Let’s be clear: DC’s Trinity War is not actually about a war. I would have been severely disappointed if it were. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Marvel’s Civil War or Avengers Vs. X-Men, but I didn’t need the DC Comics version of either of those events. Instead, Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire tell a fresh new story surrounding a murder and a mysterious box.
The first issue (Justice League #22) started out controversially with Superman blasting another hero’s face off. Madame Xanadu, the psychic narrating the first issue, assured the readers that Superman was not to blame. Would the explanation be magical or scientific in nature? Each geek I spoke to had their own opinion. It turned out so did each superhero in the second issue, (Justice League of America #6). Martian Manhunter thought it was mind control, Wonder Woman thought it was evil leaking out of Pandora’s box, and Batman thought the answer lay in the slain hero’s superpowers (all theories I suggested before picking up the second issue, by the way). I felt like the fourth wall had fallen and our idols had decided to join our geeky round table discussion. This was far more engaging than any series of violent bouts would have been.
But don’t worry, Trinity War delivers plenty of action in its sixth and final chapter (Justice League #23). The heroes, each seeking control of Pandora’s box, engage in a humorous but violent scuffle worthy of the theme to The Benny Hill Show. When the heroes come to their senses, the mystery surrounding Superman’s heat vision is explained in a very satisfactory way. Shortly after, someone finally opens Pandora’s box and the main villains of DC’s next major event are revealed. My jaw would have dropped, but DC already ruined the surprise with their Snape-kills-Dumbledore-style press releases. Nevertheless, the issue succeeded in getting me pumped for DC’s next event: Forever Evil.
One major disappointment was that the Trinity of Sin turned out to be a red herring. In fact, they were all quite useless, except for Pandora, who held the box. The Phantom Stranger and the Question tried helping some heroes solve the mystery, but each ended up leading them to dead ends. This would be fine if DC hadn’t heavily advertised these characters as major players in this event. In fact, the word “trinity” turned out to refer to something else entirely.
Okay, so “Trinity War” might just be the worst name ever for a comic book event. It’s not a war and the word “trinity” is as vague as a fortune cookie. But name aside, it really is a fun event.
Perhaps you’re reading this article because you’re wondering whether or not to buy this event when it’s available in collected trade paperback form. Well, I can’t recommend such a purchase just yet, because it’s not a standalone story. If anything, Trinity War serves as a solid prologue to Forever Evil, which has only just begun. If the latter event meets my expectations, then yes, by all means I recommend you purchase both events as graphic novels.
I’ll just have to get back to you on that.
4 out of 5 stars
P.S. – If you’re looking for additional reading to help enhance your reading of the Trinity War, I’ll tell you right now you can skip all the official tie-ins except Pandora #1, which serves as a good introduction to both Pandora and the mythical box. Otherwise, your time and money would be much better spent picking up the first five issues of Justice League of America because they provide a great introduction to the Secret Society of Super Villains, the main antagonists in this story. Justice League #20 is also worth a read because it provides some significant clues that just might help you solve the mystery behind Superman’s violent outburst.