Still attempting to catch up with my comics read pile, I finally was able to read all eleven issues of DC's event from last year, Trinity War.
In short, the story revolves around Pandora (whom I didn't recollect at all until looking her up and discovering that she was in Flashpoint) and her infamous Pandora's Box. It's funny, Pandora's Box in these pages is actually a three-eyed skull, which makes it really hilarious every time a character is vying for "the box" but they're all Heisman Trophy carrying a skull tucked under their arm.
Because I'm so far behind on DC's New 52, I haven't read any of the Justice League or Justice League of America books yet. So some reverse engineering was required from the get-go to understand why there were two Leagues and who were the players involved. Also new to me were all sorts of Marvel-esque acronym organizations. S.H.A.D.E. and A.R.G.U.S. are heavily involved as the DC universe seemingly takes a few pages from the Marvel playbook. Again, I still haven't cracked open Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. but it's not difficult to surmise that this is going to be the New 52's S.H.I.E.L.D. Yes, yes, I know that Marvel takes a page from DC and vise versa... I overheard a conversation just yesterday where, "You know, the Nova Corps is basically just the Green Lantern Corps." But it's interesting to see just how much each publisher chooses to cherry pick.
But I digress, back to Trinity War...
Pandora has been spending thousands of years attempting to right a wrong, believing that she's to blame for the release of the seven deadly sins from a mystical box. The sins are, of course, embodied characters that have been to blame for some of mankind's most disturbing and tragic events throughout the span of history. Meanwhile, in her journey to destroy the sins and close the box (or open the box? Why is she going around trying to find absolute pure or absolute evil to open the box?) she hands the skull-box to Superman believing him to be the purist form of good. But it corrupts him and in the struggle that follows, Supes kills Doctor Light. Doctor Light in the New 52 is a family man, a scientist who is no superhero and hasn't quite honed his abilities. Superman is grief stricken, he can't believe that he's completely lost control and killed a man, neither can the rest of the Justice League(s) who immediately suspect foul play.
The groups all split up, the Phantom Stranger takes Superman and Katana into the afterlife to question Doctor Light's soul, Superman is taken into custody in a secure facility by Martian Manhunter, and Constantine leads Shazam away to steal his powers because... um... they needed Shazam to go away for a little while in order to cue up the climax of the event (because this all revolves around him - or does it? I don't know).
It was interesting reading this event which struggled to track multiple Justice League teams immediately after reading Battle of the Atom, which seemed to effortlessly track multiple eras of the X-Men. In Atom, when the groups split up you understand why and what their mission perimeters are - but in Trinity War, the reader is asked to go along with motivations for whole groups even though you're not entirely sure why they're doing what they're doing. Green Lantern and Catwoman are trying to get into the House of Mystery. Why are they trying to get into the House of Mystery? Well, because other people were just in there. Just go with it.
Once everything comes to a boil and the true puppetmaster is revealed, the box-skull opens up a portal to Earth-3 revealing the anti-heros in Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman and others. Get it, the Trinity War that we've been promised! It's a great moment... that strangely happens at the end of the event. Which makes sense because you've gone down this rabbit hole journey only for it to lead... into another event Forever Evil!
The result is a lengthy event with so many B, C, D and E stories that you have to admire the writers were able to weave together and mold into some sort of coherence. But when you get to the final issue of the event, you're left wondering - why did Trinity War not deal with a war between the two Trinity's at all? This was all about Pandora and the Sins and Superman going totally bonkers and nobody is sure why. It almost feels like reading Countdown again. It's all a big lead up, rather than an event. Reading some of the reviews of the event now, many people understood that it was going to be a bridge from event to event but are these comic events so frequent that we need an event to bridge an event to another event? In fact, writing that absurd sentence, are these even worthy of the title "event" now because of their frequency?
Regardless though, the art is superb across all of the books and tie-ins. While I'll end up reading Forever Evil in order to still continue the story, I'm thinking I'll be skipping all of the universally despised villains covers. Or at least, will only read those that I absolutely adore. Because you know, it's another event bridging Forever Evil into the next event I'm sure.
UPDATE: It's been pointed out to me (which I already know) that I'm a dope, and that Pandora appeared in every #1 issue of the New 52. So the event would benefit from having read all of the New 52 books, of which I'm incredibly behind and in most cases haven't even started. I'll put a pin in that thought and revisit this after finally reading through some of the New 52 books that have been collecting dust the past couple years once they're read. Maybe on a bigger scale once you've read all the titles in DC's stable, the event is more fulfilling. As I've also been reading, Forever Evil has been more universally applauded for its event status, so that'll be an interesting follow-up read as well.