The Origin and Importance of DC’s Trinity

In the world of DC Comics, three heroes reign supreme: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The trio, commonly referred to as the DC Trinity, packs a powerful punch. But they weren’t always the closest of friends. Through trials and tribulations, they realized just how much they needed one another.

In their most recent iteration, featured in DC’s Trinity series from 2016, we get a poetic and sentimental explanation of the trio’s origin. We’re going to use our X-ray vision to take a closer look at their origin and grapple with what makes the DC Trinity truly powerful.

Coming Together

These three heroes have been among the longest-running features since the earliest days of DC Comics.  They all worked together as members of both the Justice Society and the Justice League of America, and then Batman and Superman paired off regularly in World’s Finest Comics.  The three characters first appeared together on the cover of All-Star Comics #36, along with the JSA.

The trio then featured again in The Brave and the Bold #30, after the Justice League was introduced in new form. As DC Comics continued on, the team’s roster was rearranged and Wonder Woman left the team for a time.  Eventually she rejoined, and the characters once more featured in the Super Friends Saturday morning cartoon.

A number of relaunches and reboots (and the Crisis event) separated the team once more, and the Dark Knight and Man of Steel stories put a rift between Batman and Superman’s camaraderie as well.  Finally, in 2008, DC Comics released a series titled “Trinity,” which featured each character’s logos stacked atop one another on the cover. This weekly book didn’t actually feature the three heroes together as much as it could have before the New 52 once again shook up the dynamic.  “The Final Days of Superman” story reassembled the Trinity with the Superman from a different continuity, while New 52 Batman and Wonder Woman dealt with the introduction of a new “old” Man of Steel.

In 2016, DC launched a new Trinity series that really focused on propping up these three superheroes as the biggest pillars of the DC Comics universe- giving them a proper origin and exploration of their bonds and their differences.

Their DC Rebirth Origin

We open the story in Smallville, with Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and their son Jonathan. Clark is telling Lois how he’s not all that excited for the evening because Lois has invited over Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince for a nice little supper at their home. In this timeline, Clark Kent is not the original Clark Kent—he’s a Clark Kent from an alternate dimension. This Clark Kent doesn’t have a relationship with Batman or Wonder Woman at all. In the New 52 Universe, the original Superman had just died, and this alternate Superman took his place.

When the trio hears strange noises coming from the barn, they end up somehow becoming the stuck in the past. They’re in Smallville, and their arrival in the past shocks Clark Kent’s father, Jonathan, so badly, that his heart stops for a second. After Superman brings his father back to life, he realizes how grateful he is for the opportunity to see the man again. In this timeline, Clark Kent is now a father, and he wants all the advice he can get about fatherhood.

Then, suddenly, they’re in Gotham, in the very alley in which Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed. The trio watches young Bruce Wayne go to grief counseling with Harleen Quinzel. They see him struggle with prescription drugs. They see him struggling to connect with Alfred. The team gets to see what Bruce Wayne still struggles with emotionally. But Batman realizes that, even though the struggles are real, these events are not. He recognizes that they must not be in the past. He reasons that this must be a dream, an alternate dimension, or a trap of some sort.

And without much more time for Batman to think, suddenly they’re in Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s home. It is revealed that she hasn’t been back to Themyscira since she first left all those years ago, and she’s missed her home. Upon returning, she is then invited to stay there forever. However, as men, Superman and Batman are not allowed to be on the island. Without a moment’s thought, despite the pain it causes her, she knows she cannot abandon her friends and so chooses to leave with them.

Soon, Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth to learn that they are, in fact, all dreaming. They’ve been ensnared by the strange plant called the Black Mercy, that traps victims in a dream of their own making. But they’ve actually been trapped in the dream of Mongul, a villain hell-bent on defeating Superman.

From Mongul’s dream, and the power of Poison Ivy, the being called White Mercy was born. She was a child who learned to possess the bodies of those attached to the Black Mercy plant. White Mercy was being used by Mongul to defeat the heroes, and she eventually realized that her father was wrong. She learned how to feel from observing the Trinity and their choices, and she eventually released them from the Black Mercy.

Through this adventure, the three heroes learned one anothers’ deepest personal struggles. They learned what they want and what they need. And from their journey, they came to care for each other in a way they didn’t before. And thus, DC’s Trinity was officially born.

Their Strengths

Each of these heroes have different strengths. Superman is infinitely powerful, and he’ll go to the ends of the earth to save even one person. Batman has cleverness and conviction, so much so that he has effective plans for anything and everything. Wonder Woman is so supportive and loyal to her friends that she’ll risk her own happiness just to be there for them.

Despite their strengths, they also all have weaknesses. Superman will jump straight into action without a moment’s thought. He’s eager to help, but often woefully unprepared. Batman has a plan for everything but cannot seem to connect with other people. His buries his emotions and chooses to close himself off to even the people he cares about most. Wonder Woman is loyal to her friends but will wander aimlessly to support them. She feels lost and restless, like she can’t put her guard down and call any place a home.

Their Importance

At the end of the Trinity series, White Mercy thanks all three of the heroes. She says, “You helped me understand what it’s like to be human. To be real.”

That’s what makes them truly powerful: their connection to humanity. Despite everything that makes these heroes absurdly powerful, and despite the fact that two out of three of them aren’t even human, they all understand exactly what it means to be human. They have the same desires that we all do. Superman desires to be accepted. Batman longs for a sense of family. Wonder Woman wants to a place to call home.

Each of them has the ability to let their guard down and support the others. They have to choose to be vulnerable. They have to choose to trust. Batman, a skeptical and cynical man, has the ability to accept Superman as “one of us”. And then, by virtue of accepting him, Superman can feel comfortable accepting Batman into his family. And if Wonder Woman joins the family too, then she’ll always feel like she has a place she can call home, as long as she is with her two most trusted allies.

They’re the perfect team. Together, they work like a well-oiled machine. A machine more powerful than any other. And in their struggles and their decision to be vulnerable, they show us exactly what it means to be human.

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What’s your favorite Trinity moment? How do they inspire you? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to Let your Geek Sideshow!