After an awkward dinner in issue one, Clark, Diana, and Bruce took an evening stroll. Much to their surprise, they encountered a scene quite familiar to Superman but that had no business taking place in the present. What’s up in the White family barn? Trinity #2 has the answer.
Manapul knows what he’s doing
As our story opens, Jonathan Kent has a heart attack, and young Clark—scared out of his wits—runs (or flies, or leaps) away. It’s up to the Trinity to help Pa and find Clark. But as the specifics of their whereabouts and whenabouts (I just invented that word) remain shrouded to our heroes, Clark’s son comes face-to-face with the one pulling the strings.
Last month, I praised Trinity #1 for dwelling on character development. We get plenty of opportunities to see these heroes in action in their own books and in Justice League, so Manapul thankfully distanced himself from those titles by offering something markedly different. Maybe we’ll see them mix it up with some villains in the near future; but the current focus on who they are, rather than what they do, was a welcome change of pace and kept Trinity from feeling redundant.
This month, we’re treated to more of the same. The plot is moving, and there’s enough mystery and tension to make sure we don’t forget that this is a superhero comic, but Manapul has clearly got most of his chips on exploring these characters, and it works as well this time as it did before. Superman fans should be delighted by Clark’s narrative when it turns to Pa Kent, and anyone with a father—good or bad—ought to be at least somewhat moved by Pa’s golden heart for his boy.
As with the previous installment, there are a few moments where dialogue gets a bit weird, particularly in a quiet exchange between Bruce and Diana, but Manapul is largely successful at capturing the distinct voices of these characters. Clark’s voiceovers are downright superb, and there’s a short-but-incredibly-hilarious moment between locations in which Batman is so Batman that I couldn’t keep from smiling.
To no one’s surprise, it looks amazing
As expected, this book is gorgeous, too. I can’t offer much more than what the rest of the world has already said about Francis Manapul’s artwork. I’ll just say that the characters look amazing, the colors are stunning, and the locations more beautiful even than what we saw last time. There’s one picture of Wonder Woman that suffers from some poorly-translated perspective, but that’s my only complaint.
The visual storytelling is simple but effective. Historically, it’s been easy for me to be wowed by Manapul’s aesthetic sensibilities and overlook potentially confusing layouts, but there’s no risk of that here. Everything is framed and paneled very well, and there wasn’t a moment where I found myself wondering what was happening.
Steve Wands continues to produce solid lettering work in general, but I am especially struck by his keen sensibilities in font choice. He’s also lettering Supergirl, and I remarked previously that the typeface he chose for dialogue in that book is a perfect complement to artist Brian Ching’s character aesthetics. Here in Trinity, Wands again does a fine job of harmonizing his letters with the visual language of the line art, as well as with the subject matter and location. The font used to indicate settings is a very close sibling to the one used in the Action Comics logo, which is quite appropriate for a Superman-centric arc; but it also feels like something that would have been right at home in 30’s and 40’s advertising, helping to brand Trinity as something old-fashioned in the best way.
A few examples of that vintage advertising I’m talking about:
A somewhat disappointing reveal
My principal complaint with Trinity #2 is perhaps more subjective than the rest of this review. Put simply, I think the ending was a bit of a letdown. To be fair, the arc isn’t over, and I may well feel differently in another issue or two; but for now, I find myself wishing that the portion of the mystery revealed at the end wasn’t quite as straightforward as its appears.
That said, I’m still very happy with this book. Manapul’s writing has thus far been right in step with his artwork, and if he can maintain this quality going forward, Trinity will continue to be one of Rebirth’s brightest spots.
- You’re a Superman fan and have missed seeing Pa these past few years.
- You dug the excellent character work last issue and want to see Manapul’s continued exploration of what makes these heroes tick.
- You have a heart that is currently beating.
Despite a few technical quirks and a reveal that I did not personally care for, I love this book. It’s beautiful in appearance and in spirit, as Francis Manapul puts his focus on the Man of Steel and the man who raised him. The plot moves a surprising amount given the emphasis on character, so even if you’re less-interested in the relationships than I am, there are enough strong beats here to satisfy fans of a more straightforward narrative.