Comic Book Review: Trinity #5

The Revolution continues to find Trinity to be nothing more than an average read. However, it is still too early to give up on this weekly title. I am willing to give Trinity to issue #15 before I think about dropping this title. Despite the fact that I like Busiek, I am getting that nagging feeling that Trinity may begin to read more like Countdown than 52. Maybe Busiek will get me more excited about this story with Trinity #5. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Mark Bagley & Mike Norton
Inks: Art Thibert & Mike Farmer

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Superman brawling with Konvikt. Superman’s super hearing picks up Batman requesting that Superman come to the escape pod immediately. Wonder Woman steps into the fight with Konvikt and tells Superman to go to Batman. Wonder Woman says that she can hold off Konvikt.

Superman flies off to Batman. Along the way Superman thinks how his ego did not force him to stay and fight Konvikt. Superman arrives at the escape pod and we see that Batman has Graak pinned to the wall with batarangs. (Busiek’s First Law of Trinity: The goddamn Batman shall kicketh no ass on Trinity.)

Graak refuses to answer any of Batman’s questions about the life support system for the escape pod. Batman replies that when he is done with Graak and that he will turn Graak over to Superman. Graak replies that he does not know how the life support system works. That it automatically senses whatever air is needed and delivers it.

We cut to Morgan and Enigma watching the scene in Morgan’s mystic flames. Morgan is impressed with Batman’s ruthless streak, but states that without Superman’s powers that Batman is useless. (Dios mio! Enough already. I get it.)

We shift back to Wondy brawling with Konvikt. (There are episodes of Dragon Ball Z that have less drawn out brawls than this one with Konvikt.) Superman flies onto the scene with some device Batman designed. Wonder Woman punches Konvikt in the gut so he takes in a huge cloud of gas shot from Batman’s device. Evidently, the device creates gas that is tailored to Konvikt’s species to put him in cryosleep. Konvikt then collapses to the ground unconscious.

We then see Batman appear on the scene with one of the furry animal creatures tied up. Batman says that he looked around after Superman told him that someone branded Wonder Woman. Batman caught this creature and a sphere with the Omega symbol on it that it used to brand Wonder Woman. (Busiek’s Second Law of Trinity: If the goddam Batman gets the desire to kicketh some ass then it must only occur off panel.)

We cut to Morgan stunned that Batman found her minion. Morgan exclaims that her minion was mystically shielded. Enigma cracks if Morgan is still unimpressed with a “regular” human like Batman.

Superman begins to question the creature. The creature says that soon the Trinity will be sundered and its mistress and her allies will claim…but before the creature finishes talking it bursts into flames and collapses in a pile of ashes.

We see the D.E.O. arrive on the scene and carry off Konvikt. Unfortunately, Graak was nowhere to be seen on the escape pod.

Wonder Woman comments if either Superman or Batman are going to tell her that she needs medical attention for her brand. Wondy says that the two men are kind of stuck. That if they tell her to get her wound checked out then they are patronizing her because she is a woman. And if they don’t tell her to get the wound checked out then they are holding back because she is a woman. Wondy says that their modern world is kind of awkward.

Batman replies that Wonder Woman should get her wound checked out and then slaps her butt. (Okay, I totally made up the second part of that sentence. But Bats does tell her to get medical treatment.)

We slide over to Rita reading her tarot cards. (Seriously, this girl needs another hobby. Maybe Jose should buy her a Wii or something.) Rita draws the Justice card, the Strength card and the Devil card. The Justice card then turns into a picture of Supes, the Strength card turns into a picture of Wondy and the Devil card turns into a picture of Bats. Rita exclaims “What’s happening?!” End of story.

The back-up story begins with Jose keeping Rita hidden in a safe house since she is wanted by the Culver ‘68s. Rita asks Jose if she can at least go out in public to do some tarot card readings for her clients. Jose agrees.

We cut to a diner with Rita giving an old lady a reading. We Jose standing guard watching the diner. Rita then deals the trinity once again (Strength, Justice, and the Devil) and wonders what is going on. Suddenly, Rita feels a presence in the diner.

