“Better Together: Part One, Family Dinner”
Writer, Art, Cover – Francis Manapul
Letters – Steve Wands
Variant – Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson
Associate Editor – Paul Kaminski
Group Editor – Eddie Berganza
WARNING – Potential Spoilers Ahead!
The term “trinity” is theological in origin referring to the Christian conceptualization of the Godhead – a three-in-one relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Trinitarian doctrine states Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist as three distinct persons, but share the same substance.
Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman make up the titular characters in DC’s new book, Trinity – a reverential title given to their three most influential characters. Without being sacrilegious, an interesting parallel can be drawn as these three characters are distinct individuals, yet share the same heroic substance – they are inextricably tied.
Trinity #1 carries an interesting premise and a much different connotation in today’s comic book landscape. Here, it is important to note that the Superman depicted in the panels of Trinity #1 is pre-Flashpoint, pre-New 52 Superman – now thrust into a post-New 52, “Rebirth” timeline. The New 52 Superman died saving the world, leaving long-time friends to wonder who this new (old) Superman is and whether they can trust him or not. He resembles the Superman they knew and loved in every way, but without the history the characters enjoyed.
While the convergence of worlds has brought these well-known heroes together, they are as close as strangers.
Perhaps the best way to describe the Superman of Trinity #1 is “classic” Superman. It’s as if his life continued on the pre-Flashpoint trajectory. He is married to Lois Lane, intrepid reporter at the Daily Planet. The two have a son named Jon, who shares his father’s powers.
Trinity #1 sees Lois inviting Bruce and Diana to dinner at the Kent farm. She takes on the role of narrator and readers become aware of her aim. This issue is about tearing down walls – those relational barriers one builds out of defense to protect oneself or those one cares about. Breaking down walls between “classic” Superman and Bruce and Diana from a different timeline is pivotal for their working together and defending the planet in the future.
I found this to be a wonderful choice of storytelling technique by Francis Manapul to introduce the new title and establish the desired tone. The writing was good, the art, exquisite. I enjoyed the use of white space and the framing of the panels on their pages. On three occasions, Manapul used the characters’ emblems as frames; the other panels neatly surrounded them. Beautiful! There is a certain quality to the art in this issue. Several panels and splash pages take on a brush-stroke, water-colored feel that I really enjoyed. This book is a work of art and compels readers to stick with Trinity to see what happens next.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment:
I have concerns about the long-term viability of one artist writing and drawing issues. Admittedly, I am one who leans into continuity and consistency; I strongly dislike different styles and art in the same story arch. This first issue sets a high standard to maintain. I hope it continues though, because this story has great potential for richness and depth…and, Manapul is the sort of artist who can pull it off.
If Trinity #1 is any indication, this new title has promise. It is equal parts nostalgia and a daring new take on an age-old camaraderie. Readers will enjoy these new dynamics as the Francis Manapul explores and reimagines these important relationships moving forward. How will Wonder Woman be affected as she is reminded of her romantic relationship with the now deceased Superman of New 52? How will Superman and Lois Lane as parents navigate familiar, yet unfamiliar territory as young Jon discovers his power? Will Superman be reluctant to re-enter the fray as before? Will Bruce come to trust his new ally? Will Bruce take a more active role in mentoring Jon, keeping a keen eye on the boy who is a potential threat?
Perhaps our heroes will come to learn despite their distinctions, they share the same substance.