After two months and six issues spanning Justice League, Justice League Dark and Justice League of America, DC Comics’ massively hyped Trinity War storyline has come to a close, I guess, in Justice League #23. Trinity War has been looming over the DC Universe since the comic book imprint rebooted almost their entire line of books two years ago with the New 52. Teased and whispered in hushed tones ever since it was hard not to be excited by the event when it finally got underway in Justice League #22.
The arrival of Trinity war proved to be a sufficiently sizable bang. Geoff Johns, who co-wrote Trinity War alongside Animal Man scribe Jeff Lemire, managed to organically bring together the Justice League, the Justice League of America and, most importantly, SHAZAM! in an issue that stands as a master class in setup. Justice League #22 is a fantastic issue, which makes it predecessors all the more drab.
With all of their pieces set so neatly on the board, rather than playing the game Johns and Lemire spent the majority of Trinity War just kind of moving the pieces around onto different boards and into different configurations and by the time the pieces finally come together again for the grand finale Trinity War is over and all you can be certain of is that at some point something definitely started.
The real twist at the end of Trinity War is that Trinity War itself isn’t really an event (and it absolutely isn’t a war) so much as just a prologue for DC’s next event, Forever Evil, which starts up this week alongside DC’s Villain’s Month. Essentially Trinity War, which was hyped up to be a massive epic, turned out to just be the scene after the credits of Iron Man where Samuel L. Jackson tells Tony Stark there’s an Avenger’s movie coming out soon.
However, for a six issue run that amounts to a post-credits sequence, Trinity War has some shine here and there.
Finally bringing SHAZAM! into the fold after an awesome origin story in the backup section of Justice League was gratifying. Little Billy Batson and his full grown lightening-powered wizard of an alter ego have been rejuvenated by Geoff Johns and to finally have him in the larger DCU is an exciting prospect. Fingers crossed for a monthly series.
A couple of other characters in a cast of over twenty manage to stick out as well. Wonder Woman gives Superman an awesome lecture on the ethics of fighting evil, (“There’s a reason I don’t have a list of villains as long as yours. When I deal with them, I deal with them”) and proves herself to be a general badass. Martian Manhunter showcases a boatload of powers, both mental and physical, that make him seem like quite possibly the biggest threat amongst the three Justice Leagues. And at some point the Flash makes a pretty funny Hal Jordan joke.
But in general, the sheer amount of characters in each panel clutter the story to the point where most of them spend a majority of the story with nothing to do. Folks like Aquaman, Hawkman and some purple lady whose name I can’t even remember have lines here and there that make it seem like each issue had a list of the entire cast and corresponding boxes to be checked when they had a line of dialogue shoehorned in.
And then there’s Pandora. Considering Trinity War revolves around Pandora’s box and that on the massive spread the three first issues of Trinity War combine to form she is literally the center of attention, one would expect Pandora to have some sort of importance to the proceedings. She has none. She pops up senselessly in the beginning of the story and tags along throughout the remainder of the narrative like a whining homing beacon. Pandora is a bland, unnecessary character whose only functions are to say “seriously guys this box is a thing” and to take up space. Fingers crossed she doesn’t get a monthly series. Oh wait.
At the end of the day for all its detectives and gods and aliens and kings Trinity War proves a meandering means to an end that in itself isn’t actually an end. In fact, at the end of the day Trinity War is actually much more of a means to a beginning.
Trinity War bleeds directly into Forever Evil, which has thus far been setup in such a way that it could either be a pretty awesome, but probably pretty standard, comic book event or pretty terrible, run of the mill comic book nonsense. But either way, the slow, ineffective shuffling of the deck that is Trinity War will be hard pressed to be redeemed and dubbed necessary.