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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Trinity #3

Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 26, 2003

Cover date: January 2004

Writer: Matt Wagner
Penciller: Matt Wagner
Inker: Matt Wagner

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Superman and Batman travel to Paradise Island to see how Wonder Woman is doing after her immersion into the Lazarus Pit. Batman breaks off the harness he had been wearing to make it easier for Superman to carry him and glides down to the island. He comes upon Wonder Woman, who is finishing her bath. Overcome by her beauty he rushes forward and kisses her, but Wonder Woman, surprised by his advances, decks the Dark Knight. Suddenly Amazonian soldiers surround Batman, but before a fight can break out Superman descends. Mistaking him for Apollo the soldiers drop to their knees. Wonder Woman informs them that these men are here to speak to her and they need to do so in private. She instructs them to tell no one of this, not even her mother. Wonder Woman then turns her attention to Superman and Batman and asks them why they are there. Superman and Batman both try to reply, but Wonder Woman interrupts and asks them to meet her at an atoll ten miles south of the island.

In the Gobi Desert a lone intruder takes on several armed men to break into Ra's Al Ghul's hideout. The fight is brief and the woman easily enters the facility.

On the atoll Wonder Woman apologizes for her hasty departure from Gotham and assumes that they followed her because the Purge is still active. Superman adds that their concern for her well being also played a part, but Batman is quick to ask what Ra's told her while she was captive and about the rogue Amazon that is working with him. Wonder Woman tells him she doesn't know about that, but Ra's had bragged that he was going to use the two nuclear missiles he had stolen to contaminate the world's oil reserves. Batman realizes that now Ra's will have to change plans for how he will use the two warheads. Despite his insistence Wonder Woman cannot remember anything else. Superman tells him to back off, but Batman is convinced that whatever she went through will seem mild compared to what Ghul has in mind.

Back in the Gobi Desert the young Amazon reaches Ra's Al Ghul who is glad to see her. When she asks why he left her to die back in Gotham Ra's tells Artemis that he had no fear for her safety. He also agrees that she will prove useful in marshalling his forces and they must do so quickly since Batman will find them eventually. Artemis also wants another crack at Batman since he had tied her up in their last battle. When Ra's tells her that they need a remote location to use as their headquarters Artemis immediately thinks of Paradise Island but warns that he better be prepared to fight for it. Ra's assures her that he is and adds that they may need Bizarro, who Ra's is certain will return to him.

On the atoll Batman formulates a plan to find Bizarro by having Superman use his super-hearing to track the bug he planted on the creature's cape. He asks Wonder Woman to find out anything she can and then hands her the lasso she dropped back in Gotham. Batman then returns to the mainland to track down any leads on Ra's whereabouts. Wonder Woman asks Superman how he can work with Batman when his methods make him as bad as the criminals he pursues. Superman explains that while his methods may be a little extreme he is one of the bravest men Superman has ever known. After that they say their goodbyes and Superman flies off.

On his way back to the mainland Batman's sub comes under attack from a group of dolphins. Just as suddenly as they appear the dolphins are gone and Batman is surprised by a man wearing an orange shirt and green pants in his window. The man is wearing no gear and it is too deep to survive on his own. Batman is left wondering about that as he continues on his way back to the mainland.

In an arctic setting Bizarro is in pain. His vision is improving from Batman's attack, but his eyes still hurt. Suddenly a group of men approaches and Bizarro reacts violently. One of the men begins to speak and Bizarro recognizes it as Ra's Al Ghul's voice. He also sees that Ra's is holding his medallion and is happy that his only friend has returned.

On Paradise Island Wonder Woman talks with her mother about the Lazarus Pit. Hippolyta puts some of Wonder Woman's concerns to rest. When her daughter asks about the rogue Amazon Hippolyta tells her of a splinter group of Amazons that settled in the desert of Egypt when the Amazons were granted refuge on the island. Known as Bana-Mighdall the group has resented the fact that the denizens of Themyscira have a favored position among the gods. If there is a rogue Amazon then it could be one of that tribe. Wonder Woman leaves with her mother's blessing to finish the battle with Ra's Al Ghul.

