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As we head into DC Comics in 2013 there is one sure destination firmly on the horizon. A highly touted and largely pushed DC Comics Event that is set to kick off sometime this year. That’s right – Trinity War! Due to the large amount of hints that have come forth in the latter half of the past year concerning the forthcoming event it’s probably a good idea to get a head start on the year and set down a hopefully helpful guide to Trinity War.
a. The Trinity of Sin and The War of Three
First off, let’s discuss the main core of Trinity War and its buildup. Now when the event was first announced, and even recently, it was presumed that the Trinity in Trinity War was in reference to the DC Trinity (ie. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) and that it would be a conflict between the three of them. The reality is that the title instead refers to The Trinity of Sin – a group composed of Pandora, whom one might remember as the hooded woman from Flashpoint, The Phantom Stranger, and wholly new version of The Question. These three have been cursed by The Council of Eternity, a cabal of Wizards directly tied to the Shazam! mythos, as revealed in The New 52 Free Comic Book Day issue. The war has been hinted at thoroughly, within the pages of both Justice League Dark and The Phantom Stranger, to be between the three of them as the ages have cast their alliances apart.
So if it’s just a personal squabble then why have multiple pages of future conflict between established heroes being shown? That little tidbit has only just been revealed slightly in The Phantom Stranger #4, wherein it is proclaimed that in the coming “War of Three” The Phantom Stranger might stand with the Justice League Dark, hinting that even though it might not be their conflict the Justice Leagues will also be involved heavily – whether they like it or not.
The original Trinity War promotional spread that concluded the Free Comic Book Day issue now clearly shows the members of Justice League Dark, Justice League, and the to-come Justice League of America – and since one of the Sinners is willing to ally with the JLD then it stands to reason that each JL will take sides in this squabble. To further compound this theory Batman has been shown multiple times to be in possession of Pandora’s Box, an object only held by the Pandora - who has previously stated a desire to manipulate the main Justice League.
b. Billy Batson and The Power of Pandora’s Box
That brings us to our next point. While the conflict might have been the main attraction the essence of Trinity War revolves around one major “MacGuffin”: Pandora’s Box - the catalyst to the entire event that everyone is on the look out for.
A large amount of the exposition for this object has come mainly from the Shazam! backups in Justice League, with explicit mentions in Justice League #0, which was a full length issue that probed this very topic. Within those pages it was revealed that the Box still contained a lot of power, power that could only be utilized by the “strongest or darkest of heart”. Pandora’s mission has at this point been revealed to find one of these two people, and have them open the box, since she believes it to be the way to free herself from her curse. A thing to note, however, is that The Phantom Stranger is staunchly opposed to this adding further escalation to the future conflict. Now, the Shazam! backups that have chronicled the life of New 52 Billy Batson revolve around the theme of Billy growing a true heroic persona, so it is little risk to speculate that it is him who is the strongest of heart – and by that logic his opposite number, Black Adam, is the darkest - tying his development inextricably to Trinity War.
Now we’ve covered how the JLD and JL figure into this, but it is only with the Box that JLA figures into this fray. For it is within Geoff Johns’ JLA that more prominent connections to the Box are displayed to readers. In the prologue to JLA, featured as a backup to Justice League #13 an issue touted as lighting the fuse to Trinity War, we are given our most recent glance to the New 52 version of the Secret Society of Super Villains – this communication device:
When compared to the depiction of the Box it bears a nigh exact likeness. That the SSSV could now be a group not unlike the Religion of Crime, but instead of heralding the Crime Bible they do the same for Pandora’s Box, is a good guess. Since the JLA’s primary foes have been revealed to be the SSSV it could be their conflict that draws them into the greater Trinity War affairs, compounded with this image of Baz (the Green Lantern of the JLA) capturing Batman – who does indeed possess the Box – it gives the clear impression that while the Trinity of Sin are having their own internal squabble the vast majority of those involved have a different goal in mind. A war for Pandora's Box.
c. Booster Gold and The Threat to the Future
The third and final large category that Trinity War buildup feeds into is that of the hinted far-reaching consequences the event has. The effects that the build have been implied to have are only so far been displayed in the Justice League International Annual #1.
One of the biggest, in that it has become well-known, links to Trinity War is the coupling of Superman and Wonder Woman and only because of what transpired in the JLI Annual: the disappearance of Booster Gold. That his erasure from existence coincided to the very moment that Superman and Wonder Woman got together spells ill will for the future if it is important enough to hit Booster’s time period. Given recent revelations that not only will the Justice League disband at one point, but that Batman has been spying on his fellow members shows that this pair something to keep tabs on while traveling this road to Trinity War.
It has just recently been teased that Booster will be returning to the DC Universe soon, with sketches of him and a brand new team involving Hawkman, Shazam, and others – so if he was given the second chance he pined for above, then it only adds another link to what has become this trail to DC Comics’ 2013 Event.
The main road to Trinity War will appear throughout the such titles as Justice League, The Phantom Stranger, and Justice League of America with some spillover occurring to other titles – and I will be here to keep you up to date. If you have your own opinions and/or speculation on Trinity War please post in the comments section.