Trinity #1 is a weird issue. It feels very heartfelt, as if writer/artist Francis Manapul is taking very seriously the aim of creating the kind of essential, iconic relationship DC’s triumvirate of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman used to exemplify prior to the New 52. To that end, there’s a tremendous amount of warmth, feeling and sincerity to the book that I appreciated. But I have to question the wisdom of opening this issue with what essentially boils down to a dinner party.
Part of the issue is that all three of our main characters reach a kind of understanding with one another pretty easily. There’s some nice moments where Bruce, Clark and Diana all have difficulties in navigating the situation they find themselves in. Clark tries to connect with Bruce using a memory of the Bruce he knew, but Bruce rejects the attempt as he is a different man from the Bruce Clark knew. Diana struggles to deal with a Clark that is married to Lois, but reminds her in some ways of the lover she lost. And Bruce, a man who doesn’t trust anyone, brings up a good point about a factor that bonded him and the New 52 Superman together.
But by the issue’s end, without ever really showing it, the three of them are sharing a chummy moment on the farm, with Bruce helping Clark put son Jon to bed and Lois and Diana bonding. Maybe this ease is one-sided on Clark’s part, and we’ll see more complications to the creation of this Trinity. However, I couldn’t help but think that Manapul skipped over the most interesting part of the story, namely how these people come to be trusted friends and allies. One dinner isn’t going to do it, and I can sense that Manapul is going to do more with the awkwardness, but the issue still felt oddly warm and nostalgic. Like Trinity #1 wants to show us a relationship it hasn’t built yet.
Manapul keeps the issue planted firmly in a quiet and subdued opener that only reveals a larger concept for the book in its final panel, and that panel kind of baffled me. The artwork depicts a thing without context that Bruce, Clark and Diana are looking at, and it’s confusing as to what it is. I’m all for ambiguity, but I actually don’t really know what I’m looking at in this panel. It’s really weird. I can’t go into more detail without spoiling anything, but I don’t get if they’re looking at an object or if the thing is really there, or if it’s a portal or a screen or technology or whatever. It’s a weird final panel and not so much intriguing as it is simply baffling. The geography of it doesn’t make sense, and as a piece of sequential art it feels as if there’s a panel missing that explains more clearly what they’re seeing.
At the end of the day, while I appreciate the aim of the issue, Trinity #1 is too subdued a start to make you excited about where the book is going. It’s long on character, but really short on narrative and incident, so that contemplative tone feels a little low energy for a debut. A really great cliffhanger could have mitigated that, but I’m not even sure what the hell is happening in the cliffhanger so I couldn’t really say I’m on the edge of my seat.
Hopefully issue #2 will clear that up, but for now Trinity #1, even with its earnest warmth, winds up being too low key to generate the excitement a book starring DC’s Big Three should have. 5.5/10