It’s Trinity War tie-in time! Is it a good read on its own? Does it advance the Trinity War story? Is it worth your time and money?
Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #11 is definitely the best of the tie-ins so far, it’s not a terrific read on its own because you absolutely do need to know what happened in Justice League Dark #22 and Justice League #22 in order to follow along, and as for advancing the story? Well… yes and no.
Yes, issue #11 of the Phantom Stranger’s continued adventures actually feels like an important piece to the puzzle. Constantine’s tie-in came close by showing what exactly Constantine wanted with Shazam, but all the other key players were absent from that comic. This one on the other hand features all the members of Batman’s crew who decided at the end of Justice League Dark to track down the spirit of Dr. Light in the afterlife and ask him if he knew anything they didn’t. It’s… it’s not the best plan! Basically Batman and his team are so desperate that they are tracking down the ghost of a man who was shot in the head to ask him “Do you remember anything else in particular happening in that split second before Superman melted you from the crown to the collarbone?” His answer is basically what you would expect. So while the central story here isn’t all that great, it does indeed show us what happened with 1/3 of the heroes who were embarking on their own journeys at the end of Trinity War Chapter 3 and I think that’s worth applauding. It’s a tie-in that actually ties in and doesn’t just borrow a character, name drop the event, and then go about its usual business in the hopes of picking up new readers.
But while we don’t gain all that much traction on the main Trinity War plot, something major does happen to The Phantom Stranger in this story so I think fans of this ongoing series get rewarded for putting up with a crossover for sure.
I thought Fernando Blanco did a fine job. The way Batman stroked the mirror when looking at the bound Superman was a little weird but overall the artwork had a nice, soft touch (much like the way Batman caressed that mirror) that lended itself well to the heavenly environment and he really brought the surroundings to life when the various heavens changed from character to character.
And if this was your first experience with the Phantom Stranger as a Batman fan then I would highly, HIGHLY recommend you check out the Batman: The Brave & the Bold episode “Chill of the Night.” This was one of the very few serious episodes of that serious and I think it could easily go toe-to-toe with some of the best episodes of B:TAS. In fact, it’s even written by Batman: The Animated Series‘ Paul Dini and features Kevin Conroy as the voice of The Phantom Stranger. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should be ashamed of yourself.
It’s a decent comic and the best tie-in so far with some really great scenes with Katana and Batman. Sure there were some out-of-character moments and writer J.M. DeMatteis didn’t acknowledge any of Batman’s current turmoil during the visit to the afterlife, but the pros of his writing in this issue I think far outweigh the cons. I think that this is a worthy tie-in and one that might actually earn The Phantom Stranger a number of new readers.