"Trinity of Sin: Pandora" No. 1, written by Ray Fawkes with interior art by Daniel Sampere, is out Wednesday and is a prelude to "Trinity War." Cover art by Ryan Sook. (DC Comics)Link
"Trinity of Sin: Pandora" No. 2 is set for a July 31 release. Cover art by Ryan Sook. (DC Comics)Link
Pride and Envy, two of the Seven Deadly Sins, are seen on the penciled and inked first page of "Trinity of Sin: Pandora" No. 2. (Daniel Sampere / DC Comics)Link
Pandora and an ally on the penciled Page 3 of "Trinity of Sin: Pandora" No. 2. (Daniel Sampere / DC Comics)Link
Giganta, Vandal Savage and Signalman of the Secret Society appear on the penciled Page 4 of "Trinity of Sin: Pandora" No. 2. (Daniel Sampere / DC Comics)Link
Daniel Sampere's penciled Page 6 for "Trinity of Sin: Pandora" No. 2. (Daniel Sampere / DC Comics)Link
Daniel Sampere's penciled Page 7 for "Trinity of Sin: Pandora" No. 2. (Daniel Sampere / DC Comics)Link
Daniel Sampere's penciled Page 9 for "Trinity of Sin: Pandora" No. 2. (Daniel Sampere / DC Comics)Link
Ryan Sook's cover art for "Trinity of SIn: Pandora" No. 3, a "Trinity War" tie-in scheduled for release Aug. 21, shows Green Arrow of Justice League of America, Batman of Justice League, and John Constantine of Justice League Dark. (DC Comics)Link
Pandora first appeared in "Flashpoint" No. 5 in 2011, speaking cryptically in the Geoff Johns-written event finale as reality was reset for the New 52. The Flash's confusion mirrored readers'. She has slowly emerged, and steps to the fore in "Trinity of Sin: Pandora" No. 1. (Andy Kubert / DC)Link
Pandora may have only first appeared in DC Comics two years ago, but writer Ray Fawkes has 10,000 years of the mysterious character’s unseen history to draw on for her new ongoing series.
And readers will get a look at some of her past in “Trinity of Sin: Pandora” No. 1, which arrives Wednesday, bringing to the foreground arguably the most influential background character in the DCU and serving as a lead-in to “Trinity War,” which will plunge the Justice League, Justice League of America and Justice League Dark into conflict with one another.
Ages ago, the myth-based character opened the box that unleashed evil into the world, and appeared to play a role in resetting the reality of the DCU in the 2011 miniseries event “Flashpoint.”
For opening the box forever associated with her name, she was cursed by the Council of Eternity along with her fellow “greatest transgressors mankind has ever known” — the Phantom Stranger (in the New 52, he’s all but been called Judas Iscariot) and the Question, together branded as the Trinity of Sin. After millenniums of passive suffering, Pandora has been seen declaring that she’s taking action. She has recaptured that dangerous box (“It may be the source of my curse,” she says, “but it’s also the secret to my salvation.”) and seeks to reopen it, though she can’t do it herself. That task will fall to either the strongest or darkest of heart, she’s told the Phantom Stranger. And she’s determined to make it happen – “even if it means the end of the Justice League.”
In a phone interview, the Toronto-based Fawkes, who also co-writes “Justice League Dark” and “Constantine” with Jeff Lemire and last year had an Eisner nomination for his “One Soul,” discussed Pandora’s pain and passion, potential guest stars and what to look for in Daniel Sampere’s art.
HC: Since “Flashpoint,” Pandora has popped up just about everywhere but in a series of her own. She clearly has a purpose story-wise in DCU-spanning events. What about her character have you been able to draw out to sustain an ongoing series? And what do you want to add to readers’ perceptions of her?
RF: She is supposed to be the mythical Pandora, the one who opened the box that unleashed all the evils of the world. She has gone on an incredible journey over the course of 10,000 years, and we’ve got a lot, emotionally speaking, to draw on for her own series. The readers are going to finally get the chance to get to know her and see how she ticks and what it is that she’s all about – all the things that she has seen, all the things she’s done, and what she feels she needs to do as a result. She has a unique perspective on the history of the new DC universe….
As to what this book is going to be about, it’s sort of after this 10,000 years has come to a head, in a way, a number of events have all come together that will spark a new journey for Pandora. It’s almost like the 10,000 years that she has lived to this point are a prelude and the images that the readers have seen of Pandora all over the DC universe, those are sort of like the final steps in the prelude before the adventure that’s about to kick off.
HC: In approaching writing a character like that, how do you get into the head of someone thousands of years old, and what can you say about what sort of scenes from her history might show up in the series?
