He can one-punch Superman!

Yeah, THAT Superman. The one that can fly into the sun.


4Back-Up Story - 4: There's something to latch onto here, and at least it's relevant to the overarching plot instead of diversionary. Granted, the ominous voice is a little cheesy, but the threat is real, the character is relatable, and it involves Gangbuster, a long-forgotten but still totally awesome character.

Tarot, a lady who reads Tarot cards, is a pretty ridiculously simplistic concept, as is the Paramore reference to we latter-day music snobs, but ultimately I identified with her and her dilemma, because she actually has a personality and speaks to us through the piece instead of just archetypically reacting, the problem with the first portion of this book.

4Back-Up Art - 4: Detailed, strong, and capably introducing us to the subject matter. I identify with and recognize Tarot, and despite not too much introduction, I managed to latch onto the fact that it was THAT Jose rather easily, which is rad.

Again, the cliché voice (and that awful "monster" font that seems to appear in many Busiek books, am I crazy there?) was bad, but ultimately, it was a brief bit in an otherwise strong story. Hopefully she won't just be abandoned as a backup character here. Much more in-depth and interesting than frickin' Konvikt.

5Cover Art - 5: Continuing the trend, of course, and rounding it out with a fine depiction of Wonder Woman. I like the colors, the poses, and the three in tandem are awesome. Good stuff.

Jeffrey's Review:

2Lead Story - 2: So, in this book to spotlight Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman and their relationship and importance... they take a backseat to JLA second-stringers for most of the issue, show up and Superman gets his backside kicked while Batman and Wonder Woman do what any of the JLA second-stringers could have done if they'd bothered.

On top of this, we get cliché silver-age self-descriptive dialogue "I will cover your back while you attack him with your powers!" (I paraphrase, but only barely)?

49 more issues to go, eh? Time to stock up on painkillers.

2Lead Art - 2: Just when it's starting to grow on me a little (I am starting to despise Konvikt, and not in the way you despise a good villain but in the way you despise a lumbering plot device from 1991), and the panel of him smashing Supes' face in was nicely done... the very same page turns Wonder Woman into a horrible caricature of an anime character. Old and dated, and not in a nostalgic way you can appreciate.

Also did we HAVE to get a sign on a pole advertising for a GARDENER in a Hispanic neighborhood? Wasn't the stereotypical dialogue enough?

2Back-Up Story - 2: Who is this person? Why do we care about her? Why is she helpless? Why does she have to be saved by a man? Why does her speech pattern change within the SAME speech bubble? (She says "don'" twice... and then "don't"). Why do these clearly Hispanic people all speak like stereotypes?

Why am I reading this?

3Back-Up Art - 3: Reminds me a lot of Grummet's work from the '90s, especially his Superboy run. And while I love Grummet, that's a very specific style to the time period and this honestly looks like I'm reading something from 15 years ago out of my back issues.

4Cover Art - 4: I love it. Honestly I think Supes got the raw deal in these three covers, because I don't find his nearly as dynamic or impressive as this cover and the Batman cover.

Barry's Review:

1Lead Story - 1: Utter and complete nonsense. This feels like it was written by an eight-year old boy and one expects better from Kurt Busiek - even after his abysmal run on "Superman".

3Lead Art - 3: The art's not bad, but this isn't Marvel. People don't - or shouldn't - buy DC books solely for the art. DC has always been about the story. At least for me. Even if you did buy DC books solely for the art, the average art here just isn't enough.

There's one exception. I do really like the last panel of the lead story. The unconscious Supey pose is very Doomsday-dead-ish even though we all know Supes is totally fine (he's not even bruised or bleeding) and will probably be on his feet within the first two pages of the next issue.

3Back-Up Story - 3: I wish I knew more about tarot cards so I could say with some certainty whether Tarot's interpretations of her deck are accurate. But I do have an old friend who is actually a tarot card reader. And the one thing I do know with some certainty is that a tarot reader is not the same as a fortune teller. Tarot is subject to interpretation - a tarot reading is not going to give thieves a detailed game plan to avoid getting caught. It's at best going to give a broad message of either escape or incarceration. If Tarot is really expert in reading tarot, it should already be quite clear to her that something other than tarot card reading is responsible for her abilities. Though if you ask me, the only reason Tarot was created is because Madame Xanadu is currently spoken for by the Vertigo line. The story does gain one point for reintroducing Jose Delgado though (even though it feels a bit stereotypical to have one Latino character happen to know another Latino character because they happen to live in the same Latino neighborhood).

4Back-Up Art - 4: The art's a bit more special in the back-up - especially to Superman fans. The art's finished by Jerry Ordway, who was the artist on the old "Adventures of Superman" series in the post-Byrne years. Jose Delgado looks like he walked right out of a 10-year old "AOS" story. For nostalgia alone, the art gets high marks.

3Cover Art - 3: I still really like the triptych but I'm lowering the score this time out because I'm not feeling "Gotham City" in that background. It's too bright and shiny. I get it that, were it not for Batman, Bruce Wayne would be Donald Trump but Wayne Enterprises isn't Trump Tower and Bruce Wayne has much better hair. Gotham City is not a luminous jewel - it's, at best, a cracked cubic zirconia. It should feel dark and foreboding even under a noon sun.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2008

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