The prequel to Trinity War essentially sums up the events of FCBD The New 52 #1 and all of Pandora’s meatier appearances throughout several other DC Comics over the past two years. If you’ve been keeping up with her story so far then this issue is likely something that you can skip but if you’re unfamiliar with Pandora and want to check out Trinity War, it’s a must-buy.

As an origin story it’s good enough. In addition to the recap of Pandora’s punishment and call to retrieve “the box,” writer Ray Fawkes also shows us where Pandora came from in the first place and what exactly she’s been up to for the past 10,000 years or so. The biggest advantage to reading Pandora #1 is that you’ll have a better understanding of how she acquired her various skills across millennia and what precisely was in the box that she unleashed.

Spoiler
It’s the Seven Deadly Sins, who were recently seen in the final chapter of Shazam’s origin story. It doesn’t make much sense, though. In Shazam’s tale, the sins had been trapped in host bodies but surely their capture and connection to Black Adam will be addressed in future installments of this event. I’m still not sure if these phantoms are merely concentrated forces of their respective sins that cause the most terrible things to happen within a particular area or if there truly was no misery in the world without the box ever being opened. For example, before Pandora ever opens the box we see that a child is suffering (possibly dying) of fever. But is a disease/virus that leads to an infection that causes fever really evil when it’s just doing what’s in its nature?

With the horrors of the box being so one-dimensional, I sincerely hope that the threat of this Trinity War proves to be something greater. And just what would the world be like if we put the horrors back in the box? It’s not as if Earth has been a giant hellscape ever since the box was opened. We’re doing alright, aren’t we? Oh well, I when it comes to fantasy stories like this one it’s best to not over-think it and just go with it.

Speaking of characters without much depth, while Pandora does a lot of interesting things in this comic I still don’t feel for her quite yet. The opening page is meant to inspire some sympathy for her, but it’s just the one page– flip it over and we’re already opening the box. It would have been nice to have gotten to know her a little better before we jumped into a story that spanned one-hundred centuries.

There is really surprising number of artists pitching in on this book for it to only be the first issue. Zander Cannon did layouts on pages 1-7 and 16-20, Daniel Sampere penciled those pages while Vicente Cifuentes inked them, and Patrick Zircher illustrated 8-15 himself. What’s even more surprising is that the book does manage to look consistent throughout. The ink gets a tad denser in Zircher’s portion but for the most part the transition will go unnoticed and the comic looks good. It also has some nice colors by Hi-Fi, who usually does Batman: The Dark Knight, although there was a moment on the second page where a “golden light” is made to look red. It’s hard to fault Hi-Fi for this when the glowing “box” has always been shown to have bright red eyes. Hi-Fi is just being consistent with the imagery we’ve seen before.

Overall

The answer to “What’s in the box?” is given and we see how Pandora trained herself for the upcoming war, but for the most part, readers who saw Pandora’s appearance in the Free Comic Book Day special or her other cameos in several other DC books won’t need this prologue. In fact, readers will likely have everything recapped for them again when Pandora explains the situation to the Justice League next week in Part 1. It’s a decent origin story though and it definitely seems like a book that readers of Constantine, Justice League Dark, and Phantom Stranger might enjoy.

SCORE: 6/10