In the wake of the Questions’s betrayal, Trinity of Sin #4 opens as Pandora and the Phantom Stranger find themselves trapped between their former compatriot and the evil Nimraa. With Pandora’s spells they escape into the mountain, still hopeful that they can retrieve the Box of Redemption and save their world.
Pandora wisely recognizes that they will need the Question to use the Box of Redemption and entraps him in a binding spell. Much of the conflict in the issue is the Phantom Stranger’s battle with himself over trusting the Question. The Phantom Stranger is not as eager as Pandora to take the Question with them, even as a prisoner, as the Question’s betrayal still looms heavy on his mind.
The stakes are raised as the Trinity of Sin face off against a three headed beast that guards the chamber. However, here it is the Phantom Stranger that comes to the aid of the trio as he is able to persuade the beast to let them through. Meanwhile, outside of the mountain, Nimraa is attempting to break Pandora’s spell and enter the mountain. Even with all her strength, she is only able to make a small crack as the spell is of our world and not hers.
Ultimately, the final conflict comes as Nimraa is able to make it into the cave where the Redemption Box relies. But with Pandora exhausted, the Phantom Stranger and the Question are not able to harness the power of the box, resulting in Nimraa sealing their fate.
J. M. DeMatteis has used framing devices throughout this series, and Trinity of Sin #4 has one of the stronger ones by using the Redemption Box itself. The ending to this issue is a nice turn, and opens up a new aspect to the book. In addtion to this, DeMatteis does a great job bringing forward the theme of trust in this issue. All three members of the Trinity are needed this issue, and the Phantom Stranger’s distrust of the Question plays well, especially when one considers who the Phantom Stranger is.
Yvel Guichet’s artwork is good this issue, but the location doesn’t allow for as much play in terms of the imagery. The layouts are solid, though and the last panel is one of the more starkly powerful images this series has provided.
The problems with Trinity of Sin #4 lie with its script. Some of the pacing difficulties from previous issues rear their head her, and there seems to be a particular issue with the stakes. The script often introduces a problem, only to handle it swiftly to progress the story. This removes much of the tension in the issue, and that can make it a drag to read. In addition, the location of the issue causes a drawback on the art as Guichet is forced to render a cavern for much of the issue. The static location only emphasizes the drag on the plot, and ultimately the issue suffers for it.
In addition, there are some intriguing concepts that don’t get the development they deserve. There’s a deliberate irony to the fact that the Phantom Stranger has trust issues after being betrayed by the Question, and his inability to get over it would make for an interesting read. Unfortunately, because the issue is focused on getting to the next development in the battle with Nimraa, the readers are denied the chance to explore that on a deeper level.
Ultimately, while Trinity of Sin #4 contains some interesting ideas, J. M. DeMatteis’ script never develops them enough to give them a real impact, and it’s disappointing not to have a more in-depth look into the Stranger’s mindset. Yvel Guichet’s artwork remains a strong point on the series, but it can’t help the issue from feeling a little empty.