Justice League Dark reunion! After getting attacked by some disturbing, disturbingly-familiar faces, Superwonderbats reaches out to John Constantine, Zatanna, and Deadman for help. But even with their combined magical prowess, the “Mystic Trinity” find the Outlaws-turned-Underlaws a substantial challenge. Can the Trinity and their magical counterparts overcome the magic of the Pandora Pits? Find out in Trinity #12. SPOILERS AHEAD
A bit of fun
Full disclosure: I’m not much of a fan of the so-called Dark side of the DC Universe. That said, I tend to enjoy John Constantine whenever I encounter him, and this issue of Trinity is no exception. His slimy humor and dishonorable weaseling have a certain charm about them that pays off very well this time around. Zatanna is a capable counter both in concept and in Williams’ execution here, and the interactions between the two of them are a highlight.
There’s definitely a punk-rock attitude about Constantine, and two of my favorite lines spring from this musical motif:
That second one might go over your head, so let me just say that it’s an incredibly apt metaphor, particularly given the seriously overwrought speech coming from Red Hood. I think I actually smiled with this one, because I had just been reading an article about this “changing of the guard” in pop music history a week or so ago. Kudos to Williams for some deft writing here.
A bit of incoherent nonsense
For me, things break down once Bizarro and Artemis show up. The problem is that Williams writes Bizarro kind of how most of us would expect him to be written: incoherently. Whereas in Red Hood and the Outlaws, Scott Lobdell has managed to preserve the essence of Bizarro’s speech without the confusion it has historically bred, Williams gives us what feels like a regression. I take no joy in having to slowly read and reread this sort of dialogue. It’s quite annoying. Thankfully, Marion renders the battle wonderfully (although the layouts are a little bit busy for my tastes), and if you can manage to zoom out and let yourself enjoy the superhero beat ’em up for a few minutes, you might find some redeeming value there.
Unfortunately, the book essentially closes with a flashback to the Outlaws encountering Circe and Ra’s at the Pandora Pits. After enjoying Cullen Bunn’s first part of this story back in Trinity #7, I had a much tougher time once Williams took it up in the series’ first annual. The “Trinity of Trinities” thing struck me as a bit silly then, and it is made even sillier this time with yet another—Constantine, Zatanna, and Deadman’s “Mystic Trinity”. Hey, on the bright side, with four trinities, it doesn’t really pass the Two-Face test anymore, so at least it has that going for it…
Another small issue
While not catastrophic, I think it’s worth pointing out a small problem in some of the dialogue, because the details have often been lost in this series, regardless of the writer. At least twice—once with Batman and once with Superman—Williams allows his own linguistic heritage to intrude on the characters in this book. The first time, Batman says “I think you all realize I’d not have called you here…”. The second time, Superman says “this power…it’s something to do with a magical pool…”. To my ear, those phrases are distinctly British constructions. Now, we can debate all day about whether or not it’s appropriate for characters to take on the speech patterns of their writer, but wherever you land on that, I hope you’ll agree that there should be some kind of internal consistency. There isn’t here, which makes these two breaks stand out, and which makes me think that they were quickly written and missed during revision, rather than included with any degree of thoughtfulness.
- For you, a little bit of Constantine makes it all better.
- You dig this whole Quadrinity
Trinityof Trinities stuff that Williams has been advancing.
- Jason Todd as a psycho-demon-monster?
Constantine’s trademark irreverence carries the first half of the book quite well, but things aren’t quite as enjoyable by the end. Still, Marion’s pencils seem a perfect fit for this story—even if I’m not really digging the larger premise. If you’re a Trinity faithful, pick this up and enjoy it once or twice; otherwise, you probably won’t regret passing on this issue and the rest of the arc.