I must ditch my normal preamble of discussing this comic to talk about my feelings, because they are all over the place here. This book just makes me confused. It is a bizarre creature, with some odd moments of thought; this perplexing parade of panels has me puzzled. So… Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2. Well…
Okay, no, time out. I can’t really carry on like this. Not in the normal way. And I’m afraid I’m going to have to give more spoilers than I usually do in my reviews. So…
This issue lets us see a member of the Trinity of Sin in battle. So far, DC’s been pretty ambiguous with the Trinity when it comes to what they can actually do. The prevalent ideas seem to be that they can go wherever they want and can’t be killed, but after that, it’s confusing.
The few times that the Phantom Stranger gets into combat, it’s this big magical metaphysical battle, where essence, will, and mysticism seem to shape the tide of combat. The Question, presumably, just beats dudes up. Pandora is much more down-to-Earth than the Stranger, but much more elaborate than the Question. She’s trained in pretty much all of the ways to hurt people, which we see here… kind of. Pandora deals with three super villains in this book: Signalman, Giganta, and Vandal Savage. Signalman comes out unscathed. Vandal Savage gets beat up and shot a lot, but being Vandal Savage, he survives. Giganta, however…
And the nominees for “HOLY SHIT” Moment of the Week Are…
The problem with the Pandora vs. Giganta fight is that while it is really cool, you don’t actually see Pandora fight Giganta. Pandora’s off screen for the whole thing, and we just see a sword fly into Giganta’s eye and blow up. Signalman indicates that this is magic, but it’s not clear whether this is Pandora’s skill, a property of the sword, or some combination. We see Pandora in hand-to-hand combat with Vandal Savage, and believe me, it’s beautiful.
I love the illusion of motion this scene creates.
As for the plot itself, I also don’t know how to feel. One of the fascinating things about this book is that of all the “Trinity War” tie-ins released so far, this is probably the most important, while simultaneously feeling the least like a tie-in issue. And it’s odd.
Pandora is a character whose entire existence is tied to “Trinity War.” Her appearances in every issue #1, Justice League, and a couple other books have all been building up to her role in the event. She doesn’t really have an identity outside of it, yet.
In this issue, which takes place after Justice League #22, multiple parties are looking for Pandora, including the Secret Society. Pandora is looking for Vandal Savage, who’s part of the Secret Society group hunting her down. Since Superman’s heart of pure good couldn’t open Pandora’s Box, she figures Vandal Savage’s heart of pure evil can do so.
This is all related to “Trinity War.” But it doesn’t feel like it, probably because not enough panel time is dedicated to Pandora herself. Issue #1 was all about her. Issue #2 is more about events happening around her, and Pandora doesn’t have enough of a presence.
Constantine #5, for example, doesn’t immediately seem to have anything to do with “Trinity War,” but because it focuses on the main character and his reaction to the war, it feels like a proper tie-in. Pandora’s basically doing what she was doing at the start of “Trinity War,” which kicked the whole event off, and because she doesn’t really seem affected by it at all, it doesn’t feel like a normal tie-in, and I honestly can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not.
The Definite Good:
Not everything in this book is a confusing shade of grey. The art quality is definitely good. As I mentioned earlier, Daniel Sampere is the only penciller on this book, and his artwork is great. Characters are nice and detailed without being overly-elaborate, Vicente Cifuentes’ inks are nice, and Hi-Fi’s colors, as always, are top-notch. And the violence is just so wonderfully violent, striking the perfect balance of restraint and brutality.
Also, a new subplot is that Pandora is being pursued by agents from both ARGUS and SHADE. And SHADE’s inclusion in anything just kind of automatically makes it better.
These two are going to be fun.
The Definite Bad:
Pandora is just not in the book enough. This is especially problematic in her fight scenes, where we get to hear everybody’s take on the fight except hers. I don’t mind Pandora being silent, but we don’t get her view on the battle with the Secret Society at all. She’s been training to take on the personifications/sources of all sin in the world for 10,000 years, and these characters she’s pitted against now are wildly different from that.
This really could have benefitted from narration boxes, like we get in Katana. Having Pandora explain her actions, even just a little, would have given us some great insight into her character. Instead, we get all of our exposition from Signalman.
Signalman is pretty much the worst character in all of the New 52. This guy has appeared in both Justice League of America and now Trinity of Sin: Pandora, and I still have no idea what his deal is. I’ve had to go on Wikipedia and learn about the old version of the character, from back when he was just a D-list Batman villain to understand anything about who he is and what he does, and neither Geoff Johns nor Ray Fawkes has successfully conveyed this at all in their comics so far.
This guy gives us all of the exposition on what Pandora is doing or feeling in combat, because he has some kind of gizmo that can read her neural paths (I think), and tells us how much pain she is in, how she heals, and even how her weapons work. And this is all he does. He serves no other purpose to the book.
Also, his design is stupid. He’s like a combination of Doctor Strange and Iron Fist with a big bucket of generic dumped all over him, so he doesn’t even look like he’s in the right comic book universe.
Seriously, what even is the point of you?
For all the confusion and tragic overabundance of Signalman, this is still a good book. Flawed, but good. And that’s really all you can say about it. Hopefully, future issues will be a bit stronger.
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2 is available now from your local comic book store or digital retailers for $2.99 USD.