Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Here’s Tom! – BC
Even though last week was filled with religious significance, it is probably just a happy coincidence that Trinity #30 featured the “genesis” of the Trinitarians’ new world. I did like the conflicts inherent in this planet’s creation, including a clever testamentary divide.
Anyway, I’m eager to get into the nuts and bolts, so as always…
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“In The Longago” was written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: A ritualistic recitation of a new mythology.
Since this particular part of the issue is rather light on ordinary DC trivia, once again I’m skipping the page-by-page format.
— This was a sweet story, and a nice interlude amid the carnage occurring on Earth. It strikes me as the kind of story which would not have gotten the same presentation in a more traditionally-formatted series. Here, though, it can be integrated seamlessly into the narrative. I am not a fan of the sort of branched-out storytelling made popular by big-event crossover series, so I’m glad that Trinity doesn’t have to designate which of its subplots are part of the main thread and which are disposable. Under other circumstances, much of Trinity‘s expository material, especially in this Act Two, could easily have been shifted into some sort of appendix; and given the logistics of another format, such a choice might have made more sense. I imagine that the expanded volume of a weekly series must also tempt writers and editors to expand their stories with what turns out to be padding. Regardless, even when read in big chunks, Trinity has never felt bloated to me, and I think it has taken full advantage of its format.
— Again, I did enjoy seeing Krona as the “Old Testament God” and the Trinitarians as the kinder, gentler “New Testament” deities. It’s not clear to me whether the Trinity knows about Krona’s stewardship, or vice versa; but I doubt that would have made much difference. (Actually, if the League of Extraordinary BFFs had figured out the Cosmic Egg connection, I expect the Trinitarians have further linked this planet to Krona.) They might not have liberated this world, as they thought about liberating the Anti-Matter Earth, but they appear to have made a positive difference in the lives of its people.
— I presume that the “Genesis Planet’s” natives are blue because Krona made them in his own image. However, I always thought that, as a race, the Oans’ blue skin developed along with their particular mental powers. The Maltusians, from which the Oans came, had Earth-style flesh tones; and so did their sisters the Zamarons. In any event, I am not theorizing that the blue people have latent Guardian-like powers, just that they’re blue like Krona.
— Let’s see if I have the chronology straight: the Cosmic Egg is a product of JLA/Avengers. From its first appearance at the end of that series until the end of Krona’s captivity in Trinity was the Genesis Planet’s “Old Testament” period, when Krona ruled with a cold, calculating fist. (Time passes differently, yadda yadda yadda.) Accordingly, pages 10 and 11 correspond roughly to the Troika’s triumph at the end of Act One.
— You’d think, though, that in order for a “New Testament” religion to spring up around our heroes, they’d have to have been thrown back into the past who-knows-how-far. Thus, in real time, Krona’s rule only lasted a few years, but the Trinitarians have been on this planet probably since before the beginning of recorded Earth history. Of course, for the blue people it’s all been a straight line….
— In the same vein, I wondered originally whether the Trinitarians’ Day-Glo selves were supposed to be poetic license on the part of the blue people. Now, though, I’m inclined to take it literally, indicating how they have been changed.
— Couldn’t help noticing: Wonder Woman calls her friends “Clark” and “Bruce” here, but judging by the derivations of their god-names, clearly “Kal-El” and “Batman” got much wider usage.
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“This Is What We Need To Know” was written by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, pencilled by Mike Norton, inked by Ande Parks, colored by Allen Passalaqua, and lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: Space Ranger (?) fights Brainiac, and both sides pick their Tarot decks.
Page 13 (story page 1):
— We know just about everyone, I think, in this band of desperadoes. (Why won’t they come to their senses?) New faces (I believe) include the Scarecrow, Solomon Grundy, Vandal Savage, and Jason “Floronic Man” Woodrue.
— The Scarecrow, a/k/a Professor Jonathan Crane, was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane and first appeared in World’s Finest Comics #3 (Winter 1941).
— Solomon Grundy, formerly Cyrus Gold, was created by Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman and first appeared in All-American Comics #61 (October 1944).
