Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are attempting to separate the imagined from the actual in the aftermath of their encounter with the White Mercy, but more current crises require their attention when an emergency at the orbiting Watchtower intervenes. What alien assailants have imperiled the Justice League?
Trinity #9 Synopsis:
Clark Kent has brought Diana Prince and Bruce Wayne to a cave near Devil’s Mouth Falls, an hour north of Smallville, to offer them evidence that the White Mercy might not have been merely a figment of Mongul’s imagination. Their investigation is interrupted, however, when Cyborg’s systems open a Boom Tube that transports the three heroes to the Watchtower. The Action Ace, the Amazing Amazon, and the Caped Crusader arrive to find the Justice League has been attacked, leaving the satellite damaged and their teammates injured… or worse.
Cyborg’s systems are shutting down, so his survival requires that he be connected to a power source soon. The effort to get Victor Stone to safety takes the trio past pods containing living organisms, into a confrontation with mutated teammates, and on a dangerous excursion into space. The Flash shows up in time to save Batman and explain what has happened, while Superman and Wonder Woman learn the disturbing truth straight from the source’s mouth.
Trinity #9 Analysis:
This series has suffered from something of a disconnect since the conclusion of Manapul’s opening arc. In the interim, writer Cullen Bunn crafted a couple of one-shots starring supervillains and exploring the consequences of Superman: Reborn, respectively. While all these installments ultimately may tie together, the present effect is one of cascading dissonance in which any given chapter appears utterly unrelated to those immediately before and after it. The return of Manapul’s unifying hand to the helm for Trinity #9, therefore, is most welcome.
Remarkably, the creator carried nearly the entire load in Dead Space — Part One, as Manapul supplied the script, the pencils, the inks, the colors, and the cover of Trinity #9. Only Steve Wands’s lettering prevented this issue from being quite literally a one-man show. This permits a singular vision to permeate every aspect of the story, allowing a consistent mood to be maintained and enabling the subtleties of the script to be reflected in the nuances of the imagery. Manapul appears admirably to have remained equally devoted to each of his duties throughout the issue, continually keeping the layouts inventive, the graphics dynamic, the plot developments dramatic, and the dialogue engaging.
Perhaps it’s just the David Lynch devotee in me, but it is difficult to believe the inclusion of certain elements in Trinity #9 — released mere days before the return of Twin Peaks following an interminable 25-year hiatus — was at all coincidental. This issue, after all, contains inscrutable connections to space aliens, mysterious petroglyphs engraved on cave walls, and detectives endeavoring to distinguish between dreams and reality. If those plot points aren’t enough to convince you of the existence of deliberate linkage, it is rather telling that, alongside the unconscious Justice Leaguers drifting in the zero gravity of the disabled Watchtower, we see a white porcelain cup of rich black coffee. Maybe the putative propinquity of Twin Peaks to superhero comics still strikes some readers as spurious… but perhaps there’s something to the fact that Dale Cooper and Jimmy Olsen share the same middle name. I’m just sayin’.
Because Dead Space — Part One started a new arc by a returning writer, it remains unclear how (or even if) Trinity #9 lines up with either of the preceding pair of issues. Nevertheless, the opening exchange between Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in the cave near Devil’s Mouth Falls clearly circles back to the series’ initial storyline and reemphasizes its ongoing relevance. Further fleshing out will be necessary: Better Together began as an attempt to build bridges between the pre-Flashpoint Superman and the New 52 Batman and Wonder Woman, but that particular segment of the now-reunified timeline since has been changed in what remain unexplained ways. In the meantime, it is more than a little odd to see the three heroes talking about their struggle against Mongul with nary a mention of their subsequent conversation, in which they agreed to deceive the selfsame Justice League they thereafter are summoned to save. Accordingly, this installment has lingering issues as an integrated component of the larger Rebirth continuity that cannot be ignored, yet — viewed in isolation and judged on its individual merits — the opening chapter of this emerging storyline served as a wholly satisfactory superhero adventure.
Did Francis Manapul’s return to the masthead cause Dead Space to come alive for you?
Have Cyborg open up a Boom Tube into the comments, where we can ComiConverse about Trinity #9!