Trinity

(2003 mini-series)

The cover to Trinity #3, as Diana uses her Aegis effectThree issues, all TPBs.

Writer/penciller/inker/cover art: Matt Wagner. Bob Schrek, editor.

Do not mistake this three-issue mini with the 52-issue Trinity of 2008-2009.

This mini was hyped as showing us the first meeting of the then-current Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman. Fortunately for us this mini is

Not in continuity

 

 

 

 

I don't know why some writers do this. They set out to write an in-continuity story and then neglect to find out what continuity is. Now, I'm not into modern Superman much and into Batman not at all, but I do know a little something about Wondie. This story doesn't fit into her history.

As it begins, Superman is the only well-known one of the three. Batman is still in "urban myth" mode, and Grayson/Robin has barely begun his career. Few people know about Wonder Woman, which means she's recently started living in Boston. Superman has never heard of her before, though he's met Batman and knows about Bruce Wayne. Batman is quite familiar with Clark Kent.

Each issue opens in a different city: Metropolis, Gotham City, Themyscira. Now we see Clark Kent having to pay for a copy of the Daily Planet because apparently top employees do not get freebie copies. (Note for the children: There was a time when newspapers were printed on paper and delivered old news to people via newsstands or their doorsteps.) He stops an El from crashing after someone shoots the driver (?? shooting through glass is tricky enough, much less rapidly-moving, long-distance glass). Then, through some unexplained means (we'll see lots of this throughout) he backtracks where the sniper must have shot from, but doesn't find anyone.

It was all a way to discover Superman's "frequency," so a criminal organization led by Ra's al Ghul, "the Purge," can "wipe clear the [world] of civilization and all its tragedies. Time to begin the world anew with a fresh palette." Meaning with Ra's at the helm. Is this really his motivation? How goofy. Onward!

Ra's finds Bizarro imprisoned and depowered in Antarctic ice. He frees him and tells him he's his only friend. Of more note to us is that he hires a young woman who defeats his best warriors. She is Artemis, 14 years old but claiming to be 18. She also says her name is "Diana," but somewhere toward the end people start calling her "Artemis."

If you recall real continuity, Artie was caught in the Demon Dimension for 10 years. She was (iIrc) 10 years old when she went into it, which means that at the time of this story she'd actually be 8 or 9 years old. She also belongs to the Bana-Mighdall, which at this time were still quite secretly living in Egypt. In this story, Queen Hippolyta is very much conversant with their history and present location. Artie is also quite aware of Paradise Island and claims to have grown up there. Nope on all these points, sorry.

Artie also claims that the only options for employment for a young, energetic, intelligent, go-getter natural leader like her were prostitution or warfare. How enlightened a message this is. (Checking copyright date for century for production...)

Kay. So Ra's has powered-up Bizarro grab a submarine so Ra's can take its nuclear missiles. In transit, one of those missiles is armed and conveniently happens to drop close to Themyscira. This brings Diana to Metropolis to confront Superman, whom she thinks was the one carrying the sub.

"I have long wished to meet the man reported to be stronger than Hercules. Swifter than Hermes. Braver than Achilles," she muses and for the length of the story she pretty much goes quietly ga-ga for Supes. All it takes is a conversation with some birds (gak!) to discover that Superman likes to fly around the roof of the Daily Planet building.

For Superman's part, he splits hairs. ""I will always remember my first sight of [Diana]," he tells himself. "Lois, you're the most compelling woman I've ever met. But this... is the most magnificent."

They discuss the matter within the Invisible Jet. "Don't mind the mess," Diana says of the immaculate interior. The heroine, who is dressed in an ugly amalgam of Silver and Post-Crisis style, has sword, spear, shield, and Screaming Chicken armor decorating the walls of the Jet. She uses the Jet's sensors to track the "ion trail" of the sub's reactors to the Sahara.

