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CSBG Archive

Tom Bondurant’s Annotations for Trinity issue #29

Here’s Tom! – BC

Oh, dear CSBG readers, I fear that I was too efficient last week, and may have led you into a false set of expectations about the timing of these posts. I should have known a self-imposed morning deadline was unreasonable. Yesterday was filled with problems related both to my computer and my child. Nothing serious, and everything is much better today — so let’s get going!

SPOILERS FOLLOW

* * *

LEAD STORY

“It’s All In The Cards” was written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Pat Brousseau; with Rachel Gluckstern as associate editor and Mike Carlin as editor.

In Brief: While Rita and Charity try to stave off the Dreambound, the League of Extraordinary BFFs helps make peace between the locals.

Page 1

– No annotations, but I will have some general thoughts on this subplot at the end of the post.

Page 2

– No annotations.

Page 3

– As Wonder Girl, Donna Troy had the same basic powers as Wonder Woman: super-strength, magic lasso (or a reasonable facsimile), bullet-deflecting bracelets, etc. Her current powers were a gift from the Titans of Myth, shown (in a not-too-distant flashback) in The New Titans #55 (June 1989).

“I think I’ve seen you do it before”: Dick was around for much of Donna’s Troia career, but you knew that already.

Page 4

– No annotations.

Page 5

“Atmahn, Kellel, and Dinanna”: one could say that each of the Trinitarians is going by his or her “real name.” Of course, it is probably not that complicated. I presume that Batman simply wasn’t as eager to introduce himself (or be remembered in prayers) as “Bruce.”

“You are kind and good, and you aided us”: one could also say that it’s a little too convenient for our heroes to be so effective in the space of just five pages. However, we don’t know how long the Trinitarians have been worshiped here, so perhaps their influence has made the locals more cautious, trusting, reasonable, or however you want to look at it.

Page 6

– No annotations.

Page 7

– This can’t be the first time Bagley and Thibert have drawn the Dreambound — can it?

– The logistics of the DB’s attack seem a little funny. Here, and at the end of the issue, they’re in Opal City, trying to storm Charity’s shop. However, in the second story, which appears to occur contemporaneously, TVM is in Metropolis. I know a rift is involved, so they could be using that to travel back and forth, but I don’t see any indication of that happening.

– I suppose it’s also true that the second story takes place just slightly in the past, and we “see” it as Charity’s vision.

Page 8

– No annotations.

Page 9

– No annotations.

[And now for a brief interlude...]

* * *

SECOND STORY

“Not On My Watch” was plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Mr. Nicieza, pencilled by Tom Derenick, inked by Wayne Faucher, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brousseau; with Rachel Gluckstern as associate editor, and Mike Carlin as editor.

In Brief: Morgaine’s villains free an important prisoner while Tomorrow Woman tries to seal Metropolis’ rift.

Page 10

– The Night-Judge’s necklace almost looks like it’s made out of those cylindrical capsules from the older version of Batman’s utility belt.

Page 11

– In fact, nice designs all around for the Judges. Very appropriate.

Page 12

– Looks like this is the last of issue #1′s “brazier visions.”

* * *

SECOND STORY

“Railing Against The Tide” was plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Tom Derenick, inked by Wayne Faucher, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.

In Brief: Dreambound unbound!

Page 10 (story page 1)

The Royal Flush Gang was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky and first appeared (as a hand of Clubs) in Justice League of America vol. 1 #43 (March 1966). This particular suit (the Spades) first appeared in JLofA vol. 1 #203 (June 1982).

– I thought there was no Joker in the altered timeline, since there would have been no Batman to create him (or, for that matter, to give his life meaning). Assuming that’s still true, I take it that his appearance here is a dimensional anomaly (like Tomorrow Woman’s android parts?).

Booster Gold, a/k/a Michael Jon Carter, was created by Dan Jurgens and first appeared in Booster Gold vol. 1 #1 (February 1986).

The Crimson Avenger (III) was created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins and first appeared in Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9 (April 2000). She is cursed to track and kill bad people with magic guns which never miss and never run out of ammo, so she’s a little outside the superhero mainstream (and yes, you can take that as an ironic statement if you so choose).

Page 11/2

“Multiple vibrational reality planes”: because each parallel universe in the Multiverse vibrates at a different frequency, vibrating one’s molecules at a particular frequency transports him or her to that particular universe.

– Again, here is my thing with the Dreambound’s location: are they using the rift to be, for all practical purposes, in both Opal and Metropolis at once? Are they, in fact ,straddling a line ‘tween discord and rhyme; and if so, with a howl and a whine, is Tomorrow Woman after them?

Page 12/3

“Can we use it [instead]?”: Lex is sort of in the Boromir role here….

Doctor Polaris was created by John Broome and Gil Kane and first appeared in Green Lantern vol. 2 #21 (June 1962). There have been two Doctors Polaris. In regular continuity, the first Doctor Polaris is dead; but in the altered timeline, maybe not.

– Sky-Knight reminds me of Adam Strange. (Just thought I’d throw that out there.)

Page 13/4

Prometheus was created by Grant Morrison and first appeared in New Year’s Evil: Prometheus #1 (February 1998). Morrison considered him an “anti-Batman” (his criminal parents were killed by police) which is a little ironic in the context of this series.

Page 14/5

– No annotations.

