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 #4 continued writer Francis Manapul’s Better Together storyline, carrying Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to Themyscira. Artist Emanuela Lupacchino contributed the pencils for the chapter subtitled Nothing Is Real. ComiConverse contributor T. Kyle King is here to review the most recent issue.
Trinity #4 Review:
The Action Ace and the Caped Crusader each has relived a critical moment from his past, and now it is the Amazing Amazon’s turn. What secrets will be revealed on Paradise Island, and will the titular threesome at long last learn the identity of their antagonist?
Trinity #4 Synopsis:
Although they know that none of what they are experiencing is real, the three heroes ostensibly arrive by boat at Themyscira. Upon encountering Queen Hippolyta and her youthful daughter, Diana, the teammates prove themselves through contests of strength and skill in the Coliseum. Wonder Woman, who has hidden behind her heroic name to conceal her identity, rejects the opportunity to remain among the Amazons and chooses instead to stay with Batman and Superman.
The three Justice Leaguers are banished to the Dark Quarters. As they are sent away on a plain craft guided by a silent oarsman, the compassionate and headstrong young Diana impetuously leaps aboard to accompany them on their journey. The two Dianas connect with one another using the Lasso of Truth before an attacking sea serpent whisks them away, leaving the trio alone. While Lois Lane and Jonathan Kent are unconscious in their barn in Hamilton County, the trio of heroes stands before the mastermind behind the plot.
Trinity #4 Analysis:
The subtitle and the theme of Better Together — Part Four emphasize what the issue’s opening lines declare: “None of this is real. It could all be a dream.” That ethereal drowsing quality pervades Trinity #4 from an opening page defined by Lupacchino’s forthright layouts, inker Ray McCarthy’s defined lines, and colorist Hi-Fi’s contrasting bright yellows and lugubrious blues. The interior artwork conveys a realistic feel to events in the midst of a sense of overarching ephemerality, effectively lending the proceedings a dreamlike aspect well suited to the tripartite Black Mercy phantasm.
Manapul, as usual, is up to the task of giving each member of the starring trio of Trinity #4 his or her due. Since Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are DC Comics’ most iconic costumed superheroes, it is a daunting challenge to balance each of their abilities, personalities, and roles, but the writer succeeds in doing so, both over the course of the Better Together arc and within the context of a given issue. Nothing Is Real is no exception, as the Amazing Amazon properly is the star of the story but neither of her male teammates is reduced to an ancillary role. While Trinity #4 could have done without Clay Mann’s and Brad Anderson’s cover depiction of a leggy Diana pointing a sword at the reader while viewed from an upskirt angle, Manapul’s compassionate and courageous Wonder Woman was capably portrayed.
It must be acknowledged, however, that — although it has been a good year for Wonder Woman — it has been a tough week for Lois Lane. The award-winning Daily Planet reporter shared her husband’s erratic reaction in Superman #13, and she fared even worse in her two-page cameo in Better Together — Part Four. We previously saw Lois drive into the barn in a truck in a rush to rescue her son, but Trinity #4 recasts her action as rashness rather than brashness: Jonathan is injured by her intervention, which is characterized as an example of panicked impulsivity. Poison Ivy dismisses Lois’s maternal concern (as well as competence) by insisting that she saved Jon from his mother’s endangerment by shoving the boy out of harm’s way… then, to top it off, Ivy socks Lane in the jaw in an abhorrently exact re-enactment of perhaps the most execrable panel of the regrettable Truth. Such instances, even if unintentional, ought to be avoided, in light of the slings and arrows Lois needlessly has suffered in recent years.
The misstep in the Hamilton County sequence was the only serious flaw in Nothing Is Real, but it was a significant one. Given this series’ — and particularly this issue’s — respectful treatment of Wonder Woman, though, there is every reason to believe the short shrift given to Lois Lane was accidental. Accordingly, the prudent reaction to Better Together — Part Four is to give Francis Manapul credit for another well-written installment, afford the author the benefit of the doubt on the lone questionable sequence, and look forward to the next chapter now that the heroes’ true adversary stands revealed.
Did you welcome the Christmas arrival of Trinity #4?
Offer your thoughts on Nothing Is Real and ComiConverse with us in the comments!
T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.
Source: DC Comics
In spite of an ill-conceived two-page aside, the author has a clear command of his lead characters and their stories.