Trinity of Sin: Pandora 3

pandora 3 trinity

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Trinity of Sin: Pandora 3 originally released August 21, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divTaylor: One of my favorite scenes in any Quentin Tarantino movie, of which there are many, is the training sequence when Beatrix Kiddo is under the tutelage of Pai Mei. At first, the wizened martial arts master is reluctant to teach a white America woman, but eventually Beatrix’s tenacious character convinces him of her dedication to her chosen craft (killing). It’s a goofy scene that’s intentionally over-the-top in its reference to kung-fu films of old, but that’s part of the pleasure. Adding to my enjoyment of the scene is the fact that this particular segment of Kill Bill references a key archetype of storytelling: the hero’s training. In virtually every story ever written, the hero, at some point, must confront the fact that their best just isn’t good enough. Sometimes this leads to personal growth and sometimes it leads to a training montage. Whichever the choice, it’s hard to find a story where this doesn’t happen. Keeping that in mind, we shouldn’t be surprised that the myth of Pandora is being given the same treatment. However, which road will the writers take? Personal growth, training, or a mixture of the two?

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Justice League of America 7

Alternating Currents: Justice League of America 7, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Justice League of America 7 originally released August 14th, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divDrew: Determining a level of focus is perhaps the most important step in evaluating a work of art. These foci are specific to the style at hand — harmonic analysis is likely going to tell you very little about a rap song, just as an examination of brush strokes wouldn’t add much to a discussion of da Vinci. Intriguingly, these styles often begin to resemble each other as you zoom in and out — abstract paintings may share concepts of form, color, or composition with those of the Rennaisance masters, for example — further increasing the importance focus in an analysis. Geoff Johns has always written “big” — he’s been at the helm (or at least sharing the helm) of some of DC’s most important events over the past decade — and his writing has often chafed at the analyses of his critics. Justice League of America 7 actually avoids many of the pitfalls Johns is often cited for (a lot of stuff actually happens here), but it still has me wondering if we’re simply using the wrong tool for the job of evaluating a giant, Geoff Johns-penned event. Continue reading

Trinity of Sin: Pandora 2

pandora 2 trinityToday, Taylor and Mikyzptlk are discussing Trinity of Sin: Pandora 2 originally released July 31st, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divTaylor: We like to think of our world as being made up of opposites. There is always a yin to a yang, there is always a cat to a dog. It’s a convenient way of looking at the world and it helps us make sense of a lot of what we see in our everyday lives. But as we grow older we come to realize that maybe the world isn’t so black and white. Maybe there isn’t an absolute good and maybe there isn’t an absolute evil. Despite this, we tend to think of comic book characters as falling in either the spectrum of evil or good. However, when Superman, supposedly a hero of pure heart, opened Pandora’s Box we realized that not even the best of our heroes is totally without a certain darkness in his heart. But if we flip the tables, is it possible we’ll find a super villain who is totally evil of heart? Pandora wants to find out and in the second issue of her stand alone series, we see that the Trinity War is becoming even more complicated than we thought.

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Justice League of America 6

JLA 6 trinity

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Justice League of America 6 originally released July 17th, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divPatrick: Did any of you guys ever play Warhammer? If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a table top war game where you assemble an army from your race of choice and battle against your friends’ armies. It’s the least pick-up-and-play game you could ever imagine – understanding the basic rules means reading a 100+ page manual, and keeping a cheat sheet with charts and tables with you at all times. And then there’s understanding your own army, for which you need yet other book completely dedicated to that race. Then you need the little metal figures to represent the members of your army (sold separately), and if you’re really hardcore you can paint them. Then you need a surface large enough to play on – one time my friends and I took a door off its hinges and used that when we were denied the dining room table. Ideally, this surface will be populated with trees and terrain and stuff like that. Setting up the Trinity War has felt an awful lot like setting up a Warhammer game. Everyone’s been reading extra books they don’t really want to read just so they can play in the big game. Now the event is actually here and I can’t believe I’m surprised that all the characters feel like pieces in a game. Continue reading

Justice League 22

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Justice League 22 originally released July 10th, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divTaylor: The Flash has been living up to his abilities and making himself appear nearly everywhere with his insane speed. He popped up in Dial H a couple months ago and he’s currently enjoying a run (pun definitely intended) in Justice League Dark. The character has fit in remarkably well in both of these titles and in Justice League Dark, Barry even goes so far as to say he feels more comfortable working with the JLD than he does with his regular teammates. That Barry would say such a thing is interesting both for its narrative consequences and for what it means about his crossover events in general. It’s not always an easy thing to integrate a hero, with his or her own mythology and personality, into a different title that has its tone and voice. So what happens when you try to integrate not just one hero, but an entire league of them into a different title? Can that be done? Issue 22 of the Justice League, which marks the beginning of the Trinity War crossover event, makes it seem that such a thing is not only possible, but that it can done well too.

