Comic Book Review: Trinity #1

The Revolution is going to let DC suck us back into yet another weekly title. Yeah, Countdown stunk on ice, but you would think that would mean DC has learned their lesson and will put forth a strong effort to make Trinity a good read. I still have reservations about yet another title dealing with Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. However, I plan on keeping my mind open and will hope for the best. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Trinity #1.

Creative Team
Writer: Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Mark Bagley & Scott McDaniel
Inks: Art Thibert & Andy Owens

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with a giant fiery face in deep space screaming “Let me out!!” We cut to Keystone City where we see Bruce, Clark and Diana meeting at a coffee pier for breakfast. They are all in their civilian identities which prompts Diana to mention how much Clark and Bruce enjoy their games with their secret identities. Diana’s civilian identity is more of a private identity. That as Diana Prince she is still essentially herself while Bruce and Clark practically transform themselves into different people. (It is mentioned during this scene that Diana is stripped of her powers when not in her Wonder Woman costume. I don’t read her title, but I have never heard of this limitation on her abilities. I thought she had her powers no matter what. Is this a new twist on her characters?)

Bruce then says they need to get down to business and talk about the dreams that they have been having. They have all had the same dream, but with different perceptions of it. Clark sees a face in space that is a cosmic extraterrestrial intelligence that is enraged and warping the fabric of space-time. Diana sees an ancient and angry god that is trapped by some kind of fundamental mystical force and is straining to be free. Bruce saw shadows, but within them was a criminal jailed for his crimes but intent on escape.

Clark then mentions that his super hearing just picked up Clayface rampaging in Keystone City. Clark then says that the Flash and his kids are already on the scene dealing with Clayface. After Flash quickly disposes of Clayface and then returns his kids back to him home, he goes and sits with the big three at their table.

We learn that Bruce selected Keystone City for their little meeting since they had been able to reach all the other JLA’ers except for Wally. Bruce asks Wally if he had any peculiar dreams last night. Wally says no. Diana mentions that the dreams the three of them had felt prophetic. Clark wonders why only the three of them had the dream.

We shift to our three heroes going their separate ways and agreeing that they need to keep a look out for any clues to the dreams. We see Superman flying around Metropolis when he hears the voice from the dream saying “Let me out of here.” We see Batman in his Batplane hearing the same voice. We then see Wonder Woman flying around and also hearing the same voice. Wonder Woman thinks that she not only hears the voice, but that there is a smell like lightning and sulfur. Suddenly, laser beams are shot at Wonder Woman from above.

We cut back to Superman who is holding his ears as the voice gets louder and louder. Suddenly, there is a huge explosion as the top of a building next to Superman blows up. End of story.

We get a back-up story that begins at Castle Branek which is the home of Morgan Le Fey. We see a man with a silver helmet covering half of his face. The man is carrying a long staff with a question mark at the end of it. The man summons Morgan Le Fey.

Morgan appears and immediately attacks the man. The man uses his question mark staff to absorb Morgan’s magical blasts. The man says that his S.P.H.E.R.E. (sub-plasmic heuro-elective retribution engine) can bypass Morgan’s spells and take her apart molecule by molecule. The man says that he is here simply to talk. Morgan replies that the man has also experienced the dreams. The man says that he has indeed experienced the dreams. Morgan is impressed with the man’s high science and technology and says that he is quite the enigma.

The man says that the dreams they are having deal with an incredible power that is strong enough to reorder the very nature of reality. The man says that the keystones of the dreams are none other than Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The man says his technology has revealed ripples of energy like an instability in the universe whirling around the big three but they don’t seem to know it.

Morgan uses her magic to track these ripples and follow them into the future. Morgan conjures up visions of the future in her mystical flames. We cut to an apartment in Los Angeles where a young Hispanic woman is reading her tarot cards in order to help her with the dream. She draws three tarot cards: The Devil, Strength and Justice. Suddenly the pictures on the three cards change. The Devil picture turns into a picture of a demonic Batman. The picture on the Strength card turns into a picture of Wonder Woman. And the picture on the Justice card turns into Superman. The woman is stunned and wonders what is happening.

Morgan and the man then see another scene in the future of Green Arrow and Speedy getting ready to deal with a problem at Arkham Asylum. However, they are stopped by a character that looks like the Ragman. And he has a sidekick with him. Ragman says that Gotham is under their protection and that Green Arrow has already had his chance.

Morgan and the man then see another scene from the future showing them two monsters name Konvikt and Graak. Morgan and the man then see a scene of a massive monument in the side of a cliff of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman in god forms.

