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Trinity: The 15 Best Superhero Threesomes

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Trinity: The 15 Best Superhero Threesomes

If there’s one aspect of comics the readers seem to enjoy, it’s when superheroes team-up. It happens all the time and could be a one-time thing, or the creation of an amazing team like the Justice League, Fantastic Four, X-Men or the Avengers. Pretty much all of these groups consist of dozens of members, with the Fantastic Four coming in with… well, four.

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One grouping of superheroes that is often overlooked is the rare combination of three. A trio of superheroes is rarely discussed in the comics, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some exceptional examples that have been published over the years. Here are the 15 greatest superhero trios we like, but if we missed any of your favorites, please let us know in the comments!

15. THE POWERPUFF GIRLS

The Powerpuff Girls DC Comics

When scientist Professor Utonium attempted to create perfect little girls, he added sugar, spice and everything nice into a cauldron before an unexpected ingredient, Chemical X accidentally fell in and created the super-powered team, the Powerpuff Girls! Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup make up the team of little-girl superheroes who each possess the powers of flight, super strength, super speed, super hearing, animal control, flame breath, invulnerability and a whole lot more. Their main villain is the evil Mojo-Jojo, an evil monkey who was once the Professor’s lab assistant. It was because of Mojo-Jojo that Chemical X fell into the mixture and he is the sworn enemy of the girls, intent on taking over Townsville.

The Powerpuff Girls made their comic book debut in “Disney Adventures” dated 1 September 1998, but have since gone on to star in their own series published by DC. “The Powerpuff Girls” began publishing in 2000 with issue #1, written by Jennifer Keating Moore and penciled by Philip Moy. The girls have even returned to the Cartoon Network with a new rebooted series in 2016.

14. PLANETARY

Planetary DC Comics

Wildstorm published the first appearance of the trio Planetary in “Gen 13” #33, written by Warren Ellis with pencils by John Cassidy and Gary Frank in 1998. The group is better known as Archaeologists of the Impossible and they specialize in uncovering the world’s secret history. The team consists of Jakita Wagner, Ambrose Chase, and The Drummer based out of the main office for the company called Planetary in New York City.

The team’s primary mission is to explore the globe and find the hidden wonders of the world for the purpose of saving them and bringing their attention to the public for the purpose of prosperity. Theirs is truly a global mission, which is why their company was named Planetary by the founder, Elijah Snow. Snow wrote detailed guides of his strange adventures and expeditions over the years before forming the company that became the base of operations for the field team featured in the comics.

13. GALAXY TRIO

Galaxy Trio Cartoon

Galaxy Trio is a group of alien superheroes consisting of Vapor Man, Meteor Man and Gravity Girl who spend their days patrolling space in their vessel, Condor One. They fight in the name of the Galactic Patrol law enforcement agency and each has unique powers. Vapor Man can transform any part of his body into a gaseous form, Meteor man can alter the size of any part of his body (gasp!) and Gravity Girl can bend the laws of gravity at will enabling her to fly or move heavy objects. The team originally appeared alongside Birdman in a Hanna-Barbera animated television series, but have spent some time in the comics as well.

Gold Key published the first appearance of the Galaxy Trio in “Hanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes” #1 in 1968. The heroes would later make the jump to DC and have been published sporadically over the years. In the cartoon, the Galaxy Trio segment would fall between the two Birdman segments, which helped to split the story. Their first appearance on television came in the episode “Revolt of the Robots” on September 9th, 1967.

12. THE IMPOSSIBLES

The Impossibles Hannah Barbara

Hanna-Barbera produced some of the best animated television shows in the 1960s, many of which were only shorts premiering between segments of other shows. “The Impossibles” was one such series having premiered in 1966 as a part of “Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles.” The team consisted of a trio of superheroes and crime-fighters who posed as a rock band. The team’s roster consisted of Coil Man, Fluid Man and Multi-Man, each with their own unique powers… though you can probably guess what they were. Coil Man’s arms and legs were coils, Fluid Man was able to turn into water and Multi-Man could create a bunch of copies of himself.

The team was first introduced to the pages of comic books in “Huckleberry Hound Weekly” #290, published in April 1967. Like the other characters brought to life on the small screen by Hanna-Barbera, publishing rights were given to DC, which has published the characters throughout the years in various titles to include “Future Quest,” “Scooby-Doo! Team-Up” and “Hanna-Barbera Presents.”

11. BIRDS OF PREY

Birds of Prey DC Comics 2

The original Birds of Prey consisted of Huntress, Oracle and Black Canary. Before the team came together to form a trio, Oracle worked with Black Canary to provide intelligence and cyber support until things went awry and Oracle had to call in some help. Huntress was pulled into the situation and helped Black Canary, which showed the ladies that they could work together, and so the Birds of Prey were formed. They originally worked in Gotham before relocating to Metropolis and then Platinum Flats. When the team returned to Gotham, Oracle brought in new members Hawk and Dove, though the original team roster remains the most popular.

