Can the Phantom Stranger and His Gang of Superheroes Fix the Crack in Creation?


All it took for me to pick up “Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger Volume 3: The Crack in Creation” was the presence of Swamp Thing on the cover. DC Comics knew exactly what they were doing and I fell for it. I’m a sucker for anything that features Bernie Wrightson and Len Wein’s mossy creature. Unfortunately, he didn’t figure into the story as much as I would’ve hoped. That’s not to say the book wasn’t compelling.

With the Justice League missing and the villains in control, Phantom Stranger must destroy evil itself! But to stop the Crime Syndicate, Deadman must take control of Aquaman’s body!

The official synopsis provided by DC is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to “Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger Volume 3: The Crack in Creation.” There’s so much more here than just what they describe. The Phantom Stranger must save his guardian angel, partner with the Spectre to do battle against the Sin Eater and his evil minions, and face his day of judgment against a council made up of his most dangerous enemies.

He does all of this while battling his own will to rebel against his Maker and take things into his own hands. The fact that so much of the book deals with spiritual battles within ourselves is part of what kept me interested in “Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger Volume 3: The Crack in Creation.” Granted, there are a lot of religious ideologies mixed together here. Although much of it is based in Christianity and the teachings of the Bible, other world religions end up being blended in and create a hodge podge of New Age mumbo jumbo in the end.

The concept of the Phantom Stranger being Judas Iscariot atoning for his betrayal of Jesus Christ intrigued me immediately. His is a story about the road to redemption and his constant struggle to keep the faith and blindly follow the Will of God wherever it takes him. J.M. DeMatteis, Len Wein, and Dan Didio do a good job combining forces to keep readers engaged through this collection of issues 12 through 22 of the Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger Future’s End #1.

One problem I had with “Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger Volume 3: The Crack in Creation” is the way the different issues skip ahead in the story, leaving out major events talked about but never witnessed on the page. It felt like most of the action took place in other issues of different comic book titles. That’s one of the problems of having a combined universe. Things happen to characters in another issue of another series that affects the book you’re invested in. There’s too much interweaving of storylines between the different character titles. The only way you could keep up with it all is if you won the lottery and had a few hundred dollars a month and 24 hours a day to dedicate to comic book reading.

“Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger Volume 3: The Crack in Creation” is rated “T” for Teens. There’s the usual comic book violence, some mild language, and partial nudity. I don’t know which artist or artists it is, but someone has an obsession with naked bodies of all types. Whether it’s lost souls or our superheroes being stripped (literally) of their costumes and powers, you better believe they’re three-quarters naked.

I do have my problems with the religious aspects of “Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger Volume 3: The Crack in Creation” being all jumbled together. However, if you treat the book as a work of fiction influenced by the Bible and other religions, it’s an entertaining read that blends together love, loss, regret, and redemption with a healthy dose of action and adventure. The inclusion of John Constantine, Swamp Thing, the Spectre, and Superman is an added bonus.

“Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger Volume 3: The Crack in Creation” is available now in paperback and Digital editions.

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