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Legends Are Born

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Any great partnership has to begin somewhere. Whether it be for business, common interests, friendship or love, it all has a starting point. In Trinity, Matt Wagner presents us with the fateful first meeting of the DC Universe’s iconic triumvirate of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Originally announced at Mega Con last February, the three-issue prestige format chronicles the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight Detective’s initial meeting with the Amazon Princess under not-so pleasant circumstances. A nuclear bomb has gone off near the island of Themyscira , home of the Amazons, and its champion is sent off to find out what the circumstances are. In the process, the DCU’s greatest heroes cross paths for the first time, thus laying the groundwork for one of the most enduring partnerships in all comicdom.

From this point, events unfold where Superman comes across Wonder Woman for the first time. On that event, Wagner provides an amusing take on this meeting with the following thought from Clark , “Lois, You’re the most compelling woman I’ve ever met. But this (Wonder Woman) is the most magnificent.” The subsequent thought from Diana is just as entertaining, “He’s larger than I imagined.”

It’s particularly interesting how Wagner envisioned the first impressions of the two icons with regard to each other. While both are no pushovers themselves, their mutual awe is consistent with a normal reaction we would normally have in meeting a larger-than-life figure.

However, as interesting as that meeting went, Wonder Woman’s first contact with Batman went in a more conventional manner as sparks started flying almost at the get-go. It’s painfully obvious that Batman’s violent methods would not meet with Wonder Woman’s more pacifistic nature. This dichotomy in behavior becomes all the more interesting considering the events depicted in JLA #90, where the romantic tension between the two characters is resolved.

The use of Ra’s Al Ghul as the antagonist for the story was a good choice by Wagner. The Devil’s Head is one of Batman’s most cunning adversaries and it was an unorthodox decision by Wagner considering there are more prominent characters like Luthor or the Joker he could have used. All things considered, Ra’s Al Ghul is one of the few individuals who would give the Big Three enough of a challenge.  

As talented a creator Matt Wagner is, I would have to say, that his work here was a bit lacking. One thing that threw me off while reading the story was Wagner’s seeming lack of familiarity with the characters, most particularly, with regard to their dialogue. In certain parts of the story, Batman speaks in a manner out of character with his usual grim and controlled demeanor. He’s got lines like, “Last chance, monkey boy,” when asking one of Ra’s Al Ghul’s men for information. Or when he lashes at Wonder Woman who has just admonished him for breaking the lackey’s jaw by saying, “Listen, Lady! Don’t like it? Well, tough!” That doesn’t sound like Batman at all. These lines are something more like what the Punisher might say, but not Batman.

Another aspect of the story I found a bit superfluous was the use of Artemis. While it was a convenient plot device to use her and connect her to Diana, in the end, I asked myself what significant role she played. In my opinion, none. This was one part of the plot Wagner could have done away with without detriment to the story.

In addition to writing the mini-series, Matt Wagner also provides the art. In Trinity, there are portions where Wagner utilizes a style reminiscent of Tim Sale’s work on Superman For All Seasons, while there are also segments where his art reminded me of Mauricet’s (The Crossovers) work. However, there is a sort of unevenness to Wagner’s depictions that lead to distorted features on the characters. This may be acceptable for the regular books, but it was a bit annoying considering the hefty price tag for a prestige format book.

Moreover, while I had no major qualms with regard to his rendering of the World’s Finest duo, his version of Wonder Woman was a bit off. I may be mistaken but this may be the first time that she’s been depicted wearing biking shorts for her star-spangled bikini. I know it’s a small thing but it bothered me every time I saw it.

The Lowdown on Trinity:   While the book’s premise is interesting enough – the first meeting of the DCU’s iconic trio of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – the execution left some things to be desired. Again, in my humble opinion, DC could have done this better if they had handed the storytelling aspect to someone more versed with what the three characters are all about. Wagner’s work here, though adequate, reveals his lack of feel for them. His story could have been used in a regular team-up, but not for something as pivotal as the first meeting between the “Big Three.” They should have just let him do an Elseworlds tale or another story with fewer ramifications than this.

The art, while good in certain parts, was uneven throughout. It ranged from the detailed to the distorted. While this may be Wagner’s style, it was a distraction in certain parts and I found myself a bit turned off.

Trinity is a good book if you’re really into the DCU’s star triumvirate but if you can afford to wait for the trade, you’re probably better off with that. It’s due out in March as a hardcover.

- Jose Clemente

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