The lead story sees the JLA, minus a certain three heroes, battles Konvikt and Graak, they don’t do very well, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman show up expecting to save the day, and the former gets a good thumping.
Graak continues to be ridiculously annoying with his stupid speeches bigging up Konvikt and the JLA are replaced by straw men – like Green Lantern John Stewart last issue, they have to be crap so the Big Three can look better when they finally win out. It all reads as inevitable, though it was nice to see Black Canary actually getting to act as JLA leader for a change. Sadly, this doesn’t last, as once Superman and co show up, everyone looks to them for leadership. Superman is terribly patronising: ‘Fall back, Canary. You’ve done a fine job. But you need a breather.’
Give me a break.
Writer Kurt Busiek makes this a plot point, with extra villains Morgan Le Fay and Enigma commenting on the deference. Still, I can do without it – any JLA I can believe in is a team of equals; yes, they back one another up, but they don’t patronise one another.
The art by Mark Bagley and Art Thibert continues to be jolly pretty, but overall this is a chapter we could have done without. Next issue will likely start where this one should have, with Trinity’s leads taking on the stupid great monster and his talkative gonk.
The second story is better. It’s so much better it’s not true. This is where we meet new heroine Tarot in a story Busiek co-writes with Fabian Nicieza, with art by Mike Norton and Jerry Ordway. There’s action, and story advancement, but it’s at heart a character study of Marguerita Arroyo Covas, LA card reader, known to one and all (rather cheesily) as Tarot. She’s been feeling a greater connection to the cards of late, and a local gang leader has seemingly benefited from her advice and wants more. Horrified that she’s inadvertently helped a criminal, Rita refuses, annoying bad fella Frito and his chums. She runs away, they give chase and Rita’s friend Jose is about to jump into the fray when something rips the gang members apart while delivering a mysterious warning. Rita is left wondering what’s going on, what the big picture is that she apparently fits into . . .
In just ten pages we’ve met a bright young woman with the proverbial hopes and dreams, and she’s someone I’d like to see more of. We’re also reintroduced to a minor DC hero. Jose Delgado aka Gangbuster, who hasn’t been seen since Jerry Ordway’s superb Power of Shazam series. And here’s Ordway again, adding the finishes that complement Mike Norton’s pleasing pencils wonderfully, and making sure Jose is instantly recognisable to anyone who knew him back then, or earlier, when he was a regular in the Superman books. It’s great to see such a strong character again, and I look forward to seeing how he helps Tarot discover what I presume to be a superheroic vocation.
The strip makes Trinity 3 worthwhile, but it would be nice to have an issue in which both front and back strip are of equally good quality.