The man then tells Morgan that they are going to need a third person or their mission. That if they are to steal the essential might of the three then they also need to be three. Morgan will stand in for Wonder Woman. The man will stand in for Batman. Morgan then says that they will seek out Despero to stand in for Superman.

As Morgan and the man leave the castle to go collect Despero, Morgan asks the man what name she shall call him. The man answers that Morgan can call him Enigma. Morgan says that the world shall be theirs whatever the source of the dreams might be. We then see a giant fiery figure ripping the Earth in half. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Trinity #1 was a serviceable read. Busiek serves up a technically sound debut issue. Busiek unveils the mission statement for Trinity and then proceeds to give a rough outline of the path that lies before the reader. Busiek also unveils several little teaser scenes and mysteries in order to whet the reader’s appetite without revealing too much in the first issue. Busiek follows the standard formula that always lends to a sound debut issue of a new title.

It is obvious that DC is signaling to the reader that this will not be another Countdown. Busiek does his best to impress upon the reader that he already has a clearly plotted and planed story for this title. Busiek is assuring the reader that unlike Countdown, Trinity will be a coherently coordinated and tightly run story.

Busiek also does a wonderful job making Trinity #1 new reader friendly. Busiek introduces all the characters in quick fashion and gives the reader enough information about the various characters and their relationship with each other. A new reader will have no problem picking up Trinity #1 and completely enjoying this story.

Now, since Trinity #1 is a set-up issue it is of no surprise that the pacing is a bit slow. However, that is exactly what is always to be expected in the beginning of a story when the writer is doing his best to lay a sound foundation for the upcoming issues. Busiek did his best to keep this set-up issue from dragging too much by injecting the small action scene between the Flash and Clayface.

I also enjoyed seeing Bruce, Clark and Diana meeting each other in public in their civilian identities. For the most part, we only ever see the big three meeting with each other while in costume. This move by Busiek reinforced to the reader the close personal friendships that the big three have with each other.

Busiek does a nice job teasing the reader with the mysterious dreams that the big three are having. These dreams seem tied to the strange fiery face that we see in deep space in the beginning of this issue as well as the fiery figure that is ripping Earth apart at the end of this issue. I found the dreams that the big three are having were pretty interesting. I liked the cool twist that Busiek added by having each of the big three experienced their own flavor of the same dream that reflects their own background and personality.

Busiek serves up a nice little hook ending to the main story with Wonder Woman under attack and Superman dealing with a sudden explosion. It is just enough of a jolt right before the end to the main story that grabs the reader’s interest and gets them wanting to come back to check out the next issue.

What I particularly enjoyed was that the “back-up” story is not really a true back-up story. Instead, it appears that Busiek is going to use the “back-up” story to give us a different viewpoint of what went on in the “main” story. In Trinity #1, Busiek wisely uses the back-up story as an effective tool to supplying the majority of the foundation for Trinity’s story. The back-up story also offers the reader all of the various teaser scenes from the future.

In general, I dig the concept of the big three having to go up against their evil counter-parts in Morgan Le Fey, Enigma and Despero. Out of the three villains, Enigma is the one that intrigues me the most. He clearly is a character that is an updated version of the Riddler. And now that the Riddler has gone legit over in Detective Comics, it makes sense that DC would want to fill Riddler’s spot in Batman’s Rogues gallery with an modernized version of his character.

The future scenes were good teasers for upcoming events on this title. I’m curious to learn more about the Hispanic girl reading the tarot cards and how she fits into this story. I am also interested in learning more about the scene dealing with the Ragman and Green Arrow. And I’m definitely intrigued by the scene with the godlike statutes of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

Mark Bagley and Art Thibert deliver plenty of solid artwork. It is not the best that I have seen from Bagley, but it got the job done. There is something to be said for nice clean art that makes the reader easily understand what is going on in each panel. Plus, Bagley is a machine and is one of the few artists who can maintain a grueling 52 week schedule.

The Bad: I found Busiek’s dialogue to be rather ordinary. And I thought Busiek delivered a Batman that just felt a bit off. This Batman came across a bit too pre-1986 for my tastes. I just had a hard time with Bruce greeting Clark with a “Hey, buddy!” The character work was a bit lacking. However, this is just the debut issue, so I’ll give Busiek a few issues to get his story in place before I start worrying about his character work on this title.

I found Trinity #1 to have a poor flow. The scene transitions were a bit clumsy. The entire issue moved in a bit of random fashion and Busiek jumped from scene to scene. In general I found Trinity #1 to lack that something special that makes me really excited for a comic book. This issue lacked that “pop” and “sizzle” that strong debut issues always possess. There just wasn’t anything in Trinity #1 that really jumped out at me and made me go “Wow.”

I was less than impressed with the artwork from Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens in the back-up story.

