Time. There are few moments in our life when time means more to us than New Year’s Eve. We watch the minutes tick by, counting down to a fresh start, a new beginning. However, for Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman- time is running out. They’ve got until midnight on New Year’s Eve to save the daughter of Floyd Lawton AKA Deadshot from the Cult of Kobra. Will they make it or is time not on their side?
Having just wrapped up the Dark Destiny storyline last month, writer Rob Williams takes a little break to tell a small one-and-done tale featuring Deadshot. This should make Trinity #16 a perfect testing ground for readers who may have never given the series a chance and are curious if it’s worth their time. But does it accomplish that? I am not so sure.
Diving into William’s story, I am of two minds. I am a big fan of one-and-done stories. Currently, too many writers rely on significant, epic events. If you look at Tom King’s Batman, the majority of issues fill like mini-epics, Scott Snyder was the same way before him. I am worried the craft of being able to tell a great story in just one issue seems to be disappearing. However, I am not sure this story completely hits the mark. For starters, while it is “one-and-done” it is also an unofficial follow-up to a Deadshot backup feature Williams wrote for Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #1 (AKA Rebirth Suicide Squad). Williams provides us with enough backstory to follow along, but I also couldn’t help thinking I had missed something.
I think the reason for this has to do with the plot. Without diving into massive spoilers, the story starts with Batman and Deadshot attacking a van of Kobra Cult members while looking for Deadshot’s daughter, Zoe. Apparently, Kobra kidnapped her and is holding her in one of several vans that are roaming Gotham, and when the clock strikes midnight, her ride goes boom. Weirdly enough, some of the Kobra members can transform into massive lizard-snake people- making the battle much larger. This struggle catches the attention of Superman and Wonder Woman who are attending a New Year’s Eve party hosted by Bruce (who is absent fighting with Deadshot). The Trinity + Deadshot begin tearing up Kobra vans in town searching for Zoe but to no avail. Suddenly Batman has an epiphany- when Kobra kidnapped Zoe, they contacted both Deadshot and Batman about it. The reason for this is Batman helped Deadshot find his daughter the last time Kobra captured her (in Suicide Squad #1). But maybe this is all a distraction, perhaps Batman’s family is the real target?
Phew! See what I mean about this one issue story getting complicated fast? From here the story completely changes directions and honestly never feels like it resolves. Williams started with this small, exciting tale that quickly seemed to grow out of proportion. Leaving me with multiple questions like how Cobra contacted Batman? Do they know his identity? How did they know he would be hosting a Wayne party that night? Why do only some Kobra members turn to lizards? And a few other more spoiler-focused questions.
One of the elements I did like was Williams playing with how each member of the Trinity views time as it relates to the people they love. Batman sees it as precious considering his own lost time with both his parents and his son, Superman looks at time in comparison to his son, Jon growing up too fast and Wonder Woman explores time from the perspective of an immortal. It’s a theme only loosely explored in the issue, but I did like it when it came up. A second theme explored even less, is the idea of Batman working with Deadshot. Wonder Woman and Superman seem appalled at the idea, but again, this idea seems like a proper direction that is never entirely fulfilled.
It may sound like I am harsh on Williams (and maybe I am) but it’s because I was hoping for just a bit more from him. I’ve liked a lot of his work, like his incredibly underrated Martian Manhunter series or the first few arcs of Suicide Squad. But while the preview pages for this issue seemed to suggest an enjoyable little tale that would make a great standalone read, when you break the book down, it has several holes I can’t look past.
However, when you first pick up the issue, you’ll notice the stellar art right away. V Ken Marion’s pencils on this title have impressed me, but it’s Sandu Florea’s inks and Dinei Ribeiro’s colors that make this work pop. Florea has been on inks for some of my favorite Bat-titles of the past, and he doesn’t let me down here. The shadows hit home on several shots. I was not familiar with Marion’s pencils before his run on Trinity, but I do enjoy his work and think he will continue to be someone worth checking out. He does struggle with a few odd proportions and one shot of Steve Trevor that made him look almost unrecognizable and ghostly but otherwise, it’s good work.
Next month, Francis Manapul returns as the writer with some help from James Robinson- here’s hoping the book can regain it’s footing a bit.
- You’re a fan of Deadshot and Batman working together.
- You want to see some nice-looking artwork.
- You’ve been waiting for DC to write a follow-up to the backup story about Deadshot in Suicide Squad #1.
Overall: This New Year’s Eve story featuring the Trinity looked to be something special but sadly fell apart with a plot that got a little too big for its own good. However, the art team delivers, and if you can look past a few plot holes, you’ll find an enjoyable read that will be wholly forgotten next week.