Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. You ask anyone the answer is almost exactly the same. This is the Holy Trinity of the DC Universe and that is pretty much undebatle. Anyone who reads comics can tell you this, but let’s move across the road and check with our friend Marvel. Suddenly this one isn’t so agreeable. Today I will try to figure out what is Marvel’s Trinity and how it differs from the DC one.
Since we got one Trinity that is pretty much consensual we should look at that as our base and build our way up from there. What are the qualities of DC’s Big Three that makes them so clear in their roles? Those things are what I like to call R.I.P.T.H. Acronym stands for Rest in Peace Towards Hell. Just kidding it stands for something else. The letter ‘R’ stands for……
Relevance is the character’s importance throughout history and today. This character had to play key and integral roles in many events or popular acclaimed stories which helped the character become known to the public to begin with. If we look at Marvel’s giant catalogue of characters we could narrow this down to: Tony Stark, Carol Danvers, Steve Rogers, Logan (Wolverine), Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Thor, Daredevil, Deadpool, Jean Grey, Magneto, Profesor X, and Fanatic Four.
Fantastic Four is Marvel’s most important team, but when you separate them they suddenly lose their relevance. This rule should somewhat apply to Professor X because he has done a lot of important stuff for the X-Men but other than that he’s a goner. Magneto is always needed in almost all X-Men stories and managed to make his way out of the X-Men sandbox so we’ll still keep him. Jean Grey thanks to the huge Phoenix Sagas and her legacy left on the universe should stay.
T’Challa has been a prominent figure for Marvel’s diversity but sadly he hasn’t been as relevant in stories as many of these other characters were. What I mean by that is for example Civil War II needs Captain Marvel and Iron Man because the story without those heroes doesn’t exist. You could take away T’Challa from that story and the event could still manage to explain the main conflict at hand. Daredevil also is a very needed figure in the MU, but his relevance to the greater of the world isn’t as prominent. Let’s see who’s out on Round 1.
Next up the letter ‘I’ which is….
Carol Danvers is not iconic enough to fit into here, either. Sure, her recognition status may rise when her films come out but not to Iron Man, Steve Rogers, etc. levels. How do I know that? Films like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy risen the amount of eyes on these properties but they aren’t that iconic. It doesn’t take one to know Carol will not fit here. She definitely seems like a character Marvel wants to shove down our throats but the more they do it the less we like her like Inhumans.
Let’s skip letters ‘P’ & ‘T’ and move on to ‘H’.
Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman, they’re all heroic. That is the quality of a superhero trinity you want to see and Magneto is probably the one to ironically bite the bullet. The reason I kept him for iconic is because he is Marvel’s greatest villain and villains can be iconic. Case in point Darth Vader.
Everyone else passes this category. This was a quick one so now let’s move on back to the proper order with ‘P’.
This one easily gets confused with the category from before, ‘Icon’ and rightfully so because the two usually coexist, but not in the case of Deadpool. Deadpool is indeed a popular character who has gained successful video games, movies and comics, but he is not iconic. He’s popular. Now I probably ticked off some Deadpool fans who would wanna kill me but either way Deadpool would be a goner in the ‘Heroic’ category because he is a clear anti-hero. I should mention popularity usually refers to modern time period. Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Logan (Wolverine), Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Thor are all no doubt popular characters so now let’s move into our final category which is ‘T’.
DC’s Trinity is as old as almost DC Comics. It’s important to have characters who generations and generations had exposure to. Sadly enough all these remaining characters aren’t modern which leaves us with 6 heroes meaning we have to get rid of 3 (Wow! Math!). There is only one way to settle this.
1. Each category a character wins points.
2. 1st Place gains 4 points, 2nd gains 3, etc. and 5th gains 0.
Now let’s start.
Relevance goes clearly to Iron Man. He is an important character in almost every event and movie. Wolverine usually is the 2nd one to be heavily featured (X-Men and usually main events) followed by Captain America. 4th place goes to Hulk who had an entire event dedicated to him ending with Thor who is usually just there.
ICON! This one has to go to Iron Man since he is heavily beloved by so many. Funny how I might’ve not been saying this a decade ago. From now on I don’t see a no future for Tony even if the movies kill him off. For this one 2nd place should go to Captain America because he is a symbol to America, your grandma could know him and again it’s hard to see him have no future. Wolverine is right behind Cap. because of his iconic claws and strong ties to X-Men. Hulk is a way more iconic character than Thor with more recognizable features.
Popularity is a bit more evenly spread within the comics since the sales depend on new status quos. To help me don’t mind if we will mostly look outside of comics where there is a clearer sight. Again no surprise Iron Man’s movie kickstarted the MCU in a way no other single hero film could. His 3rd STANDALONE film is Marvel’s 3rd highest grossing movie behind the 2 Avengers films. He also appeared in Civil War to boost up that film’s numbers a bit. Marvel Comics are shoving him everywhere right now.
Now Captain America takes 2nd place with movies that outperform Wolverine with ease. In fact Thor easily beats Wolverine there too, but we should never forget Logan is a huge reason why people got to see X-Men and his popularity in 90s and cartoons. Logan’s comics also sell more than Thor’s so Odinson is getting that 4th spot. Hulk hasn’t been heavy hitting lately nor can we draw any conclusions from any recent films (he doesn’t have any).
Time and heroism goes both to Captain America (debut 1939) as the #1 spot. In simply the category of heroism Iron Man would be placed at #2, #3 for Thor and #4 is Wolverine. Hulk in #5 who was a clear villain and threat in some cases. For the category of time #2 goes to Thor, Hulk and Iron Man because their creation and prominence wasn’t decades apart. Wolverine should also join the #2 rank despite debuting a decade later. He did more for Marvel in his time with leading to great sales and became a quick classic. Now add up the points and the characters to join Spider-Man in Marvel’s Trinity are….
1st Place: Spider-Man
2nd Place: Iron Man
3rd Place: Captain America
This is my take on Marvel’s Trinity. If you’re upset then I got good news for you! This Trinity may change as times go along, but I also got bad news for you. It could not. But what does your Marvel’s Big Three look like? For the last time let’s look at the remaining 3 heroes who won.
Wait?!?!? Do you see that? Oh no!