Meanwhile Superman hovers in the sky searching for a trace of Batman's tracking device. His search proves fruitless, but then he realizes that something might be interfering with the transmission like the extreme cold. He flies off and finds the area where Bizarro had been hiding. Realizing that even his hearing has limits Superman uses Wonder Woman's earring as an amplifier and finds Bizarro's location.

Beneath Wayne Manor while Batman muses on Ghul's next move Robin enters and informs him that they have a visitor. After changing out of the Batman uniform Bruce greet Wonder Woman at his front door. After an initial game of verbal cat and mouse Wonder Woman is eventually invited in and as Bruce dons the Batman uniform he tells her of Ghul's history and his theory that if Ghul is trying to find a new use for the stolen warheads he will need a private place to do so. Wonder Woman believes that place to be Themyscira and Batman agrees and asks for a moment to gather some equipment before they leave.

At Ghul's headquarters in the Gobi Desert Bizarro stands outside when suddenly Superman comes out of nowhere and buries Bizarro into a mountain side. Ghul walks outside to face the Man of Steel, who informs Ghul that it is over. Ghul disagrees and tells Superman of the small distraction he has prepared in Metropolis. Superman doesn't want to believe him, but can't take the chance and flies off. Bizarro frees himself from the mountain side, angry that once again Superman had defeated him. Before he can act on his rage Ghul tells him to calm down because he needs Bizarro's help to carry the missiles to his new kingdom.

While Ghul's forces prepare to invade Themyscira Superman arrives in Metropolis in time to see two airplanes preparing to crash into the Lexcorp building. He grabs one plane and manages to maneuver it into the second one and the two planes crash into the lake waters that surround Metropolis. His city safe Superman takes off again to face Ghul.

Ghul's forces soldier on. Suddenly a water trough cuts across the path of the point vehicle, which threatens to capsize the missiles. After Artemis declares that they are free to proceed when a concussive sonic device explodes over Bizarro, knocking him off balance as Wonder Woman and Batman descend onto the scene. Batman doesn't let up on Bizarro and drops an electrified net on him before hitting him with a barrage of stinger grenades. Wonder Woman confronts Ghul, who pulls out twins swords to take on his Amazonian enemy. The duel begins and Wonder Woman is surprised at Ghul's ferocity.

Meanwhile, Artemis leads her units of helicopters into battle against the giant eagle sentries of Zeus. Below her Batman continues his attack on Bizarro. Mounted solar lasers accentuate every punch, but Bizarro proves to be too fast and knocks Batman back.

As Artemis' units begin their initial assault on Themyscira the young Amazon suddenly realizes she cannot kill her own people. She uses the helicopter she's flying to begin attacking her own side.

Below Ghul manages to knock Wonder Woman's sword out of her hands. Furious, Wonder Woman drops the shield she had been carrying and uses her bracelets to deflect Ghul's attacks. Finally, she catches one of the blades on her hands and Ghul draws first blood.

Artemis continues her attack on Ghul's forces when suddenly some of the copters begin to drop out of the sky without their propellers. She looks out her window to see Superman holding the bent propellers. Superman uses his x-ray vision to scan the helicopter and sees Artemis inside.

Wonder Woman finally gets the upper hand when he chops the blades of Ghul's swords. She follows with a vicious punch that sends Ghul flying.

Batman hits Bizarro with another solar burst to the eyes, which only serves to enrage Bizarro more. As Wonder Woman runs towards them Bizarro knocks Batman back and prepares to pound on the Dark Knight.

Above them Superman tears open the helicopter he has taken to the ground and finds Artemis. He hears a scream and rushes off at the sight of Bizarro preparing to deliver a killing blow to Batman. Using his heat vision Superman cuts Bizarro's hand off. He then grabs Bizarro, spins him around and throws him into a volcano, where he believes Bizarro to be trapped. The Man of Steel joins Wonder Woman and Batman back with the missiles. As Batman disconnects the firing mechanisms Superman melts the metal around the core to make sure the plutonium doesn't leak. They consign the missiles to the bottom of the ocean and part ways to return to their homes.