The Birds of Prey made their debut appearance in “Showcase ’96” #3, written by Jamie Delano, Scott Ciencin and Jordan B. Gorfinkel with pencils by Jennifer Graves, Alexander Morrissey and Gary Frank. There was also a short-lived television series in 2002, but it only remained on-air for 13 episodes before being canceled. DC is currently fast-tracking a return of these ladies, this time to the silver screen with director David Ayer at the helm. The film will differ from the comics and will feature DC’s most notable female heroes and villains.

10. HELLBOY, LIZ SHERMAN AND ABE SAPIEN

Hellboy Trio Film

Hellboy was a longtime member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) and was long considered to be the world’s best paranormal investigator. The agency also employed various other human and not-so-human agents to include the firestarter Liz Sherman and the aquatic man known as Abe Sapien who was found in a tank of water with a note dated April 14, 1865, with the words, Icthyo Sapien. As that was the day President Lincoln was assassinated, the name was given to Abe. He, Liz, and Hellboy are some of the most prominently featured agents of the BPRD and have gone on many assignments together.

Liz’s special ability is that she has a fire living within her and her mastery of this fire has made her an incredible weapon. When she and Hellboy team up with Abe, the trio can accomplish just about anything. All three were depicted in “Hellboy” and “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” by Ron Perlman, Doug jones and Selma Blair with some minor changes to the characters and history behind the formation of the BPRD.

9. THE WONDER TWINS AND GLEEK

wonder twins and gleek

Zan and Jayna are twin brother and sisters from another world who became a superhero team in the Hanna-Barbera animated show “Super Friends.” The teens are presented as superheroes in training who sometimes work with the Super Friends and have the ability to shapeshift, but only when the two fist-bump one another and say aloud, “Wonder Twin powers activate” followed by “Shape (or form) of [the thing they transform into]!” They are Exorian metas whose parents died while they were still infants and ended up in an alien circus before finally traveling to Earth to warn the Justice League of a ploy by Grax to destroy the planet.

The twins have a pet monkey named Gleek who is a vital member of the team, which is why this duo is actually a trio. Gleek has a prehensile tail… you know, like monkeys do, and is able to help the teens make contact if they are too far apart by becoming a conduit. He also produces a bucket, seemingly out of thin air, whenever Jayna turns into an eagle. Zan turns into water, which shoots into the bucket Gleek is holding, who rides atop Jayna holding the bucket containing the water form of Zan.

8. KICK-ASS, HIT-GIRL AND BIG DADDY

Kick Ass Trio Film

Mark Millar’s mega-hit eight-issue miniseries from 2008-2010, “Kick-Ass,” written by Millar with pencils by John Romita, Jr., introduced the world to the civilian superhero. The story takes place in the real world. There aren’t any superheroes and there never will be… but why? That’s the question that is answered by Dave Lizewski when he dons a wetsuit, gloves and a couple of clubs in his quest to fight crime. Only problem: he sucks at it and is nearly beaten to death and hit by a car. After his recovery, he returns to the life of the superhero after having been filmed saving a guy on the streets from a mugging.

With his popularity growing, Kick-Ass finds himself face-to-face with real-life vigilantes, Hit Girl and Big Daddy, who help him out of a jam by killing a lot of bad guys. After the two vet our hero, they team-up and the three get involved in a pretty serious mix-up with the mob. The film adaptation took some license with the way the story turned out, so it was a bit different from the comics, but in the end, Kick-Ass becomes a cultural phenomenon who inspires others to follow in his footsteps.

7. THE WARRIORS THREE

The Warriors Three Marvel Comics

In Marvel Comics, the Warriors Three are a group of Thor’s closest friends and allies consisting of Hogun the Grim, Fandral the Dashing and Volstaff the Lion. All three were Asgardian warriors who fought fiercely beside Thor in battle. They were most recently portrayed in “Thor” and “Thor 2” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Tadanobu Asano, Josh Dallas (Zachary Levi in the second film) and Ray Stevenson respectively.

Over the years, the trio has appeared in hundreds of comic books having made their first appearance in “Journey into Mystery” #119, written by Stan Lee and penciled by Jack Kirby, published in 1965. Unlike the other Norse Gods, there was no classical inspiration for the characters, making them unique creations to the Marvel Universe. In his book, “Stan Lee: Conversations,” Lee was asked about the origin of the characters. “I made those up. I specifically remember that I did them because I wanted a Falstaff-type guy, a guy like Errol Flynn, and then I wanted a guy like Charles Bronson who was dire and gloomy, riddled with angst. Those three were mine.”

6. GOTHAM CITY SIRENS

Gotham City Sirens DC Comics

You might be wondering why a list of superhero trios features the likes of Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. They may be bad guys most of the time, but on occasion, these ladies of Gotham do some… well, not exactly good, but not entirely bad either. The women are introduced as the “Gotham City Sirens,” in an ongoing series, initially written by Paul Dini and penciled by Guillem March. After Catwoman is nearly beaten to death, she is saved by Ivy who takes her back to the Joker’s old hideout where they meet up with Quinn. The three women agree to protect one another and they become something of a team.