The wall to the diner then blows up and in walks the three metahuman goons working for the Culver 86s. Using her tarot card powers, Rita is able to see the villains as cards and know their names and weapons. We have Blindside who has light based weapons, Throttle who can rev up anything that moves and make it go faster and Whiteout who is a living eraser.

The villains attack Rita. Suddenly, Jose springs to action clad in his Gangbuster outfit. (Very 1980’s looking.) Gangbuster (that is an awful codename) begins brawling with the villains. During the fight, Blindside grabs Rita and threatens to hurt her unless Gangbuster surrenders. Gangbuster does his best Clint Eastwood and shoots the villain with his gun.

Gangbuster and Rita then make a quick escape into an alley. Rita is stunned at Jose being a “super hero” of sorts. Gangbuster then promises to keep Rita safe. (Great, I think I would feel safer with having NFL Superpro guarding me. Go ahead and Wiki that gem of a character, kids.) We then see more of Morgan’s minions watching Gangbuster and Rita from the rooftops. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Trinity #5 was yet another average read. Still, there were several positive aspects to this issue. Busiek continues to crank out plenty of serviceable dialogue. Now, it is nothing particularly impressive, but it certainly gets the job done. Busiek clearly has a good feel for each of the big three and is able to properly represent their basic personalities in this issue.

There is no doubt that the reader gets treated to plenty of action in Trinity #5. Busiek mercifully brought this never ending brawl with Konvikt to an end. The brawl with Konvikt was nicely choreographed. I liked how Busiek made Superman hesitant to leave the fight and let Wonder Woman handle the bruising alien on her own. Even though Superman claims that it is not about his ego, the reader gets the sense that Superman if fooling himself.

I dig that Busiek is creating a friendly rivalry between Superman and Wonder Woman. We saw Wonder Woman rebuff Superman’s attempts to help her when she was brawling with the robots a couple of issues ago. And now Superman was hesitant to turn the fighting of Konvikt over to Wonder Woman. This actually makes sense. Super heroes are probably a bit like professional athletes in that they have pride and enjoy psychical contests that test their mettle.

Busiek reveals that the mysterious furry creatures that we have been seeing in the past couple of issues are in fact Morgan’s minions. However, we are still in the dark as the purpose of Morgan having one of her minions brand Wonder Woman with the omega sphere.

Busiek ends the main story with a solid hook ending as we see the scene with Rita reading her Tarot cards that turn into Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. We were teased with this scene back in Trinity #1. The ending to the main story dovetailed perfectly into the beginning of the back-up story. I can only hope that Busiek ends up merging these two storylines soon.

Busiek continued to crank out the action scenes in the back-up story. Between all the fighting that we got in the main story and the back-up story, I would imagine that most action fans will enjoy Trinity #5. Trinity may have various warts and defects, but a lack of action is most assuredly not one of them.

Busiek has been successful in creating some nice chemistry between Rita and Jose. Even though I have my issues with both characters, I do think that they have potential. It is only a matter of Busiek being able to properly tap into that potential.

The back-up story ends with a good hook ending as we see Morgan’s minions watching out two heroes. It seems odd that Morgan would be interested in protecting Rita considering the fact that it seems she will be on the side of our three heroes. I am curious to learn more about Morgan’s interest in Rita.

Bagley serves up plenty of dependable artwork. The main story to Trinity #5 has a nice clean look that makes it a pleasant read.

The Bad: Trinity #5 continues this early trend of being just another run of the mill comic book. The story is still rather thin and lacks anything special that gets the reader excited. Despite Busiek cranking out plenty of action on this story, the fact remains that it is all designed to distract the reader from the fact that this is truly a slow paced story. With five issues done, this story really has not progressed that much at all.

The plotting has been less than impressive as it appears that Trinity is lacking in material and is suffering from a paucity of plotlines. It is beginning to feel that Busiek is employing the Countdown method of trying to fluff up his story in order to stretch it over a 52 week period.

Honestly, if DC cannot come up with stories that are substantial enough to demand 52 issues then they should just junk this weekly format that they seem obsessed with publishing.

The Justice League of America’s appearance in Trinity turned out to be completely pointless. The JLA merely served three roles in this story: punching bags, helpless victims for the big three to rescue and the janitors to clean up the bit three’s mess. I never like it when writers subordinate a group like the JLA to the big three.