Later, Ubu finds Ghul's body and delivers it to his daughter as Artemis begins her journey home after spending a few months on the other side of Paradise Island. Below the ocean the severed hand of Bizarro glows an eerie red.

4Story - 4: Sit back and be mystified with a magic trick where I dislike a story while at the same time complimenting it and doing a complete one hundred and eighty degree turn on a position I took in the first issue. Ready? Here we go.

I have to say that on the whole I disliked the final issue of Trinity. It wasn't the lateness of the issue that led to this decision, though it did play some factor in my annoyance at DC Comics in general. It seems that all of the books that I am interested in are chronically pushed back despite the fact that DC promotes the books as having come out on their official site. I wouldn't have been too upset but DC let out a hype release announcement that this title would be released into hardcover. I must admit that a few fanboy switches were tripped in my head and I was annoyed that they would announce a hardcover release of a series that had not even been completed.

But that's my being miffed with DC, not Matt Wagner or the quality of the story. My feelings on the third issue were based on the fact that as a conclusion the comic felt rushed and the question of how the heck this story could have taken place when Matt Wagner says it does became even more confused. So I have many problems, but I will begin with what I think worked and what was rather daring on Wagner's part.

The scene where Batman bum rushes Diana with a rather passionate kiss was interesting and funny though out of character for the Dark Knight. The bit right before that where he felt out of place on the island was fitting and made for some nice characterization. At the same time I liked the fact that she tracked him back to Wayne Manor as a kind of revenge for finding Themyscira.

The scenes between Hippolyta and Diana were heartfelt and I liked the mother-daughter dynamic. The revelation that the rogue Amazon was Artemis worked, sort of. I wasn't completely sold on her sudden conversion at the end of the story, but I will get into that later.

The most daring and interesting aspect of this issue had to be the fact that DC published a book where Superman prevents two airliners from crashing into the Lexcorp building. Given the sensitivity of the post-9/11 world where you can't even show video from the tragedy on the news I am surprised that they went with it. This could explain why the book was delayed and if this was the case I can understand. I respect the company and Matt Wagner for doing this since before 9/11 no one would have blinked at the scenario.

So that's the good, now we get into the bad.

The whole issue felt rushed. In the past two issues we had a good deal of action mixed with a healthy dose of characterization. I felt that I knew Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and was getting an insight into what made these characters tick in the early parts of their career. I thought the purpose of this series was to explore how these icons met and began to work together as a team and I felt it in issues one and two, but in the final installment they work together but it all happened so fast and everything fell into line a little too quickly for me.

Take Batman's sudden desire to swap spit with Wonder Woman. Okay, after seeing Wonder Woman emerging from a bath who amongst us that is attracted to women would not want to pounce on her? It's natural and even though I thought it was funny it wasn't Batman. I didn't know if this was to introduce a romantic triangle idea between Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman where Wonder Woman would be attracted to both men for different reasons or was it just a rush of hormones and the effects of being on Themyscira. It came out of left field, especially when you consider the fact that in the previous issue there was so much distrust on Batman's part that it makes no sense that he would turn into such a forward type of guy.

Artemis, as a character, fell apart for me at the end. While I thought the rogue Amazon concept was a bit forced and thrown in to give Wonder Woman a counterpart I actually liked her even before finding out who she was. She obviously had issues and her working with Ra's and his ability to use that anger to his own ends made her real. At the beginning of this issue she had the same anger and resentment, especially at the fact that Batman had tied her up, the ultimate insult to an Amazon. Then, all of the sudden, she changes her mind. Now it makes sense that she did, but it was so sudden that it didn't feel right. I can understand that she was young (thus her line that she's fourteen) and that maybe all of the anger and resentment was an example of Amazonian teen angst and once she saw the carnage and her sisters actually dying she could have a change of heart, but it was so sudden that it seemed flat and two dimensional.

That was my biggest problem with the issue as a whole. The ending felt so rushed that it lost some of the heart that I felt was the strongest aspect of the story. There was a huge lead-in and then it was just over. The final battles, while interesting, seemed short and anti-climactic. The Wonder Woman/Ra's Al Ghul fight in particular had little emotion, especially after what happened in the previous issue. It also seemed a little out of character for Superman to fry Bizarro's hand off. It just didn't seem his style. It was kind of cool, just a little more bloodthirsty than the Man of Steel usually is.

