Trinity #1 Reunites Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman & It Feels So Good

Trinity #1 Reunites Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman & It Feels So Good

Following the death of New 52 Superman and the arrival of pre-“Flashpoint” Clark Kent, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman haven’t been the tight-knit group of friends that fans have come to expect. That’s the genesis of Francis Manapul’s “Trinity” #1, where Batman and Wonder Woman try to adjust to the familiar-looking stranger in their midst. What we get here is not only a story of building new friendships, but a gorgeous visual spectacle as well.


By now, longtime DC fans have come to expect Manapul’s particular art style. Drawn with careful ink washes and then computer colored, his artwork results in a book with a soft, almost gentle look that comes across as painted art with traditional superhero edges. There’s as much detail provided in a kitchen’s backsplash tiles as there are on the individual hairs on a character’s head, and action sequences are drawn with the same loving care as a farmland vista. The motion of the characters is great, too; Batman jumping into the comic could have looked stiff in other hands, but here you can see the power as he propels himself through the air. Similarly, the glimpse of Wonder Woman fighting Cheetah looks great; it’s a single panel, but you can see and feel the struggle that’s going on between the duo.

What readers might not expect, though, is how Manapul quietly alters the page layouts from time to time in order to form images-within-images. It’s a technique that few modern comic artists are adept at — J.H. Williams III being a notable and obvious exception — but you can definitely add Manapul to that list. As Manapul introduces Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman to the story, the two-page spreads contain panel borders that carefully construct the iconography of each hero between the images; Wonder Woman’s eagle, Batman’s bat and Superman’s shield all appear this way. What’s more, Manapul is careful to choose the symbols that appear on each character’s chest. It puts these characters front and center in an attractive, yet non-gimmicky fashion.


That said, there’s more to “Trinity” #1 than its gorgeous art. Manapul’s story is quiet, but it feels natural as these three get to know one another, reconciling their memories of each other from different universes. There’s such a nice hesitance going on here that comes across as friends who haven’t seen each other in 30 years. The memories are there, but they’re distant and not quite right in places.

Manapul waits until the final page to start throwing bombshells at readers, and — in this case — it’s a glimpse into a past that was seemingly long gone. It’s not an earth-shaking revelation, but rather an intriguing one, both in terms of plot as well as character. In many ways, that sums up the overall approach to “Trinity” #1. This isn’t a book about huge fist fights (at least, not yet); it’s about these three DC Universe demigods as they interact and build what otherwise seemed lost. It’s a very different take on these iconic characters, but one that fits in well with the overall hopeful remit of “Rebirth.” “Trinity” #1 starts the series on an extremely strong and satisfying note.

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Aquaman #6 Proves Arthur Curry Is a King Worthy of His Crown

Aquaman #6 Proves Arthur Curry Is a King Worthy of His Crown

“Aquaman’s” rebirth has truly reinvigorated the character, and Dan Abnett and Brad Walker make that abundantly clear in issue #6, where Arthur Curry proves himself a king worthy of his crown and a Justice Leaguer powerful enough to trade blows with Superman.

Just as Aquaman and Mera cut a messy but non-lethal path through the U.S. military en route to the sea, Superman showed up to ruin their travel plans. It’s a scene straight out of the best playground arguments of the Super Friends generation: one kid asks who would win a fight between Aquaman and Superman, and all the kids take sides — with most of them picking Big Blue. Maybe after reading issue #6, though, a few more of those kids would side with the King of Atlantis.

It’s interesting that Superman would seek out Aquaman and Mera at the behest of the president, and it is entirely in character that Clark would initiate a conversation before resorting to fisticuffs. However, Arthur’s growing frustrations with his treatment by the government and Clark’s lack of trust are a justifiably combustible combination.

It’s refreshing to see a DC hero at the final limit of his patience, and — when Arthur knocks Clark on his rear — you can’t help but cheer for the Atlantean. In tone and in art, the issue has a very 1970s vibe, and that’s the magic of Abnett’s action-oriented script paired with Walker’s Neil Adams-inspired layouts; readers will want Aquaman to beat Superman not because he’s stronger, but because he’s right. Heroes have to trust each other when no one else will, even if they only come to that realization after some beautifully rendered punches in the mouth. Like a good ’70s comic, this fight takes up the majority of the issue — and, although it could have been shorter, fans probably won’t complain, since it’s so rare to see a hero to trade blows with Superman.

