Long rumored and highly anticipated, DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio officially announced DC’s third weekly series, “Trinity,” at the DC Comics retailers’ meeting this weekend in Dallas, Texas.
Starting in June, the 52-issue series features a lead story each week, starring Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman that will be penned by superstar writer Kurt Busiek (“Superman,” “Astro City”) with art by an equally-big-named talent, Mark Bagley (“Ultimate Spider-Man”).
To make room for the massive project, Busiek is leaving “Superman” following #675 to be replaced by popular British scribe James Dale Robinson (“The Golden Age” and “Starman”).
CBR News spoke with Busiek Saturday morning from his home about “Trinity” and life with his old “Thunderbolts” pal, Bags.
“The mystery project I have been eluding to all this time is ‘Trinity’ although, it’s only been recently named ‘Trinity.’ It’s undergone a very long gestation process,” Busiek told CBR News. “It started as something they took me off ‘Aquaman’ to do because it was going to take a little more time than a regular monthly book so that I could do that alongside ‘Superman’ and it got bigger and bigger and bigger until now it’s a full 22 pages a week with 10 pages of those pages co-written with me and Fabien [Nicieza] and me doing the rest.
“So it’s more like writing three or three-and-a-half books a month. At one point, it was called ‘DC Nation’ and at one point, it was called ‘DC Superstars’ and finally, at the meetings we had in New York in January, we boiled it down and boiled it down, and came up with ‘Trinity’ as the best title for two or three different reasons.
“The most obvious is that it is about Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. But the term ‘trinity’ means more than that there are three of them. Why are they a trinity? What’s important about them being a trinity? The word ‘trinity’ and the concept of ‘the trinity’ are central to the story we are telling. It’s not just a fancy way of saying ‘three guys.’ There is more to it than that.”
Rumors have been circling for months that Jim Starlin’s “Death of the New Gods” mini-series was possibly making way for DC’s holy trinity to make the leap themselves to a god-like status in DCU, but Busiek said drawing a religious parallel to the book’s title may be a bit of a stretch.
“Clearly, Superman is the father, Wonder Woman is son and Batman is the Holy Ghost,” laughed Busiek. “Yes, first we will start with the ‘Song of Solomon’ but it will be the ‘Sound of Solomon Grundy.’
“No, ‘Death of the New Gods’ is one of the series that is leading into ‘Final Crisis.’ ‘Trinity’ is not ‘Final Crisis’ related. It is a relatively self-contained story that follows its own track. It’s part of the DC Universe, but it’s not one thread in the giant plot structure that is a big event. It is its own story. It has a beginning, a middle and an ending. There will be repercussions, yes. It has new characters that are introduced that I sure hope will spin off into their own mini-series or series or things like that, but it’s not leading to ‘Final Crisis 2: This Time It’s Personal.’
Busiek explained DC’s ever-evolving weekly series format further by saying, “’52’ came out of ‘Infinite Crisis’ and itself was a repercussion of a big crossover. ‘Countdown’ is leading into a big crossover. Each time DC does a weekly, they want to do it differently. ’52’ was about a world without the heroes, ‘Countdown to Final Crisis’ is building up to an event about the heroes and ‘Trinity’ is about the heroes. Front and center.
“But it’s not leading up to, spinning out of something. This is its own event. It does draw on things that have been established in the DC Universe over the years but not anything that has the drums beat for it and said, ‘Look here, building up to or counting down to.’ It’s just the way I use history and continuity threads to explore the rich possibilities of the DC Universe.
Busiek said “Trinity” can be compared to a crossover in a box, and quite frankly, that’s its beauty.
“It’s absolutely, front and center DC Universe. It’s something the ongoing DC fans are probably going to like a lot because it deals with the heart of what they like about DC, but its also something that if you a brand new reader, you won’t have any trouble following it.
“One of the ways that we can do it is that we’ve got 52 issues and every week we have a 12-page lead story dealing with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and a 10-page backup story dealing with what other characters are doing about this or if the villains are doing something behind the scenes that has to be focused on or we are introducing new characters. We’re basically like crossover in a box because the lead story is the part that Bagley’s drawing and the crossover stuff doesn’t actually have to leave the book. If we want to do something with John Stewart, and we do, then it can happen in the back of the book instead of spilling out into ‘Green Lantern’ or ‘Green Lantern Corps.’ If we want to bring in the Titans, we don’t need a crossover with ‘Teen Titans,’ we do a backup arc with the ‘Teen Titans.’
“All the way along we were saying, what’s going to happen in ‘Final Crisis’ and how are we going to fit that in. And finally, we said, ‘No, we’re not going to trying to bread this into everything else. This is its own story and we are going to pedal to the metal and go. And for somebody who only reads ‘Trinity,’ they are going to get everything they need.”
Beyond word-ballooning arguably the three biggest icons in the history of comics ï¿½” with apologies to Spider-Man, Hulk and Wolverineï¿½” week in and week out, another “Trinity” highlight for Busiek is working with Bagley.
“Bags and I co-created ‘Thunderbolts’ and we worked on that for about three years and we had a great time working together,” explained Busiek. “We don’t get to hang out that much because he lives on the other side of the country but we will call each other up and talk over the story. And he shares with me his store of dumb jokes. I think he listens to a little bit too much talk radio that boy.
“I loved working with him on ‘Thunderbolts’ and he is excited about being a part of the DC Universe. When we first talked about this, he had an itch to do ‘Superman’ and well, what about Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and he was like, ‘Woah.’ And once he read the outline, his reaction was, ‘Geez, I get to draw everybody.’ He’s having a good time. The work looks wonderful. He’s a great guy to collaborate with. So is Fabien. And for that matter, Fabien and Bags have a collaborative relationship from doing ‘New Warriors’ together and from Fabien taking over ‘Thunderbolts’ from me. So we’re old pals here. We work well together. There isn’t a point where we have to feel each other out. We’re good to go.”
With an artist known as The Flash of the business, Busiek said the creative team on “Trinity” will have no trouble staying ahead of its weekly deadlines.
“We have a good jump on it. Bagley is fast. He’s doing beautiful pages that look great. It’s an exciting process. We are very aware of the schedule. And we’re very aware that we can’t slide behind,” said Busiek. “At the moment, we’ve got the lead time to make it happen. At one point, when Mark was turning in the next batch of pages, I counted it out and said at this point, if you keep going at this rate, by the time you draw #52, you will be six weeks ahead of schedule. And that’s not going to happen because there’s going to be promotion to do and catastrophes that are going to happen. You don’t go a year completely smoothly but what that means we have six weeks of catastrophe we can absorb before Mark’s comfortable working speed would be a problem. And this is his comfortable working speed. If he had to knuckle down to get the deadlines met, he can do that.”