Overall: Trinity #1 was a solid debut issue. Trinity #1’s strengths are also its weaknesses. This is a technically sound debut issue that is dependable and accessible to new readers. However, this solid workman’s effort makes Trinity #1 fall short of being a really exciting or special issue. Still, this is just the first issue and Busiek did just enough to get me to come back for more. Also, the fact that Busiek makes Trinity #1 new reader friendly and that DC is going to keep the story in Trinity confined to this title is enough for me to recommend giving this title a try.

8 Comments

  1. While i dont plan on reading trinity, i just wanted to comment on mark bagley. If there is any one artist who could pull off a weekly schedule, its him. He put out what? like 16 issues of ultimate spider man last year? the man is a machine, and pretty damn good too, alot of people are saying he wont be able to hack it, but im pulling for the guy, i want to see him make it 52 issues, no delays. that would be pretty cool.
    -hobosk8er

  2. Is it odd that Bruce Wayne would be hanging out with Clark and Diana? Maybe Clark is interviewing him and Diana is just some pretty lady that Bruce knows. Why would Wally sit with them though? Someone like Bruce Wayne wouldn’t have time for some dude from Keystone City. You’d think this would lead to people figuring out at least one secret identity and maybe figuring all of them out. I’m pretty sure Bruce Wayne can’t go anywhere without being noticed.

  3. I think the whole “Hey Clark buddy!” thing is, of course, a big front. I read this in another review, and I think it’s a perfect way to describe it: you can almost feel both Bruce and Clark cringe when they hear that.

    I do think it’s weird for the four heroes to meet together in their secret identities like that, considering their vastly different social/economic backgrounds.

  4. I liked Bruce’s ‘Hey buddy’ – this is playboy free-wheeling Bruce in his public persona and it fit with that.

    I also liked that everyone assumed Clark was interviewing Bruce, and that Diana was either Bruce’s arm candy or the new body guard (‘look at those shoulders!’).

    Wonder Woman’s been depowered while in costume for a few months now, I think since Gail Simone started – maybe before, now I think about it, possibly since Heinberg.

    Solid issue but not spectacular.

  5. I could see billionaire schmuck, Bruce Wayne, saying “Hey, buddy!”, actually.

    The Good:
    -Mark Bagley is a rock solid choice for the art, and solid is what this kind of undertaking needs.

    -If that giant is Krona, as it’s cosmic receding hairline seems to indicate, that would certainly be a threat worthy of the Big three’s talents. If so, does Trinity flow into next year’s Blackest Night?

    The Bad:
    -Enigma annoys, when he should menace and intrigue. Unless there is another layer to his identity, one deeper than the one telegraphed by his name, I don’t think I will enjoy his presence much. Prometheus, damaged that he is, post-Morrison, would have been a better choice.
    -IN today’s Marvelized DCU, and especially with Geoff Johns gory run still in recent memory, having the Flash letting his children be super-heroes is creepy.

    The Ugly:
    -Odd that the writers just spat out that Despero was Superman’s counterpart, instead of building up a minor preliminary mystery. Let’s hope the story they have is so good, they thought it would be to prosaic to do so.

  6. The “hi buddy” could be DC trying to establish the original buddy-buddy relationship they had pre-crisis. After bringing back the multiuniverse, Barry Allen coming back, Supes having his childhood interaction with the Legion once more etc… it seems like they are bringing back old school DC! For those of you who feel weired out by the “hi buddy” and feel its uncharacteristic, remember this is what they were like for at least 40 years, and the dark uneasy relationship is something created about 20 years ago.

  7. As I understand it, this entire story is supposed to take place before Final Crisis (and R.I.P.). Maybe the Krona troubles will somehow add to FC when all is said and done. That night even be a good idea, to make FC feel like more than just a big New Gods story.

    So is Enigma supposed to be someone we know? He seems linked to the Riddler, but Riddler was never this kind of a techie. And he seems to have a two-face look going on, but seemingly without the personality swings (so far). Is this a renegade Elseworlds character?

    < RANT > While I like having the Multiverse come back, I don’t like having so many of the Earths resemble known stories that were not meant to be in “continuity” at all. The “Kingdom Come” worship in particular bothers me.< /RANT >

  8. I don’t know if this question has been answered yet, but is Trinity going to be outside of regular DC comics continuity? I mean if Morrison kills off Batman in that title, are we to assume that these weekly stories exist outside of the main DCU? Or are they taking place on an alternate Earth? I haven’t picked up “Trinity” yet, but not sure I am going to. I was dissapointed somewhat with “Countdown” although I love Mark Bagley’s artwork so I am leaning towards giving it a shot

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