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Comic Book / Trinity (2008)

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By Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley

But let's talk about the dreams. Dreams of power, just waiting to be plucked... Power that would shake the firmaments, which admittedly doesn't sound as ominous in the plural as I'd hoped... but still, power enough to reorder the very nature of reality.

Trinity (2008) was a 2008 maxi-series written by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza and illustrated by Mark Bagley, focused on the “Trinity” of The DCU: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (although every major hero appears at some point). It is unrelated to 2016 comic-book “Trinity”, although both series revolve around the bonds between the Big Three.

Morgan Le Fay, Enigma (the antimatter universe Riddler) and Despero realize the Earth's three greatest heroes are a “trinity”, keystones to immense cosmic power, and the symbols of Tarot can be utilized to steal that power and change the universe itself.

With this goal in mind, they and their pawns engage the world’s heroes over and over again until they manage to brand Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman with Tarot symbols. The three heroes are subsequently erased from history as the villains take their places.

With the Trinity no longer present in the universe, history rewrites itself. The new world is a darker and edgier place, and the reality itself is severely unstable.

Only six individuals with close ties to the missing heroes (Lois Lane, Kara Zor-El, Alfred Pennyworth, Dick Grayson, Donna Troy and Thomas Tresser) keep vague recollections of how the universe was meant to be, and come together to find the Trinity and bring them back before their own dimension falls apart.

Unrelated to the 2003 Matt Wagner miniseries Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity and the 2016 DC Rebirth self-named series.


