Almost two years under the New 52 has been leading us to the Trinity War, and it all begins here.
It was a single page in the epic Flashpoint #5 that introduced us to the mysterious “woman in red” back in August 2011. As she turned up in random panels across all of the New 52 titles, the mystery grew. In last year’s The New 52 Free Comic Book Day Special, it was revealed that she was in fact Pandora, the woman that unleashed sin into the world. In this launch title for the promised Trinity War event, pitching the DC Universe against each other, her origin story is expanded.
Pandora’s tale begins in prehistoric Macedonia around 8000 B.C.E., where her curiosity over an ornate three-eyed skull leads to her unwittingly unleashing the cardinal sins upon the Earth. We once again witness The Wizard, along with the Circle of Eternity, sentence Pandora, The Question and The Phantom Stranger as the Trinity of Sin. Condemned to a eternity of loneliness, we watch as she tries to put a stop to the Sins that call her “mother” over the course of 10,000 years. As she reaches 2013, the power to break her curse reveals itself, and it is going to involve Superman and the Justice League somehow.
After two years of waiting to find out what Pandora’s connection is to the wider DC universe(s), Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1 feels like an extended zero issue. It certainly expands on the concepts already established within continuity, but it very much expands on the story already seen in the earlier FCBD special. We do learn of Pandora’s millennia of planning, her gathering of skills and allies and the nature of the ‘box’. Tying in with the “Shazam” back-up stories that have been running in Justice League, the fractures within the Circle of Eternity are established, indicating that young Billy Batson will form an integral part of the forthcoming Trinity War. For fans, the immortal Vandal Savage is also introduced, and we suspect his promise to cross paths again with Pandora will be fulfilled in the coming war.
The art duties are split between Daniel Sampere and Patrick Zircher, the latter of whom is responsible for a montage showcasing Pandora’s travels through history. The difference is in no way jarring, and explained by the shift in story. Pandora’s design is slightly altered from the renderings seen in the Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, Gene Ha and Kenneth Rocafort illustrated special last year. Gone are the angry veins that run through her body, instead replaced with stylised tattoo markings symmetrically framing her face. It’s a slick modern look overall, and one that fits with Lee’s current Justice League approach.
Ray Fawkes begins this ongoing series on something of a back foot, having to carry the weight of exposition for not just this character, but the factors leading up to the Trinity War as well. In a comics universe that desperately needs more strong female characters, it is also unfortunate that the ‘origin story’ of this one is the akin to the fable of Eve, a woman whose curiosity leads to the corruption of humankind. At this early stage, it is difficult to see what purpose Pandora will serve beyond the Trinity War, but it is encouraging to see DC finally introduce an original series that promises to tie together some of the loose threads that have been left dangling for two years. However, like Marvel’s Age of Ultron, we suspect this event is going to be another case of several comics being an extended advertisement for each other.
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