Wednesday, November 18, 2020

L.E.G.I.O.N. '98 #58

L.E.G.I.O.N. '93 #58 (September 1993)
title: "Trinity, Part 6: Split Decision"
coplotters: Barry Kitson & Mark Waid
writer: Mark Waid
penciler: Stephen Jones & Chris Hunter
inker: Robin Smith, Peter Gross, & John Dell
colors: Gene D'Angelo
letters: Gasper Saladino
editor: Dan Raspier
cover: Barry Kitson
reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Several planets came under attack by mysterious, powerful beings. After Green Lantern encountered one, he returned to Oa and explained to the Guardians what happened. They recognized the name of Quarra and were terrified that it meant the return of the Triarch, a race of Gods from Maltus, the same homeworld as the Guardians. Long before the Guardians or Controllers existed, the Triarch slayed their own father, Daalon. The three that made up the Triarch were Quarra the Creator, Archor the Sustainer, and Tzodar the Destroyer. They departed Maltus but promised to one day return and lay waste to the planet, which would supposedly renew the universe.

On the planet Elyrion, the Darkstars battled Archor the Sustainer and suffered several casualties. Meanwhile, the L.E.G.I.O.N. were setting up a new base on Maltus when they come under attack by Tzodar the Destroyer. Green Lantern arrived to help but did not fair well and Lobo rescued Hal by pulling him out of the battle. When Hal awakened, he found a very angry Vril Dox awaiting him. They argued and Dox ordered Lobo to subdue Hal. Dox also ordered Lady Quark to battle Tzodar while he investigated his own suspicions. Eventually, Comet interrupted Lobo's battle because they received new orders and were told to leave Jordan to the newly arrived Darkstars, led by Colos. However, they were more concerned with seeking revenge on the Triarch and suggested an alliance with Jordan. Meanwhile, the Controllers learned of the Triarch's return, and since their legends said the Triarch must succeed at their mission, they sent other Darkstars to stop Jordan. The two teams of Darkstars battled as Killowag arrived with reinforcements. This was just the distraction Dox hoped for so he could have time to locate the father of the Triarch, who was imprisoned but still alive.

While Dox is pleased with the results of his plan, most of his team is confused and remain concerned that the Green Lantern Corps and Darkstars battle while the Triarch continues its attack.
The L.E.G.I.O.N. has arrived in force and their yellow-painted ships have thrown off the Corps. They try to balance Dox's plan of further distracting the Corps and the Darkstars while trying to help the civilian population. But Hal Jordan grows increasingly frustrated that they continue to fight while the planet Maltus is being devastated by the Triarch.
Meanwhile, Dox, Stealth, and Phase question the recently awakened father of the Triarch. At first, he rejects any connection to the trio but finally reveals their true origin.
Programmed to believe they truly were a Holy Triarch, they fulfilled their destiny and attacked their father/creator. They believed him dead, but were mistaken, and in desperation he crawled into a life-sustaining matrix where he remained for all these centuries. At those words, Dox pulled him to the surface where he could witness the destruction being wrought by his creations.

Hal confronts Captain Comet and argues that if they do not start cooperating they will never defeat the Triarch. Seeing the destruction around them, Comet agrees and uses his telepathic abilities to contact the rest of the team.
After communicating with his teammates, Comet turns his attention to the Darkstars and tries to convince their leader Colos that they need to work together. Colos is skeptical but Hal also tries to convince him. 
The Triarch are surprised to find their foes finally uniting against them, but they combined their powers to send out a devastating blast against the planet. One of the new L.E.G.I.O.N. recruits, Bert, notices a helpless child and uses his body to shield him from the blast, apparently at the cost of his own life. While his teammates absorb the impact of what happened, the Triarch unite for their final attack on Maltus.
I have been critical of the last few issues, particularly as to how slowly the story was moving. But hey, this was an issue I actually found myself enjoying, primarily for two reasons. First, it was a very action-packed issue that started with all of our heroes battling one another and finally coming together to unite against their foe. (It took a ridiculously long time, but we made it!) Second, we actually had some progress on the underlying story of the Triarch when their "father" finally revealed their true origin. Now, it was not the most thrilling secret origin I have ever read, but it was still something and enough to make me feel like we were finally moving towards a resolution.

One of my criticisms of previous issues was that I did not think they often lived up to the purpose of a crossover, which was to appeal to fans of one title who may have been reading the other for the first time. Its hard for me to judge that on this one since I am a L.E.G.I.O.N. fan, but I do think this installment may have been lacking on that as well. As a regular reader, I was familiar with the team and able to go with the flow and enjoy the story. But it did not really do much to introduce a new reader to the team or the characters. In fact, things moved at such a fast pace, I can see this issue as having succeeded on this even less than the last few. Nevertheless, since I am familiar with the title, I was able to get more out of the other aspects of the issue I mentioned above. 

A few other thoughts on this one. It was nice to see the new recruits get some attention despite the inclusion of so many other characters from the Corps and the Darkstars. The scene involving Bert's fate was powerful and I think the lack of dialogue over so many panels as he rushed to rescue the child was very effective in building suspense. As nice as it was to see the teams unite at the end, it felt a bit abrupt for the L.E.G.I.O.N., who at first seemed more concerned with distracting the Corps and Darkstars than with the fate of Maltus. But this would not be the first time that many of them struggled between rescuing innocents in immediate danger and following Dox's master plan. 

We only have two installments left to go, with a visit to The Darkstars #12 and then the finale in Trinity #2. I am curious to see if Dox is ok with the truce that Comet and the others have called with the Corps and Darkstars (although he should be since he has gotten what he wanted from the Triarch's father.) I do not expect much follow-up on the new recruits since until we return to the L.E.G.I.O.N. title after this crossover but I am looking forward to seeing the fallout of what happened to Bert. So please check back next week as we began to wrap up the Trinity crossover and see if it can continue some of the momentum gained this week!

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