Abnett and the creative team have reforged not only Aquaman and Mera, whose magnetic chemistry certainly drives the book, but also the secondary characters, who also have compelling storylines. This attention to quality in the periphery sets up the real conflict: a showdown between Aquaman and Black Manta that is shaping up to be a diplomatic and ideological collision as well as a personal battle. If you’ve always wanted to see Black Manta gain a more badass purpose beyond his singular (and not mention boring) hatred of Aquaman, dive in to this title right now. Black Manta has bigger plans than we realized in the first few issues.

The Atlantean war fleet is on full display in this issue; with the king “under threat,” Tula doesn’t hesitate to lead the fleet to assist. This level of independent thought has usually only been displayed by the antagonists in “Aquaman” books, and this show of support is a welcome reminder that Aquaman is far from alone in his adventures. The Atlanteans have decided to trust Arthur and his pursuit of diplomatic relations with the surface governments — but that doesn’t mean they trust the surface dwellers, and it’s a delightful source of conflict.

“The Drowning” story arc wraps up here as Aquaman’s worst-ever visit to the surface concludes with fist-pumping action rather than gobs of exposition. Nevertheless, “Aquaman” #6 manages to add to Arthur’s development (and woes) in his dual roles as king and hero.

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Wonder Woman #6 Brings Diana to Man’s World with a Delightful Twist

Wonder Woman #6 Brings Diana to Man’s World with a Delightful Twist

If the image of Diana in a jail cell surrounded by half a dozen animals doesn’t attract readers, then the sheer beauty of Nicola Scott and Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s “Wonder Woman” #6 certainly will. Embellished by Fajardo’s stunning colors, Scott’s beautiful imagery goes a long way towards making the entire issue a treat for readers, and writer Greg Rucka does his part with strong scripting and characterization. This third installment of the “Year One” arc begins to tie in to the “The Lies,” Rucka’s present-day storyline that runs concurrently with this one, and delightfully forges the early relationship between Diana and future love interest Steve Trevor.

Diana gets booked

As he’s done so successfully in previous chapters, Rucka continues to convincingly portray “Year One’s” Diana as youthful, yet mature and trusting without seeming naïve. She carries a genuine and refreshing sense of innocence that’s drastically different from her current persona, and — while Rucka’s stranger-in-a-strange-land approach puts her at a disadvantage — her strength is still evident, just tempered by her patience. Scott’s interpretation of Diana communicates Rucka’s intent perfectly; she is all but brought to life by Scott’s artwork, which deftly uses facial expressions to give character a natural feeling, unlike the larger-than-life rendering usually employed by other artists. It works well for Rucka’s story; after all, Diana isn’t a superhero yet, but Scott’s interpretation of her makes it believable that she will be one day.

While Rucka’s characterization skills define the issue (as well as his run so far), it’s the smaller touches that add a good-natured and realistic flavor to the story. For example, Diana’s apprehension over being fingerprinted is trivial on its own, but helps keep the story light and also shines some light on her personality, establishing wariness, if not fear. Rucka also walks a fine line as he gives Diana her first peek at the world beyond Themyscira; Diana’s expected reaction would be revulsion, while those from the military guard would be hostility. Neither is apparent here; Diana’s reacts with curiosity and uncertainty, while the U.S. Navy’s take on her is equally curious, but friendly. Overall, Rucka’s script comes across as bright and optimistic.

Diana held at a U.S. Naval base

The moment captured on Scott’s cover occurs near the end of the issue and is even more breathtaking in the context of Rucka’s story. He establishes her discontent and frustration but never despair, despite her imprisonment. When the script calls for this surprising moment, it proves that even the inside of a naval base’s brig can be upbeat.

“Wonder Woman” #6 is the kind of comic all other comics should aspire to be: superbly characterized, beautifully rendered and — most of all — fun to read, even for those who aren’t typically “Wonder Woman” fans.

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