How Is The New JUSTICE LEAGUE Team Connected to TRINITY WAR?

Update, 8/26: As announced Sunday at Fan Expo in Toronto, there is indeed a new Justice League team on the wayJustice League America, debuting in early 2013 from the creative team of Geoff Johns and David Finch.

Justice League of America As speculated below, it indeed involves Green Arrow, Steve Trevor and A.R.G.U.S., plus Martian Manhunter, Vibe and the new Green Lantern, Baz. Exactly what role the team will play in Trinity War remains unclear at the moment. Original story: As DC publicizes the romantic relationship we'll see starting in Justice League #12, it's easy to dismiss it as a publicity stunt. But after years of reading stories by Justice League writer Geoff Johns — and seeing the way his Green Lantern romance between Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris keeps spinning into universe-threatening space wars — we're thinking there might be a big clue behind the "romance" for what's coming in next year's Trinity War event.

After all, romances in comics are rarely happy ever after. And Johns said the relationship will have an impact on the "entire DCU." Could the romance between Superman and Wonder Woman be important to next year's Trinity War?

For that matter, what is Trinity War, and when will we find out more about it?

Three Sinners

DC's Free Comic Book Day issue implied that Trinity War is actually about the three "sinner" characters: Pandora, Phantom Stranger and The Question.

We've explored the FCBD clues about each of these three characters before on Newsarama, but very few details about them are clear.

Phantom Stranger #2 Pandora also showed up in every #1 issue in the New 52 relaunch, and Phantom Stranger gets his own ongoing series starting in September written by DC co-publisher Dan DiDio. The Question appears to be the biggest (pardon the pun) question mark. But there's no doubt DC has big plans for all three characters, since they made up a large part of the FCBD tease for what's next in the New 52.

One thing the FCBD issue does make clear is that Pandora's Box is involved. Justice League artist/co-publisher Jim Lee's teaser image about Trinity War shows Batman carrying Pandora's Box on his back, in the midst of a battle set "in the near future."

The insinuation is that Batman is taking sides among the three "sinners." And that means that the other Justice League characters, who are battling each other, are likely taking sides as well.

  If Justice League members are battling each other, are Wonder Woman and Superman on the same team because of their romance? In the teaser image, it actually looks like maybe they're not — as Wonder Woman attacks Aquaman, who appears to be fighting with Superman.

But it's hard to tell.

All's fair in love and war, so it's possible the love is lost by the time Trinity War rolls around, but a break-up or lover's spat might be part of the emotional fervor driving the war between Leaguers.

New Justice League Team?

Justice League #8 Most of Justice League #8 was dedicated to setting up a moment where Steve Trevor offers Green Arrow the chance to join "another team." As a result, Newsarama speculated months ago — and more than one comic news blogger has agreed — that DC is probably launching a new Justice League team.

If that's true, then Justice League #8 appears to confirm that Green Arrow is one of the new team's members. And Steve Trevor and A.R.G.U.S. play a big role in its activities.

Who else is on the team? Justice League #8 featured Martian Manhunter, who recently quit being part of Stormwatch, so he's a strong candidate. The FCBD issue also had a few characters in its Trinity War teaser who aren't currently on a League team: Element Woman, Black Adam, Atom and Vibe. Plus the new Green Lantern, Baz.

Johns said of Vibe's inclusion: "I can't remember the last time someone requested to see [Vibe]. That's the whole point, though. I like new challenges."

The use of the first person "I" by Johns means fans can likely expect the writer himself to be handling the "challenge" of introducing Vibe into The New 52. If Vibe is a member of the new Justice League team, and Johns is handling Vibe's introduction, it would seem to follow that Johns himself is handling the introduction of the entire new team.

JLI Annual Where might Johns write about this new, Steve Trevor-created team? The obvious guess is Justice League, but it's important to note.... Johns is not only writing the much touted Justice League #12, but he's also co-writing next week's release of Justice League International Annual #1 with DiDio.

Perhaps that's where we should look for clues about a new team.

Justice League International Annual

The cancellation of New 52 title Justice League International could also be considered a clue in this discussion, because it wasn't one of DC's lowest selling titles.

Could it be that its cancellation is actually part of a larger Justice League reorganization? We already explored that possibility in May, and it's still looking like a possibility. Because next week's Justice League International Annual #1 is being written by DiDio and Johns, two of the top dogs at DC, the end of the JLI is at the very least important enough for them to get involved.

Since Johns is the mind behind "Trinity War" and DiDio is writing Phantom Stranger, the fact that they're co-writing Justice League International Annual #1 looks a lot like it's part of a Trinity War build up.

But could it also be the place where the new team involving Green Arrow is introduced? There was mention in Dan Jurgens' final issue of JLI that Queen Industries provided the jet for the team, so there are clues that the JLI could already have Ollie's involvement.

Justice League #12 According to our coverage of the Justice League panel at Comic Con International: San Diego, it's important to read Justice League #12 before reading the JLI Annual.

So they're linked. And it looks like we have to know about the Wonder Woman/Superman romance first. Perhaps this "final adventure ever" for the JLI (as solicitations promise) is actually the first adventure for a new team? And maybe the Superman/Wonder Woman romance is someone's motivation to put that team in action? Could Steve Trevor, if he's still alive and kicking, be the jealous type?

The Rule of Threes

Whether or not there's a new Justice League team coming, or whether the Justice League International gets re-formed in a new way, we've also been wondering whether there's yet another team getting involved here.

Could the biggest clue about the "teams" involved in "Trinity War" lie within the title of the event? Could the "three" implied in "Trinity War" be a reference to three teams of Leaguers?

The most obvious choice for a possible third team is Justice League Dark. One of its members, Deadman, is in the middle of the FCBD teaser image for Trinity War, so there's no doubt he's involved. The FCBD issue also featured the "Black Room," where items relating to the Justice League Dark were featured.

And Jeff Lemire told Newsarama in May that he's scheming with Geoff Johns on tie-ins between Justice League and Justice League Dark.

"I'm really working closely with Geoff Johns on the book. We want all the Justice League titles to be a cohesive franchise," he said. (All the Justice League titles? Not "both?")

Jeff Lemire also said in San Diego that the bridge between Johns' Justice League characters and his Justice League Dark team is Steve Trevor and A.R.G.U.S., which points again toward involvement with Trevor's Green Arrow-led team.

The FCBD issue also teased that Earth 2 will soon be discovered, so there's a very long-shot chance a third League might be related to the characters on Earth 2.

But perhaps the biggest implication of this three-team theory is that the Trinity of Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman might each pick a different "team." Superman might fight with the new team, Wonder Woman with the old, and Batman with the "Dark." Or something like that...

Who would win if they did? No matter the victor, the love story between Wonder Woman and Superman would make that three-way battle an emotional one. And it might add just the type of personal touch a universe-spanning story needs.

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