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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Trinity #10

Trinity #10

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 6, 2008

Cover date: August 6, 2008

Main Story: "Rough World"

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

Back-Up Story: "Maybe She Doesn't Like Concrete?"

Back-Up Writers: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Pencillers: Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens
Back-Up Inker: Allen Passalaqua

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman with Neal Bailey and Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

Lois Lane is at S.T.A.R. Labs investigating a problem in the genetics lab where the Lex Luthor "Everyman" Project is being studied. There's a giant shiny yellow and black creature who says "I am Sun-Chained-In-Ink." He shines bright and stuns or kills the security guards.

At the JLA Satellite, the League realizes it's the Crime Syndicate world's version of the Metal Men that Superman fought in Morocco. The League deduces that the disappearing people are being taken to the Antimatter Earth.

Red Tornado is working on reverse engineering the evil Metal Men's warp technology that got them from the bad Earth to the League's Earth.

Superman is angry that the League has yet to do anything about the Crime Syndicate. He throws a fit how they murdered hundreds of innocent people the last time they were on the League's Earth. Superman believes it's time to remove them from their role as absolute tyrants of their Earth. Wonder Woman and Batman are more reasonable and want to focus on the mission to recover the missing people and continue on unraveling the plot with the dreams and reality fluxes. Batman has a plan to distract the Syndicate while John Stewart handles the real problem.

Lois finds out the only thing missing from S.T.A.R. is a vial of Lex Luthor's blood. Lois can't find her 'notepadd' - we see it's been mystically stolen from her.

On the antimatter Earth - which looks more like Apokolips - humans from Earths presumably all over the Multiverse are enslaved. Superman is enraged. The heroes try to keep Superman under control and on plan.

Suddenly the League is surprised by the Crime Syndicate who appear to have a captured Jimmy Olsen as a hostage.

To be continued...

Back-Up Story: "Maybe She Doesn't Like Concrete?"

The giant female talking gorilla Primat engages the Gotham Police in gunplay. Robin and Nightwing swing into the rescue. She appears to be from Gorilla City. She talks about "someone who knows how to dream big" promising her a world where anything is possible. Primat punches the street. Primat mystically disappears.

Dick and Tim are back at the Batcave studying clues. Dick thinks Commissioner Gordon's pipe was stolen when he was talking to Barbara. Swashbuckler had tried to steal Nightwing's mask. And Swashbuckler somehow took Joker's laugh. Alfred suggests they consult with Jason Blood, a.k.a. the Demon.

Blood suggests that the villains are collecting things associated with Batman for some kind of evil spell and that, combined with the tarot thefts, something mystical and evil is in store for the Big Three. Dick realizes what Primat took - a hunk of cement from Crime Alley where the Waynes were murdered.

Dick contacts Oracle and tells her they need to protect museums with tarot pieces and also look for things associated with the Big Three and protect them. Nightwing and Robin suggest bringing in the Titans, Teen Titans, and the JSA.

The villains working for Enigma and Morgaine le Fey present the tokens they've taken from the heroes and their allies. Using - so far - Lois Lane's notepad, Luthor's blood, Etta Candy's ID badge, Joker's laugh, Gordon's pipe, and the hunk of Crime Alley, the villains are preparing some kind of mystic pentagram. They need four items to go.

To be continued...

Barry's Review:

3Main Story - 3: Now we've got ourselves a story. It may still not be A-list material but, by the end of this issue, I at least have a better idea where things are headed. It'd be nice if the Antimatter Earth were called Earth-3, though part of the problem here is in not knowing if this all takes place before or after the "Final Crisis".

Superman's anger seems out of place. I mean it is in character for Superman to care - sometimes to a fault - about saving people and feeling guilty about those he can't save. Remember the line in "Superman Returns"? "You wrote that the world doesn't need a savior, yet every day I hear people crying for one." Superman usually has more self-control over himself than this, though, so I suspect something else is manipulating his emotions here.