Another glaring defect of Trinity is that the main story is grossly repetitious. I feel like I have read the same issue over and over again for the past three weeks. The brawl with Konvict went on for about an issue or two too long. We continue to get the predictable narration of the main story by Morgan and Enigma. At this point, I can predict each character’s lines with little effort.

Busiek’s constant stressing of the differences between Superman and Wonder Woman on one hand and Batman on the other hand is getting boring. I get it already. Superman and Wonder Woman are insanely powerful. Batman is not. And Batman is ruthless and a genius. Wonder Woman and Superman are not. Enough already. It is time to move on.

Speaking of Batman, is it possible that we might actually get to see Batman kick some ass on this title? Busiek is too busy trying to emphasize Batman’s mental prowess that he has completely ignored the rest of Batman’s character.

And the few possible action scenes involving Batman conveniently take place off panel. At this point, Busiek is delivering a rather dull version of Batman that I am having a hard time finding particularly appealing or interesting.

I found the little scene dealing with Wonder Woman’s injury to be kind of weird and awkward. Batman and Superman have been Wonder Woman’s close friends and teammates for a long time. These are the three original JLA’ers. They have been through so many battles and missions together that I cannot believe there would be even a scintilla of awkwardness with Superman and Batman dealing with Wonder Woman’s injury.

This is the kind of scene that I would have expected maybe on the first two or three missions between these three characters. But at this stage in their careers and friendships this just seemed totally out of place.

The back-up story was equally repetitious. The reader has been forced to read the same inner monologue from Rita about her powers and what she is seeing in her tarot cards. It is getting dull and stale. It is not that complex of a plotline in the first place. I think every reader fully understands what is going on with Rita and her emerging powers. It is time to move on and progress this plotline.

While I like Jose’s character, I find his Gangbuster character to be a bit lame. Gangbuster has lame “powers” and an ugly costume and a goofy name. At this point, I am suspicious if Busiek can get me interested in Gangbuster.

Mike Norton and Mike Farmer’s artwork on the back-up story is not as good as Bagley’s art. And it appears that Jose is the Hispanic brother of the Golden Age Captain Marvel. Seriously, look at Jose’s eyes, which are nothing more than dash lines, and his big square jaw.

Overall: Trinity #5 was another middle of the road issue. I am beginning to fear that while Trinity may not stink on ice like Countdown did, that it is becoming clear that Trinity’s story is about as thin as Countdown’s story. At this point, I still cannot recommend that you shell out your hard earned money for this rather ordinary comic book.

2 Comments

  1. I thought this was a much better issue than issues #3 and #4. It was good to see the fight with Konvict wrap up (although based on foreshadowing in issue #1, we will certainly see them again). I’m curious to see what brought these chracters to Earth in the first place (apparently a trial and a treacherous female?).

    The look on Morgaine’s face when she saw Batman had stopped her creature was priceless. I shared Enigma’s delight in that moment.

    I’m actually quite intrigued by Rita/Tarot, although based on most reviews, I’m the only one. It seems she will be a major force in this series, so I look forward to see her step into her own. I’m a bit familiar with Gangbuster, so I appreciate his presence in the story. The villians sent to capture Rita were pretty lame, however.

    As awkward as you found it to be, I enjoyed the scene with WW teasing the boys over whether they should advise her on her wounds or not. Her moxie throughout the series has been quite refreshing.

    This is issue #5 out of 52, so it’s only natural that there were will be a lot of unanswered questions for awhile. I would cut Busiek some slack right now. If by #15 it’s still not working for you, I can understand your dropping of the title.

  2. It’s fair to assume a weekly comic will move more slowly than a monthly. Busiek surely feels he can take some time and ease the readers into… whatever he’s got planned.

    All of Batman’s ass-kicking did occur offscreen but, while Graak’s between-panel subduing was anticlimactic and disappointing, the offscreen defeat of Morgaine’s minion was surprising and unexpected. Perfect for Batman to come up with a trophy of his own while the other two are off doing their thing.

    Batman didn’t slap WW’s butt, but he totally should have. It would have made the whole comic and I’d give my left kidney to see that. XD

    As always, great review. You’re the only Comics blog I read, and I always respect your opinion on a book.

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