Review: Trinity Vol. 2: Dead Space (Rebirth) hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Superman/Batman (or variably, Batman/Superman) was at its best when the title had a laser focus, usually under one writer crafting toward a specific goal. Less effective was when the book became an anthology title. It's not so much that I want titles like this to have strong, immediate ties to the larger DC universe every time, but when the book doesn't even have its own internal continuity -- when the adventures don't build on one another, when there aren't continuing subplots or supporting characters -- that's when I begin to find titles like these dull.

Francis Manapul and friends' Trinity Vol. 2: Dead Space does both follow from events in the first volume and also tie into the Superman Reborn event, but all of that is exceptionally mild. Two or so issues of Manapul drawing the Justice League is no slouch, but this could as soon be a Justice League story (a title which has had its own anthology-type problems). In all its hard to attribute much importance to this book when it doesn't emerge as more than a one-off League or Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman tale.

[Review contains spoilers]

Indeed Dead Space works best as a Francis Manapul spotlight starring the Justice League. The story is boilerplate -- a supposedly benign alien promises to save Earth from these other supposedly hostile aliens -- but Manapul's at the top of his game on art here. The splash page in which Manapul brings the Flash on the scene is fantastic, an immediate reminder of how much Manapul's crisp, dynamic Flash is missed in the often-dour Rebirth title (even if Manapul gets Flash and Batman's relationship a little wrong). Equally Manapul's got a long panel of Wonder Woman and Superman facing off against the visiting alien that's as sharp and heroic-looking as any modern depiction of the characters. Very slightly Manapul ties this into the White Mercy and Trinity Vol. 1: Better Together, but with new creative teams coming on I imagine that's the last we'll hear about that.

Before the three-part "Dead Space" story is a single issue tying into the events of "Superman Reborn," by Cullen Bunn. It is also light, and given no mention of "Reborn"'s chief antagonist and only vague references to Mr. Oz, I actually wonder whether Bunn was even given "Reborn" to read before he wrote this issue (after we found out Tim Seeley wrote the preludes to Batman's wedding without reading Batman #50, I've been alert for this type of thing). I'm hard-pressed to decry an issue that consists of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman just standing around talking in the Fortress of Solitude (plus a swanky page by Emanuela Lupacchino of their various alt-continuity costumes over the years), but Bunn's dialogue here is also problematic. Any good editor should catch the irony of Batman calling a villain "public enemy numbed one -- with a bullet" and Wonder Woman has a particularly silly "By Hera!" moment where she suddenly acknowledges Batman's mental acuity over her.

The book kicks off with another issue by Bunn and Batman stalwart Clay Mann, leading in to one of Rob Williams' stories in the next volume. As perhaps a good parallel to the "Reborn" issue, this is mostly Lex Luthor, Ra's al Ghul, and Circe standing around talking, with a bit of fighting a grotesque composite Superman-Batman-Wonder Woman to boot. I'm not sure how much Lex and Ra's have met, and their interactions are interesting especially given Lex's semi-heroic status at this point in time. Poor Circe, once a main Wonder Woman antagonist between War of the Gods and Underworld Unleashed, is all but unknown these days; it's good to see her used as the third part of this villainous triumvirate but I'd think someone like Strife more deserving, if indeed Strife even exists anymore. Anyway, of all the issues in this book, this is perhaps the most engaging, and hypes Trinity Vol. 3: Dark Destiny more than it does anything for this volume itself. (Also got to love a cameo by the New 52 Pandora!)

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Trinity Vol. 2: Dead Space

It's not particularly surprising to me that Trinity will end the volume after next. After years of having Superman/Batman team-up books, it's been nice to see a Big Three book on the stands, but these days these characters permeate each other's titles so often that this book hardly seems necessary; that the Justice League appears so prominently in Trinity Vol. 2: Dead Space just muddies the waters all the more. Again, overall I think it's a matter of this kind of book not having a consistent storyline to bring back the reader month after month instead of just for arcs of interest; a trinity book where the Super-, Bat-, and Wonder-families all regularly interact would be something I'd be more up for.

[Includes original and variant covers, cover sketches, interior inks]

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Trinity Vol. 2: Dead Space
Author Rating
2.5 (scale of 1 to 5)


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