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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Trinity #1

Trinity #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 4, 2008

Cover date: June 4, 2008

Lead Story: "Boys and Their Games ..."

Lead Story Writers: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Lead Story Artists: Mark Bagley
Lead Story Inker: Art Thibert
Cover Art: Carlos Pacheco

Back-Up Story: "In the Morrows to Come"

Back-Up Writers: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Artists: Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens
Back-Up Inker: Allen Passalaqua

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman with Neal Bailey and Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge



Some sort of burning celestial being is falling through space screaming "Let me out".

Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, and Diana Prince meet at the Keystone Coffee Pier to discuss a disturbing dream they all shared. In Clark's dream, he saw a cosmic extraterrestrial being angry and warping reality. In Diana's dream, she saw an ancient angry God chained to a rock and straining to be free. In Bruce's dream, he saw a criminal in the shadows jailed and intent on escape.

Clark's super-hearing picks up a radio broadcast about a metahuman robbery in progress in Keystone. The Flash and his two children are battling Clayface. Bruce explains the reason he suggested they meet in Keystone was to check with the Flash whether he'd had a similar dream as they'd already checked with all the other JLA'ers. Wally and his kids defeat Clayface. Wally tells the 'Trinity' he hasn't had any analogous dream. The three agree to remain vigilant and go about their lives.

Later, as the three heroes patrol their respective cities, they hear screams in their head of "Let me out." The batplane fills with an ethereal smoke. Wonder Woman is blasted from above. And Superman hears the shouting loudly in his head, followed by the sound of breaking glass, concrete, and steel. Superman looks up and a building explodes above him.

To be continued.



Back-Up Story: "In the Morrows to Come"

In the mystical remains of the ruined Castle Branek, Morgaine Le Fey is disturbed by an enigmatic villain, half of whose face is covered by a mask evocative of a question mark. The mystery man tells Le Fey he is an expert in technology just as she is an expert in the magical arts. The pair have been having dreams of absolute power that seem to center on an instability surrounding Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

Le Fey looks into the future. In the near future, in Los Angeles, a tarot card reader deals the cards for the Devil, Strength, and Justice. The images on the cards change to the superheroes - Batman on the Devil card, Wonder Woman on the Strength card, and Superman on the Justice card.

Le Fey looks a second time into the future. In Gotham, Green Arrow and Speedy are summoned by the Arrow Signal but they are faced by the Ragman and his sidekick (while, behind them, there is a billboard advertising a TV crime show featuring Lois Lane) who claim Gotham to be under their jurisdiction.

Following the ripples again, Le Fey and the mystery man land in a mysterious cavern where a brutish being known as Konvikt demands the voices in his head to appear. Konvikt's sidekick, a demon called Graak, can see Le Fey and the mystery man. They depart and return to the present. Looking once more at future fate, they come face-to-face with a mountain of stone carved out like armored versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The villains realize they will need a third villain to steal the essential might of the Big Three. The mystery man (who tells Le Fey to call him "Enigma") suggests Konvikt. Le Fey suggests instead Despero. The villains head off to bring their plans to fruition as, behind them, fate shows a cosmic being literally ripping the Earth apart.

Barry's Review:

ratingLead Story - 2: DC has a story-telling problem. Every major story seems to start the same way lately - with some abstract problem that hints at something major but leaves so much unsaid it's hard to care. There are some good character-establishing moments in this first issue, particularly in some of the small talk between the Big Three. But that's it.

That the heroes are meeting in their secret identities in such a public place feels extremely contrived. There's no reason to seek out the Flash. He's the Flash. When he gets the message you're looking for him, he'll find you . . . in a FLASH.

The idea that they would find anything unusual about three dreams only tangentially related reeks of super-hero paranoia. The dreams are barely alike and the theme of escape hardly seems an unusual dream for three people in the business of incarcerating the bad guys. Match up the great characterizations here with the over-plotting of early issues of "Countdown" and you may have something.

Oh, and can I just say for the record, your honor, that I hate Wally's kids. Keep them off my lawn.

ratingLead Art - 4: The art is fine. Everyone looks the way they're supposed to (though I have a hard time believing the New Earth Clark Kent would wear a Metropolis Monarchs jacket - this isn't former football jock Clark anymore) from the Big Three in both identities to Flash and his annoying kids to Clayface. For readers new to DC, these are, artistically speaking, very iconic representations of the characters.

ratingBack-Up Story - 2: As in the first story, the dreams hardly seem unusual enough for the villains to seek one another out or realize they mean anything at all. Bad guys dreaming about unlimited reality-warping power? Isn't that what villains dream about every night? And wouldn't any and all villains bent on world domination naturally see Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as the ultimate obstacles to that? Disguising it in prophecy doesn't make the villains' plans anything other than typically generic villainous plans - Step one: defeat superheroes. Step two: take over the world.

I've seen this movie before. Wake me when it's over.

Unless Konvikt pronounces his name differently than "convict", the misspelling is ridiculous short-hand for primal evil. I don't like it here any better than with the Crime Syndicate of Amerika/America.

