We’ve followed DC’s Big Three through dinner, farmland, and the big, cruel city. Lost loved ones and lost innocence added bitterness to the sweetness of reunion. The illusions of this journey began to crack in Gotham, and as the road leads on toward Themyscira and Diana’s deepest longings, our heroes must work to discern the true nature of this whole production. Truth awaits in Trinity #4!
A different sort of storytelling
Spoiler alert: at the bottom of this review, I’m going to recommend that you purchase this comic. What I would also like to recommend is that, once you do, you read it at least twice before drawing any conclusions. Trinity #4 is the most visually distinct installment of this series thus far, because unlike its predecessors, its breakdowns come from the mind of someone other than Francis Manapul. While last month’s issue featured the excellent finishes of Clay Mann, Manapul layed the whole thing out, so there was a structural consistency between issues 1-3, even if #3’s aesthetic departed from what came before.
Such an amazing panel
Lupacchino’s layouts required some adjustment—not because they suffer from any deficiency, but rather because they are a somewhat different visual language than those provided by Manapul. Thankfully, a second reading—with the surprise gone and the adjustment made—was much more enjoyable than the first. There are a few finishing quirks, but Lupacchino’s output here is both highly-effective narratively and very pleasing to look at. Her credits page spread is one of my favorite pages all year, with a great establishing shot of Diana’s home transitioning to some nice character work for the princess in the panels below. Lupacchino conveys a wide range of emotions throughout the book, and continues to pepper her pages with excellent shots of the various settings of the story.
Still the Man(apul)
If I were guessing, I would suggest that this installment must have been Manapul’s greatest challenge yet on Trinity. He is, for the first time, completely out of the visual chain of production. He has to transition his story from a series of stylish vignettes to a more linear narrative and begin building momentum. And he has to do so using Wonder Woman and her culture as the central storytelling devices—and I’ve said before that Diana’s dialogue has not been his strongest point.
For me, Manapul nails it. Diana and her home seem appropriately “other.” Whereas the first issue tried too hard to achieve this distinction, and subsequent issues neglected the details, it seems like Manapul has finally hit the sweet spot. Ironically, he slips once or twice with Bruce, but given the focus of this particular chapter, I’m willing to let that go. If one of the primary goals this time was to immerse us in Wonder Woman’s world, then I declare Trinity #4 a success.
My only complaint for Manapul is an architectural one: the narrative of (roughly) the first half is fairly compressed—we are hastily swept through the arrival on Themyscira, introductions, combat trials, and the outcome of those trials. There’s no intrinsic flaw in this swifter pace, but it does exacerbate the first-read challenges of the visual changes. Perhaps saving the final leg of this chapter’s journey for the next issue would have given ample space to spread out some of the Trinity’s stay on the island. As it is, I feel like we spend far less time in Wonder Woman’s home than we did in Superman’s or Batman’s.
Continuity nerds rejoice!
I’d like to close with a hearty shout out to Manapul for tying this subtly-but-powerfully with the work Greg Rucka has been doing in his “present” Wonder Woman arc. If you haven’t been reading that book, you should be! One of the driving themes of the story has been Diana’s desire to find the truth of her origin, and her inability to make it back home. Manapul’s Wonder Woman feels wonderfully consistent with Rucka’s, and this issue makes a nice companion to the main Wonder Woman book—a good comment worth adding to Rucka’s conversation.
- You’ve enjoyed the character focus of this series, and you’ve been anxious to see what Manapul and team would bring to Diana’s story.
- You appreciate the one-artist-per-character approach that this book has taken for these “visits home.”
- You are a huge Lois Lane fan. Lois is awesome. Here’s why: Spoiler
An excellent fourth installment to one of Rebirth’s richest books, Trinity #4 provides an enjoyable immersion in Wonder Woman’s world. Lupacchino’s storytelling methods may require an additional read to fully appreciate for some, but the investment is rewarded with excellent layouts, scenery, and character work. Four issues in, Trinity remains one of the easiest decisions on the rack. You should be reading this book.