Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Trinity: Afterword

So in spending the past several days thinking about DC's Holy Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, I've come to a couple of conclusions:

First, no matter what you do, these are benchmark characters. Even Wonder Woman, perhaps the least of the three, exists in the pantheon of popular culture and therefore cannot be changed too dramatically and maintain the hope of attracting new, mainstream readers. Basically, if my wife, whose interest in comics has been half-halfheartedly limited crossover works from other media (Buffy, Supernatural, Troublemaker) or works involving members of My Chemical Romance, is able to name the character, describe the powers, and recognize the costume, then that's it. Those are the powers. That's the costume. No electric Superman, no Batman with a fire sword, no Mod-der Woman.

Second, each of these characters approach heroism in a different way. Superman is very much of the "with great power comes great responsibility" mindset, even to the point of believing that everyone has great power within him. He's a hero because that's the only logical outcome of having these powers. Batman is the most selfish of heroes. He acts out of the need to prove himself, to himself. The murder of his parents was a formative moment, sure. Without it, his energies would probably not have been directed toward fighting crime. Wonder Woman straddles the middle-ground between them as the reluctant hero. From the moment of her birth, she was destined to do great things. There is, I think, more weight on Wonder Woman's shoulders than the other two as she was born to lead.

Third, you can't have these three go off reservation. Superman can't ditch his duties to go on walkabout. Batman can't die/travel through time. Wonder Woman can't snap someone's neck on TV and thus go into hiding/prison. The DC universe needs these three to be consistently active to maintain not only sales (in the case of Supes and Bats), but a sense of forward momentum. This means their adventures post Issue #1 in the Drewniverse need to be scripted out and measured. These three cannot participate in an event that changes everything forever and ever. Superman cannot die, Batman's back will stay straight, Wonder Woman will not be a fugitive. Also, a watchful eye must be kept on power creep. Batman cannot punch out the Devil in Issue #3 because, well, after beating up Satan, where else is there to go that won't seem anticlimactic?

Fourth, because these are the three best known DC characters (although Green Lantern is creeping up there, but he's got hassles of his own), they are the best chance for introducing new readers to the world.

So assuming that I get the same number of #1s that Actual DC is getting in September, here's how I'll spend the first batch:

  • Three central comics: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. These are the baseline, ongoing titles. I picture these titles as the core of the Drewniverse - these are the comics that move the football. (3/52)
  • Three Adventure Comics: Action Comics, Detective Comics, and All Star Comics. These should be relatively self-contained, single issue stories featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Generally stand alone comics, these should rarely touch on ongoing metaplots or the like. Ideally, they would be aimed at a slightly younger audience. Think DC Animated Universe, not Brave and the Bold. (6/52)
  • One ongoing Elseworlds title: 4-6 issue story arcs detailing the What Ifs. This is in part to let writers let off a bit of creative steam that's normally kept sealed away due to the third dictum above. Plus, I like What If stories. (7/52)

Of course, the Trinity will not just be limited to these seven titles. No doubt they'll crop up in Justice League title(s?) or as supporting characters in their own family's ongoing series (Robin, Supergirl, etc.)

So where to from here? We can either take a look at the next tier of DC heroes (Lantern, Flash) or branch out into the associated characters' titles/stories mentioned in the Trinity (Robin, Batgirl, Supergirl, Superboy, etc.). Tell me, gentle reader (or Google scraping bot), where you'd like to go.


  1. Next tier of DC heroes please! This is great, so keep it up.