The fourth week of Trinity War focused on the mystery of Pandora's box, as Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2 revealed a few clues about her quest to open the skull-shaped vessel.
The story picked up Pandora's story, established in issue #1, as she worked to rid the world of the "Seven Spirits of Sin." But at the end of that first issue, the wizard (from the "Shazam" mythos) appeared to Pandora and gave her a new mission. He told her to access the power within the box to save the world, saying "only the strongest of heart or the darkest" can open the box.
In the first chapter of Trinity War, we saw that Pandora has the box and is trying to find the "purest" of heart. But when she handed the box to Superman (thinking him pretty "pure," he temporarily turned into a... well... a three-eyed demon-looking evil dude. And the box didn't open.
The third eye he got was similar to the one that emerged on Pandora's own head when she first touched the box (in Pandora #1).
In this week's Pandora #2, however, the character gives up finding the "purest" and instead goes looking for the "darkest of heart." She ends up handing the box to Vandal Savage (who, notably, only has one eye at the time — he lost one in a fight).
When Vandal touches the box, he does not get the third eye (er... uh... second eye?). In fact, he instead sees the harm he has done over his lifetime. "I'm sorry," he said with tears in his eyes.
Vandal Savage is sorry?
Of course, the issue also helped round out Pandora's supporting cast. Besides her ally Marcus, we also met a couple of her adversaries (two of the Seven Deadly Sins) and a couple government agents who are hunting for Pandora.
But Trinity War-focused readers also found out that the Secret Society of Super-Villains desperately wants Pandora's box (to quote one character: "Secret Society command says that if we get our hands on that box, the world is ours).
While we only recently talked with DC Editor Brian Cunningham about the clues from last week's Justice League Dark #22, now we turn our conversation to what the clues within Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2 and what's coming up in future chapters of Trinity War.
Newsarama: Brian, this week's Pandora issue reinforced the idea of the "purest of heart" and "the darkest" — the clues the wizard gave about who could open Pandora's box. But Pandora herself isn't having much luck finding these two illustrious figures in the DCU, is she?
Cunningham: Things have never, ever been easy for Pandora. She's a tragic figure with the worst string of luck in maybe the history of the world. These are the types of characters we gravitate toward.
Nrama: I'm sure every comic fan has a guess about who are the "purest" and "darkest" in the DCU. Are we going to find out who these two characters are?
Cunningham: Maybe. At the very least, we'll see who Pandora believes to be the purest and darkest. The darkest candidate is seen in Justice League of America #7 (Trinity War Part 4), and the purest has been around the whole time, but his "selection" comes in Justice League Dark #23 (Trinity War Part 5).
Nrama: You're saying her "candidates," which makes me think there's a twist. Is it possible the wizard's clues about the "purest" and the "darkest" aren't two different characters at all?
Cunningham: It's possible…but it's not what Pandora believes will open the Box. Of course, the Phantom Stranger has been saying all along that Pandora's beliefs are total bunk.
Nrama: But surely the wizard's words mean something...
Cunningham: The truth will come out, and hold onto your hats when it does!
Nrama: In last week's Constantine #5 and in this week's Pandora #2, both characters seemed to sense some trouble ahead. Pandora even called it a "war." Why are these two so convinced?
Cunningham: No, these characters' stock and trade falls squarely in perception. And when they see trouble on the horizon, it's usually no illusion.
Nrama: Interesting. So what is each character's approach to stopping/preventing that war?
Cunningham: I don't want to spoil anything, but who's to say they stop or prevent it?
Nrama: Ah, thus the title, Trinity "War." OK, let's talk a little about the clues we're seeing regarding Pandora's box. The reaction Vandal Savage had this week when he held Pandora's box was very different from the reaction Superman had when he held it. How important were their reactions?
Cunningham: Very important, and consistent throughout Pandora's ongoing story. If a good guy like Superman holds the Box and turns to his basest instincts, then what happens to bad guys can be seen with Vandal's reaction in Pandora #2.
Nrama: So you're saying this difference is what we should we notice about each of their reactions?
Cunningham: Yes, notice the stark contrast of a personality if they hold the Box. It's very much opposite. But, then again, opposites do attract…
Nrama: Hmmm... that sounds like a clue, Brian. I'm going to let our readers try to figure out what you mean by that and just ask.... will the mystery of Pandora's box have a resolution by the end of Trinity War? And does that influence the future issues of the Pandora series?
Cunningham: The truth will come out between now and the end of Trinity War, yes. And it will have a profound influence on Pandora, definitely. The series will evolve further. You'll see. Just wait.
Nrama: Well I would assume that, since Pandora's so central to Trinity War, her experience during this event impacts her ongoing series.
Cunningham: Absolutely. Definitely. Completely.
Nrama: Next week, there's another tie-in, Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger #11. Since we talked about that quite a bit yesterday (and Newsarama talked to writer J.M. DeMatteis about it earlier this week), let's skip ahead to Justice League of America #7, which comes out Aug. 14th. What can you tease about that issue and the rest of Trinity War?
Cunningham: Justice League of America #7 (Part 4) ups the ante in unexpected ways. A new player enters the mix, one very familiar to fans — and this subtly ties into Forever Evil. We address the question "Was Superman set up to kill Doctor Light?" Catwoman and the House of Mystery have a, um, moment. Relations strain even more between the Justice League and JLA, if such a thing was possible. The Secret Society does something so despicable, I can't even say it. Despicable. Oh, and another Leaguer gets an opportunity to open the Box.
It's a fun read! And it's all colliding toward the end of Trinity War! I hope people enjoy it as much as I do.