A horribly-rendered Diana does Bullets and BraceletsThere they fight a bunch of Purge folks in what seems to be a very dark place. Superman lets Diana do the Bullets & Bracelets bit, though I wonder how she can see her attackers to utilize it. She also does a subtle Aegis Effect at one point.

As Superman drills deep in the earth with one armed missile, she sees a convenient crate marked for Gotham City and secured with "an Amazon bridle knot." She only mentions the address later. She cannot accept the idea of a traitor Amazon and thus apparently deems this a coincidence. Or perhaps she has a bad memory.

In Gotham, 14-YO Artie knocks out the g-d Batgod before fleeing. He takes a man prisoner and dangles him over the edge of a skyscraper to get information. Diana lassos the man and gets the info from him that way, then chides Batman about his violent ways. Having gotten his desired info, Batman brutally beats and breaks the jaw of his helpless prisoner. This pisses Diana off, as it should any decent person. Batman recognizes the similarity between the motifs on Artie's leather getup (why is there such?) and the ones on Diana's suit. She claims that no Amazon would join Ra's cult.

Ra's consults a Sibyl at his Lazarus pit. (He has Sibyls?) He says he's known her since he was 9. Artie then exclaims, "But that would make you—?" Make him what? How does she have any idea how old this woman is to apply math for Ra's?

At this point everyone starts bugging everyone else. Batman plants bugs on Diana; Diana gives Superman a transmitter; Superman plants a bug on Bizarro.

ANYway, Bats demonstrates his paranoia about super-powered heroes and then reveals that just about all of the world's communications satellites are going to converge conveniently in a few hours (negating any global coverage that they were put up there to furnish) and one missile could put them all out. Superman takes off to stop that missile, which Ra's releases.

Diana's Jet's radar picks up Bizarro and she tracks him to Ra's lair. There she confronts Ra's, but he sics Bizarro on her. Bizarro pummels her and—get this—breaks her unbreakable lasso.

It's called "unbreakable" for a reason, folks. Sheesh. Remember, this is supposedly just days or maybe a couple weeks into her career, and already her unbreakable lasso is broken.

Diana awakens badly concussed in the same chains that had once held Bizarro. Ra's explains to her that he's going to dump her in a Lazarus Pit, which will drive her insane with lust, and then rape her and control her mind. (Note how many threats of sexual degradation directed toward women are in this story. Then try and find some directed toward men.)

Batman confronts Artie and knocks her out with a bola and gas. He then finds Diana. As Ra's orders Bizarro to crush her skull (?), Batman leaps out with a "solar spectrum laser" and blasts Bizarro in the eyes, blinding him and making him flee in confusion. Even enchained, Diana manages to deflect machine gun fire as Ra's tells a minion to kill her. Batman unlocks her chains.

They travel further down in the complex to find a Lazarus Pit and an armed missile beside it. Diana is weakened further by the fumes of the Pit, which we are told are akin or maybe opposite to the stuff of which she was originally created. Wearing a gas mask, Batman plants a miniature EMP disruptor inside the missile (I think QVC sells these on Easy Pay), which stops that, but the Sibyl confronts Diana and gores her with a spear. Diana manages to fall into the Pit, but emerges wild and disoriented, but not disoriented enough not to know how to pilot her Invisible Jet away from both Bats and Supes, neither of whom go to any great lengths to help her.

Superman is apparently able for some unknown reason to break through the mystic energies surrounding Themyscira (unshown here, so perhaps they weren't any problem at all) while ferrying Batman along. Batman uses a Batglider, I suppose, to reconnoiter and reconnoiters a nekkid Diana taking a little bath, as we all like to do, in an ankle-deep pond. Along the way he delivers a nice description of the atmosphere of the place:

"He has seen all manner of settings, yet something here...unsettles him. For once, the costume feels heavy and obtrusive. It itches. He finds himself distracted. By the dapple...of sunlight. The flutter...of butterfly wings. The sparkle...of dewdrops." When he sees Diana: "Her grace...her splendor..." [Her nekkidness...] He grabs her for an embrace and some deep tongue kissing, and blames it on "the island's enchantment." Yeah, right.

