“From strangers to brothers. Rivals to sisters. With enough patience and understanding their friendship can grow into something greater.”
A quiet dinner with the family on Lois and Clark’s farm; a plaid-wearing Bruce sharing what it means to be a father. It’s been some time since we’ve seen DC’s “big 3” of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman simply having a conversation. Moments like those were remarkably absent from DC’s New 52. Gone were the years of friendship built on some of the greatest fiction of the 20th and 21st centuries. While the concept revitalized the industry, it left longtime fans yearning for the characters and relationships they’d spent years investing in. Francis Manapul’s Trinity #1 is a promise to both the characters and the readers: all will be made right. The memories of a combined 75 year history come together in the smallest story told in the Rebirth debuts. There’s no apocalyptic threat lurking in the background, no inner turmoil threatening a superheroes’ judgement. What might be the best issue in DC’s Rebirth is nothing more than a gathering of friends.
Despite being seven issues deep into some of the debut titles DC’s heroes have had very little time to sit and talk. With Bryan Hitch’s Justice League series so action-oriented, it fell to Francis Manapul to do the character and relationship-building these heroes so sorely needed. The success of this issue is a testament to Manapul’s restraint with his storytelling. Lois has invited Bats and Diana to the farm for some good ole home cookin’. Like the fans, she knows just how important it is for these three legends to know one another. Having Lois as the narrator gives the reader an outsider’s perspective while still intimately exploring each of our heroes’ thoughts.
Manapul could have created some grandiose spectacle or world-altering event to bring these heroes all to the metaphorical table. Instead, it’s literally a table in a midwestern colonial home. A down-to-Earth dinner party that strips away the costumes and reveals the vulnerable people beneath them. Gods transformed into colleagues, lonely fathers, and grieving lovers. The awkward conversation that ensues is some of the best writing DC has seen in years. Exploring everything from Diana’s feelings for the New 52 Superman to Bruce and Clark’s parenting techniques. Beautiful, imaginative moments help make Trinity #1 the new foundation for DC’s triumvirate.
While his writing impresses on every page, it pales in comparison to his own exquisite illustrations. Having worked on some of the most successful New 52 runs, it was no surprise Francis Manapul was given such an important series to helm. His critically-lauded work on titles like Detective Comics and The Flash elevating him to artist A-lister. There’s no arguing he’s among the best in the industry, but Manapul truly outdoes himself here with captivating panels and breathtaking colors.
Every one of our heroes is given an introduction with a glorious splash page, detailing their strengths and personalities in one image alone. Though the farm is our primary setting, Manapul gives it a lively yet calm appearance that perfectly parallels the plot taking place within its surprisingly colorful walls. Those vivid colors, also by Manapul, create an atmospheric sense of magic and wonder that escalates all the way to the last page. Ending with only a brief but significant tease for the story yet to come, Trinity #1 is a gorgeous and compelling invitation no DC fan should ignore.
The “frontline” of DC’s recent debuts wasted no time in introducing new characters, reintroducing old characters, and evolving the universe to best suit them both. So much effort has been spent on these changes that no series has explored how their titular heroes are simply feeling about it. With Trinity #1, Francis Manapul gives us an in-depth look into the emotions and kinship of DC’s greatest heroes. A vivacious Lois takes the reins by bringing the “trinity” of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to the dinner table on the family farm. In awkward conversation they begin their budding relationship by recalling the ones they’ve lost. As the ensemble break through the tension, Manapul peppers the story with fantastic references to past events made all the better by his mesmerizing images. Every detail from his panels to his colors transcend their pleasing aesthetic to become extensions of the words therein. Being behind words and art, Francis Manapul proves himself to be one of comics’ greatest talents. As unmasked heroes dwell on their muddled memories an old history begins anew. Not with a bombastic clash of titans, but with a patient get-together that amounts to comic perfection.
- Gorgeous, iconic images
- Character building and attention to detail
- Patient Storytelling
- It ends