Triathlon – 28 days of Black Super Heroes – Day 13

Triathlon art by John GarrettPrevious (Day 12) Super Hero – Bishop!

Day 13 of 28 Days of Black Super Heroes, today’s hero is the Marvel Comics’ character Triathlon.

This particular character is what I like to refer to as H.A.M. HOT. ASS. MESS. I take issue with the fact that this extremely lame character shares my last name. What is this world coming to?


Triathlon is Delroy Garrett, Jr. (did I mention I’m also a “junior”? -sheesh!). Essentially he was an olympic level athlete -until he was exposed as a filthy cheater. He got caught using steroids. Damn, man.

In order to help himself through the difficult time that ensued, Delroy became involved with a religious organization called the Triune Understanding.

The Triune convinced Delroy that his newfound powers were the result of them “unlocking his full human potential”.

Oh yeah, the Triune was also up to some crazy sh*t, and they were mounting a PR attack against the Avengers in service of this secret agenda.

Part of the plan was using public opinion to force Triathlon onto the Avengers. It worked, and Triathlon joined the team with reservations from both them and him.


You thought Rage made a bad impression on the Avengers? Well, he did. Compared to Triathlon it was like Rage showed up to the mansion with a basket of cupcakes.

This guy is shoehorned onto the team, and he walks around with a huge chip on his shoulder, similar to Rage (and pretty much every other Black hero), except the accusations of racism and intolerance against the Avengers are much more pointed and outspoken.

The Triune Understanding was using Triathlon, and getting him onto the Avengers was the first step in a much larger plan.

When I first saw Triathlon in action, he was fighting some armed terrorists or something that were attacking Avengers Mansion. It was one of those deals where he fights the bad guys and explains his powers at the same time.

I remember being shocked, and a little bit offended when I first saw as I was turning the pages. Let’s just break it down:

  1. Lacking Integrity: He starts out as a steroid using cheater. A lot of characters start out making a mistake, but this one really didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t think it was necessary. He could have been a talented athlete who just decided to concentrate on his faith instead of being drummed out for cheating.
  2. Lame Power Alert: Hey, you know why they call him Triathlon? Because he has three times the abilities of a regular human. Ugh.But wait! Not a “normal” human. As he explains to the terrorists that he beats down, he has three times the abilities of the BEST human beings. That makes it all better.
  3. Lame Costume Alert:The costume was red, black and green. Aargh. Back to Africa, y’all. At least come up with a better design than that.

So I think this guy was a failure on pretty much every level.

Yes, he and the Avengers eventually grew to respect each other, and they foiled the plot of the Triune Understanding, but guys, I gotta tell you -it wasn’t good. I don’t want to go into it all, either.

I made a special trip over to my mom’s house to dig up my old Avengers to do some research on Triathlon and refresh my memory. Big mistake. That particular storyline and era of Avengers was not good. It just wasn’t.

You don’t wanna know about it. Why would you? Don’t read those issues, don’t even click the links I put in here. It’s not worth it. It’s just not worth it, guys.


Strangely enough, I think the creators thought they were doing something really good, something really cool.

Sometimes when I see these crazy characters pop up, I suspect some well-meaning creators want to throw us a bone and give us a great character. It just doesn’t always work out. Not every idea is a gem.

Triathlon’s creators (Kurt Busiek and George Perez) have enough stellar work under their belt that they’re allowed an occasional throw-away.

HE’S STILL OUT THERE!!1!!!1!!!1!!

Good Googa Mooga. I just finished reading the Wikipedia  entry (the Marvel wiki is waaaay out of date) and this character is NOT dead, as he deserves to be. Holy crap.

Get this: He’s become the new 3D Man. Yeah that’s right I said 3. D. MAN.

It’s almost like someone at Marvel said “how can we make this lame-ass character even more lame?” Then someone else said “sorry, it’s not possible”, but then someone else said “oh yes it is!”

And so the legend was born.

For those of you who are curious, he joined up with The Initiative after the Civil War event and had a minor role in repelling the Skrulls in the Secret Invasion crossover.

Apparently now Triathlon, er, 3-D Man, is still out there, traveling the world looking for more Skrulls left behind after the invasion.

Not good. This isn’t good at all.


Anyway I’ve gotta go have a shower to wash the stink of Triathlon off of me, so I’ll let you guys check out the pencil art I drew up. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s hero!

Triathlon pencil art by John Garrett
Click to view larger

Next (Day 14) Super Hero – Misty Knight!

Make sure to check out the comics page for more comics stuff here on!

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