The virus infecting the Justice League is not what it appears to be! As Wonder Woman discovers the truth of their dire situation, Batman and Superman take care of their own crises. But with the Watchtower plummeting to Earth, what can they do to prevent a global catastrophe? “Dead Space” concludes in Trinity #11. Spoilers ahead
Too quick and tidy
Short arcs can be tough to pace. Too often they feel like they’re over just as the story gets rolling. Unfortunately, this is exactly the way I feel about “Dead Space.” There was never a time in these three issues where I thought that The Traveler was an ally, or had the best interest of anyone other than himself at heart. And even though the mysterious parasites caused damage to the Watchtower and Cyborg, I immediately saw through their threat once The Traveler came on the scene calling for their destruction. So the “big reveal” in this issue that pulls back the curtain on the contagion isn’t much of a reveal at all. It gives us the particulars, but the big picture was already evident by the end of the first installment.
The way we come by those particulars is another problem. You’ll remember that Wonder Woman became a host to one of the parasites at the end of Trinity #10. Now—presumably because she is 1/3 of our title character—she has the ability to work through the controlling influence of the organism and reason with it. I’m torn, because I do appreciate that it is her compassion that allows her to do so; but I don’t like what it says about Baz and Jess that they could so easily be in thrall to the will of another being. As I consider the Green Lanterns book, I see a stubborn will in both of them and a compassion that would rival Diana’s. Maybe you aren’t reading that particular title, so you don’t know what I’m talking about, but Simon is the Lantern whose ability to see the good in Red Lantern Bleez pulled her out of her rage and into a purer form. That Wonder Woman succeeds where they fail seems like a plot contrivance owing to her name being on the cover.
But the biggest problem isn’t character—it’s storytelling technique. We open with three pages of Diana telling us the way things are. Bruce and Clark get in on the voiceover game, too, catching us up on everything from what happened to Cyborg, to who Baz and Jess are, and how the world misjudges Superman (in case we forgot!). And when you zoom in on the details, the text has plenty of the little problems that have nagged at this series (and that were much more present last issue). Batman’s “conversation” with the unconscious Cyborg seems quite out of character, and his reference back to the “I hate tentacles” line from an earlier installment reads like Manapul entertaining himself at the expense of the reader. He finally gets Diana’s voice right, but he drops the ball on Bruce and Clark pretty badly. One step forward, two steps back.
Lastly, there’s a short epilogue that feels quite tacked on (even in light of its relation to the prologue two issues ago). I enjoy stories that come to a finely-made point, but it’s easy to flop when making the attempt, and I think that’s what happens here. The point does tie into one of the series’s overarching threads, but that thread has been in the background for a bit, and using it to surround this short story of misunderstood organisms doesn’t work out the way Manapul might have hoped. A longer arc—perhaps one that wove the thread throughout—would have better served his purpose.
This artwork would be great in any other context
If this were the first comic I’d ever read, I don’t think I’d be able to levy a complaint about the art. The whole thing (except for—maybe—a few panels that might be Godlewski) is penciled by Manapul, but we have several inkers and colorists at work, so the book lacks a consistent finish. And if you’re a long-time admirer of Manapul like me, it’s a shock to the system to see Quintana and Blond color him (and Quintana is one of my favorites). The characters and layouts are obviously Manapul, but the texture is very different, and it’s distracting. This won’t be an issue for those of you without the history, but I know a lot of us came to this book because it was billed as a one-man show, and the inconsistency of all of these hands brings down the final product.
- You’ve enjoyed “Dead Space”
- You like Manapul’s artwork no matter who’s coloring him
- You want to see Monster-Head Diana take on Rom: Space Knight, or at least, the closest thing you’ll ever see to that high concept
After starting its run with some truly marvelous character work, Trinity has experienced a prolonged lull. Side-stories and other short interruptions have made it difficult to get back into the book, and what was once a source of excitement for me has become a sad chore. Trinity #11 concludes the latest arc, but that conclusion feels premature, and the finer point Manapul tries to make falls flat. Add artistic inconsistency to the mix, and you have an issue with too many distractions. You could do worse than this book, but you could also do a lot better.