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Trinity #9

Trinity #9

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 30, 2008

Cover date: July 30, 2008

Main Story: "Crumbs in the Forrest"

Main Story Writer: Kurt Busiek
Main Story Penciller: Mark Bagley
Main Story Inker: Art Thibert

Back-Up Story: "Making the Pieces Fit"

Back-Up Writers: Fabian Nicieza with Kurt Busiek
Back-Up Art: Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey with Barry Freiman and Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

Wonder Woman and Etta try to save people in the ruins of the mall they were in, which has just been attacked. A man named Swashbuckler appears, steals a kiss from Etta, and leaves.

Bruce Wayne runs from the wolf-men, finds a utility belt he keeps in a tree, and beats up the wolf-men.

Wonder Woman examines the sudden spate of disappearances across the globe.

Superman appears to aid Batman. Batman berates him for interference, then asks him to take the Howlers to the Batcave, examining the branding sigil.

In the Batcave, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman discuss the Howlers. Wonder Woman indicates that the disappearances are because of the Crime Syndicate.

Swashbuckler hands Etta's DMA pass to another set of hands (perhaps Morgan's) just as Etta's pass fails. To be continued...

Back-Up Story: "Making the Pieces Fit"

Nightwing banters with Oracle about the artifact robberies as Swashbuckler appears. Swashbuckler steals his mask and tries to leave, but Nightwing auto-destructs his mask, robbing Swashbuckler of his prize.

Barbara calls Commissioner Gordon and asks about the robberies. As they talk, Gordon's pipe disappears.

Robin quizzes Penguin, and as he does, a riot breaks out in Arkham. Swashbuckler and a strange chanting figure assail Joker, stealing his laugh.

To be continued...

Neal's Review:

1Main Story - 1: Another cringe-worthy issue.

We start off in the middle of action, a mall exploding, that hadn't started last issue, completely annihilating an A to B in a story that has been taking pains to waste time on stuff that doesn't need to be shown. Notably, later in this very issue, there's an entirely unnecessary scene where Etta is shown realizing her card is missing, and for that, apparently, we jump from walking in a mall to that mall exploded. Beyond that, Alfred explaining to the press was more wasted space, as was Wonder Woman learning about the Crime Syndicate, given that she just summarizes it to Bats and Supes (and us) again a few pages later. Two pages of Holwer beating where one would do (actually, none. Strike those horribly characters from the record, your honor). Extraordinary amounts of awful padding here. Countdown all over again.

Names in dialogue, again. "Sarge Steel" was the worst of the lot.

Swashbuckler, a guy willing to kill a bunch of kids and blow up a mall for a card that is shown at the end of the issue being noticed missing. Gee, they're not gonna notice that and take security precautions. Beyond that, another weird, stupid character with no motive or explanation?

What's this? They've managed to take a photo and restore it digitally? And what is it? It's the Crime Syndicate, mugging for the camera. And why would a picture like that have to be restored again? And why would it survive? And why are we suddenly shifting focus to the Crime Syndicate out of the clear blue sky?

Beyond that, who is Etta? Without reading Wonder Woman right now, I have no clue.

3Main Art - 3: The action is awesome, but a lot of the faces got repetitive this time around. In the scene where the wolves attack Bruce, all of the girls look exactly the same, and there are many examples of very rough hewn faces among a lot of the good ones. It's wearing a little, mostly because it's face after face after face, but still strong in most respects.

2Back-Up Story - 2: Clunky, out of sorts, and a bit odd, but the ending is an interesting concept, even though I'll be damned if I know how someone can steal a laugh, or why one would. Obviously it's way too metaphysical for me to understand. Uh-huh.

Swashbuckler remains absolutely ridiculous and uninspired. Nightwing takes being seen with his mask off cavalierly. He also doesn't really throw too much into attacking the dude who just killed a bunch of highschoolers.

The scene with Robin and Penguin was unnecessary to the plot, as was, frankly, the other heroes searching for Artifact stuff. Not padded, but also, a lot of stuff that was more arbitrary than necessary, even if it emphasizes the main point.

4Back-Up Art - 4: Still digging McDaniel and Owens. It's slightly cartoonish, as I've said, but it's also very strong. There were a few moments that were less clear, like what exactly Swashbuckler was doing and how he got Nightwing's mask, but still, great work.

2Cover Art - 2: The pose is very wooden, lacking dynamics, and Superman looks like Hammerhead mixed with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

Barry's Review:

3Main Story - 3: I said it last time and I'll say it again. This story is actually more fun when it's not trying so hard to be about something. Taking the direct and immediate focus off the ridiculously esoteric 'we will replace the Trinity' nonsense, we finally get some villains worth going weekly for - the Crime Syndicate.