Oh, on the subject of Superman and his pals, a guess: this is Antimatter Jimmy, Ultraman's best (or would that be worst) pal fooling our Supes. But I'm probably just hoping Jimmy doesn't factor into "Trinity" after a little over-Jimmy-ing in "Countdown to Final Crisis".

The story explains things and moves them forward. Nowadays in the DCU, that's not such a common thing (and especially for "Trinity" - and double-especially for a lot of Busiek's work for DC). Two weeks in a row with a decent review from me? Can't blame the drugs, it's either the story is improving or my expectations are nil and therefore anything positive is appreciated. You decide. And Neal and Jeffrey too.

4Main Art - 4: When I can open a book and, without reading any dialogue, recognize Lois Lane as Lois Lane, the art's pretty good. I love the big spreads of heroes (and the last page spread of the Syndicate) this issue and all the color. Bagley doesn't feel rushed this issue. Good work.

4Back-Up Story - 4: A talking female gorilla from Gorilla City who wears a bustier, hair ribbons, and nail polish is OK in my book. The back-up story plays well against the lead story. They both have very different tones, this story obviously having a seemingly lighter tone because of the familiar banter between Nightwing and Robin. Things do get more serious when the boys reach out to Jason Blood and Oracle.

I really like the choice of concrete at Crime Alley as something associated with Batman. I think that, when Batman is teamed up with the League, he's a very different, somewhat lighter, and more sci-fi Batman than the Batman roaming Gotham City fighting freaks in "Batman" and "Detective Comics". Showing the violence that spawned Batman and making it part of the story goes a long way toward rectifying that dichotomy.

3Back-Up Art - 3: I'm not sure if the artists have worked on the "Nightwing" or "Robin" books but, art-wise, this feels like a Nightwing or Robin story. What more can anyone ask of a Nightwing and Robin story?

4Cover Art - 4: This is my favorite 1/3 of this latest triptych. Wonder Woman is a star-spangled female warrior who stands for truth. This cover captures both her warrior-like brutality and her femininity.

What really makes this cover for me is what's behind Diana. The American flag and fireworks. The difference in colors, from the primaries of the flag to the neon fireworks, really works in framing Diana.

This would be a perfect "5" if Wonder Woman's insignia were on top of the 3-insignia logo for the book.

Neal's Review:

1Main Story - 1: Okay, we have... tattooed sun guy, who speaks in cheesy dialogue and doesn't really have much point to the story. We have the Metal Marauders in a sphere, for a reason I couldn't really fully discern, and John Stewart being an emo kid. Then, we digress from the main plot into Superman acting way out of character...

Don't get me wrong. Superman would want to end the threat and awfulness of the reverse Earth. That's way in character. But the fact that he'd suddenly decide to do so now, in the middle of nowhere, and make a big stink out of it, means two things. One, he's being controlled by an alien sentience, or two... space needed to be filled.

You decide.

There's an interesting debate there that's been had a number of times in varying situations. Why does Superman leave Darkseid in power? Why does he allow something like Earth-3?

The answer, which is self-evident to all, including Superman, is that he just doesn't have the power. There are some things that even Superman can't do. Does that frustrate him? Yes. Would that frustrate him into irrationality and derailing a mission? Who knows. But here it comes off as petulant.

Beyond that, we have essentially two beats here that matter. The JLA goes to the Anti-Matter universe, and the evil JLA greet them with Jimmy.

That's sixteen pages?

Honestly, ask yourself... have you gotten thirty dollars out of this series so far? I'll use the Cranky Critic system. If I had a world where I could pay for the entertainment this series has brought me thusfar, in value, it would be:

3.00. The first issue was okay.

4Main Art - 4: Better, actually. Superman's face is very much Hugh Jackman in a couple of places, but the actions and backgrounds here work really well. I love the envisioning of the Anti-Matter universe, and the work in the satellite is pretty awesome as well. Not bad at all.

