Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2 review

Pandora's meeting with Wonder Woman and Superman has attracted the attention of the good guys and the bad guys. The good guys are superhuman agencies S.H.A.D.E. and A.R.G.U.S. in the shape of Agents Kincaid and Chang. The bad guys are the Secret Society of Super-Villains, represented by Vandal Savage, Giganta and Signalman. The first group wants to know what led Superman to kill Dr Light, the second desires the power of Pandora's Box.

It's the villains whom Pandora seeks out in the second issue of DC's Trinity War spin-off. Last time she told us that only someone truly pure - or dark - of heart could lift her curse, the presence of the Seven Deadly Sins in the world. She'd assumed Superman would be her best bet, as a truly good person, but seemingly not, and ten-second-hero Dr Light paid the price. So she tries Option 2, fellow immortal Savage, who has to be the darkest of the dark, surely?

But before she can offer Savage the box, the villains attack her, bringing brutal bouts between Pandora and Giganta, and Pandora and Savage. And Signalman? Not so much - he stands on the sidelines, gathering information and relaying it back to Secret Society Command. A lot of blood is spilled, but to little avail - by the end of the issue, Pandora's Plan B is a bust.

Ryan Sook's stunning cover sets the tone for this issue, with Pandora waving blood-drenched blades at us. And she's not simply about knives, with the splash page showing her new arsenal, courtesy of the armourer Marcus: guns, grenades, spiked gloves ... more interestingly, there's a magic mirror and the odd grumpy lizard. All she uses in the story, though, are her regular pistols and knives which, while effective, don't sit well with my idea of a hero.

But then, perhaps Pandora isn't meant to be taken as such; certainly she doesn't care who gets hurt in her pursuit of Paradise, asserting that none of it matters, 'we will be made anew'. Which is just as well, given the amount of  bone splitting we hear about, courtesy of Signalman and his gadgets.
While I've sympathy for the woman Pandora was, I really dislike what she's become, a vicious fanatic. I do, though, like the new spin-on Signalman a lot. Previously a D-list Batman foe who used signs and signals in his crimes, here he's 'the guy who sees the signals', a gatherer and interpreter of information. He's a little like recent versions of the Calculator, but more a field guy, an everyman with a better sense of humour. In fact, his costume - the traditional look but with a less busy cape - and sense of humour recall Catman, another rubbish Batman villain who had a renaissance via a Secret Society of Super-Villains story. I could easily see him being the breakout character of this series (click on image to enlarge).

Vandal Savage and Giganta are their familiar selves - he oozing menace, she a fiery brawler - and it's good to see them both. Giganta provides my favourite moment, as she 'introduces' herself to Pandora rather forcefully.

Oh, I've not mentioned the opening page, in which embodiments of sin Envy and Pride plot against Pandora. Probably because they're an embarrassingly cheesy pair, with one a green Penguin, the other an ad for botched breast enhancement surgery.

The federal agents are a lot more to my taste, with the chemistry between interdepartmental rivals Kincaid and Chang pushing the story forward in an amusing manner. Writer Ray Fawkes is obviously having fun with them and I could see them filling the DCU role once taken by Agent Cameron Chase, before she was retooled for the New 52 as a right old cow.
Fawkes deserves credit for fitting an awful lot into his 20 pages, jollying the story along while ensuring everyone has a bit of personality. (Obviously, he gets a credit, but on the splash page it's 'Ray FAKWES' - honestly!) Even though I don't like Pandora, with her stupid puppety gob, he's at least making me feel something for her - she's not simply a cypher, a walking, talking plot-engine. I actually felt more engaged by this book than the main event in the Justice League titles. There's no denying this is a crossover cash-in (Kincaid and Chang meet at a footnote convention) but it's an entertaining one. A little less emphasis on popping cartilage and stabbed eye sockets, though, would be nice. Heck, the story's even called 'Drawing Blood'.

Speaking of drawing, aubergine boobs apart, penciller Daniel Sampere and inker Vicente Cifuentes do a terrific job of giving the characters presence - even bit part player Marcus has charisma - and staging the action. The storytelling is as clear as you could wish, the fight choreography convinces and they make the big beats count. There's typically good colourwork from Hi-Fi, and Dezi Sienty ensures the packed script doesn't overwhelm the art.

