The Good: Generally decent artwork, Good coloring
The Bad: Fidelity to issues as opposed to story, Failure to resolve
The Basics: Justice League: Trinity War sees the three Justice Leagues from The New 52 come into conflict when Superman appears to kill Doctor Light and all forces on Earth converge on Pandora.
This year, I've been expanding my trading card business and I've been moving away from just Star Trek trading cards. I've been beefing up my stock of trading cards based on comic book franchises and when I got in the DC Comics Epic Battles trading cards (reviewed here!), I came to realize how out of touch I was with the newer comic book releases. The truth is, the whole concept of The New 52 from DC Comics put me off: I am a fan of Wonder Woman and after a few years of alternate universe type scenarios, The New 52 completely reworked the character. But reading the Epic Battles trading cards, I figured it was time to check out some of the major DC events since I stopped reading the books regularly. I opted to start with Justice League: Trinity War because it seemed like an important crossover event.
Justice League: Trinity War is little more than an elaborate set-up for the more encompassing "Forever Evil" event. To wit, Justice League: Trinity War is supposed to be the story of the Trinity War, yet where the book ends, some of the major actions and characters remain unresolved. Justice League: Trinity War explains everything, but it does not resolve the storyline and while I enjoy the aspect that the story is part of a larger continuum of story in the character arcs of the major characters, it is hardly a complete or compelling story. As well, like virtually all comic book anthologies, Justice League: Trinity War shows fidelity to the original issues, as opposed to the story. This is problematic at several key points in the story because elements come out of order and the momentum of the story gets absolutely killed.
In the near future, the psychic Madame Xanadu sees the Justice League, Justice League Dark and Justice League Of America at war with one another. Pandora breaks into the A.R.G.U.S. facility that holds her recovered box, believing she has figured out a way to use it to undo the damage she did millennia ago when she first opened the skull-shaped box. Billy Batson, as Shazam, makes the decision to return the ashes of Black Adam to his homeland of Kahndaq. Entering their territory draws the ire of the Kahndaqi military and the Justice League moves to intercept Shazam. Amanda Waller uses the incursion to Kahndaq to move on her plan to have her Justice League Of America try to discredit the Justice League. The two justice leagues converge on Shazam and when Doctor Light comes into proximity of Superman, his powers unexpectedly erupt. Between Doctor Light inadvertently attacking Diana and the after-effects from an encounter with Pandora, Superman gets angry and accidentally kills Doctor Light.
In the wake of the unintentional murder, the heroes and the Justice Leagues splinter. Superman turns himself over to A.R.G.U.S. so he cannot hurt anyone else. Wonder Woman is convinced that Superman's eruption is a result of his exposure to Pandora's Box and she marshals a force to hunt for Pandora. Many of the detectives are convinced that appearances are not what they seem and that Superman could not have actually killed Doctor Light. Their search takes them to heaven's basement to interrogate Doctor Light's soul and to the lair of Doctor Psycho. But all the machinations in play come to a head when Pandora tries to use Lex Luthor to open the box and its true nature is exposed!
Justice League: Trinity War spends most of its time developing the character of Pandora and setting up its own premises. The book is very much for those who have a love of the whole DC Comics Universe, not amateurs. As a result, those of us who are unfamiliar with secondary characters like the whole Justice League Dark - though Constantine has recently had more mass culture appeal - and the New 52 concept (I was at a loss to understand how there was a Justice League AND a separate Justice League Of America until context clues midway through the book made it clear) are likely to find the book overwhelming.
Some of the issues are a result of the artwork and/or the way the issues compiled into the anthology work. The Trinity War comes to a head a chapter early, so the story backpedals to explain Pandora's final epiphany, which kills the momentum. As well, the artwork features Shazam in a black outfit making him appear virtually identical to Black Adam, which is problematic for those who neither follow Shazam (last I knew, the character was still called Captain Marvel!) or are hoping for an in-volume explanation. The only other major conceits from The New 52 in Justice League: Trinity War are the relationship between Superman and Diana and the inclusion of Frankenstein and S.H.A.D.E.
Justice League: Trinity War balances supernatural elements and a detective story for the bulk of the book and while it's tough not to be put off by the gods, Sins, and supernatural elements in the book. That Batman doesn't seem to object when the Phantom Stranger wants to visit heaven's basement to interrogate Doctor Light seems somewhat out of character. The book's resolution - the way the various competing interests are exposed and revealed - is satisfying in that the key questions raised by the book are answered.
But Justice League: Trinity War is a bridge between the complicated, failed marketing scheme (the reboot The New 52) and its next major conceptual adventure, Forever Evil. The Epic Battles trading cards might be a better way to get the gist of this storyline!
For other Justice League books, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Justice League: Secret Origins
I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League!
New World Order
New Maps Of Hell
The Tornado's Path
The Lightning Saga
Justice League Of America: The Injustice League
Justice League Of America: Dark Things
JLA: Terror Incognita
Justice League: Generation Lost – Volume 1
Justice League: Generation Lost – Volume 2
Volume 1: Origins (The New 52)
For other book reviews, please check out my Book Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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