EDITOR'S NOTE: In 2006 when he reviewed every issue of 52 he was "Mr. Wanty" (or as Keith Giffen called him, "That Mr. Wanty Bastard"); For Countdown he found himself lost in space as "Major Tom"; For Trinity though Jim Beard has evidently found religion. Trinity appropriately launches Jim's third year as our weekly reviewer of DC's weekly event. Read on...
Annnd…we're back. Throw open the doors to the First Church of Comics and come inside, sisters and brothers. It's DC's newest weekly series, Trinity, and we're about to make a year-long pilgrimage to search our souls and determine whether or not it's worthy of our adoration…or damnation. If you choose, I will be your patron for this journey…
Godhead: Trinity #1 is a good comic, a worthwhile beginning to what appears to be a solid super-hero saga – and yes, I do mean saga. Not just Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, from issue #1 you can see it purports to encompass the entire DC Universe. It also stands to wipe away the bad memory of its immediate predecessor, of whom we shall say no more, verily.
The Sacred: Kurt Busiek knows his way around a super-hero plot and in this first issue he's at the height of his powers, I think. A whammy of a beginning, complete with mind-boggling special effects, melts into the very earthly coming-together of three friends, and the reader feels nary a bump. Busiek quickly and deftly translates our Trinity's characterizations into a smooth tonic, and there is no doubt as to each of their places in the story and their universe. That's such a heavenly pleasure, to get such a burden--that of establishing your characters--out of the way swiftly and enjoyably. Busiek, like Geoff Johns, is adept at nailing "voices," and it certainly shows here. That's the primary joy of issue #1.
The secondary joy here is how much the two parts of this book tie together – and feel as if they were written by one writer. Credit to the writing team and the editors for that. I felt as if this facet of Trinity added to the "saga" feeling. Extra blessings on the nice bonus of weaving Bagley's art into that direct link between the two. There's conscious thought here, folks, to build a better book. Huzzah!
The tertiary joy is, yes, Mark Bagley's art. Bags is not a "beautiful" artist in my book, meaning he isn't here for us to dwell on his pretty pictures. No, in fact, he's more like well-designed, solid architecture, buttressing the proceedings and keeping a creative domed roof over the congregation. That said, he has peppered the hymnbook with nice touches that spark the imagination, such as the shadow of the Batman's mask on Bruce's face and the piercing eyes of many a character's portrait. Bagley is a dependable, concrete source of artistic know-how and is certainly earning his wings straight out of the Pearly Gates.
The Secular: One can't entirely label the Morgaine Le Fey/Enigma story a "back-up" as it holds an equal amount of pages in this issue. In fact, oddly, it sort of dominates the issue. I was surprised at how much longer it took me to read "In the Morrows to Come" and to digest it. That's not necessarily a bad thing but again, it's a beast of a thing, threatening to overshadow the "main" story of the Trinity with its mysteries and machinations. I'm not sure what to feel about yet. Don't hate it but don't think I'm in love with it either. Enigma seems to be a higher-tech Riddler of sorts, not a bad new entry on DC logs but still lacking a bit of spark – the kind that marks a truly special character. Time will tell, I pray. Overall, I'm in limbo on this all.
The Profane: I used to attend the Temple of McDaniel pretty regularly but... he's seen better days, eh? His art has become rougher and rougher, and while I liked it, for the most part, on Countdown: Arena, here it suffers in its proximity to Bagley's art. He drunkenly sways back and forth, panel to panel, between cartoony and crafty and the results are often disappointing. Overall, little to actually complain about in this inaugural issue.
Batman Ascending: Busiek's Batman is fun, and I think I really dig his take on Bruce Wayne. I also appreciated Batman's outlook on the dream; of course, he'd immediately see it as a criminal. Who doesn't he see as a criminal? Fun stuff. I'm hoping for some truly great insight into the Darknight Detective from Busiek in the coming months.
Wonder Woman Ascending: I'll admit it: one of the reasons I'd been looking forward to the first services of Trinity is the hope that I'd finally be sold on Wonder Woman. Never been a fan and never truly seen what others see in her. But bless me, Father – I liked what I saw here. The brief mentions of Diana's life woven into the tapestry were intriguing, clever choices on Busiek's part to impart "all that matters." Short of being just a hero with mythological origins, WW holds her own in the character department and when you consider she's up against the two Alpha-males of the super-hero world, that's saying a lot. I'm interested, Kurt. Preach on.
Superman Descending: For being the cover boy, there's not much to say about Clark here, is there? I didn't get as much a feel about what makes him special or tick like I did with his two compatriots. I feel he took something of a back-seat this issue, and I have to figure that's not the perfect way to kick off a book called "Trinity." Maybe it's more difficult to say something new or different about Superman. Like before, time will tell.
Scripture: "Ahh, Clark! Glad you could make it, buddy!" Seriously, I thought I had walked into the Bizarro Trinity series. What. A. Hoot. What a wonderful, funny moment, and especially when you consider how much both of them were probably cringing inside as he said that.
"You? A human, a technologer." Isn't there something just wonderful about the word "technologer"? If you keep saying it over and over, outloud, it's quite enjoyable. Bonus if you can say it in the voice of a thousands of years-old female Witch-Queen of Camelot.
Supplication: Let us pray. Oh, Lord, please allow this book to be on time, every week, and for Kurt Busiek to remember that though the range and depth of the DC Universe are great, the book is not called "The Two Brats of the Flash," and who his stars are and their power. In the name of Mr. Wanty, we do so humbly pray…
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