I vaguely recall seeing “Trio” #1 solicited, but can’t say it really stood out as something I absolutely had my sights set on. Seeing it on the list of comics expected from Diamond sparked an interest and gave rise to the hope that maybe, just maybe, John Byrne would be able to crank out a shiny new superhero story from IDW. The story is shiny, but it certainly doesn’t feel all that new.
A quick check of our solicits for this book revealed that it was being marketed thusly: “Fans of Byrne’s Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight especially, this is for you!” That is exactly what this book is: a remix of Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight with one of the goofiest basis for a comic team ever. Although they are initially referred to as Three, Two and One, the titular trio of this book is really Rock, Scissors and Paper.
Rock is an allegorical combo-deal of Thing and Puck, Scissors is a guy who can form supersharp metallic blades from his hands and Paper is a lady who is more reminiscent of Flatman from the Great Lakes Avengers than any other character (save possibly Byrne’s interpretation of Madame Rouge from the Doom Patrol). While Rock is fun in the same way both Puck and Thing are to their respective teams, this issue doesn’t give us enough revelation on either of his teammates save Scissors has a bit of a temper to go with the sharp blades at the ends of his arms. Hmmm. That seems familiar.
Byrne overwrites quite a bit through narration boxes, and in doing so also overuses the phrase “the next instant.” I’m not calling it lazy storytelling, mind you, but I would certainly expect more visual storytelling from an industry legend like John Byrne. The narration boxes seem like overly convenient shortcuts in some spots and unnecessary filler in others.
Byrne’s art is as good as it has been in recent years, rife with detail and filled with expressive characters. Some of the drawings are less about composition and storytelling as opposed to the cool shot, but if anything Byrne’s years of comic creating have earned him the right to have a little fun in his work. The coloring is on par with superheroics: lots of odd color combinations, like bad guys wearing green and purple together and metallic backgrounds soaked in various shades of blue.
Diehard John Byrne fans will absolutely adore this book as they’ll undoubtedly see it as an opportunity for Byrne to write and draw “Fantastic Four”-like stories without being burdened or restricted by a shared universe. Casual comic book fans unfamiliar with Byrne’s work might not see anything spectacular, while veteran readers looking for a retroactive title just might be pleasantly surprised.
“Trio” stands out on the new comic racks largely due to the fact that this, like his “Next Men,” is John Byrne doing what John Byrne wants to do. In a time of infinite crossovers and unnecessary reboots, John Byrne’s latest comic book is a twisted interpretation of previous works polished up to seem new. That apparent newness is enough to bring eyes to the book, but it might have to work on being legitimate newness in order to keep them here. I’ll be back for the next issue, but I honestly am uncertain if that’s because of the creator’s name on the book or the fact that this story actually interests me.