Oh one more thing. An enigma is a mystery craving a solution. I could care less who this Enigma is - even if he does turn out to be Edward Nigma, the Riddler.

ratingBack-Up Art - 3: Not bad. Not good. Like the story, it's just kind of hanging there - with one exception. The page in the possible future Gotham with Green Arrow and Ragman. Then again, it's the only really interesting thing the artist is given to draw by the writer. Villains in metallic masks don't provide artists the means to showcase their skills because there's no way to show emotion in a metal mask - just ask the movie versions of Dr. Doom and the Green Goblin.

ratingCover Art - 5: Even if I didn't know that the covers to the first three issues will eventually form a triptych, how could I not love this cover? Superman in an iconic pose. The "Trinity" logo with Superman's emblem on top. What more could anyone ask?

Neal's Review:

ratingLead Story - 5: Holy crap. I just 5'ed a Busiek story. Right after that last run. I repeat:

Holy crap.

What a 180.

Coming from the dearth of quality that was Countdown, I expected more of the same, particularly after enjoying much of the Superman run about as much as I enjoyed Countdown. Let me make clear, I felt pretty darned ready to cream this book. I am angry. With DC, with Busiek for his handling of Superman, and with the idea of taking the accomplishment that was 52 and turning it into a capitalizing scheme without much real substance. It's almost enough to make me stop reading DC. I've been looking for a little bit of hope, and Final Crisis was my last straw. Maybe I can find something here, we'll see.

UNLIKE the previous Superman run, there appears here at least to be a curious threat in the giant universe man, characterization that goes to an end (their discussion actually establishes that they're the only one having the dreams, as opposed to Countdown, where it would have established that they were, well, talking), and a guest appearance that also serves a purpose.

In the previews, it seemed tangential, the scene, but here it's brief and to the point. I'm impressed, actually, with this book, and I can't wait to see the next one. I hope that's not just the first issue glow, which any book can have. I'm very glad to have turned full circle on Busiek, at least for now. We'll see what next week brings.

For now, it feels like two awesome comics for the price of one.

ratingLead Art - 5: I've been reading Bagley for over a hundred issues now with Ultimate Spider-Man, and I was righteously ticked when he left it for another book, even a DC book. Looking at this work, he had obvious cause, reason, and impetus. Fine work, among his strongest, and I wouldn't mind seeing it every week at all.

THIS is what I want the late artists of the world to answer to. Awesome stuff, produced on demand. I have little pity for anything else, and I look at Bagley as an awesome role model in that respect.

ratingBack-Up Story - 4: This starts off falteringly, with a melodramatic, hard-to-believe introduction between Enigma and Morgan Le Fay, who I'm not particularly fond of as a character. After a plague of names-in-dialogue and some clunkers, we're actually treated to a neat introduction of concept that captivates me enough to overcome the other shortcomings... the idea of a reverse Trinity, alternative universes that are compelling, as opposed to how they were used in Countdown, and futures and pasts that are semi-mutable because of magic.

Neat idea, and worth a look, again, I say, at least for now, because I've just been through Countdown.

ratingBack-Up Art - 4: Wow! It's been a while since I've been able to take a crack at McDaniel... mwu ha ha ha, I say again! Actually, last time I reviewed Scott, way back in the Superman run leading in to 200, I was all ooozin ahhs. I still am. His work is great, and this issue is no exception.

There is one caveat. Visually speaking, Morgan Le Fay and Enigma look ridiculous. I was originally going to knock the art down a point or two because of it, but frankly, the artist doesn't choose the characters involved, so I felt I couldn't. Granted, he can do some character design, no doubt, but still... looking AROUND those characters, everything here is compelling, interesting, well rendered... a great compliment for Bagley. I can't wait to see this evolve. Hopefully there's a costume change involved, heh.

ratingCover Art - 5: I was going to knock it a point because it's just Superman standing there, but heck, it's so well drawn I can't. The logo is rad, the combo cover looks even better going along. And my copy (mwu ha ha ha! See my Spokane Con report in a few days) has Andy Owens' sig on it, making it personally special to me.

Jeffrey's Review:

ratingLead & Back-Up Story - 3: This felt like one large contrivance to me. Only Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are having this dream, so they investigate it. Some villains notice, decide to add a third to make their own Trinity, and now the three biggest heroes in DC are going up against a collection of villains that no one cares two bits about to find out what the giant space face wants... and all peppered with trite, clich dialogue that reads like it's right out of 1985. If every issue is like this, I fear it may be a long year indeed.

ratingLead & Back-Up Art - 3: I don't dislike the art here, but it felt... dated. And not in a throwback sort of way, but like it was literally an old comic from 1992 that I was looking at. I don't know how to explain it any better than that. There wasn't anything spectacular that stood out to me, and nothing glaring that I hated. It engendered nothing but apathy.

ratingCover Art - 3: Plain and standard (even if Themyscira is in the background), but still a nice image. Something more dynamic and exciting for the kick-off issue might have better served the book, but then that applies to the interior, too, and this first issue was about as unexciting as you can get. I don't remember ever being so apathetic about ANY first issue of a comic before. These are the three greatest comic book characters of all time, and THIS is what we get for the first book to ever focus on the three of them?


Mild Mannered Reviews

2008

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

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