Sunday, June 28, 2009

Trinity - Matt Wagner

Over the years I’ve read and enjoyed a number of comics written by Matt Wagner, his long-running series SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE being the most notable. TRINITY is a fine trade paperback reprinting a three-issue miniseries written and drawn by Wagner and featuring DC’s three most iconic characters: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

Now, when I was a kid, I wasn’t a Wonder Woman fan. I suppose I was as sexist as any other ten or twelve year old boy in the Sixties. Plus I really didn’t like the art on the issues coming out then. In the late Sixties and early Seventies, DC tried to remold Wonder Woman into a Modesty Blaise sort of character, and while that was interesting, it never really worked for me, either. In the Eighties, though, there was another Wonder Woman relaunch with excellent stories and art by George Perez, and that one won me over. I’m still not a huge fan, but Wonder Woman is okay.

Throw her into an epic story with Superman and Batman, though, and you’ve got something. TRINITY is the story of Wonder Woman’s first meeting with them, and it involves an evil, globe-spanning conspiracy hatched by one of Batman’s arch-enemies, Ra’s Al Ghul, as well as one of Superman’s antagonists, Bizarro (who’s not really evil but still plenty dangerous anyway). Several things make TRINITY a fine piece of graphic novel entertainment. Wagner provides the art as well as the story, and it really works. He’s a good storyteller who uses classic layouts most of the time. His script is top-notch, capturing the personalities of Superman and Batman in all their complexity. There’s a sense of rivalry that’s always there, as well as a certain frustration and disapproval that each feels about the other’s methods, but above all, they’re friends. Then that sort of gets knocked cock-eyed by the arrival of Wonder Woman. No, there’s not any sense that they’re vying for her affections (although Batman is surprisingly interested in her). Wagner is too subtle a writer to take the easy, obvious route. But having Wonder Woman around does change the dynamic between Superman and Batman, at least a little.

This is one of the best comic book series I’ve read recently. If you’re a fan of the classic DC characters (another of whom makes a funny, unbilled cameo appearance), give TRINITY a try. I had a great time reading it.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Did the Justice League of American combine these three with a fourth or more character?

James Reasoner said...

The founding members of the JLA, as it first appeared in THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #28 (Feb.-Mar. 1960) were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter. Although as I remember, Superman and Batman didn't really do much in that first story. It's been a few years since I last reread it, though, so I could be wrong about that. There have been scores of different members in the various incarnations of the JLA since then.

Ritster said...

James I wouldn't call you "sexist" because you were a comic-reading pre-pubescent boy who preffered Supes and Bat-Man over Wonder Women! Come on! Return with us now, to those thrilling days of yesteryear...(Oops that's old time radio. Sorry).

Hope your 90-per-words are going smoothly. Read you had some ups and downs last week. Hopefully the words are flowing, now. Do you write a series character, or have you ever? I would imagine a series character would be easier with the kind of deadlines your facing. You've already got the main characters, setting, narrartive voice, and knowing well what your character would do in a particular situation. I imagine the difficulty of a series character is to keep his/her adventures feeling new and fresh, to keep from making any extreme changes that will derail the core nature of your character, and to keep you from getting bored.

Take care!
Brian Ritt

James Reasoner said...


I'm a little behind schedule, but I keep plugging away at it. The work has gone better recently. At least 95% of my writing has been about series characters. I occasionally write a stand-alone thriller, but even those have ties to other books published under the same name. You're absolutely right about the advantages and disadvantages of working with series characters. I've done so much of it, though, that I'm comfortable with it.

Paul Brazill said...

You know, I loved the Diana Prince Wonder Woman -without her powers - stuff.

James Reasoner said...

Those issues have been reprinted in trade paperback. I ought to reread them one of these days and see whether I like them now. I remember the art was pretty good.