Justice League Dark #23: More Trinity War

Justice League Dark #23

 

Suppose they gave war, and nobody came.

That’s the feel of Trinity War, an elaborate and oft-muddled adventure which seems to serve no purpose other than have all the DC superheroes in the same room. I won’t lie, I’ve lost interest in big event crossovers, but Trinity War seems particularly pointless. Well, let me amend that statement – not as pointless as Flashpoint, but still an exercise in spinning the creative wheels. As with all big tie-ins, Trinity War stretches over multiple books in order to ensure that said books will be purchased, whether you read them monthly or not.

Trinity War Part Five comes through Justice League Dark, a series that has become one of my favorites. Issue #23 is a mess, but that’s more the fault of Trinity War than writer Jeff Lemire. The key reason to the confusion? The excess of books needed to tell the story. If you didn’t get the separate Constantine book for the Shazam story, you’ll be confused. If you didn’t invest in the Pandora series, you’ll be missing a chunk of the story. Outside of Justice League, Justice League Of America and Justice League Dark, Trinity War had a whole slop of other stories.

JLD #23 opens with a captured Madame Xanadu recounting all that’s going. Really, this is a way for Jeff Lemire to try and bring us up to speed. A man who looks as though Alfred and the Joker had a kid has captured her. The battle raging right now is over Pandora’s Box. Having read part four of Trinity War, I was still scratching my head for part five. I hadn’t read all the other stories, so the culmination of a fight over Pandora’s Box felt premature. Still, the heroes are all together and trying to fight a possessed Wonder Woman.

Meanwhile, Batman and his section of heroes are trying to figure out where Madame Xanadu is. Deadman has managed to make a connection to her, revealing where she’s being held. The third hero section, the one with a dying Superman, is still trying to figure out what’s killing the world’s first superhero. Meanwhile, back at the Pandora’s Box battle, Constantine manages to steal the power and vanishes with Zatanna. They materialize in another world, and stumble upon Xanadu, just as Batman and his crew show up. Cue the Joker/Alfred guy, who now says it is time to open a greater door of evil.

There’s a lot to digest in JLD #23, and none of it is particularly interesting. Lemire does his best, which is more than good enough. With so many characters, Lemire manages to give them their own personalities. No small feat when you figure that 85% of the DCU is in these pages. Even with Lemire’s considerable talents, JLD #23 is a huge slab of nothing.  Trinity War is boring, even if it is going to lead into the bad guys taking over (when I say Dark, you say Reign. Dark… Reign. Dark… Reign). DC has weighed down the actual arc with all their other unnecessary storylines. By the end, Trinity War become a readable migraine.

Visually, JLD #23 is nicely put together. Artist Mikel Janin has a lot to do here, and executes it beautifully. In one form or another, Janin represents each of the heroes involved without succumbing to repetitive expressions or facial features. He also uses smart panel placement to tell the three different storylines, and pulls off some glorious flash pages – the possessed Shazam one jumps right to mind. Janin’s hard lines and the heavy inks give the action some definite weight, which makes action scenes that much more exciting.

Trinity War is a mess. I’m looking forward to the return of JLD pre-event status.

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(3 Story, 4.5 Art)