Lex Luthor enters the fray of ‘Trinity War’ as he learns that Superman accidentally killed the fledgling hero Doctor Light.  (See Justice League #22)  Of course, anything of this magnitude that affects Superman, Luthor MUST investigate, but before he can take any action, he encounters Pandora.  Having failed at getting Superman (her perceived purest of heart) to open her box, she turns to Luthor (the darkest of heart).  Elsewhere, two schemes unfold, one masterminded by The Outsider, leader of the Secret Society and one by… the President of the United States?!

Meanwhile, two groups of heroes attempt to unravel the myriad of mysteries swirling around them.  One group confronts Doctor Psycho who may be responsible for telepathically manipulating Superman into killing Doctor Light.  The other group tries to breach the House of Secrets in order to pursue The Phantom Stranger, Batman, Deadman and Katana, but one of these may not return from the afterlife.  (And by “may not” I meant “does not.”)

This issue balanced things extremely well.  The mysteries of this event are slowly unraveling.  Theories have been posited and disproved, other clues have been planted, but are they what they seem?  So far, this is one of the most pivotal issues of this crossover so far.

Not only does the issue provide some progression in the major storyline, but several characters get nice character beats that nicely help define their personalities.  Lex Luthor comes across as dryly comedic, similar to his depiction in the animated DC cartoons.  Cyborg actually got some field action.  Element Woman remains amusingly off-kilter.  The Atom struggles with her duplicity.  Martian Manhunter, the ailing Superman, Simon Baz, The Flash, Vibe, Catwoman… several characters get at least a few fun lines but none are throwaways.  Each little interaction helps define that character just a little bit better, so when I say this issue is nicely balanced, I really mean it.

Doug Mahnke previously illustrated a run on ‘Justice League of America’ and ‘Final Crisis’ and he did a great job in the past, but his style has evolved and matured over time and his work is even better than before here.  Fun fact, artists get paid the same rate to draw a book starring one hero as they do to draw 20+.  Most would probably be happy with a solo book, but Mahnke not only tackles this tough assignment, he blows it away!

This title has been consistently stronger than ‘Justice League,’ which is odd since Geoff Johns writes both.  But the character interactions are much better in this title.  This was maybe the best issue of ‘Trinity War’ so far and the art was exceptional!  If you’ve been displeased with this crossover and were thinking of dropping it, this issue may change your mind.



Written by Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire
Pencils and Covers by Doug Mahnke