Okay, now for the portion of the review where I change my position on the subject of continuity and this story. When the series first came out I was willing to let a lot of things go concerning the place the story held as far as the history of these characters. It could have easily taken place in the third year of Batman's career right after he made Dick Grayson Robin with the only glitch being that Ra's Al Ghul first encounter came when he had kidnapped a much younger Dick Grayson to test "The Detective." I was ready to put my fanboy concerns aside and enjoy the story event though Wonder Woman hadn't first entered Man's World until shortly before the Legends event.

Then came issue three and the cameo by Aquaman. In that one panel where Batman saw Aquaman and didn't know who he was this thrust the story firmly into the first year of the current age of heroes because the Justice League of America had been formed probably late in Year One. This presents two problems; the first being that how can Robin be there when it has been firmly established that he came into Batman's life in the third year of his career and how can Bizarro have been around since it was a few years into Superman's career before he faced him for the first time?

Call this a fan boy rant if you want, but there is a world of difference between ignoring a certain event that happened in an issue of Batman thirty years ago and flat out ignoring pretty big events in the character's past. This is not intended as a slam against Matt Wagner and I am not trying to say that all stories that stray from what has come before are terrible or not entertaining. What I am saying is that if you want tell a story from the early days of a character or characters then you can't play fast and loose with what has come before. By introducing Artemis into this story Matt Wagner suggested that he knows that someday Artemis will come back into Wonder Woman's life and become a new Wonder Woman. So it appears he is saying that there is a history out there but seems to not want to deal with all of it, just the parts that serve his needs.

This is his right as a creator. No one should be forced to follow a line just because it doesn't fit in with how their story flows. But, it is my right as a consumer and a fan to point out that you can't have it both ways.

In the end it doesn't really matter. These are just comics and in the long run they mean very little when weighed against events that truly make an impact on our lives. However, since this is a review and this site is devoted to comics (mostly) I felt that it had to be said.

4Art - 4: There was a lot of good art in this issue. The backgrounds were packed with detail. Both Themyscira and Wayne Manor were particularly well done and you could sit there for hours it seemed and still not see everything. The armor and armory were not as intricate as say Geoff Darrow would do, but at the same time they were pretty cool to look at, especially Batman's armor. I may not have liked the fight between him and Bizarro but at least it looked good.

The page layouts retained the dynamic quality from previous issues and Wagner knew exactly when to open up and when to pull back. There were several images that just stood out in their composition, the first of which was Superman hovering over Paradise Island surrounded by the giant eagles. The lighting and design made the image iconic. The panel where Bizarro was putting snow on his face to soothe the pain from Batman's attack gave the character an almost sympathetic feel. I felt for Bizarro and it reinforced the fact that he is a tragic creature created to destroy yet not understanding the world he lives in.

The only problem I had with the art was the figure work. I don't think Wagner phoned it in, but with all of the detail and attention given to the backgrounds I would have liked a little more work done with the characters themselves. There was a minimalist style that seemed too minimal. The one image that should have made us all drool with fannish glee was the two page spread with Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman returning home. It was nice. It was laid out well. It was also weak when it came to the characters themselves. It should have been more dynamic. This should have been the strongest bit of artwork in the series and it wasn't.

But hey, no one is perfect. Matt Wagner is one of the few triple threats in comics and even he can't bat a thousand.

5Cover Art - 5: Like the two previous issues there was a particular character Wagner focused on while presenting the group as a whole. The first issue focused on Superman, the second on Batman. This time, not surprisingly since we have run out of choices, it's Wonder Woman. The figure work was very well done on this cover and rates high on the "Grab Me" scale, at least a nine. The only subtext I got from this cover was that the glow given off from Wonder Woman's bracelets. Superman stands in the light, accepting it. Batman pulls his cape up, not shying away from it but clearly not liking it either.

At least that's what I got from it.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2004

February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004

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