"Trinity War, Chapter One: The Death Card": Madame Xanadu had not always done the right thing in her life. For years, she had used her powers in ways she is no longer proud of, until she met with the magician John Zatara, who h
- I need to warn the Justice Leagues!
Synopsis for "Trinity War, Chapter One: The Death Card"
Madame Xanadu had not always done the right thing in her life. For years, she had used her powers in ways she is no longer proud of, until she met with the magician John Zatara, who had taught her that she could change her life around. Now, she keeps her shop, Hokus & Pokus Occult Curioso in Greenwich Village, waiting for those in distress to find her, through the magic she hides behind. From there, she helps those people onto a different path.
Tonight, a woman comes to Xanadu on the advice of a friend, having struggled with a recurring nightmare in which she is burned to death in a fire by herself - an evil that lies within her that she is afraid of. Two nights previous, she had found a can of gasoline next to her bed, and has been too frightened to sleep since. Xanadu takes the woman's hands and sees the future, but it is not her future. She sees the aftermath of a great war; a war defined by the word Trinity. Ignoring the woman's terror, Xanadu looks to her cards to see who will be responsible for this Trinity War, and she sees Billy Batson - the ill-chosen hero known as Shazam.
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Billy Batson insists that it is the right thing to spread Black Adam's ashes in the beleaguered region of Kahndaq, despite his friends' warnings that the government has issued warnings against any Americans travelling there. Even so, Billy insists that even bad guys deserve a proper burial.
At Belle Reve Prison, Superman and Wonder Woman have just finished dealing with Despero, but the hassle has forced them to change their evening plans together. Diana has little faith that Despero will stay put, and notes that she does not have issues with villains constantly escaping and attacking because she deals with them properly. The comment unnerves Superman, who is opposed to killing. Diana responds that she would only do so if necessary, adding that her Lasso of Truth prevents any innocents from being wrongly punished.
The pair are interrupted by the appearance of Pandora, who hopes that she had finally found the ones of purest heart who are capable of opening her box. Diana recognizes her, a being of Greek myth herself, and is apprehensive that the gods sent her. Pandora explains that she was not sent by the gods. She believes that it was the gods who manipulated her into opening the box in the first place, damning both herself and all of humanity by freeing the Seven Sins. Hopefully, someone pure of heart can help her forever eradicate that evil.
Meanwhile, Steve Trevor is skeptical that Dr. Arthur Light is a good choice to recruit for the government-created Justice League of America, given that he is a scientist, not a soldier. From the JLA's headquarters in Washington, D.C., Trevor and Amanda Waller secretly monitor Arthur Light as he calls to his wife Kim to tell her of the powers that he came upon by accident, and the mission he was given; to use his power against Firestorm. Grumpily, Waller orders that the Martian Manhunter be sent to erase the information from Mrs. Light's mind, and intends to warn Light that if he speaks to her again, she will have the Martian erase him from her mind.
On Rhode Island, the Justice League searches the ruins of their Watchtower, following the attack by Despero. Cyborg is disturbed that someone had managed to hack into the system to let Despero in. Meanwhile, someone else - possibly the same person - had stolen the Kryptonite Ring from the Batcave. Nearby, FireStorm and the The Atom sift through the remains of the trophy room in search of anything salvageable. Firestorm marvels at the Atom's having apparently managed to stop Despero all by herself. Unbeknownst to anyone else, Rhonda had been helped by the mysterious Martian Manhunter, who had sworn her to secrecy about his complicity. Ignoring Firestorm's praise, the Atom discovers a Justice League themed chess-set in the ruins, but notices that the Superman piece is missing.
Superman, meanwhile, doubts that humans could possibly be evil merely because someone opened a magic box. Pandora promises that she saw it for herself, and Wonder Woman confirms the story. Pandora explains that she knows of someone who can undo what she did by opening the box and imprisoning the sins again. With that, she thrusts the box into Superman's hands, believing that if anyone can survive the touch of the box, it would be Superman. His contact with the object is painful, and Wonder Woman worries that it is doing something to him. Pandora realizes with horror that Superman is succumbing to the box's evil, indicating that he is more human than she realized. Hoping to stop him, Pandora fires her pistols at him - which actually seem to injure him - causing him to drop the box. It is only through Wonder Woman's intervention that a potentially fatal shot is deflected. By the time they recover, though, Pandora is gone.
