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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 11 comics last week: Superman # 11, Trinity #3, Nightwing #9, Spider-Man #9, Batman #11, Star Trek: Waypoint #2, Justice League #9, Amazing Spider-Man #21, Infamous Iron Man #2, Black Panther #8 and Doctor Strange #14.
The best comic I read last week was Trinity #3.
The magic continues…
Over the course of the last months, I’ve paid attention to fandom bickering about the dark DC Universe of the Zach Snyder movies and the hopeful DC Universe emerging in recent comics. As someone who has enjoyed the Snyder films and likes the direction they have taken the DC Cinematic Universe, I’ve been a bit taken aback by the vitriol aimed at them and their tone. I’ve simply seen them as a different interpretation of classic characters and the interpretation worked for me.
However, when reading Francis Manapul’s Trinity, I admit I can see validity in the critiques of the dark DC. Manapul has crafted an initial arc in Trinity which will serve to redefine the dynamic between the top three heroes of the DC Universe in the most hopeful and heroic of manners: by connecting them all the more intimately with one another. Through story machinations I won’t spoil here, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are forced to revisit the events which made them heroes – their origin stories – and they are forced to do this together. The friendship and compassion they show each other is, clearly, far more important than whatever adversary they are facing and that compassion serves to bring the three together and will likewise serve to reestablish them as the core of the DC Universe.
Remember, this Superman is an outsider – a newcomer to the Rebirth Universe – and an easy story out would be for Batman to continue his paranoid mistrust of the character and for Wonder Woman to pine for the deceased Superman of this universe – a man who was her lover. Manapul doesn’t do easy. Rather he writes a story with rich emotional resonance. It is also a reflection on what it means to be a hero, and can only be read as an intentional rebuke of the darkness that can invade comics and has invaded the DC films. Again, I like the DC films, but books like this make me realize how much more I like my heroes, well, wholly heroic.
The issue suffers a bit from fill-in artist Clay Mann’s work as opposed to Manapul’s art. Dont’ get me wrong: Mann is terrific and does a great job keeping the visual style of Manapul front-and-center in the issue, but Manapul is Manapul. However, if having as capable and artist as Mann on hand to keep Trinity shipping regularly, readers could do a lot worse. Mann is more than capable and shows some real dynamism in his work.
I said this last month – let Manapul do ALL the comics. He’s that good.