After a rough stay in Themyscira got them banished, the Trinity found themselves face-to-face with Mongul, Lord of Warworld. As we pick up our tale in this month’s Trinity #5, Ivy gives Lois an explanation, Mongul gives the heroes an explanation, and the child at the center of this madness comes into focus. Watch out for spoilers!

Having trouble finding a heartbeat…

The first four issues of Trinity were character-driven delights. I’ve understood all along that, eventually, Manapul would need to transition into a steadier narrative and explore the conflict directly. That transition has begun, and while this is by no means a bad issue, it fails to satisfy as much as its predecessors. It certainly looks beautiful, thanks to Manapul’s tremendous artistic abilities, and it reads just fine, thanks to his lately-discovered skills as a writer; but this outing is largely a tale of two expositions—one from Ivy and one from Mongul—and it struggles to take root.

On the bright side, the exposition is interesting. In particular, I’m fascinated by the prospect of Mongul and Ivy’s child. In spite of Mongul’s experience with the Black Mercy, he seems genuinely surprised by its “gift” to him. And Ivy’s commitment to bringing the child out of the dream world and into the real world—and her apparent success—seems like a compelling thread to pull. So, even though the heart that built this book is taking a break, the situation we now find ourselves in has me intrigued. I’m less likely to revisit this particular installment on its own, but I suspect it will prove an integral part of the whole arc.

From a technical perspective, the plotting feels off. The end seems to arrive in a hurry, and I think a page or two between Ivy’s plan and the realization of that plan would have helped the pacing. Even though she has known of her designs for some time, we have only just learned of them, and the idea has no time to live in our heads before we’re forced to see it realized.

Of course it looks good—what were you expecting?

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that Manapul is one of the best artists working on DC books, so I’ll just say that this one looks as good as any of the earlier issues. His characters are fantastic, and I love—as I always do—his coloring. I think his take on Ivy does a fine job of preserving her shtick, without making her out to be the practically naked bundle of lust that she is in the hands of some other artists. The writing scratches the surface of a more sympathetic Ivy, and the artwork complements with a similarly-humanizing effect.

Manapul has included quite a few nods to his predecessors in this series, and Trinity #5 features this lovely homage to various incarnations of Superman:

So yeah, it’s no surprise that this is a great-looking book, but that in no way makes it any less admirable. Manapul’s work is distinctly his, and I never get tired of seeing him do his thing.

Recommended if…

  • You’re okay with taking a break from the character service to learn more about the forces behind the Trinity’s captivity.
  • You’ve been itching for Manapul to return to his artistic duties.
  • You like a Poison Ivy who is more about the preservation of flora than the objectification of fauna.

Overall

Perhaps out of necessity, Trinity #5 never forges the sort of emotional connection we’ve grown accustomed to in this series. What we get instead is the intriguing revelation of what’s driving our heroes’ dreams, and a pile of beautiful pages from Manapul. It isn’t the best installment of Trinity, but it will likely prove an important step in moving the story forward—just don’t expect it to move you as much as the chapters that came before.

SCORE: 7/10