T. Kyle King’s published work ranges from newspaper columns to film reviews and from short stories to law review articles. Most notably, he served as a site manager and staff writer at DawgSports.com, a daily weblog devoted to University of Georgia athletics, from 2006 to 2013, and he is the author of a book about the history of the college football rivalry between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers published by Clemson University Digital Press in 2013. Kyle is a lifelong comic book fan whose thoughts on comic books previously have appeared at ComicsVerse, Progressive Boink, and the Superman Homepage. Kyle is a Superman guy.
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Trinity #3 delivered the third chapter of the series’ Better Together introductory arc. Writer Francis Manapul was joined by penciller Clay Mann for the story subtitled Nobody Dies Tonight. ComiConverse contributor T. Kyle King reviews the newest installment in the team-up title starring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
(Warning: Spoilers Follow!)
Trinity #3 Review:
Trapped in a dreamworld with his fellow Justice Leaguers, the Darknight Detective is forced to relive his parents’ murder and its tortured aftermath. Does the experience bring the heroes any closer to escaping their hellish hallucination? Can anyone from the outside world rescue the protagonists from imprisonment inside their own imaginations?
Trinity #3 Synopsis:
Forced to watch from above while unable to intervene, Batman witnesses his parents’ murder. He likewise sees the young Bruce Wayne being treated by Dr. Harleen Quinzel, who prescribes him a medication to suppress the boy’s scent-triggered memories. Young Bruce experiences a terrifying hallucination, mistaking the Caped Crusader, the Action Ace, and the Amazing Amazon for demonic assailants.
Despite being deeply emotionally affected by these experiences, Batman nevertheless notices that numerous details are inaccurate and realizes that the three of them are pawns in a game rather than trapped in the past. Diana deduces that a larger purpose underlies their presence and encourages her teammates to accept the apparent truth of their surroundings and trust one another. In the reality of Hamilton County, Lois Lane investigates the disappearance of her husband, their son, and their heroic houseguests, ultimately breaking into the sealed barn to confront Poison Ivy.
Trinity #3 Analysis:
Because Manapul previously provided a complete unity of tone and appearance to the series by serving as both author and artist, the addition of a new penciller presented initial cause for concern. It shouldn’t have: Clay Mann maintains Manapul’s style and scale in the look and layout of the graphics, and this consistency is given an assist by the fact that Nobody Dies Tonight was inked by this issue’s penciller and his twin brother, Seth Mann. The 20 pages of Trinity #3 feature a pair of full-page splashes and four double-page spreads, while the graphics throughout are augmented by inventive arrangements of images that include panels shaped to form the letters of the sound effects.
Even when the words do not provide frames for the graphics, letterer Steve Wands lends substance to the ominous cacophony accompanying these events. Colorist Brad Anderson also adds a mostly muted palette that maintains a somber and subdued mood, even amid the bright lights of the iconic movie marquee and the equally familiar lightning bolt. Even with the creative duties divided, the graphic arts team matches the timbre of the script. Manapul masterfully resists the temptation to overwrite, recreating the frequently rendered murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne only marginally less economically than Grant Morrison’s concise recapitulation of Clark Kent’s origin story in All-Star Superman. As the principal narrator of Trinity #3, Batman sets the pace with a series of short unadorned true declarative statements that seem crafted in keeping with Ernest Hemingway’s literary advice.
Although the beauty of Manapul’s writing in Nobody Dies Tonight is its straightforward simplicity, his story is not lacking in subtle nuggets. For instance, hints are given when Dr. Quinzel mentions that she knows a physician — Poison Ivy’s probable co-conspirator, Mongul, perhaps? — who has designed a drug that blocks the brain’s responses to external sensory stimuli. The youthful Bruce willingly submits, and, when he takes his medication, he enters immediately into a world of illusion, just as the adult Dark Knight is ensnared by the Black Mercy. Add to that Diana as the compassionate voice of reason and Lois as the determined woman of action, and Trinity #3 ends up as a steadily paced, deceptively direct, and wholly engaging adventure.
Last week, I gave Supergirl #3 a succinct review because that issue was strictly functional; it wasn’t bad, but it lacked the depth and detail to justify a more thorough explication. The comparable brevity of this exegesis of Better Together — Part Three is for entirely the opposite reason: Nobody Dies Tonight took the direct approach to storytelling, relying on power and precision to make its points in the foreground while continuing to sow the seeds of future plot payoffs with delicate finesse in the background. That satisfying combination made Trinity #3 another worthwhile read.
Is Better Together continuing to improve?
Let us know your reaction to Trinity #3. ComiConverse with us in the comments!
T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.
Source: DC Comics
The writing and the artwork continue to take full advantage of the main characters’ iconography to tell a forthright tale filled with hidden nuances.