On March 25, the world will get to see the true beginnings of the DC Cinematic Universe as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in theaters. For the first time in live-action form, the DC Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman will team up. Comic book fans, however, have known for years the strong bond these three heroes share with one another. To help prepare you for BvS, here are five great stories you can check out (in no particular order).
For the Man Who Has Everything (Superman Annual 11)
From Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the same team that created Watchmen, this story takes place on February 29, the day Superman celebrates his birthday. Wonder Woman, Batman, and Robin visit the Man of Steel in the Fortress of Solitude bearing gifts, only to find him trapped in the thralls of the alien plant called “The Black Mercy” thanks to villain Mongul. As this symbiotic plant feeds on Superman’s energy, it also gives him a hallucination of his “heart’s desire,” a world where the planet Krypton never exploded.
This story shows the importance of the friendship between three. Wonder Woman takes on Mongul single-handedly, while Batman does his best to free Superman from the Black Mercy’s grasp. He is able to free Superman, but at a cost as the Black Mercy latches on to the Dark Knight. These two acts show that each is willing to do what it takes to help the other, even at the cost of their own lives. The story is also important in showing even Superman has a breaking point when he uncharacteristically rages in pain. This story was adapted for an episode of Justice League Unlimited, as well as an upcoming episode of Supergirl.
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Justice League of America 0)
This issue acts as a prequel to the 2006 Justice League of America relaunch by Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes. The Trinity gathers in the Batcave to discuss who will become members of the League. Throughout the issue are highlights of important moments in the DC Universe past and present, even teasing moments that haven’t happened yet, from their point of view. It is also revealed that the three of them, no matter what, will meet at least once a year. Not as team members, but as friends. All three of them have their own adventures in their own comic books, sometimes in their own four or five comic books. Meltzer let us know with this issue that whatever happened to one of them still had an effect on the other two, and that everything one of them did meant something to the others.
The Supergirl from Krypton (Superman/Batman 8-13)
In 2004, Kara Zor-El made her return to the DC Universe after being killed off in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Rocketed from Krypton the same time as Kal-El, Kara’s ship trapped her in a state of suspended animation, only awakening her after her ship finally made it to Earth and crashing in Gotham Bay. After being discovered by Superman and Batman, Kara is kept in the Fortress of Solitude for months as she learns Earth’s customs. Batman and Superman continuously argue about whether or not Kara can be trusted or if her sudden appearance is just a set-up from another of their enemies. Tensions increase when Wonder Woman, pretty much by force, takes Kara to Themyscira to train her.
As the three of them fight over what’s best for her, she is kidnapped and brainwashed by Darkseid. It is at this point we see the strength between the three take full force. No matter what issues they have between them, they know how to put them aside and work together as a team, succeeding in rescuing Kara. This story is important to the Trinity because it shows us that even though they are basically gods in the eyes of the world, their friendship is very human. They argue, understand when it’s time to put differences aside, and eventually resolve their issues. Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner took the most fantastical of stories to show off very real traits. This story was also adapted into a DC Animated feature, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters
This was a 2015 DC Animated feature set in an alternate universe. Superman is the son of Zod rather than Jor-El. Batman is Kirk Langstrom with bat-like powers very similar to a vampire. Wonder Woman is the New God Bekka, who escaped her world of New Genesis after her father broke a treaty with Darkseid and Apokalips, killing her fiancé Orion in the process. In this world, the League still fights for good, but their moral compass is a little crooked compared to their “real” counterparts. This League has zero problems with killing as long as it means the threat is neutralized. After being framed for a series of murders, the League must band together to stop both the evil trying to defeat them and the world that already feared them and has turned against them. Gods and Monsters showed that regardless of the universe or incarnation of these characters, the link between them is so strong that even another dimension can’t do anything to change it.
Trinity (Trinity 1-3)
Written and illustrated by Matt Wagner, this is a three-issue limited series chronicling the first team-up adventure of the Trinity (It’s NOT just a clever name). Going up against Bizarro, Ra’s Al Ghul, and Artemis, the Trinity must join forces to stop Ra’s from unleashing three stolen nuclear warheads upon Earth, as well as a full-scale attack on Themyscira. This series did a wonderful job showing how different their personalities are from one another, as well as how they each adapted and turned those differences into what is arguably the greatest team in comic book history.
There you have it. Five great stories about three great heroes. They won’t be the well-oiled machine you see above in Batman V Superman, but you know have an idea of where the cinematic universe will lead.
So what do you think? What are YOUR favorite DC Trinity stories? Is there another comic book trio that could go up against this team? Let me know on Twitter or sound off in the comments below.
IMAGES: Warner Brothers and DC Comics