Ricky Church reviews Trinity Vol. 1: Better Together…
The Dark Knight. The Man of Steel. The Amazon Warrior. The three greatest heroes in the DC Universe unite when the threats to our planet are bigger than any one of them can handle. But now, the deadly White Mercy has Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman in its terrifying grasp! But who would dare to orchestrate this attack—and why? All will be revealed as the three most powerful heroes in the DC Universe fight for their very souls! Collects issues #1-6.
It’s needless to say Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are arguably the world’s most well known superheroes. Each one has different powers, skills and histories from the other, yet their many differences compliment each other and when brought together almost nothing can stop them.
In Trinity Vol. 1: Better Together, the first collection of the Trinity series from DC Rebirth, writer and artist Francis Manapul seeks to pull back the layers of DC’s big three. The book, collecting Trinity #1 – 6, focuses on why these three have such a connection with each other and succeeds for the most part. Between Manapul’s writing and art, Better Together is a worthy start to the series.
Rather than focusing on a dangerous apocalypse, the whole book is a surprisingly quiet affair as Wonder Woman and Batman are invited to the Kent household for dinner in an effort to get to know the ‘new’ Superman. The night takes a turn, though, when they’re brought to a mysterious world where they have to confront their greatest weaknesses.
It is certainly not the typical premise one would expect featuring the Trinity, but the smaller aspect of the story works very well in its favour. Manapul is able to deconstruct the heroes very well, examining how they view the others and what brings them together. It also takes really good advantage of the soft reset DC Rebirth offered by essentially starting from the beginning with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Better Together sees a much more familiar Trinity than what The New 52 presented to long-time fans.
It’s not just the Trinity who benefit from Manapul’s characterization either. There’s some good material with Lois Lane and the young Jon Kent, as well as the various characters appearing in the mysterious world. Manapul’s writing of the Superman and Jonathan Kent Sr. relationship, one of the best father/son relationships in all of comics, is one of the best things about the story. Lois and Diana also get some good material together and even Poison Ivy comes off in a fairly sympathetic light in Better Together.
The art is also gorgeous. Manapul illustrates as well as writing the story, but due to the demands of both jobs, he only drew and coloured three of the six chapters. Seth and Clay Mann and Emanuela Lupacchino take care of illustrations for the other chapters with Brad Anderson and Hi-Fi on colours.
Multiple artists throughout one story can be a bit distracting, but here it actually works pretty well. Nothing is wildly inconsistent, with each artist using the same type of character builds while still making the art distinctly their own, especially as the heroes travel to different locations in this world. Lupacchino draws a very nice looking Themyscira and creates a cool climac and the colour work in the book, whether its Anderson or Hi-Fi, visually pops, but the real highlight is Manapul’s art. His pencils and colours really standout, as does his facial work, and his choice of layouts offer something a bit less typical from the standard comic layout.
As for the make of the book itself, it’s nicely presented. The wraparound cover is gorgeous and the binding good quality. There’s not too much gutter loss when looking at the art, but the times gutter loss sticks out a lot is in Manapul’s layouts. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does its unfortunate it happens to be at the most visually appealing portions of the book.
Included is a collection of variant covers and a couple of sketches from Manapul. The bonus content could have been greatly expanded not only because it’s Trinity, but also because of the additional artists on the book. It would have been cool to see their different takes in their progress on the characters and look of the story. It’s a shame we didn’t get more of that.
Overall, Trinity Vol. 1: Better Together is a great book that focuses on the core characteristics of the big three and what binds them together. Manapul has a great handle on Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and makes them look great, but Clay and Seth Mann and Emanuela Lupacchino do well with Manapul’s vision. The quieter setting really allows Manapul to deconstruct the characters. Though the book could have had a bit more bonus content, its still worth it for fans to pick up.