For nearly 80 years, the so-called “Trinity” of the DC Universe has been Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. There are a lot of reasons for this, chief among them the fact that they are arguably the three most famous superheroes in the world. Also, these three are the only characters at DC Comics to be published continuously since their creations without any significant breaks. No small achievement. And yet, for some reason, the three iconic heroes have never shared a regular ongoing series. Until now, that is.
What’s most interesting about this new Trinity title, which is written and illustrated by Francis Manapul, is that it’s about the three heroes essentially getting to know one another for the very first time. Rather, it’s about Batman and Wonder Woman getting to know the “new” (old) Superman and his family for the first time ever.
Sound complicated? Let me back up a bit here. In the New 52 reboot continuity, Superman was a brash young man—kind of a bit of jerk in the beginning—who wore a costume that resembled armor. He never dated Lois Lane, and in fact dated Wonder Woman instead. He’s dead now. A few months before that giving this character the axe, DC revealed that the pre-New 52 Superman, along with his wife Lois and their nine-year old superpowered son Jonathan, had secretly been living in this reality the entire time. When the New 52 Superman died, the old school Superman revealed himself to the world and stepped up as Earth’s new Man of Steel. Got all that?
What’s super refreshing about Trinity #1 is that there are no big villain fights, no giant battles. Instead, the issue deals with Batman and Wonder Woman coming to the Kent farm (or Smith farm, as the Kents live under an alias on this Earth) after being invited to dinner by Lois Lane. Lois wisely realizes that the two other heroes have got to get to know Clark all over again, and if he’s going to step back into the role of the Justice League’s Superman, then there’s no time like the present for the three heroes to get familiar.
There’s a lot of humor in this issue, including instances like Wonder Woman bringing a giant wild boar as her dinner offering to the Kents (I guess this Diana is definitely not a vegan), and ayoung Jonathen Kent, hoping to look through the door with his X-Ray vision, accidentally unleashing his heat vision on Wonder Woman instead. Oops. One of the highlights of the entire DC Rebirth stories has been the idea of Lois and Clark having to raise a superpowered kid. In fact, all of the Kent family stuff has been a delight across all the books, and this issue is no exception.
Another favorite moment involves the heroes sitting around the table trading stories of their pasts. Bruce explains to Clark how he once dressed up as the “Rainbow Batman” in an effort to distract criminals from a temporarily crippled Robin. This is an actual (very silly) story from the old, pre-New 52 Batman continuity; one of my favorite panels features Bruce Wayne’s look of disgust at the idea that he was ever a “Rainbow Batman.”
My absolute favorite part of the issue, though, is seeing Lois Lane and Wonder Woman have a heart-to-heart, in which Diana shows that she completely respects Superman’s marriage, and in no way plans to steal this Clark Kent away from Lois. With so many portrayals in the media of female characters as adversaries, usually fighting over the love of some dude, it’s nice to see this dispelled right from the first issue. These are DC Comics’ best known and highest profile ladies—they should indeed be friends, not nemeses.
The entire issue is written and illustrated by Francis Manapul, and he is seriously bringing his A-game to both the writing and the art. I’ll be honest: prior to this issue, I didn’t even know that Manapul was a writer as well. But his work on this issue is exceptional. He totally gets these characters, and brings back a lot of the fun that had been missing in their relationship since the New 52 began back in 2011. Manapul gets that these three are something of a family, and I like the idea of Wonder Woman and Batman acting as a de-facto “aunt and uncle” to young Jonathan Kent.
Although there is no “A-plot” to speak of in the issue (it’s really just about these characters spending time together), the issue ends with an interesting cliffhanger, one that might have bigger implications for the whole Rebirth event. If you’re a fan of these characters (and what DC Comics fan isn’t?), you owe it to yourself to pick up Trinity #1.
RATING: 4 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
Trinity #1 is available at comic book stores now.
Images: DC Comics