Trinity Graphic Novel Review By Deffinition
The Formation Of The Justice League
We are so deep into the canon read through now and still really nowhere in the overall mythology. So far we’ve encountered Robins, Batgirls and a wealth of super villains. Batman is yet to meet his true rivals though….the superheroes.
Trinity is a book by Matt Wagner which covers the formation of…well…The Trinity. Made up of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. This is a truly historical moment in the canon and if you’ve read my other Wagner reviews then you know I love the writer.
Overall I’m very excited. So, let us dive into Matt Wagner’s Trinity!
A day in the life
The book opens brilliantly with us following Clark Kent, deliberately trying to be late to work to avoid suspicion. This is a really indepth look at the character and when he manages to stop a crashing train (whilst missing a robbery) we get our first introduction to Batman.
Wagner provides a wealth of character and juxtaposition within a few lines and it’s great to see the master of subtly work his magic during the introductions. When Bruce and Clark interact we can see that, though they differ in means, they agree on the ends and due to this are great friends. Just a two page ride with the duo is enough to show how much they respect and admire each other. Wagner once again has nailed the mannerisms and methodology of the boy in blue and the dark knight.
It is also within this first chapter that we are formly introduced to the villain, Ras Al Ghul. He has found Bizarro and is once again on his Pinky and the Brain Esque mission to try and take over the world.
Through Bizarro’s stupidity, a nuclear bomb is dropped on Themuscyra and this alerts the amazonians to what could be afoot.
“He walks ahead of me, as if I need protection”
It has to be said that Wagner expertly handles the pacing and even the slower moments feel like they have urgency and are heading towards a bigger goal. When Wonder Woman and Superman meet for the first time you almost get the feeling that these are two Gods crossing paths. The fact we get to witness their inner monologue adds to the drama. They both respect each other with admiration whilst also critiquing the others methods. Not only does it inform the opinion of the other character but it also builds a vivid picture of how the heroes view themselves in their own actions.
Similarly Batman appears as a diety, one could be excused for too viewing him as a God, even if he lacks the power. This point truly highlights the methodology of The Caped Crusader. He is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with Gods and not seem out of place because of his demeanour and prowess. Wagner’s art pushes this thinking to the forefront and he never depicts Batman as weaker than the two superheroes that he is in allegiance with.
Ofcourse Wagner knows that ‘The Trinity’ shares a namesake with ‘The Holy Trinity’ and whether this was originally intended from the groups inception, he plays this coincidence up to great effect.
Holy Shit Trinity
With all three being so staunch in their beliefs there are a few arguments along the way. Mainly between Batman and Wonder Woman. I really got the feeling that Wagner plays these off against each other the most due to them being the opposite end of the spectrum demographically. And perhaps due to their sexual chemistry. They are both brawlers so this may be the only way they know to express themselves without showing weakness.
Ofcourse the fights aren’t contained to just the group. Ra’s, Bizarro and an unnamed Amazonian provide the roles of antagonists. It’s brilliant how Wagner has created a group of villains who are The Trinity’s opposite without it feeling forced. Ra’s is the mastermind with the cunning plan much in the same way that Batman is on his respective team. They have been grouped together in order to provide the highest opposition to the team and there are several moments when as a squad they overwhelm our heroes. Making The Trinity’s bond that much stronger and necessary.
One of the highlights of the book is the Bizarro/Wonder Woman fight which ends with the Amazonian bested. It hints at what would happen should she and Superman face off and let’s us know that she is better off making a bond with the character, rather than being at his mercy.
It’s little tidbits like this that add strength to The Trinity and let us know that this group is formed for the needs of the people, even if the core members don’t always see eye to eye.
I love how it introduces each character’s home as a chapter beginning. Like in Mad Monk, Wagner uses repetition throughout the book to showcases settings and situations that speak volumes for a character’s history. Through the cities and islands we are able to learn exactly why certain characters have certain character traits. It adds depth to the book and acts just as much as a history lesson on each character as it does a modern take.
The book has it all. Violence, action, drama and even comedy. I chuckled to myself as Batman was being carried by Superman to Themyscera and the bat drops from him, deploying a glider as they approach. Superman simply mutters to himself ‘yeah right, as if I couldn’t see that, the harnesses are three inches thick.’
It’s a humerus shift on the normality of Batman being viewed as a demon, when someone more powerful can clearly see his cheap theatrics. Batman then sneaks stealthily onto the island and our of nowhere, drops cover, rushes over and kisses Diana, overcome by her beauty. It’s a hilarious moment that not only helps with the pace of the book but also shows that even The Dark Knight’s eyes will wander once in a while.
This really surmises Wagner’s understandings of the character, he gets their entire wealth of emotions and employs them throughout to make a story that is not only fun but also dark, mystical, realistic and perfectly balanced.
I really wish Warner Brothers could deploy someone of his talent to craft the cinematic universe as Wagner really understands how to deliver complex ideas in a simplistic way that aren’t just ‘dark’ for the sake of it.
Hit And Miss Moments
It’s not perfect however, my main problems lie with Ra’s Al Ghul’s plot, it’s too by the numbers. He steals a few nukes, threatens to detonate them. Basically an episode of pinky and the brain. It’s not horrendous, it’s just that we’ve seen this plot so often that it’s hard to. It feel slightly bored by the book when it retreads this motif. Sure it’s executed well on paper but I just expected more from one of Comic’s most creative writers.
The climax, whilst cliched, is still a brilliant ride. Ra’s al ghul rides two nuclear mistakes, pulled by Bizarro, to wage war on Themyscra. It’s epic watching the battle between the two forces and really feels like a satisfying conclusion. Wonder Woman fights Ra’s, Batman tackles bizarro in a flying mech suit and Superman is well, Superman. He takes down the remaining forces, sparing them in an almost comedic manner of disarmament.
Overall it’s a satisfying way to end the book and we get a sense that the trinity have gained a wealth of respect for one another that really cements them as the heroic team they are destined to become.
I thought this book was absolutely brilliant from start to finish. Wagner has once again provided a thrilling, perfectly paced, insight into some of fictions most famous characters. This is definitely another highlight of the run that garners it’s critical acclaim and belongs on your book shelf.
Leave a comment whether you agree with my ranking or not.
I’m currently reading the Batman graphic novels in chronological order, came across your site when looking for some reviews. I see your chronology is practically the same as mine but with stories I haven’t come across before. Thank you for opening me up to a few more Batman tales and also for providing good analysis of these stories.