Diana gives him a more than well-deserved belt. (She must still be recovering not to have stopped him sooner.) She declares that coming back to Paradise has cured her of the ill-effects of the Pit.

She waves off the guards who come after Bats, and when Superman lands, escorted by the giant eagle sentries of Paradise, Diana tells her guards they must not speak of this to anyone, not even her mother. It is now that Supes and Bats discover that Diana is a princess. (How convenient that they understand Amazonian.) Don't they read the Boston papers?

Artie returns to Ra's even though he left her to die, because he'll lead her to Batman and she wants another crack at him. She suggests that Ra's invade Paradise to use it as a base, and instructs him on what to expect to find as defenses there. (How would she know?) Hey, she even knows the way (Mapquest?), and in this story there's no mystic barrier to slow anyone down.

Let's see. Ra's finds Bizarro, Hippy explains to Diana all about the Bana, even though in continuity it will be some years before she discovers them, Superman somehow uses Diana's transmitter to track Bizarro, Diana shows up at the front door to Wayne Manor, Supes hits Bizarro but races to Metropolis to stop a rather sick re-enactment of 9/11 on some buildings there (much too soon to use that plot point!), and Ra's helicopter squadron approaches Themyscira.

"In the many centuries since their arrival here...the Amazons have never faced a direct invasion." So that whole Doom's Doorway thing never happened, huh? Amazons stand ready to fight the helicopters with spears and catapults. This is the same civilization that, in this story, furnished Diana with her Invisible Jet with all its keen, beyond-state-of-the-art electronic devices.

Ra's plots that surviving Amazons will become the mothers of his new race. That's more rape threat within the story. Why doesn't he ever threaten to have Bizarro rape Superman? Or do the deed himself with "the Detective" to show him a thing or two?

Diana dressed in pteruges and holding sword and shieldFor some reason Diana feels the need to limit herself by taking up sword and shield (and pteruges) to battle Ra's. She'll allow the mere mortal Batman to face the god-powerful Bizarro. Batman armors up.

Several panels depict Diana going one-on-one against Ra's. Diana, the Amazon champion. Panels. Multiple. He attacks "like a dervish," but Diana should be able to knock a dervish out in half a panel without raising a sweat. It's not until he makes a sexist remark toward her that she finally throws down her weapons, breaks his swords, and knocks him into the ocean.

Batman's armor is loaded with lasers, so every time he lets loose with a manly punch, it weakens Bizarro.

For the second time in this story someone talks about how red blood is. Before it was Diana, but this time it is Artie, who sees dead Amazons and thinks their blood is "so much redder than she imagined." She switches sides, and Superman is just about to capture her when he's needed to use his heat vision on Bizarro, whom Diana cannot stop but who is about to pummel Batman. Bizarro's hand turns to rock and Superman belts Bizarro into a convenient nearby volcano.

Our heroes can find no trace of their three villains, yet Talia al Ghul manages to collect her daddy, and we discover that Artie now lives undetected on Themyscira for months. She constructs a log raft—a FLAT log raft—and sets off home across the OCEAN on it. Rotsa ruck, Artie. (Maybe she thought it was a river. You know how kids today don't get a good education.) And on the floor of the ocean we see what's left of Bizarro's hand glowing red.

So ho hum, lots and lots and lots of loopholes in plot logic and little correlation to continuity here. Matt Wagner is an award-winning everything and managed some nice narrative passages, some decent bits of dialogue... But I felt the artwork was too blocky for my tastes. I can stand and even appreciate awkward styles as long as they're consistent, but every time Diana presented anything other than an emotionless face, I cringed. You'll note the B&B pic above with Diana in it—a very large, showpiece panel in the story, but the anatomy and movement it portrays is confusing to me.

Well, Batman got a good showing in the story at least.

 

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