While last issue was a useful Pandora primer, I enjoyed this one a lot more because it feels we're properly into the story. If anything made the issue, it was the characterisation and visuals of the villains, making me miss the old Secret Six series even more. Who knows, after the upcoming Necessary Evil storyline, we may even get a new one.


  1. i plan to get this book along with amazing x-men which you should pick up mart jason aaron is writing it also ed mcguiness is doing art and aaron boast that every storyline will be an event in itself also nightcrawler will appear fighting ghost pirates what could be better

    1. Fear not, I keep up with the comic news!

    2. isn't great two x-books written by aaron one about the school and the other straight up x-men epic super hero action also if your are up to date than what do you think about thor and rogue being an item i 100 percent support that ship what about you

    3. I stopped reading Uncanny Avengers when all that Apocolypse rubbish came in, sorry! It seems to have turned into Remender's X-Force.

      (Bur could we stick to the comics being reviewed, thanks?)

    4. don't worry kang, immortus and rama-tut appear with kang being a primary villain in this arc

  2. Suffice it to say I disagree pretty strongly.

    I found the jurisdictional dispute between secret acronymed agencies dull and pace destroying; Signalman narrating from the Handbook Of The DC Universe during the fights (while not actually showing large portions of said fights) was a huge case of "tell not show;" and two eyes were gouged out in this story--two!! And, as you point out, Pandora is unlikable--and she's pretty bone-stupid, as well.

    Pretty much everything I dislike about the nu52 wrapped up in one package.

    1. Hmm, perhaps Signalman could get a job as co-host with Rob and Shag...

  3. You are a more forgiving and patient man than I, Martin. Why does Pandora look like Zealot? Why is the Pandora of Greek myth carrying around the 7 sins of christian myth in a box several thousand years before they existed as a concept? Why is she such a jerk? Why do people treat her like crap when - by the book's own logic positing her as the liberator of the 7 sins - Pandora is the only source of hope in the world? The themes and logic are all over the place, and the super-grim tone prevents it sliding on the idea it's supposed to be Silver-Age goofiness - if it went for earnest rather than grim it could have pulled that off, but it doesn't... so it doesn't.

    There are good creators at work on this series, but it is not a good book. "Less than the sum of its parts" just about sums it up for me.

    1. I never pick up on that Zealot thing, Brigonos, not having followed her over at Wildstorm, but you're right. I gues the answer is: Jim Lee.

      'Why is the Pandora of Greek myth carrying around the 7 sins of christian myth in a box several thousand years before they existed as a concept?' I'm OK with that, this is the DCU version of myths and religions - Pandora's already pretty far from the old stories.

      Can't argue with your point about 'themes and logic', mind. But did I miss an interview? Had I known this was meant to chime with Silver Age fans, my reviews would be markedly different.

    2. Ah, no, Martin, sorry, I should have been clearer there: I meant that you can get away with mish-mashing all the disparate stuff like Greek and Christian mythology like they've done here if you play the Silver Age Homage card, but when it's just super po-faced it doesn't quite work.

      Thus, since we're meant to take it super-serious, my issue with the Greek/Christian mash-up is that Satan, God and Jesus aren't an established part of Nu52 mythology, but the Greek pantheon is. The mix here just comes off as lazy - and borderline offensive to practicing Catholics, as the Sins as actual spiritual "sources" of other vice (rather than individual actions) are a specific canonical part of Catholic theology, and in using them as this book does its mythology judges modern Catholic monotheism and ancient Greek pantheism as equivalent, which strikes me as pretty thoughtless.
      The 1950s Captain Marvel dabbled with some of the same mash-ups, but as I say, when you're doing it Silver-Age-style you can get away with it because you're simplifying bigger ideas and arguably exploring them in a manner that helps get the intended theological concepts across to the audience. With Trinity of Sin, there's no exploration, it's just backdrop to a big-boobied jerk stabbing people in the face.

    3. Aha, thanks for that (and apols for the delayed reply, August in Edinburgh gets a tad
      frantic). I see what you're getting at now. I'm RC and I haven't been too worried by aspects of the faith being used in comics as we don't tend to get Jesus Christ flying around; it tends to be more that we get references to the Presence in Spectre stories, or whatever. I think DC are still too scared of offending the, for example, Southern readership to get too into adding versions of saints and so on to their universes.

      I do like the God Dog in Phantom Stranger ...


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