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Words by Matt Wagner - Art by Matt Wagner - Published by DC Comics (US), Titan Books (UK) - First published 2004 - Originally published as Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity 1-3
While superhero duos like Superman and Batman have been causing stirs across the comics world for some time, and teams of superheroes like the X-Men or the Justice League are more popular than ever, you rarely see just three of them come together as unit, perhaps because of the old adage that three's a crowd. However, in this book we see writer and artist Matt Wagner imagine the first meeting of three comic book icons: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
Wagner pulls out their differences in the story. Batman is a wary loner and already the occasional partner of Superman, but Wagner touches on the concept that they may be so complimentary because their methods, if not their goals, are so radically different. And while Wonder Woman is perhaps closer to the clean-cut spirit of Superman, she's got something that neither he nor Batman have: a family at home.
It's in this study of character that most of the book's interest lies. The plot - which features Batman baddie Ra's Al Ghul, a handful of nuclear warheads and odd Superman foe Bizarro - is nothing much to write home about, despite Wagner's tight dialogue and the fractious repartee between the heroes.
Wagner's art style is well suited to the flashback era he's depicting, with bold lines, primary colours and costumes clearly based on the characters' earlier years. However it fall's short of Darwyn Cooke's art on DC: The New Frontier if it's just a retro look you're after.
The whole concept is a little lost somewhere along the way. While the spirit of the characters is well captured, Wagner adds nothing to them. At the same time, a skilfully rendered set of characters is no disguise for a weak plot and, despite individually facing the odd hairy moment, there's no feeling here that the trio might be unable to prevail. Sure, we all know that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman won't be beaten, not least of all because this purports to be an historical record. But it doesn't mean we want their exploits, or our reading matter, to lack challenge.
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