— Vandal Savage, originally the caveman Vandar Adg, was created by Bester and Martin Nodell and first appeared in Green Lantern vol. 1 #10 (Winter 1943).
— The Floronic Man, f/k/a Plant-Master, a/k/a Floro, was created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane. Ordinary human Jason Woodrue first appeared in The Atom vol. 1 #1 (June-July 1962). His current plant/human hybrid form dates back to The Flash vol. 1 #245 (November 1976).
— “The garrolous human is long-lived“: Vandal’s an immortal, having been exposed to a particular radioactive meteor as a caveman.
— Okay, Space Ranger is so totally the Martian Manhunter. “More than holographic projection” = shape-shifting; “intraspatial linear field” = immateriality; and “thermal helm-blast” = Martian vision. There may be Silver Age stories showing S.R. with each of those powers, but at this point I’m as convinced of “Space Ranger’s” true identity as I am that Professor Hugo Strange was behind “Hush.” In other words, I may be completely wrong, but it makes perfect sense.
— Panel 1 also shows us a familiar-looking telepathic link, which J’Onn would use as a communications channel for the Justice League. Now, I am willing to concede that the Ranger/Brainwave communication is a function of Brainwave Jr.’s telepathic networking, but acting as the switchboard between the Atom and Brainwave is a little more sophisticated.
— Ray “Atom” Palmer has appeared in Trinity already, but I think this is his first appearance in costume. He played a similar espionage role in JLA/Avengers.
— No annotations.
— “The Green” refers to the concept, first articulated in Swamp Thing, of an extradimensional continuum connecting all plant life. A “biomorphic field” may be another way of saying the same thing. It should probably not be confused with the “morphogenetic field” which facilitates the powers of Animal Man and Vixen.
— More new faces: “The Chariot” is Zoom, the Reverse-Flash; “The Empress” looks like Cheshire to me (although Tringenuity thinks she’s Lady Shiva, and next issue’s preview might prove them right); and “The Hi[erophant]” (sometimes called “The Pope”) is Ra’s al Ghul.
— Professor Zoom, a/k/a Eobard Thawne, was created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino and first appeared in The Flash vol. 1 #139 (September 1963). His successor, police scientist Hunter Zolomon (called simply “Zoom“) was created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins. Zolomon first appeared in Flash Secret Files #3 (November 2001), and became Zoom in The Flash vol. 2 #197 (June 2003). Judging by the glowing red eyes, this looks to be Zolomon.
— Let’s cover our bases: Cheshire, a/k/a Jade, was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez and first appeared in The New Teen Titans Annual vol. 1 #2 (1983). Lady Shiva, a/k/a Sandra Woosan, was created by Denny O’Neil and Ric Estrada and first appeared in Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter #5 (December 1975-January 1976).
— Ra’s al Ghul was created by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams and first appeared in Batman #232 (June 1971).
— I’m not sure who’s depicted in panel 3. It looks like Rosie the Riveter, but for some reason I think it’s Sandy the Golden Boy. Probably Rosie, though.
— Hawkman’s Tarot lineup includes a bearded Aquaman, as well as Plastic Man and the current Mr. Terrific.
— Plastic Man, a/k/a Patrick “Eel” O’Brian, was created by Jack Cole and first appeared in Police Comics #1 (August 1941).
— Michael “Mr. Terrific” Holt was created by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake and first appeared in The Spectre vol. 3 #54 (June 1997).
— No annotations.
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Well, I didn’t see Act Two turning into a battle of Tarot-based armies; but it does provide a bigger payoff for all the Tarot material in Act One. Maybe I stopped visiting Tarotpedia too soon….
By the way, if you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check out Tom Spurgeon’s interview with Kurt Busiek. It would be well worth your time even if there were no Trinity tidbits; but of course there are some insights into the series’ development.
This set of annotations will be the last hosted here on Comics Should Be Good! My eternal thanks, once again, to Brian for giving me a home during December. Annotations to issue #31 should be up over the weekend at their new home — where, I hope, we’ll finish up the series in style. I can’t tell you exactly where to look just now, but you shouldn’t have much trouble finding it.
Hope to see you there!
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