Synopsis for "Trinity War, Chapter Three: House of Cards"
Madame Xanadu has been kidnapped by the Secret Society, and they have great plans for her. Since they destroyed her shop and took her away, more things have happened in the world than she can yet understand. Though the heroes of the world are scrambling to make sense of what's happened, they are not aware that the Society has already won.
Meanwhile, at A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters, Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch struggle to use the power of the Firestorm Matrix to create Kryptonite at the request of Amanda Waller - despite the fact that Ronnie isn't sure that it is right to be doing so. When, after much effort, they succeed, Waller orders them to wait and be ready to make more of it.
Elsewhere, Batman and Zatanna observe while the Martian Manhunter and Cyborg perform the autopsy on Dr. Light, who was apparently killed by Superman. Though Zatanna assures them that not even magic can help determine whether Light accidentally triggered Superman's heat vision, Cyborg warns that they should not discount Wonder Woman's belief that Pandora's Box corrupted Superman somehow. Suddenly, though, the autopsy is interrupted by the appearance of the Phantom Stranger.
The Stranger reveals that a great danger is on the horizon, as Wonder Woman has sought aid in finding Pandora from the Justice League Dark - and if they succeed, it will mean the death of everything. Though Zatanna's father once trusted the Phantom Stranger, they are all wary of the intruder. Even so, Steve Trevor, who has seen what Pandora's Box can do, warns that no one should be allowed anywhere near it. Decisively, Batman has Cyborg call the Flash to help pursue Wonder Woman accompanied by the Stranger and Zatanna. Steve insists on joining them, leaving the Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow behind to hold the fort.
In one of A.R.G.U.S.' sub-level holding cells, Superman is wary of the man who has come to free him; the Question. The man asks whether Superman wants to find out who really killed Dr. Light, but Clark is certain that it was him. Against Superman's wishes, the Question frees him from his restraints, and passes him a scrap of paper which he claims might contain answers. Soon, as Cyborg is checking in to see how Superman is doing, and learns that Steve Trevor is supposed to be with him - which is impossible - he is suddenly knocked back by Superman's fist.
In New York City, Wonder Woman has already found the Justice League Dark, and they are surprised that she'd want their help in finding Pandora. John Constantine explains the typical myth of Pandora, and how the Gods of Olympus are said to have forged Pandora's Box and entrusted it to Pandora for protection - and she had opened it, and released sin onto the world. However, Wonder Woman has learned that the myth is only partially true. The Olympians did not forge the box, and its origin is unknown even to them. Despite Constantine's reluctance to help - especially with Madame Xanadu missing - his companions outvote him. As John leads Wonder Woman into the House of Mystery, they are surprised to find both of the other Justice Leagues waiting for them.
Despite attacking Cyborg, Superman attempts to be reasonable, revealing that the scrap of paper he was given is actually a newspaper clipping indicating that Doctor Psycho was sighted in Kahndaq just one day before the events that lead to Dr. Light's death. Cyborg is convinced, though bothered that his database scans didn't turn up this information. They are interrupted, though, by Waller, who orders the superheroes under her command to restrain the escaped Kryptonian. She refuses to listen to the new information until Superman is put back in his cell, but the other heroes are so convinced of Superman's innocence that they turn on her, and stage an escape.
At the House of Mystery, Wonder Woman explains that where Steve and Batman's scientific methods failed, her quest must succeed, for Superman's sake. However, the Phantom Stranger counters that whatever is happening to Superman has nothing to do with Pandora's Box. This angers Wonder Woman, and she wraps her Lasso of Truth around his neck and asks what is the cause of Superman's condition. Under the lasso's influence, he responds that he doesn't know. Tiring of the lack of answers, Wonder Woman proclaims that she will not suffer further debate, and anyone who feels as she does should join her in seeking Pandora. In the aftermath and discussion, John Constantine takes Shazam aside, and reveals that he knows the truth about his identity, and the truth that it was Shazam who was responsible for everything that's happened. So, John offers him a choice: stay and argue with the other heroes, or come with him, and save the day. Shazam doesn't care about saving the day, but he accepts any opportunity to disassociate himself from these other heroes.
After some time of arguing, the superheroes have evenly split themselves between two warring ideologies. While Wonder Woman's new allies support her quest to save Superman by seeking Pandora's box, Batman's allies still believe that there is a scientific explanation for all of this. Seeing close allies change allegiances raises tensions higher and higher until eventually, Zatanna is forced to magically transport Diana's team away, leaving Batman and company bewildered and angry.
As Superman and his allies escape from A.R.G.U.S., all of these splintered groups search for their own resolution, and this is all just as the Secret Society has planned. Though Madame Xanadu believes that regardless of what the future holds, the Justice Leagues will defeat them, the leader of the Society assures her that his victory is guaranteed. After all, he has a mole in the Justice League.
Appearing in "Trinity War, Chapter Three: House of Cards"
- Justice League
- Justice League of America
- The Phantom Stranger
- The Question
- This issue is reprinted in Justice League: Trinity War.
- This issue sees all of the superhero teams split into disparate groups. These groups include:
- Wonder Woman's team, who intend to find the secret of Pandora's Box.
- Batman's team, who intend to pursue a scientific explanation for what happened:
- Superman's team, who intend to track down Doctor Psycho:
- The Phantom Stranger, who seeks answers from the ghost of Dr. Light
- John Constantine and Shazam, who seek to solve things their own way.