So far Trinity has been a solid, if not confusing comic book, to follow. Francis Manapul’s depiction of the relationship between Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman wasn’t what I expected it to be. This unexpected approach of the three exploring each other’s origin stories has given us a better idea as to how they are different and similar in many respects. At the same time, this approach has made Trinity feel like we are exploring areas of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman we’ve seen thousands of times. Hopefully with Mongul’s introduction at the end of the last issue of Trinity this opening arc will kick it into high gear. Let’s find out if that is the case with Trinity #5.
Writer and Artist: Francis Manpul
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Poison Ivy recounts here time in another world where she spent her days alone in peace. She says that as the protector of the Green she was given the power to enter her own dreams.
One day while in her dream world a war-born child entered her drams. Though Poison Ivy did not know where the child came from she began raising it as her own. As time passed someone (Mongul) came and took the child away from her.
Back in the present, that Mongul closed the dream world from her. But even with that she still feels a strong connection to the child she was raising.
Lois Lane tells Poison Ivy that she is crazy for putting her kid, Jonathan Kent, in danger along with her husband and his friends. Poison Ivy tells Lois that Jon is fine, as she only put him to sleep.
Poison Ivy brings up that while she questions how a farmer can be friends with a billionaire like Bruce Wayne that is not why she is there. Poison Ivy says the reason she is there because something on the farm has enough solar energy to act as a gateway to both the real and her dream world. She goes on to say she’ll use that energy to make her dream world a reality.
Inside the dream world Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman battle Mongul. While Mongul quickly gets the upper hand on the Trinity his kid tells her father not to kill them yet.
Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman use this slight distraction to turn the tables on Mongul and knock him down. The Trinity tells Mongul that by making them re-experience their pasts he only made them stronger.
The Trinity believes that they are in control of the dream world since Mongul is not real. Mongul reveals that the dream world they are in is under his control and grows hundreds of times larger. He then tells the Trinity that everything they experience was created by his kid.
Mongul explains that for a while now the Black Mercy plant has fulfilled his greatest wish, which is to kill different versions of Superman (including animated series, first appearance, Death and Return and Earth-1 Superman). After some time of doing this he realized he got what he wanted but not what he needed. It was then that the White Mercy, his child, was born. From then on he trained White Mercy by having her kill various versions of Superman.
As time passed Poison Ivy entered Mongul’s dream world due to her connection with the Green allowing her to access Black Mercy plant’s fantasy realm. Mongul says he decided to use Poison Ivy to get him back to the real world with White Mercy.
Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman believe they can stop Mongul but White Mercy reveals she used their experience from their origins to make their real bodies are now nothing more than empty vessels for their use. Mongul says that with Superman’s body their world domination is ensured.
Back in the real world, Poison Ivy continues to tell Lois that she is doing everything for her daughter. Lois tells Poison Ivy that a real parent would not endanger real families lives. Poison Ivy responds by saying that her daughter was real to her.
Poison Ivy approaches Clark’s body and says that he is the key to saving her daughter as his body is emitting massive amounts of solar energy.
Clark’s eyes start to glow and suddenly White Mercy speaks through his body. White Mercy says “Mother, I am here.” Bruce and Diana’s bodies respond in a similar manner. End of issue.
The Good: At this point it is clear that Francis Manapul’s Trinity series falls more in line with a focus on character, like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman’s solo series, rather than an event comic book, like Justice League. This choice in direction for Trinity has provided the series with a different look at the three biggest characters in DC’s roster. And finally with Trinity #5 we see forward progress that fully uses that directions potential to provide an intriguing story.
As annoying as it was to have to go through the well-known origins of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman again it did provide a solid foundation for Francis Manapul’s direction for the series. With Trinity #5 we finally see found that foundation makes the three characters big battle with Mongul even more effective. Learning that Mongul was the one responsible for putting them through reliving their past also makes past issue worth reading even more. Because as the White Mercy mentioned, there are clues to Mongul’s control throughout those issues. This new detail adds value to those previous issues that is more than just seeing a different look at the characters origin stories.
Mongul’s plot to return to the real world with his daughter was also something different that gave the Trinity, three of DC’s strongest characters, a challenge they can’t overcome with sheer force. Through this problem Manapul was able to solve one of the biggest problems with stories involving these three characters together. Because as strong as Mongul is, we have seen the Trinity defeat him plenty of times already. But through Mongul’s plot of making their bodies empty vessels we got to see how they deal with a threat that is completely mental, rather than physical.
This type of threat also showed us that even in knowing this it is Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman individual confidence in their power and skills that is a weakness. As we saw, the Trinity acting like what they experienced in the dream world gave them an advantage was clearly their downfall. Not only does it give Mongul the advantage in the fight but also buy White Mercy more time to make their bodies into empty vessels.
Mongul’s plot also solved one of the biggest problems with this story arc as we got a reason why Poison Ivy attacked the Trinity’s secret identities rather than their superhero ones. This explanation paints Poison Ivy in a different light as well as it is not completely for nefarious reasons. Manapul actually makes you feel bad for Poison Ivy’s plight as she is just being used as a tool by Mongul. At the same time Poison Ivy could be the biggest wild card in this situation as she could have more control of the dream world of the Black Mercy plant than she realizes.
As enjoyable as Manapul’s story is it is his artwork that really elevates the entire comic book. His artwork is absolutely stunning. His artwork does a good job matching up with the dialogue, which isn’t surprising since he was doing both roles. And as he has shown in the past, Manapul does a great job making the characters look as powerful as they are. From Mongul towering over the Trinity to them fighting back, it was all effective. It was also great to see Manapul integrate all the versions of Superman into the story as he is able to make adjustments to his art style to match the way those versions have been drawn in various mediums.
The Bad: While Trinity #5 is a definite step up from previous issue it does introduce a confusing element in the form of why Mongul ended up in the Black Mercy plant dream world in the first place. We don’t get much backstory into this element of the story.
Since the Black Mercy plant is not from Earth it was never made clear how Poison Ivy ended up getting control of it to use on Bruce, Clark and Dianna. This is especially problematic since it seems like Mongul is also stuck in the Black Mercy’s dream world so he couldn’t have given it to her. The lack of clarity in all of this causes an unnecessary confusing element very late into the story.
Overall: After three issues of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman getting in touch with each other’s origin stories we finally get some story progression with Trinity #5. Mongul’s appearance in this opening story actually moves the story on several fronts as we also got to learn why Poison Ivy is involved with taking out DC’s Trinity. While there are some confusing plot holes thrown in at the last minute they don’t take away from the positive momentum this issue gives the overall story. Add that to the always fantastic artwork that Francis Manapul provides us than we have an issue in Trinity #5 that delivers on the potential of this series.