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 #6 wrapped up the series’ opening Better Together arc. In his last issue before giving way to another wordsmith, writer Francis Manapul was joined by penciller Emanuela Lupacchino for the story subtitled At the Mercy. ComiConverse contributor T. Kyle King offers his thoughts on this Wednesday’s issue.
Trinity #6 Review:
Mongul, trapped inside his own dream by the Black Mercy, has broken free of his fantasy world with the help of the White Mercy. Is the intergalactic villain now able to conquer Earth, or will Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman be able to find a path back to reality?
(Warning: Spoilers follow!)
Trinity #6 Synopsis:
Mongul returns to the physical realm by inhabiting Clark Kent’s body. He attacks Poison Ivy, who wants only to be reunited with their daughter, the White Mercy. Lois Lane instructs her son, Superboy, to use his powers on the villain who has taken over his father’s form. Inside the dream, the White Mercy — who has learned real human feelings from her experience manipulating the three trapped heroes — offers to help Batman and Wonder Woman.
The Dark Knight allows the White Mercy to enter the corporeal realm through Bruce Wayne’s body, in which she fights Mongul using Batman’s meticulous preparation to face any contingency. After felling Mongul’s Kryptonian host with kryptonite, the White Mercy shares a brief moment in physical form with Poison Ivy, utilizing the Green to cause her mother to forget the loss of her child. The powerful plants are removed from Clark and Bruce in Hamilton County, making Batman and Superman disappear from the dreamscape. Inside the fantasy, Wonder Woman sees the truth that she has fulfilled her mission within the delusion and follows her friends into the outside world.
Trinity #6 Analysis:
While good, the Better Together finale fell short of being great. Unfortunately, the qualities that made the penultimate installment exceptional were missing from this issue: Trinity #6 lacked the attention to historical detail, the ethereal quality of the graphics, and the dreamlike unity of script and imagery that made Trinity #5 so superb. At the Mercy was far from a failure, but, after such a strong story in the issue before it, the conclusion limped across the finish line in a rushed wrap-up that was a little too pat.
Visually, Trinity #6 ought to have worked better than it did. After all, Lupacchino’s pencils, Ray McCarthy’s inks, and Hi-Fi’s colors meshed exceptionally well together just two issues ago. Nevertheless, that same team — joined by Matt Santorelli, who shared the inking chores with McCarthy — delivered images in Better Together — Finale that were neither fish nor fowl. The artwork in At the Mercy lacks the expressiveness and fine detail required for photorealism, yet the sharpness of the lines and the crispness of the colors kept the interior of the dreamscape from retaining its otherworldly appearance. The scenes shifting between these indistinguishable settings met one another in the muddled middle.
Likewise, after unfolding with exquisite slowness through the series’ first five issues, Better Together hurried to an easy and unsatisfying ending. The White Mercy’s opening exposition maintained the tale’s prior pacing before At the Mercy began too swiftly to pick up steam. Lois leaps straight to telling Jonathan to use his powers openly in front of supervillains, rather than suggesting a subtler approach. This rash decision carries no consequences, though, because the White Mercy casually erases her mother’s memory. This simplistic solution is explained away with a vague reference to the Green, and no one appears troubled by the same sort of mindwipe that formed the core of the moral quandary in the controversial Identity Crisis. Finally, the Justice Leaguers’ ultimate escape route — ripping off the Black Mercy plants in reality — flies in the face of DC Comics fans’ past experience with the telepathic plant.
Even so, Trinity #6 still has its strengths. The White Mercy gets a bit preachy, but her growth from a figment of Mongul’s imagination to a feeling being is compelling. Batman’s preparedness was a nice touch, while Lois Lane’s concluding narration provided the coda that gave Better Together a fitting closing parenthesis. Although her contribution to At the Mercy was not entirely coherent, Wonder Woman combined courage and wisdom, then exhibited an impressive toughness when ripping the Black Mercy off of her own chest. Despite these benefits, however, Trinity #6 moved too quickly and cut too many corners to be capable of offering a worthy denouement to an otherwise carefully crafted and expertly executed introductory arc.
Did Better Together — Finale awaken you from the dream, or were you At the Mercy of an unconvincing ending?
Break free of the Black Mercy and ComiConverse with us about Trinity #6 in the comments!
T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.
Source: DC Comics