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Trinity of Sin: Pandora 1

pandora 1 trinityToday, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Trinity of Sin: Pandora 1 originally released July 3rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divPatrick: After reading through the first issue of Trinity of Sin: Pandora, I went back and reread Ray Fawkes’ masterpiece – One Soul. The book is beautiful: it’s a sprawling, 200 page meditation on birth, sex, death, life, love, disappointment, god, war – all as told through the eyes of 18 people throughout history that never meet, never interact. None of these characters are named, but they always occupy the same single panel in each spread. When they die, their panel just goes black, and remains that way for the rest of the book. By all accounts, One Soul is a slog. It’s hard to parse out the meaning in 18 different rambling monologues, and every time you do zero in on a character, Fawkes takes them away in a tragedy of circumstance. It’s disorienting and it’s heartbreaking. The middle of this issue shares a lot of these qualities as Pandora hopelessly wanders the Earth for centuries, experiencing unspecified loss over and over again. This directionless wandering is bookended by dense DC mythology, emphasizing the long, meandering, often pointless nature of these big superhero universes. But just because they’re long, just because their meandering, just because they are often pointless, doesn’t mean they’re not also beautiful.

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Phantom Stranger 2

Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Phantom Stranger 2, originally released November 14th, 2012.

Shelby: To me, the Phantom Stranger is a very old-fashioned kind of “hero.” There’s virtually no way to make the hard-boiled, fedora-wearing, mysterious man in the shadows seem like anything but old-fashioned. With his current origin as (probably) Judas Iscariot, he fits into that nebulous, religious category with The Spectre (of God’s Vengeance, for those of you keeping score). Unsurprisingly, he’s in here too; also not surprising, he’s an old-fashioned, hard-boiled detective. So, when Dan DiDio includes these characters with far more contemporary references, like kiddie soccer games and Star Wars quotes, it doesn’t fail so much as it just feels disingenuous.

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Justice League 0

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Justice League 0, originally released September 19, 2012. Justice League 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Shelby: What makes a superhero so heroic? I’m not talking about the enhanced DNA/gadgets/magic powers, it’s easy to see where that comes from. It might not make a ton of sense (really, a different color sun?), but it’s easy to see the source. No, I want to know what makes a hero, what are the inherent traits that would make someone suddenly imbued with immense power decide to fight the good fight and try to save the world? The same question can be asked of the super villains our heroes fight. Are our heroes filled with a sense of responsibility to do what’s right? Do our villains feel they deserve more than they’ve got? Is it as simple as heroes are good people, and villains are bad? Well, what if you try to be good, but are also a smartass 15-year-old who thinks you know best and is kind of a dick? Where does that put you on the hero/villain scale?

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The New 52 1 (FCBD issue)

Today, Patrick, Drew, Peter and Shelby are discussing The New 52 1, originally released on Free Comic Book Day, May 5th, 2012.

Patrick: Now that the dust has settled and we’re all able to calm down after a thrilling Free Comic Book Day, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. The issue that DC released was anything but an easy entry-point, packing in more characters and mythology than we’ve seen in any single issue since the relaunch. This book makes a lot of intriguing promises for long-time fans, but I doubt new readers were all that excited to spend 11 pages following a character they’ve never heard of.

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Free Comic Book Day

Patrick: Comic books are weird. Heroes die, travel through time, visit other universes – and yes, they occasionally punch holes in reality. And yet the biggest barrier most non-readers face is the simple fact that buying comics is a strange process. You have to put together a pull list, visit a special store and you can sink innumerable hours into figuring out what you’re supposed to be reading.

Plus: print media. OH PRINT MEDIA! Magazines, newspapers, regular books – all printed media is becoming increasingly unprofitable. So ten years ago, The Powers That Be decided the only logical conclusion would be to give away free comics once a year at independent comic shops all around the country (oh and Canada too, if that’s your thing).

Now look, you’re at least moderately geeky, right? You’re excited by either The Avengers coming out this weekend or that new Dark Knight Rises trailer, if not both. You don’t even need to invest any money at all to pick up new comics this Saturday. There’s a free Avengers book and there’s a DC New 52 book – and we’re probably going to to write something about it. There are also FORTY OTHER FREE TITLES to grab (I’m so going to get my hands on that Mega Man book if it kills me).

Naturally, all of the Retcon Punchers will be hitting up local comic shops during the day.  If you wanna hook up at the store, just sound off in the comments – we’ll be happy to say hello!

Shelby will be at Alley Cat Comics in Chicago, Illinois

Peter will be at Fanfare Sports and Entertainment in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Drew will be at JP Comics & Games and New England Comics (at Coolridge Corner) in Boston, Massachusetts

Patrick will be at Meltdown Comics, The Golden Apple (they’ve got Burt Ward in the afternoon!), Melrose Music and Comics and Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles, California