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Pandora #1 is a Time and Space Spanning Origin Story

Pandora #1 is a Time and Space Spanning Origin Story

Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Artists: Zander Cannon, Daniel Sampere, Vicente Cifuentes, Patrick Zircher
Colors: Hi-Fi
Publisher: DC Comics

Pandora is one of the most intriguing characters and concepts to come out of the DC New 52. From appearing in the first issues of all the new DC books in 2011 as well as a Free Comic Book Day story in 2012, the role that Pandora plays in the DC universe has been shrouded in mystery. Is she good or evil? Which characters (or Justice League) will she ally with in the Trinity War? Pandora #1 not only answers some of these questions, but also gives Pandora a deep origin story that makes her a more compelling character. Her story spans 10,000 years and happens in too many locations to name. Ray Fawkes has borrowed elements of both Greek and Christian mythology as well as allusions to history and  DC Comics continuity to make Pandora’s story more timeless. This issue did have four artists handling various things like pencils, inks, layouts, and finishes, but Hi-Fi’s colors tie the various art together to tell a coherent story.

Early in Pandora #1, the reader discovers the Pandora is an over-curious human female who picked up a gold skull in the wood that unleashed the TRIN_PAND_Cv2_R1-300x453

Seven Deadly Sins into the world (who previously appeared in the “Shazam” backups in Justice League). In just a few pages, Fawkes has tied Pandora into the DC Universe as well the bigger storehouse of mythological archetypes. However, Pandora is unlike Eve from the Old Testament or the Pandora of mythology. She decides to actively fight back against the Sins even if it’s a losing battle. However, instead of being a pure archetype, Pandora’s characterization is deep and humane. She is immortal and basically omnipotent, but she can’t save everyone from the Sins. Instead of navel gazing, Pandora harnesses her grief and pain to help people and their leaders from ancient Egypt to the forests of Germany even attempting to end the Crusades. However, she changes throughout the book as she is continually faced with the negative consequences of her actions. Pandora is a complex character, who deserves an ongoing series and falls somewhere between the hero and villain spectrum.

Some of the greatest DC (or Vertigo) stories are ones that borrow from religion and mythology to become a high stakes epic filled with powerful characters and important themes. These stories include Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Books of Magic, Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, and Grant Morrison’s run on JLAPandora isn’t the equal of these stories, but makes use of the powerful beings to say something about the conflict between good and evil and/or compare the DC superheroes to mythological figures from the past. Pandora #1 does this by framing conflict between superheroes and villains in a larger historical context. The personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins might seem heavy-handed at time, but the book needs more conflict. A few established DC characters make cameos in this issue, and their appearances are highlights that shed even more light on Pandora’s character as well as setting the stage for Trinity War.

The art on this book is nothing to write home about. It’s done in DC’s “house style” with a fairly standard panel setup. The pacing on some scenes seemed little off, like one that shifted focus from Pandora to one of the Sins chasing her without establishing location. However, lines on the figures (especially Pandora) were clean, and Pandora had a variety of facial expressions. Hi-Fi’s colors gave the issue an otherworldly feel and really shone in the scenes where magic was used. However, this book could go from good to great if Ray Fawkes was paired with an artist who had a unique vision for this book and its protagonist, who is immortal and invincible yet filled with guilt, pain, and hate.

Pandora #1 is a well-crafted origin story for one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe. Ray Fawkes reveals the motivations for some of her actions in her previous appearances as well as giving her a vibrant emotional life through the occasional use of narration boxes. The book might not directly lead into “Trinity War”, but it frames that conflict into a bigger picture of a cosmic war between good and evil as well as leaving some story threads hanging, which will be explored in both the Trinity War crossover and Pandora itself.