This week in Trinity, we finally reach the end of the ‘No Home For You Here’ arc and that’s certainly a relief as the finale is chequered by the same problems that have plagued the series since James Robinson took over as the series’ writer.
Just like the previous Skartaris-based issues, Trinity #19 feels more like a montage than a story. Especially towards the end of the issue, it feels as though Robinson is using the device of the characters narrating the tale as a means of racing towards the conclusion; speech and action are absent for a few pages while the heroes’ captions gloss over the events that have led them back to the present-day interview we’ve seen them in throughout the series. It’s like throwing a novel in the bin and reading the plot summary on Wikipedia instead.
These captions are mercifully less annoying than those in issue #18 – the heroes complimenting each other is kept to a minimum this time – but they’re still clunky and don’t read like the voices of the trinity (it’s arguable that these voices are open to interpretation as they are fictional characters but I would contest that these are three of the most famous icons in popular culture and we could agree democratically on what they would or would not say, largely thanks to 80 years of comics precedent). Check out the examples below; no-one in Trinity is pedantic or whimsical enough to say stuff like this.
It’s not just the way the characters speak, it’s what they say that bothers the reader- Batman takes a moment during a retrospective look at a battle scene to tell us he was suspicious about the circumstances of Warlord’s apparent death in issue #18. It’s out of place and we already know Batman doesn’t trust the Morgans; he’s already spent most of his time with Jennifer making that abundantly clear. The rest of the time we’re with Jennifer, she tells us the history of Skartaris. Why would we need to know this at the end of the arc? It’s nonessential information and another example of Robinson telling us something happened instead of showing us and engaging our emotions.
A few more matters worth picking over:
-Batman calmly watches a man shoot himself in the head. Is this the same Batman who fights to save lives after his parents’ were tragically cut short by a man with a gun?
-The cliff-hanger at the end of last issue was that the trinity had been drastically aged (plus Wonder Woman was still blind and Superman was still de-powered). Well, that’s all sorted out by Jennifer in the first few pages of this issue. Clearly, this was never a story idea Robinson wished to follow up; it was just a cheap way of adding tension to the end of issue #18.
-Deimos reveals to the heroes at the end of the issue that he has kidnapped Steve Trevor. Why tell them? He’s making life difficult for himself by practically inviting the world’s greatest heroes to take him on. Plus, they’ve just left Skartaris. If he needed them or arrogantly relished the challenge, why didn’t he capture or fight them when they were still there? I’m pleased that this is an unpredictable move and I can’t guess what will happen next issue but I’m also worried that it will all prove totally illogical. At least the stakes have been raised; Steve is a character who could actually die (at least for a while). Azzarello and Chiang made it through their entire epic run on Wonder Woman without him; maybe it’s time for another break from Steve? I guess Steve is probably safe really; major changes like this tend to take place in higher profile books than Trinity.
Jack Herbert takes over from Patch Zircher on pencils for the finale of ‘No Home For You Here.” Herbert keeps his character, creature and background design consistent with Zircher’s work over the rest of the arc and this consistency is cemented by him having the same colourist as Zircher (Gabe Eltaeb). I have no idea what’s going on with Clark’s leg and Diana is looking kind of evil here but in every other respect, I think the image below demonstrates how well Herbert can handle the action (there are nearly twenty figures on this page but the added detail and colour instantly draw our eyes to the heroes). Unfortunately, it’s a much more common occurrence in this issue for Herbert to draw every character as a blurry, distant shape in the battle scenes (on the rare occasion Robinson takes a breather from summarising and gives the artist a chance to actually show us what’s happening, that is).
I was also a little distracted by some unnecessarily jauntily angled frames during scenes when the characters are just talking. Herbert’s best work in the book, meanwhile, comes when he fills whole panels with Diana and Jennifer’s faces; they are beautiful but twisted by rage and determination; that’s a tough balancing act for an artist.
- You want to see the set-up for the next arc.
- You don’t mind characters acting and speaking in unfamiliar ways.
- You’ll forego story and logic for a bit of swords and sorcery.
Overall: A plain, rushed ending to a forgettable arc. Batman is undeniably a detective and Wonder Woman is a warrior but beyond that, there’s no signs of life in these characters and too many pages of exposition boxes dumped on top of art of vastly varying quality.