When DC launched “The New 52” event in 2011, the ongoing series was put to rest and the ladies were split up. Quinn went on to join the new Suicide Squad, Catwoman received her own ongoing title, and Ivy is now a part of the Birds of Prey. When they were together, they spent most of their time wooing their respective gentlemen and battling other, worse supervillains, but they still remained something of a thorn in Batman’s side all the while.

5. SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends Marvel Comics

The 1981 animated television series “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” offered up a different look at the characters depicted in the series. Not normally known to team up together, Spider-Man, Iceman and Firestar combined to become the trio known as the Spider-Friends. The series takes place while Peter Parker, Bobby Drake and Angelica Jones are all attending college at Empire State University. In their first team-up, they work together to defeat a villain called the Beetle who had stolen some Power Booster armor from Tony Stark. When they realize they work well together, they form the team.

Once the team was formed, everyone moved into Aunt May’s house to include Firestar’s little Lhasa Apso dog, Ms. Lion. This was certainly a deviation from the comics, but it worked out in the cartoon. Peter even had a secret base built in his bedroom that could be accessed whenever he tilted a trophy. All of his furniture sort of flips upside-down to reveal complex computers and machinery that does not age well (it looks like a NASA control room circa 1959). Through the course of the series, the lineup changed a bit to add Hiawatha Smith, Lightwave, and Videoman. There were three seasons produced, totaling 24 episodes.

4. THE DEFENDERS

The Defenders Marvel Comics

The original Defenders began with Namor, Doctor Strange and the Hulk in the early 1970s. Before the team was formally declared, the three future members were featured in a crossover event in their various books, which put them against the Undying Ones and their leader, the Nameless One. After this team-up, the team was finally formed officially and debuted in “Marvel Feature” #1, written by Roy Thomas with pencils by Ross Andru, Don Heck and Neal Adams, in December of 1971.

The first “The Defenders” comic was published in 1972, written by Steve Englehart and penciled by Sal Buscema, and continued the story of the Hulk, Sub-Mariner and Doctor Strange together to battle Necrodamus. They receive aid from none other than the Silver Surfer and the team goes on the hunt for the Sentinel of the Skyways. They would eventually find the Surfer and entice him to join the team, which was finally formalized with the additional member. Over the years, the team would lose and gain several characters. The modern incarnation consists of the street-level heroes, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist.

3. BATMAN, ROBIN AND …?

Silver Age Batman, Robin and Batgirl

Alfred! No, just kidding. Every once in a while, the Dynamic Duo takes on a third partner and more often than not, Batman and Robin team up with Batgirl. Throughout the course of DC comics’ publishing, there have been six women who took on the mantle of Batgirl. The most popular was Barbara Gordon, who made her first appearance in “Detective Comics” #359, written by Gordon Fox and penciled by Carmine Infantino, Henry Boltinoff and Murphy Anderson. As a member of the Batman Family, Gordon would often pop up in the comics to work alongside the Dynamic Duo on many adventures. She is also popularly remembered from her time on the original “Batman” television show.

In the third and final season of the show, Batgirl was portrayed by Yvonne Craig who was one of the more popular characters in the campy series. Batgirl would often get mixed up in the various adventures involving Batman and Robin while portraying a strong feminist character. In “Batman: The Killing Joke,” Gordon was shot by the Joker and paralyzed. She reinvented herself as Oracle and continued to work alongside the Dynamic Duo as a collector and provider of intelligence and computer hacking services.

2. AVENGERS PRIME

Avengers Prime Marvel Comics

In much the same way that DC has their Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, Marvel has the trio known as Avengers Prime. Iron Man, Thor and Captain America make up this trio of some of the most impressive superheroes who went on to form the Avengers. In 2011, Marvel published a five-issue miniseries for the trio called “Avengers Prime” with Brian Michael Bendis as the writer and Alan Davis on pencils.

The story takes place following the events of the first Marvel “Civil War,” which saw Steve Rogers and Tony Stark on opposite sides of the conflict. Following the Siege of Asgard, the three heroes are again brought together to fight a common enemy, but trust is not easy to come by for the men who fought against one another so recently… except for Thor, since he was somewhat dead at the time and a clone of him went on a rampage during “Civil War.” Besides that little hiccup, the trio found a way to work together and began mending old wounds.

1. THE DC TRINITY

DC Trinity DC Comics

The DC Trinity consists of Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman and is considered to be the original superhero trio. Each of the three members on their own represent some of the most iconic characters in all of comic book history, so it’s no wonder DC often put them together for crossover events and stories before the formation of the Justice League. In 2003, DC published a three-issue miniseries titled “Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity” written and penciled by Matt Wagner. While this isn’t the only story of the three heroes coming together, it is an excellent overview of how the three first met prior to the creation of the Justice League.

In “Trinity,” Ra’s al Ghul recruits Bizarro and Artemis to wreak havoc across the globe. As each of the three villains is associated with the three heroes, they find themselves working together to thwart Ra’s al Ghul’s plot to destroy the world’s satellite communications as well as the global oil reserves. In classic comics fare, the three heroes don’t exactly hit it off right away, so they must first learn to work with one another before they can ever hope to work together to defeat the global threat.

Who’s your favorite superhero trio? Let us know in the comments section!

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