This review is based off a volume that collects Trinity #1-6.
Be it onscreen or on the printed page, superhero team-ups are arguably a bigger deal now than ever before. Since Rebirth kicked off a year ago, DC has done a fair job of producing addictive ensemble titles – for the most part. Truth be told, I’ve found the current run of Justice League to be unsatisfactory more often than not, so, thankfully, Trinity has been just what the doctor ordered.
Uniting three of the most iconic heroes in all of pop culture – Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman – writer/artist Francis Manapul treats readers by offering a more intimate look at the characters in smaller settings than expected, no less. Granted, it’s easier to do that in a book such as this as opposed to one that forces you to juggle seven or eight main protagonists, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that Manapul remains one of today’s top talents.
Before delving further into the content itself, I thought I’d take a moment to point out that unlike most collected editions the Rebirth era has thus far yielded, this is a hardcover, not a paperback. It’s probably due to the fact that Trinity’s periodicals ship once monthly as opposed to twice, therefore DC doesn’t have to pump out its trades as often. Well, there’s that and the significance of the headliners.
Getting back to what’s sandwiched between the covers, it’s worth noting that Manapul brought a few friends along with him. While he did script the entire thing, the doodles found within aren’t his alone. Three of the six issues collected were illustrated by him, with Emanuela Lupacchino having drawn two, and Clay Mann having drawn one, in addition to a few covers. And while everyone put forth their best effort, it’s hard not to notice their clashing styles.
Manapul’s own style may be among the most distinctive in the industry today, but I’d have thought someone more comparable should’ve been paired with him. Mann is better suited to tag in and out with someone like Tony S. Daniel, whereas, say, Brian Ching and Manapul would make a more fitting duo. Despite my rant, this is actually a minor gripe and didn’t make me enjoy the book any less – I just hope DC takes input such as this to heart in order to make for more fluid reading experiences.
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As I intimated moments ago, we join our heroes in a cozier setting, as Batman and Wonder Woman descend on the Kent farm intent on breaking bread with the pre-Flashpoint Superman and his family. Having lost their own friend and colleague in New 52 Superman, they think it best to become better acquainted with this “new” Man of Steel. Amazingly, Manapul doesn’t contradict any concurrently running series, and provides some nice callbacks to the co-headliners’ respective individual ongoings. I’m also not quite so sure they’d have been able to connect as convincingly had the author thrust them into an epic battle in a metropolitan environment or in outer space. Thus, the Norman Rockwell-esque backdrop felt “just right.”
It’s not long, however, before Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman find themselves in the thick of it, seemingly transported to Smallville of yesteryear. While there, they meet up with Jonathan Kent and Clark as a youth in one tender mindf**k. Likewise, the triumvirate are soon whisked to a warped reflection of Gotham City where Bruce subjects himself to a front row seat to his parents’ murder just to see them one more time in the most heart-wrenching handful of pages this tome has to offer. And, as you probably guessed, Themyscira is the next stop on the tour, making for a rather fun little Odyssey.
When it comes to the antagonists, Manapul picks and chooses from the heroes’ shared mythologies in logical fashion. We have Poison Ivy wrapped up in a situation with the Black Mercy (you can probably tell I’m dancing around major spoilers here), with Mongul looming in the background. It’s a wonderful throwback to Alan Moore’s classic, For The Man Who Has Everything that actually paves the way for a new addition to the DC Universe.
All in all, Trinity Vol. 1: Better Together is a thrilling, beautiful piece that fans of pre-New 52 Superman/Batman must check out. Plus, it’s very easy for new readers to pick up, despite making references to other books. In other words, it’s very enriching for diehards, but self-contained enough for the neophyte.
Highly accessible yet not lacking in depth, Trinity is the right ensemble book to arrive at just the right time.