At the end of Flashpoint, the event comic that ended the old DC Universe and brought us the New 52, a mysterious figure appeared. This figure would again appear in every issue #1 of every New 52 book for the first couple of waves. DC revealed that her name was Pandora, and speculation about her has run rampant ever since. Over the past couple years, we’ve seen her a few times, learning a bit more about her. Free Comic Book Day 2012 revealed that she was a member of a group called the Trinity of Sin, the three worst sinners in human history, forced to wander the world as immortals, bearing witness to what they created, but never to interfere with it.
Pandora appeared a couple other times, namely in Justice League, where she came across the Phantom Stranger and the wizard Shazam. She encountered the Stranger a few more times in his own book. And we’ve known for a while now that she’s going to be one of the causes, if not the focal point, of the upcoming Trinity War event. But we still didn’t know a lot about Pandora, aside from the fact that she unleashed sin upon the world, and now is trying to fix it again. But now, in the first issue of her own series, we get to see her origin story, and unravel the mystery that is Pandora. All of our questions are being answered. And how are those answers? Well…
Pandora #1 is an incredible bit of world building, brought to us courtesy of Justice League Dark and Constantine scribe Ray Fawkes. One of the interesting things we get to see in this book is that, although her origin story is similar to the Greek Pandora myth, Pandora herself does not seem to be Greek. Rather, she’s a cave girl, who comes across a golden skull while looking for medicine for her brother and unleashes the seven sins upon the world.
A later conversation in the book with Vandal Savage reveals that Pandora is known by many names, including Lilith, and this is really interesting. Apparently several permutations of Pandora exist in myths all around the world. So Pandora may not be Greek, but that may just be the name she’s called in the Greek story, and she may have just decided to go along with it.
It would have been so easy to just somehow tie Pandora to Wonder Woman with the Greek myth connection, and it’s been to Wonder Woman’s benefit that it’s been a pretty insular book so far. Instead, Pandora is being tied into the greater Shazam mythos that Geoff Johns has been recreating in the New 52, which I personally think works both as a part of Trinity War and in not making Pandora dependent on another an A-list character as part of a cheap sales boost.
The story itself is very well told, but amusing in how Pandora’s origin story is kind of similar to Batman’s. Evil destroys her family, and she travels the world training to combat it. But whereas Batman’s family was shot by a common street thug and he used his resources to spend a decade or so learning his skills, Pandora’s family was brutally slaughtered by the magical force of evil, and she was cursed with immortality, which she used to spend 10,000 years travelling the world and learning every skill.
Among other pursuits, Pandora is looking to be one of the most skilled fighters, if not the most skilled fighter in the DC Universe, armed with both high-tech and magical weapons, training in multiple forms of magic, immortal instant-regeneration powers, and an eon of combat training.
Whereas Geoff Johns made the sins look kind of silly in his Shazam story, Fawkes makes them a genuine threat, despite their goofy, caricature-like appearances. These beings are terrifying monstrosities, who callously inspire the worst in humanity and cause nothing but suffering wherever they go for their own pleasure. Pandora’s mission is to take down the sins, and this first issue really makes me want to see it happen. And as long as we’re on the subject of Geoff Johns backup stories, I greatly appreciate how Fakwes rewrote the meeting between Pandora and the Wizard from Justice League #0 to make Pandora’s part in the conversation a bit more reasonable.
This is how you address your tormenter. Not by just going “Ok, yeah, whatever you say.”
On the artistic side, this book is just perfect. Daniel Sampere does the pencils for the beginning and end of the book, with Vicente Cifuentes inking them. The middle pages are penciled and inked by Patrick Zircher, and honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference. I’m not sure if that’s a credit to Zircher’s ability to mimic another artist, or just similar enough styles, or the excellent colors of Hi-Fi, or maybe it’s because the art change happened to accompany a time skip in the story, so it just made sense for things to look slightly different.
But the book really looks great the whole way through, and the art shift just isn’t jarring at all. Take a look at these two depictions of Pandora’s face and tell me if you see any major differences aside from lighting.
I mean, the facial structure seems a tad different, but that may just be the angle.
And seriously. Hi-Fi’s colors are just beautiful.
I especially loved seeing how Pandora’s outfit evolved as time goes by. I really hope to see something like this for both Phantom Stranger and the Question in the near future.
Um… Gee… Ok. This is tough. I just… I mean, the book wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever read or anything, but I didn’t think there was really anything wrong with it either. I guess, if I had to pick something, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Vandal Savage?
But then again he’s supposed to appear as a member of the Secret Society in issue #2 (along with Giganta) later this month, so I guess I really have no complaints.
While it wasn’t quite the masterwork of the comic industry I was hoping for, I can’t fault what is still a really good comic book for not being what I unrealistically built it up to be in my mind. This book gives us something different, and that’s a good thing. Instead of another superhero story, DC’s giving us a magical revenge/redemption tale, and also, this was just the origin story. It takes more than one issue to get what a book’s all about, but if Pandora continues along the route it’s started on, I’m sure it will go from being something good to being something amazing in a short amount of time. Really short if DC actually releases issue #2 on time. (Note: Turns out they won’t. Issue #2 has been delayed from July 17th to July 31st.)
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1 is available in comic book stores now for $2.99, as well as digitally through Comixology. Whether you’re just interested in it for Trinity War, really like the character of Pandora, or just want to try something different from your standard cape and cowl fare, this is a book worth checking out.