The following contains major spoilers for Batman and Robin #1, on sale now from DC Comics.
Batman’s rogues gallery is easily the most iconic of any DC superhero. Of course, not all of Gotham City’s villains have made household names of themselves, even those who have menaced the Dark Knight on numerous occasions. This is precisely the case as far as the Terrible Trio is concerned, although as of an unexpected and shocking transformation, that might all be changing far sooner than later.
While the eponymous heroes of Batman and Robin #1 (by Joshua Williamson, Simone Di Meo, and Steve Wands) are busy chasing down leads on the villainous White Rabbit, they get sidetracked by an attack on the home of Doctor Kafira. When the heroes arrive, they are greeted by numerous animalistic villains, including Killer Croc, Orca, and Man-Bat. This particular group of foes on their own aren’t all that surprising, though the appearance of the otherwise ordinary Terrible Trio certainly is. Even more so is the fact that beneath the Terrible Trio’s animal masks are now animalistic villains more brutal than they’ve ever been before.
Who are DC Comics’ Terrible Trio?
Introduced all the way back in 1958’s “The Fox, the Shark, and the Vulture” (by Dave Wood and Sheldon Moldoff, from the pages of Detective Comics #253), the Terrible Trio are most often depicted as a band of exceptionally talented thieves. Each member of the Terrible Trio wears a mask bearing the likeness of their respective monikers. They also focus their efforts on committing crimes that harken back to some aspect of that same motif. Despite their lack of any powers of their own, the Terrible Trio’s ingenious nature and calculated cunning made them a formidable set of foes for the Dark Knight. Despite their scheming and ambition, none of them were particularly successful. Still, the Terrible Trio left an impact that couldn’t be denied, especially among fans who became enamored by their iconic look.
After a pair of failed attempts to take Gotham by storm, the original Terrible Trio moved to Portsmouth City. There, they faced off against the second Doctor Mid-Nite, only for their plans to be foiled again. This middling reputation didn’t prevent the Terrible Trio from continuing on in their work, nor did it prevent others from following in their direct footsteps years later. More importantly, the Terrible Trio have amassed a cult following among DC Comics fans. The Terrible Trio have managed to make a place for themselves across nearly every single iteration of the mainstream DC Universe, not to mention tie-in and crossover titles, including The Batman & Scooby Doo Mysteries.
How DC Comics’ Terrible Trio has Evolved Over the Ages
Apart from the original Terrible Trio and their direct successors, there are many versions of the team that have been adapted for the small screen for titles, such as Batman: The Animated Series. Between these iterations and those of alternate comic book timelines, the Terrible Trio has taken on nearly a dozen forms over the years, yet all of them have shared one thing. That is the basic principle that their members represent beasts of the land, air, and sea. Even the DC Future State form of the Terrible Trio maintained these motifs, even if they did so without the realistic animal masks that the team became infamously synonymous with.
Another consistent trait most versions of the Terrible Trio share is that they would rather concoct elaborate schemes of their own than be reduced to running interference for any other DC villain. This is such an immutable truth of the Terrible Trio that even Robin calls it out when he and Batman encounter them during the attack on Doctor Kafira. Between this and the Terrible Trio having been at least partially transformed into truly animalistic iteration of themselves, it is clear the latest version of the team is operating on a level that is beyond anything they have ever accomplished previously. Or worse still, it is an indication that they have been caught in the middle of a plot masterminded by an infinitely more resourceful threat.
Why the Terrible Trio’s Latest Evolution Could Make Them Serious Batman Villains
This version of the Terrible Trio has clearly themselves to be far more deadly compared to their predecessors. Considering their brutal turn, where exactly they stand in the hierarchy of DC’s supervillain community may not seem that important. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Where the Terrible Trio stands paints a grave image of the threats coming for Batman and Robin in coming comics. If the Terrible Trio are acting entirely or mostly autonomously, then what comes next will assuredly comprise some combination of attacks that the Caped Crusader can anticipate to a point. If the Terrible Trio are merely pawns in someone else’s plan, then they’re just the beginning of what that enigmatic villain has in store for Gotham City.
Considering the latter of those two options has already been all but confirmed, the role that the Terrible Trio are playing as of now might appear diminished. While that is probably true to an extent as of right now, these events set the Terrible Trio up for bigger and more spectacular appearances down the line. With their new animalistic forms, the Terrible Trio are not just more lethal on their own, they are closer to Gotham’s more memorable villains. Case in point, the vast majority of Batman’s villains take their namesakes and monikers literally. There is no reason this transformation shouldn’t launch the Terrible Trio into a larger role than what they are used to. Whether they find themselves directly under the spotlight for very long, their goals will undoubtedly set up an unforgettable sequence of events that challenge Batman, Robin, and Gotham City itself.
DC’s Terrible Trio has been through numerous transformations over the years, and their latest might make them a real threat for the first time. Read More