RF: An interesting thing about Pandora is that the nature of her curse doesn’t allow pain to fade for her…. I know that one of the approaches on extremely old characters is that they become very jaded or cynical. That’s not true for Pandora. She’s not allowed to become jaded. She’s forced to feel every loss and every emotional strike as if it was brand new. It’s very interesting because I have in her a character who’s witnessed basically every possible permutation of suffering the human race has ever experienced, and yet to her it always feels like something new. She’s a completely unique character in that respect. I get to write her with the experience of 10,000 years under her belt but with the emotional reaction of somebody who is living a perfectly normal young life. So it’s a little bit of a paradox, and it’s really, really fun. It also makes it so that a lot of other characters don’t quite understand her, they can never quite understand her….
Readers will see key points from throughout her history throughout the series…. She witnessed basically the building of modern human civilization, and she was in a lot of the places that mattered historically. In the very first issue, readers are actually going to see her moving throughout the Fertile Crescent and then out into Europe and out into Asia over the course of those thousands of years.
HC: In her brief appearances so far, readers have seen Pandora declare that after centuries of crying, that it’s time to be proactive. What sort of actions might she be taking?
RF: She was accused of this terrible crime and she was consumed for a long time with guilt and shame over what it was that she had done. And over time that guilt and shame sort of evolved into a pretty slow-burning, steady anger that’s been increasing over the years…. It’s been revealed that the Council of Eternity has admitted that they think they made a mistake in sentencing her and cursing her, that they think that perhaps she may not be guilty of the crime that they originally accused her of. And so when that is revealed to her, that slow, steady anger reaches a boiling point. She’s going to go from someone who is penitent to someone who becomes a warrior and an avenger.
HC: This is a character who seems both concerned with shedding her personal curse and stopping a coming world threat. How do you see the relationship between those two pursuits, and might they come into conflict with each other?
RF: Pandora sees her curse as tied to the suffering of the world. As the world suffers, so does she. In a way, her selfish motives also become selfless because she is convinced that if she can heal the world of its ills, she will be released from her curse. She will rapidly learn that things aren’t quite that simple, and yes … her personal quest to be relieved of her curse may actually run contrary to the better interests of the world – and that’s where things are going to get pretty morally interesting for her. That’s where she’s going to start to make choices between what she thinks will save her and what she thinks will help the world.
HC: With so little known about this character to this point, readers might not know what style of book to expect. How would you describe this series?
RF: I would describe this series as an epic adventure 10,000 years in the making. Readers can expect a very personal story about a very large battle.
HC: What can you say about the dynamic between this series and “Trinity War”?
RF: Pandora herself and the associations Pandora has made with some of the heroes will definitely be like a fuse or a trigger that sets off the Trinity War, and Pandora will be one of the focuses of the Trinity War as far as some of the heroes are concerned. But in her book the readers will see her as she is. Whereas in the Trinity War and many of the other things that are happening, most of the perspective on her continues to be as this mysterious character … that people don’t really know or understand. It’s the readers who read “Trinity of Sin: Pandora” who will see how she actually is maneuvering and what she’s actually thinking while all these other heroes consider her a threat or a villain or a potential ally or whatever. It’s sort of the woman behind the mystery.
HC: As she has appeared in just about everyone else’s titles, what can you say at this point about what characters might drop by hers?
RF: Just about everybody in the DC universe is a potential here. Readers are going to see her interacting with sort of top-level characters, people like Superman and Wonder Woman, and they’re also going to see her interacting with some of the more obscure characters, some of the villains out of the Secret Society. It’s all across the board: She deals with mythic characters, cosmic characters, and some of the street-level characters even. Pandora, personally, she’s very, very focused on a sort of moral dimension…. You may see characters like Deathstroke, who may be morally sort of huge even if they are sort of more street-level characters.
HC: How do you see her relationship with the other two people she’s tied to in the Trinity of Sin?
RF: I think the Phantom Stranger finds her frustrating. I’ve had a couple good conversations with [“Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger” writer] J.M. DeMatteis about that. And I think the Question has a pretty clear dislike for Pandora. I think Pandora can’t stand them because she’s been associated with them and in her mind those two other members of the trinity are definitely guilty of the crimes they’ve been accused of, whereas she sees herself as put upon and wrongly accused.
HC: We’ll be seeing the Seven Deadly Sins soon, yes?
RF: The Seven Deadly Sins are actually in no uncertain terms Pandora’s truest enemies. She is very closely tied and related to them.
HC: You worked with Daniel Sampere on a couple issues of “Batgirl,” and you’re back together on “Pandora.” How – especially as an artist yourself – would you characterize his contributions?
RF: He has this wonderful expressiveness to his characters, facially and even the way they move their bodies. I love it. I know I can trust him to really convey the drama of the moments on the characters’ faces as they speak and interact. And the other thing is he has this – this may seem like a funny detail – but he has this really wonderful eye for texture. For me, since Pandora is this kind of grand, sweeping story through history, I love to see when he draws these billowing fabrics and these textures of the dry stone and the wet leaves of the forests and all the places that Pandora’s been throughout the world and throughout time. It really comes across as very lush under his pen. I’m really happy to have him on the book.
– Blake Hennon | @BlakeHennon
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