I also enjoy seeing more of each member of the Trinity's extended family. Alfred being Alfred. Dick. Tim.

And writer Gail Simone could take a tip from Busiek just this once and write more moments between Etta Candy and Diana Prince like the one that opens this issue. I'd love to see more of Diana Prince, regular modern woman, in Wonder Woman's own title. Diana assumed a secret identity at the end of "Infinite Crisis" to experience humanity yet what does she choose to be? A super-secret spy who is even more separated from humanity than Wonder Woman.

There are little character bits here that are wonderful, things that only comics can really pull off where, as a fan, you look at and can only go "coooool." One of my favorite moments this issue in that category is Bruce stashing a utility belt (probably more than one knowing Batman) inside a faux-tree on the grounds of stately Wayne Manor. Paranoid? Yes. Over-prepared? Not for Batman. Totally in character? Heck yes. And way cool.

4Main Art - 4: The art feels more in line with the story this time out - an enjoyable tale with pretty pictures that tell that tale well. I'm more than satisfied. This week.

5Back-Up Story - 5: The backup is actually pretty strong too. Batman's involved in a mystery and he would be the first as between him, Supes, and Diana to reach out to his 'family' for help. It's an interesting point to make about Batman the supposed loner of the Trinity. He needs help and, faster than the Flash can do just about anything, Batman's got Nightwing, Oracle, Robin, Commissioner Gordon, and the Outsiders on his side. Batman's just about the most connected hero in the DCU.

I don't know where the cliffhanger ending is going. I know it's totally over the top. It's completely and totally ridiculous. I don't care. I think it's friggin' hysterical and the best cliffhanger line I've read in a long time - " He stole the Joker's laugh!"

3Back-Up Art - 3: I like the back-up art. It's a bit rougher around the edges than Bagley's art in the lead story but that works in a story that is taking place in Batman's world which is a bit rough around the edges.

I even like the very subtle change made to Commissioner Gordon's hair. Not only isn't he the old man with gray hair here, his connection to his daughter is made stronger by a shared hair color.

Oh and finally, if you're going to steal the Joker's laugh, and said laugh becomes a tangible thing as it exits Mr. J's body, it'd of course be green and purple. Good call.

4Cover Art - 4: OK so when it comes to Superman, maybe I'm still a little peeved at cover artist Andy Kubert's brother Adam Kubert for his lateness during his run on "Action Comics". Or maybe it's just how weary I've grown of Superman covers where he's drawn to look tough. Superman doesn't need to look tough. Or angry. Or like he's ready to go to war.

If the triptych covers have any point but shtick, surely it's to present each hero as they are to highlight the ways in which they are not each other. Batman has to look tough and angry. Wonder Woman is a warrior always ready to pounce when peace is no longer an option.

Superman is always ready for a defensive fight, but at the same time as he prepares for any present conflict, every one of his super senses is keeping tabs on what else is going on around him that may or may not be related to what he's involved in but in which people's lives could be in danger. Superman doesn't have the liberty of staying solely in the moment the way Batman and Wonder Woman do. Because there's always someone else in trouble and there's always - in Superman's way of looking at his job - something he can do about it. That's why Gary Frank's "Action" art works so well. His Superman has nothing to prove and therefore nothing to have to look tough about.

Jeffrey's Review:

3Main Story - 3: I don't pretend this all adds up, I don't pretend a government agent would be so inept as to lose a vital, important keycard because some lame supervillain forced her into a kiss, I don't pretend a sorceress with magical powers would actually NEED said keycard, but still this issue was head and shoulders above every other issue so far.

There was actual forward plot motion and things happened, which may be a first. It's got a long way to go before it's interesting and in-character, but this was a big step up and it wasn't completely terrible.

Yes, let us celebrate, for it wasn't completely terrible! A ringing endorsement!

3Main Art - 3: Still not great, still not terrible. Just is.

3Back-Up Story - 3: Also a huge step up. The characterizations here were much better than they ever have been for the actual Trinity, which is irksome even if it's nice to see people in character for a change.

3Back-Up Art - 3: Same and same. I've never really found art I had so little to say about before. It's all just kind of there.

4Cover Art - 4: Ok, easily the best Superman cover yet, but I still give this round of covers to Batman who had a much more dynamic pose. Still, a good (if not terribly compelling) rendering of Supes.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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