Trinity #1

"Trinity" is, appropriately, the third of DC's year-long weekly series for the 21st century. And while "52" came out of the aftermath of "Infinite Crisis" and "Countdown to Final Crisis" lead into "Final Crisis," "Trinity" is the first one not being touted as part of a big, company-wide crossover or event. Perhaps unsurprisingly as a result, we've ended up with the most promising debut yet.

Kurt Busiek's opening is a simple one, the book's three main characters of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman meeting in their civilian guises for breakfast and to discuss a similar dream they've shared. That's the bulk of the issue, but it works surprisingly well. Busiek is clearly enjoying comparing and contrasting the three icons; not only in how each of them interpreted the same dream (Superman seeing the figure as a cosmic alien, Wonder Woman viewing it as a chained promethean god, Batman feeling that it's a criminal desperate for escape), but things as simple as how they approach their breakfast orders. On some level it's a bit like a Creative Writing 101 exercise ("Have three characters display their personalities through ordering breakfast!"), but it works well here because Busiek doesn't draw attention to his efforts. It's not a stunt, or an attempt to look clever; it's merely an example of the strong level of characterization that Busiek brings to the plate.

The splitting of the book into a lead story written by Busiek with back-up stories by Busiek and Fabian Nicieza works well in this first issue. It lets Busiek (with the help of his frequent recent collaborator Nicieza) take detours away from the main characters, showcasing some of the villains that will appear in "Trinity" as well as giving the reader glimpses into upcoming storylines for the book. It's a smart move, because while the lead story on its own doesn't show much of where the title is heading (and has a really lackluster "to be continued" moment, the one weak point of the issue), the back-up feature lays it on the line, with enough tantalizing moments that will help solidify for readers if they want to continue.

After Mark Bagley's lengthy stays on titles like "Ultimate Spider-Man" and "Thunderbolts" in the past, it's fun to see him tackle DC Comics's three biggest icons in "Trinity." The one I think he nails right out of the gate is Wonder Woman, handling both her traditional, majestic look as well as the new, classy Diana Prince style in a way that makes the two sides of the character both look distinct from each other yet clearly the same character. Conversely, it's his Superman that I was the least happy with; his Clark Kent seems slightly too beefy and muscular, his Superman a little too lean. Fortunately, he's got 51 more issues to perfect the look. I was less crazy about Scott McDaniel's pencils at the end of the book; it's been a while since I read his issues of "Nightwing" back in the day, but this art seems a little rougher and less refined. It's not bad, but I must admit that with the difference between McDaniel's blocky art and Bagley's lithe, slick characters, I am a little surprised that DC decided to go for such a deliberately different look in the back-up.

While I certainly enjoyed DC's "52," it's "Trinity" that potentially looks to be the most interesting of DC's recently year-long weekly series. It's a strong first issue, and it makes me absolutely want to read 51 more issues. In a market where individual issue sales are more and more giving way to collected editions, that's an impressive feat.

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