Page 15/6

– Starting at the top left, and going down roughly in rows, it’s Black Orchid, Starfire, Geo-Force, Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Hawkgirl, Triumph, Sky-Knight, Stargirl, Firestorm, Liberty Belle, Gangbuster, Cyborg, Doctor Mid-Nite, Vibe, Green Arrow, Red Arrow, Robotman, Ragman, Flash (Jay Garrick), Mr. Terrific, and Black Canary.

Robotman, a/k/a Cliff Steele, is the only new face here. He was created by Bob Haney, Arnold Drake, and Bruno Premani, and first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80 (June 1963).

Page 16/7

– Here the Dreambound bug out for Opal City, bringing Charity’s vision (if that’s what it is) into sync with the first story.

Page 17/8

Brainiac was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino and first appeared in Action Comics #242 (July 1958).

Page 18/9

“Something about his mind”: I will make the bold, probably completely erroneous, prediction that Space Ranger is in fact J’Onn J’Onzz in disguise. Remember, J’Onn could also have phased through that wall back on page 13/4; and it would be a good way for him to fight crime while avoiding this timeline’s anti-extraterrestrial sentiments.

Page 19/10

– No annotations.

[Back to the first story...]

Page 20

– No annotations.

Page 21

– “Are we animals?”: What an elegant line! Nicely done, both as joke and character insight.

Page 22

– No annotations.

* * *

I had thought that Wonder Woman, much earlier in the series, had a line about being worshiped as a god. (I remember it because I had written a piece for Blog@Newsarama postulating that Wonder Woman was a better messianic figure than Superman.) Regardless, for all the Jesus and Moses parallels visited upon Superman, all of Wonder Woman’s direct connections to mythology, and Batman’s “pinnacle of human potential” reputation, here is a subplot where the three of them actually form the basis of a world’s religion. The Trinity is only divinely present in the harbor-vs.-patterned dispute, but like I said earlier, their “teachings” seem to have made this world a more rational place.

I’m eager to see how this plays out, because each of these characters wants lasting social change, but (clearly) have different approaches. While Wonder Woman’s mission is to bring Amazonian ideals to Patriarch’s World, Superman is too humble to consider himself an active reformer, and Batman probably considers his crusade an impossible dream (at least in his lifetime). Here, though, they’re not superheroes, obliged to have some role in normal society. Here they form the foundation of normal society in a way that might even be repugnant to them under ordinary circumstances.

In any event, best not to get too far ahead of the story. Due to the holidays, next issue’s annotations will be delayed, probably until Tuesday, December 30. Meanwhile, there are issue previews and “Tringenuity” to tide you over. Accordingly, I wish each of you the best of whatever holiday, if any, which you may celebrate; and I’ll see you in about twelve days!

17 Comments

“This can’t be the first time Bagley and Thibert have drawn the Dreambound — can it?”

No, they’ve definitely drawn them before.

I can just picture the Trinity introducing themselves:

“Hi, I’m Kal-El.”

“Hello. I am Diana.”

“I’m Batman.”

>> I suppose it’s also true that the second story takes place just slightly in the past, and we “see” it as Charity’s vision.>>

That’s more likely. The Tarot reading is good, but it’s not exactly radio. It was never our intent that the Metropolis chapter and the Opal chapter were happening simultaneously.

>> I thought there was no Joker in the altered timeline, since there would have been no Batman to create him (or, for that matter, to give his life meaning).>>

No, there’s a Joker, but he must have a different backstory. This version of reality isn’t strictly causal — take out the Trinity and see how the dominoes fall — it’s something of a patchwork mess, as Firestorm noted. Some things are changed, some are eliminated, some still exist but have had different rationales wadded into their backgrounds.

>> I can just picture the Trinity introducing themselves:
“Hi, I’m Kal-El.”
“Hello. I am Diana.”
“I’m Batman.”>>

But he had a mouthful of corn chips at the time, so it came out, “I’m Atmahn”…

kdb

About the Joker: I came away from the Bigger Melvin story thinking that since the Joker didn’t kill him, and he seemed to be part of the same “alternate vision” as Batman, that there was no Joker in this timeline. This made sense to me at the time because there would have been no Batman to create him. Now, that said, I can accept that there is a Joker, just with a different backstory; but regardless, it’s still a little dissonant to see him as part of this timeline. It’s not really a storytelling flaw, but more a product of my mind not wanting to let go of its own conclusions.

Is that Hourman behind Black Canary on page 15?

While the Joker is probably just something that “bled through” from the baseline reality due to the “patchwork mess” nature of the new reality, it’s not hard (and more fun) to imagine how he might have come about anyway. In most versions of his origin (and his story has changed so many times we can’t be sure that we’ve ever seen the accurate one, or that it includes Batman at all) Batman’s only real part was foiling the crime the Joker-to-be was committing. It could just as easily have been Green Arrow or Ragman or some other hero filling the “hole” in reality left by Batman’s disappearance.

In the case of the stories where Batman took a more active role – smashing the Joker’s face with a Batarang or whatnot – presumably the new reality doesn’t take into account what the Batman replacement WOULD HAVE done under the same circumstances, but just plops them into Batman’s place and says “Green Arrow shot him in the face with a boomerang arrow” or something.

Hey Tom,

All your apostrophes are coming out garbled in my browser (I’m running Firefox on Linux). Are you by any chance copying and pasting from Microsoft Word? If so, you might try turning off “smart” quotes (a very badly misnamed feature), or writing your posts in a plain-text editor.

Not Tom – something’s screwy with all the apostrophes on the blog.

[...] annotations that Tom did while we were gone: [...]

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