Bad news follows, as Batman warns of reports that someone in a cape has entered Kahndaq. He is aware that it must be Shazam, but he believes that the super-human is unaware that the Kahndaqi army is on his tail. Batman warns that Shazam's power is magical in nature, and so Superman suggests that they turn to Zatanna for help.
The Atom, meanwhile, warns Steve Trevor of the Justice League's intention to enter Kahndaq in pursuit, and so Waller orders that the JLA - with Artur Light in tow - will be going to get the Justice League out. Steve warns that their team isn't ready for this kind of mission, but Waller sees it as too strong an opportunity to prove that the Justice League, without government support, is uncontrollable. The JLA themselves are on-side with Trevor, though they must follow their orders. Sighing, Trevor explains that this mission calls for diplomacy before action.
In Kahndaq, Shazam prepares to lay Adam's remains to rest, only to be interrupted by military gunfire. Soon, a bullet strikes the urn in which he held the ashes, and his sentimental moment is ruined. He becomes overwhelmed by anger, and prepares to attack the soldiers, but he is stopped suddenly by Superman, who warns that he doesn't want a fight. Unfortunately, Billy is not of the same mind, and delights in knocking Superman down. Superman recovers quickly, though, and is soon backed by the rest of the Justice League, who demand to know what Shazam is doing in the country. They are interrupted, though, by the JLA, who state that they have come to escort them all out of Kahndaq. Steve explains that Kahndaq believes it is being invaded, and they must all get out before it escalates into an incident. It is at this moment that the Atom regrets having agreed to join the JLA.
Meanwhile, the Secret Society plans to seduce Pandora to their cause while she, in turn, searches for someone who can open her box. Sensing the danger, the Phantom Stranger decides it is time to become involved. Elsewhere, The Question seeks to know who is the evil behind the evil?
In Kahndaq, Dr. Light speaks up, demanding that they all stop their arguing. If they all want the same thing, they should be able to work together to do what's right. Unfortunately, given his uncontrollable ability to absorb light, he becomes affected by Superman's qualitative similarity to a solar battery, and it fills him with so much energy that it is released suddenly in a blast that knocks Wonder Woman back. Angrily, Superman rushes forward for retribution, and as Arthur feebly attempts to apologize, the Kryptonian vaporizes his brain with a blast of heat-vision.
From her shop, Xanadu witnesses everything and more. She has learned what the Trinity means, and some of them are coming - they may already be here. Before things escalate, she must warn the Justice League and exonerate Superman of Light's murder. Elsewhere, the Question is aware of the same thing: someone is trying to frame Superman for murder.
Xanadu is called out of her visions by the voice of her patron, who muses that the fortune-teller really can see into the future. She reveals that she is Plastique, a member of the Secret Society, and she came only to prevent Xanadu from warning anyone about the future ever again. With that, an explosion consumes the shop.
Futilely, the Atom tries to stop the clashing of these super-human titans; a fight which she believes is the indirect result of her betrayal. Meanwhile, the news reports of Superman's actions, and the war beginning in Kahndaq. This news reaches the one who leads the Secret Society - the one called the Outsider - and everything is going exactly as he planned.
Appearing in "Trinity War, Chapter One: The Death Card"
- Justice League
- Shazam (Billy Batson)
- Trinity of Sin
- Justice League of America
- Madame Xanadu (Apparent Death)
- Freddy Freeman
- Eugene Choi
- Pedro Peña
- Darla Dudley
- Spectre (In a photograph only)
- Seven Deadly Sins (Mentioned only)
- Belle Reve Prison
- New York City
- Washington, D.C.
- Rhode Island
- Pandora's Box
- Green Lantern Ring
- Lasso of Truth
- Bracelets of Submission
- Trident of Neptune
- Cosmic Staff
- This issue is reprinted in Justice League: The Grid and Justice League: Trinity War.
- The story continues in Justice League of America (Volume 3) #6.
- Justice League Recommended Reading
- Justice League of America (Volume 1)
- Justice League of America (Volume 2)
- Justice League of America (Volume 3)
- Justice League of America (Volume 4)
- Justice League of America (Volume 5)
- JLA (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 2)
- Justice League (Volume 3)
- Justice League (Volume 4)
- Justice League International (Volume 1)
- Justice League International (Volume 2)
- Justice League International (Volume 3)
- Justice League Europe (Volume 1)
- Justice League America (Volume 1)
- Justice League Task Force (Volume 1)
- Justice League Quarterly (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 2)
- Extreme Justice (Volume 1)
- Justice League Elite (Volume 1)