1Back-Up Story - 1: Honestly, the plot has no flaws. It really doesn't. There's a solid thread here. They're getting objects to cast a spell on the Trinity. The problem being, it's boring as hell.

I don't know how a fight with an ape can POSSIBLY be boring, but here it is. Primat is some kind of fruity version of an English teacher in college, and Nightwing and Robin are practically calling each other chum with Chloe-style dialogue.

We end with the big reveal, the dreambound, or whatever it is, in front of the evil trinity. My reaction is the same as the reveal for the guys who can "do subtle." Well, look at this gathering of utterly crappy, one-note villains with little to no depth.

Actually, I lied. There is a huge flaw in this plot. All of these villains know things about Batman's secret identity.

4Back-Up Art - 4: Pretty darned good, save one small spot where the art was unclear. I'm not sure how the ape escaped, that was a bit rushed. Might have been the scripting, though. The ape is just... poof.

Still, compelling, dynamic style. I like McDaniel's work.

2Cover Art - 2: Wonder Woman's face is just clunky and awkward. The body and pose is decent, but surround it with the jingoistic fireworks underneath the Superman logo and it becomes odd and cliché.

Jeffrey's Review:

3Main Story - 3: I'm still not compelled to care about the story, but at least some actual story is present again. It is rife with problems, though, like:

- Busiek's "name it exactly what it is" tendency continuing on with "Sun Chained in Ink" (GREAT NAME there, fella)

- Superman apparently not having a brain cell in his head (though I will concede this is likely part of the larger story, as set up last issue, which makes it less of a problem of mischaracterization and more of a story point, yet Bruce and Diana are back to behaving normally)

- Arbitrary things like Batman saying "I know you have the will to make it happen" to John Stewart, to which he replies "I take your point". That'd be like me going up to Alex Ross and saying "I know you have the pencils to get this cover done" and him saying "Yes, I have pencils". It's kind of... meaningless?

- Why would the antimatter earth have STOCKBROKERS? Do they have publicly traded stocks? I am going to guess... NO.

I applaud the actual inclusion of story, but the execution is still incredibly mundane and forgettable.

3Main Art - 3: Ok look, Superwoman looks decent. Vixen looks fine. So does Lois. Why can't Wonder Woman look like she's NOT a man in drag? I speak specifically about her face here, for I will be the first to say I like Wonder Woman to physically look like she's a warrior. Muscle definition is a good thing. But in this book she's got a face like an angry Tom Cruise.

2Back-Up Story - 2: Some decent banter between Dick and Tim, but brought down by things like "she's going to throw the dumpster" (as we see Primat (UGH!) throwing the dumpster), "she's punching the ground" (as we see Primat (OH COME ON!) punching the ground)... and yes, Dick calls Tim out for stating the obvious, but that doesn't make it any less dialogue-describing-the-action-we-can-SEE.

Also, isn't Batman's friendship with Gordon, oh I don't know... NOT COMMON KNOWLEDGE? So how would they know to get Gordon's pipe as a totem of Bruce's friend?

Which brings up the exact same issue about Etta's security badge and Lois's Star Trek ripoff "datapadd" (a REALLY important item, of course, especially since we've never seen it before... how about a PEN? What the hell)... they also knew the exact spot Bruce's parents died.

This all means that Morgaine, Enigma and Despero must know the secret identities of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Well, how about that?


3Back-Up Art - 3: On page 6 of this backup story, Dick is eating a sandwich. Look at the second to last panel, the one where Dick is on the right and Alfred is on the left.

What the hell is happening over Tim's head?

That is... it's just... a robot with a toupee caught in a phase-shift through the bat-computer?


5Cover Art - 5: Annoying lip-shadow aside, this is the best cover this book has had yet, hands down. Too bad they still can't get the LOGO to coincide with the character.

It's not that hard to pick the right one, folks, I promise. This cover features Wonder Woman (and not the Angry Tom Cruise version), so clearly it's the BAT symbol we want.


Silly DC.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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