  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Alfred is basically this in the new timeline, which has allowed him to find evidence of the reality rewrite, and even trace a sample of kryptonite.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Batman's phone voice is sexy; or so thinks Linda West.
    Wally West: Jai and Iris are home, Linda says hi. She also says you have the sexiest phone voice ever, Bruce, which frankly, I didn't need to know.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: After being banished from their reality and transported to another universe, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman become their new dimension's Trinity and assume power as gods. At the end of the story they become “normal” again.
  • Badass Boast: Supergirl delivers one when she saves a group of pilgrims from a band of highwaymen:
    Supergirl: It's called heat-vision, troll-boy. Like it? Now back off, and stand down. Or be taken down.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Superman versus Ultraman is essentially this; with the Trinity’s growing bond to each other giving Superman access to Batman and Wonder Woman’s tactical abilities, coupled with Ultraman never really training or improving his own skills (see Villain Forgot to Level Grind), Superman takes him down with relative ease.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Per usual, Supergirl provides a healthy dose of sarcasm.
      Lois: SUPERMAN! We need to talk—!
      Alfred: Ah, I fear, Ms. Lane, that they are not in a listening mood, at present...
      Supergirl: Hnh. And when are they ever? Didn't ask any of us if we wanted to be changed back, did they?
    • However Lois will not be undone by anybody in that department.
  • Doing in the Scientist: Basically applies to Krona at the conclusion, as he destroys Earth and releases the Worldsoul only to find that there is no grand plan or pattern to its existence beyond to exist, which defies everything Krona thought he knew about the universe.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: During the Final Battle, Krona has had it and tears Earth with his bare hands.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Enigma is a smug, manipulative bastard who deeply loves his daughter.
  • A God I Am Not: Alfred and his crew are initially mistaken for gods by the inhabitants of a parallel reality because they look right like their gods, speak their language and display amazing abilities. Alfred dissuades them as soon as possible.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: At one point, Superman grabs the ankle of his anti-matter counterpart, Ultraman, and swings him face-first into the Wonder Woman analogue, Superwoman.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Krona is unspeakably old but is embarrassingly petulant when met with delays to his gratification or outright told he is wrong. Funnily enough, when interacting with his past self he mocks those same traits but truly believes he has grown past it.
  • Intrepid Reporter: During the climax, heroes and gods battle viciously in the middle of the Arctic, tearing up the landscape. Yet still Lois Lane risks her life to get the story.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: In the altered universe Hawkman defends the League’s actions stating that they did what was needed to save lives.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Ultimately Krona's greatest flaw is his inability to accept reality for what it is. Even when outright told by the Earth's Worldsoul that the point of existence is simply to be, he rejects the revelation because that means there is no intrinsic purpose to satisfy his curiosity. He resolves that the higher powers are simply too ignorant to know and that he should dissect existence itself until he finds a "truth" that gratifies his preconceptions of how things "should" be.
  • Legend Fades to Myth: The legends of the gods Kellell, Ahtman and Dinnanna are based on actual events in Clark, Bruce and Diana's lives (most notably the deaths of Superman, Jason Todd and Maxwell Lord), but have dramatically changed in the telling, partly to make sense in the new setting, and partly to reflect the difference between these "gods" and the heroes they used to be.
  • Military Superhero: The Justice Society of America becomes a military organization after the reality shift that occurs when the Trinity disappears, and Kara Zor-El's backstory gets retconned so her pod was found by Navy S.E.A.Ls and she grew up to become a superpowered agent for the President of the United States code-named "Interceptor".
  • Mirror Universe: Enigma comes from Antimatter-Earth, and the Crime Syndicate of Amerika make an appearance as well. The fact Enigma's a villain doesn't quite break the "rules" of Antimatter-Earth, because at the time Earth-Prime's Eddie Nygma was undergoing a temporary Heel–Face Turn.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Alfred and his team visit the Happy Harbor cave in which the JLA was first based.
    • The Dreambound are loosely based on a villain team in Justice League of America vol 1 #173, who turned out to be the League testing Black Lightning: Primak (Zatanna), Living Starburst (Green Lantern), the Trans-Visible Man (Flash) and Swashbuckler (Green Arrow).
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: To a degree; the ritual Despero, Enigma and Morgaine were attempting would have allowed them to become a ‘Dark Trinity’ replacing Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, but since Despero was replaced by Kanjar Ro before the ritual began, it created a flaw in the ritual that meant that the new reality was unstable, allowing others to find the original Trinity and restore them.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Suggested for ‘Rick’ and ‘Interceptor’ in particular in the new timeline, as Rick feels like Robin’s costume is better suited for some strange porno and Interceptor is put out that she’ll have to sacrifice her career in the United States Army to go back to being a confused child trying to find her way in a new world.
  • Pluto Is Expendable: Defied in more ways than one in the first issue, in which John Stewart narrates that he arrived a bit late to the First Contact with Konvikt because he was busy stopping a comet from destroying Pluto.
    Stewart, narrating: It's still a planet to me.
  • Relocating the Explosion: In issue #14, the solar power of super-villain Sun-Chained-In-Ink has become out of control. Before he blows up and takes the entire planet with him, Supergirl takes him out of the planet and throws him far, far away where his inner star explodes safely.
  • Reset Button: At the end of the story, the Trinity restores the world, loses their powers and is reunited with their relatives and friends.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: The final big threat in the series is Krona, who is usually an exclusively Green Lantern villain.
  • Squee: Wally's kids are prone to do this:
    Policeman: Those kids you work with are shaping up pretty good.
    Flash: I'll tell 'em. They'll squee.
  • Second Super-Identity: Kurt Busiek has said that Swashbuckler, unlike the rest of the Dreambound, is an existing character under a new name, but hasn't said who. It's generally believed that he's Kirk dePaul/Manhunter from Busiek's Power Company, Back from the Dead, given the similar skills and attitude, and the nasty scar around his neck (dePaul was decapitated in the Kate Spencer Manhunter book).
  • Sympathy for the Devil: In the end, Enigma’s motives come down to wanting to save his daughter; trying to rewrite reality might be an extreme response, but his final goal was relatively laudable.
  • Tarot Motifs: Tarot symbolism is a significant part of the story, with various villains stealing mystical swords, staves, pentacles, and cups on behalf of the Big Bads, Egyptian tarot symbols appearing on Wonder Woman's shoulder, and a kidnapped tarot reader realising that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman can be represented by most of the Major Arcana. It culminated in a spell by the Big Bads to access the power of the archetypes the Trinity represent, and claim their positions.
    • Also in Trinity, there was a Justice League Arcana and its Evil Counterpart, each hero/villain representing one of the major arcana for their side.
  • Title Drop: Every story (there are two per issue) is named for a snippet of dialogue.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Supergirl becomes a highly-trained government agent Interceptor in the altered universe.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Superman notes that this is one reason he has little trouble defeating Ultraman in a direct confrontation; Ultraman just keeps on killing his foes when his enemies first get their powers, at a point when even they may not fully know what they’re capable of, whereas Superman has to learn and improve each time he faces his recurring villains as each side learns more about their capabilities, so he has developed actual skill at hand-to-hand combat where Ultraman basically just hits people a lot.
  • What Does She See in Him?: When some heroes meet Thomas Tresser and find out Wonder Woman is dating him, reactions are: "That's Tresser? And Wonder Woman's really going out with him?
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Primat is a supervillain hench-gorilla who seems convinced she's the heroine of a romance novel.

Batman: Here, we face our problems. And we find a way to overcome them. That's what's needed here. Not being so perfect that there aren't any problems in the first place.