Here's a simple tale. Realising she, husband Clark and son Jon need friends in their new life, Lois Lane has invited Wonder Woman and Batman to dinner.
Here's a complex tale. Two heroes who watched their Superman die have a chance to get to know his counterpart from another world.
Being a good guest, Diana brings something for the table.
Oh, those Amazons. It's a throwaway moment, in one sense, but a great example of what a perfect fit writer/artist Francis Manapul is for this series. He tells us something about Wonder Woman, that what may seem a grand gesture to anyone else is the everyday to her. Later, we see Diana's openness with Lois; history could make them uneasy associates, but the humanity of this demi-goddess means they'll be friends.
Lois narrates the book, a neat solution to the question of which member of the Big Three (I still hate 'Trinity", after all these years) gets the privileged perspective. And so much better than the other option, duelling narrations. Been there, hated that. We get Lois's insights into her husband, his new Justice League colleagues, super-son Jon and, inevitably, get to know the reporter herself.
There's a recurring riff about Clark erecting walls for protection - heck, the man builds fortresses wherever he goes - but Manapul is smart enough not to do it to death.
My favourite sequence sees Superman reminisce about the Batman he knew, Benday dots and all.
It's written with a light touch, the rainbow suit highlighting the differences between the Bruce Wayne of this world and the man Clark knew (admittedly, the Batman of Clark's world wasn't always goofy).
Bubbling away in the background is, well, a beanstalk, maybe. Jon has been given some 'magic grow' by a stranger.
Lois may have a hotshot instinct for news, but she's apparently too distracted by her upcoming dinner to hear parental alarm bells. I mean, back in the day she had run-ins with the Queen of Fables, and here she is not wondering about magic beans. I love it!
I love Manapul's art, too, full-colour illustrations that simply glow on the page, depicting his five characters and their world with massive charm. The details of the Kent farm, the mise en scene as film critics say, cements the story, providing a convincing reality for these larger than life figures.
Whether it's the splashy introductions the three heroes get, with their symbols helping build the page, or the tentative beginnings of new friendships, Manapul nails the moment. His storytelling instincts soar as never before.
Steve Wands lends support with his stylish lettering, while artist Jason Fabok and colourist Brad Anderson provide a variant cover that feels more DC New 52 than DC Rebirth with its brooding melodrama. I prefer Manapul's own, though I remains allergic to a sword-slinging Diana
There's an intriguing cliffhanger, but even if the book just ended with everyone eating pulled boar sandwiches I'd be back next issue. Heck, I may subscribe, this debut is that good - a big-hearted, great-looking book focused on families, the ones you're born into and the ones you make.
Was really impressed with this one. Manapul's art is always amazing, and I think his writing's come a long way, too. Glad to see everyone's on the same page about putting the Clark/Diana romance in the rearview mirror. And I loved Wonder Woman's admission to Lois that she might need her help, since she has experience staring from scratch.ReplyDelete
Manapul just gets better, heck, he's even doing the colouring now!Delete
Would Wonder Woman really be that thick, and bring a boar to the dinner party? She has interacted with modern day people for some time now. I guess they are still presenting her as Barbara the Barbarian to an extent.ReplyDelete
Thick? Hmm, I don't know that she's being thick. Trying to make a good impression in a potentially very awkward situation... I've certainly brought the wrong thing to a do!Delete
Yes, but a freshly killed boar? At least cook it! ;)Delete
There not having been a consistent characterization for Diana in decades is why I hate the term Trinity as well. She's only Batman and Superman's equal in merchandising. She's unimportant in sales and even in universe is quite distant from them. A trinity should be equals and that's always seemed it should mean Hal Jordan, as much as I dislike the character. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this issue! Manupal made me forget my dislikes for as long as long as I was enjoying his work!ReplyDelete
Great points, Steve. I'd quite like a Trinity book to feature any three DCU heroes, you never know who you're going to get - for one issue, everyone gets to be equal.Delete
The only thing about the issue that seemed off to me is that I'm used to the trinity being contemporaries. Here we have a trinity composed of two younger heroes and one who is a generation removed with totally different life experiences. It's not that this is a bad thing. It's just different and not what I'm expecting when I read about the three of them.ReplyDelete
Great point, Murray, I'd not though of it that way - yes indeed, though, plenty of fodder for stories there. Mind, it seems Diana and Bruce have been aged up slightly, and Clark and Lois down, so they're not that far apart.Delete
I think the age difference (and world difference) will be played down before too long. I mean, Batman has a kid too and has worked his way through seven or eight sidekicks and Diana has always seemed kinda timeless… but it's just interesting that for the first time ever the trinity are from different worlds.Delete