Thursday, April 20, 2017


This one doesn't really fall under the "truly gone and forgotten" label, as all of the characters involved -- primarily Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman -- are three of the most popular superheroes in the world. But I'd been thinking about the entire concept of DC's "Trinity" -- a concept that they have invested in so heavily that it's starting to become an absolute burden on the existence of these three characters -- and how it had changed since the first trinities to occupy DC's golden age had vanished.

The team of Superman and Batman is the longest continuing association between any two characters in DC's stable, and very likely in Marvel's as well (I suppose there's an argument to be made about the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner, but there were long gaps in that relationship which the Superman-Batman team has never experienced except in significantly smaller doses). Until the launch of their team-ups in the pages of World's Finest, however, they'd only been 2/3rds of the World's Finest trinity -- they'd always brought Robin along.

They spend a lot of their time preventing Robin from
grabbing pretty young ladies out of their conveyances.

Once the team had solidified as a duo with Robin performing sidekicking duties for both heroes in relative measures, there was some effort to recast Robin into relationships with other young heroes. He and Jimmy Olsen were declared effectively equivalent on a number of occasions, while Robin's few team-ups with Superboy had something of a "stealth pilot" feel to them.

Meanwhile, as far as goes the modern day's third member of the man-heavy trio, there's Wonder Woman -- who's used to pulling two male heroes up to her level.

Look how hard Green Lantern is breathing. He shoulda left the cape behind.

Comic Cavalcade was the All-American answer to National's World's Finest, featuring the separate-but-not-separate roster of the Max Gaines side of the company. For these purposes, the Flash (Jay Garrick) and Green Lantern (Alan Scott) were Wonder Woman's partners, although they collaborated as often as the original World's Finest lineups did. This is to say, "on the covers only."

Still, it's interesting to see what the trinities were at the start of the superhero genre, as far as these characters were concerned (I'll get around to the BIG 3 title and other collaborative anthologies some other time), and how it evolved future relationships. Part of the energy between Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman surely must have been the mere fact that they survived the transition from the Golden Age to the Silver Age without much of a change to their core concepts, and I'm sure that the appearance of Flash and Green Lantern on the Comic Cavalcade covers led to the relationship between Barry "Flash" Allen and Hal "Green Lantern" Jordan later down the road.

As for Robin, would there even have ever been a Teen Titans, a Nightwing or a legacy of Robins without having been kicked out of that partnership with his two dads? Maybe, maybe not, but it seems at the very least that the entire concept of a trinity has potential to elevate and inform characters. Now if DC could play around with the structure of theirs a little and experiment with new combinations, it'd be pretty sweet ...

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