Written by Francis Manapul
Art by Francis Manapul
Lettering by Steve Wands
Published by DC Comics
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
It’s rare in the modern era of corporate comic book storytelling to get books that have some level of purity of vision. Publishers are looking to maximize the marketing power of their books by including buzzy creators so one-person creative teams are not the norm. Enter Francis Manapul and Trinity. Following their star turns in this spring’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are at the center of their very own team-up comic book title, but the action is a lot smaller than you might imagine. "Rebirth" shook a lot of things up, most notably the dynamic between these three mythic figures. Manapul is not necessarily known for his writing despite credits on Detective Comics and The Flash, but he takes a decent stab at bringing these relationships to the forefront.
A dinner party on a farm might not be the first place you’d expect to find a team-up between DC’s Trinity, but that’s where Manapul puts us. He uses Lois Lane as the POV character for the audience to find their way into the story and lets her narration set the stage for the story. One of the best things about "Rebirth" has been the way that editorial has recentered Lois and Clark around their roles as parents rather than their careers. It’s not a look that we see often from superhero comic books, and it’s refreshing to know that they have different priorities from many of their peers. Manapul uses young Jonathan to really set the plot in motion and his small display of power becomes the focal point of the issue. Batman and Wonder Woman don’t really know this Superman and they’re just as wary of his power and motivations as they are of his parenting. That’s a new dynamic, and Clark is understanding but still defensive. He calls Batman’s methods into question as well providing some levity to the proceedings but also forcing the reader to consider them. There’s some begrudging acceptance on Clark’s part about his role in this world. He never wanted to go back into action, but he understands that he must. Manapul is able to get that across despite a couple of clunky lines of dialogue. And the characterizations feels right, even if Wonder Woman is maybe a little too stoic.
As is typical with a Manapul title, the art is a big draw, and he really comes bursting out of the gates. The opening pages feature exciting layouts that are specific to each of the character and feature their insignia in some way. Manapul has always been a master of page layouts, though he can get a bit too busy at times. He avoids those pitfalls here and keeps the panels simple when he needs to, allowing the character drama to take center stage. It’s hard not to fall in love with his character renderings, too. Bruce, Diana and Clark all feel larger than life even when they’re in their civvies sitting around the dining room table. The expression work gives weight to the dialogue and over the course of the issue, deepens the relationships between the characters. Manapul plays to his strengths here and makes the small moments just as weighty as the big ones. A highlight of the book is the Trinity standing out in a field, staring off into the distance, talking about what comes next. Lois’ narration sets the scene up perfectly, “With enough patience and understanding, their friendship can grow into something greater. I believe in them. Together, they can break down any wall.” Coupled with the art, Manapul drops the mic with the thesis statement of the book moving forward.
All stories have to start somewhere and after DC mucked up some of their characters in the "New 52," they’ve remained steadfastly dedicated to getting back to basics during "Rebirth." Trinity represents a doubling down on the hope and optimism that has been exhibited elsewhere in the line and Manapul proves that he’s the guy to bring these three characters to the top of the heap together. Artistically, the script is executed just about perfectly and while there are a couple of issues with dialogue and characterization, they aren’t big enough to derail the issue at all. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of threats these three will face considerings they have to be bigger than in their solo titles but smaller than a full-scale Justice League adventure. But if Manapul can mix in meaningful character work along the way, Trinity could be one of the books that makes DC Comics great again.