The superhero group Avengers was founded in the 1960s when the first comic book run was released and provided us with the most exciting superhero crossover of the Marvel Universe. Of course, Avengers has changed many members over the years and provided us with great comic book runs that we remember today. From great Captain America and other “earth” heroes to the Asgardian God of Thunder, Thor, the Avengers had various superheroes who provided great service to people in need. However, that got us thinking – who is the weakest Avenger in Marvel comics?
The weakest superhero ever recruited by the Avengers was Delroy Garrett Jr., also known as Triathlon. Formerly a track star that competed in Olympic Games and won three gold medals, Garrett became a superhero when he found a mysterious object and gained the powers of 3-D Man. He joined the Avengers rather “forcefully” after he faked a public campaign against the superhero group, who later took him in. Triathlon’s tenure with Avengers was marked by tension and animosity with other superheroes.
We will discuss who Triathlon is, how he joined Avengers, and ultimately why we think he is the weakest member of the Avengers of all time. If you are interested in this Marvel topic, stay with us until the end of the article.
Who is Triathlon?
Before we explain how and why Triathlon joined Avengers, we must introduce this character. Delroy Garrett Jr. always wanted to attend the Olympic Games since that competition is the highest level competition one athlete can attend in their career. Since he was young, Garrett wanted to become a track star, and he eventually fulfilled his dream in adulthood. He was so talented that he won three gold medals during his run at Olympic Games.
However, his life worsened when he tested positive for steroids, which ultimately destroyed his career – he needed to give back his gold medals. Utterly devastated and heartbroken, Garrett decided to turn to religion, specifically Triune Understanding.
In Marvel comics, the Triune Understanding is defined as a movement trying to maximize human potential, and Jonathan Tremont led it. He was the leader of the Triune Understanding group, which was actually related to the invading alien race. Garrett didn’t know that and, through his grief, joined the sect, which provided him with one of three mysterious alien artifacts that were actually a setup by Tremont.
Garrett believed the new religion gave him the powers of the former 3-D Man, and he eventually created a persona called Triathlon. His great fitness and athleticism became superhuman, which led to him using it for good.
However, the story of Triathlon joining the Avengers doesn’t stop here, and it becomes even more suspicious the more we look into it. So, when and how a new hero joined the notable Avengers superhero team?
When did Triathlon join Avengers?
We already mentioned the part when Garrett became Triathlon with the “help” of an alien artifact that he thought was a gift from the gods of Triune Understanding. Just after he gained powers, Triathlon became a spokesperson of the group/religion and, during his tenure, had an encounter with Avengers. Their first encounter consisted of Triathlon, witnessing the kidnapping of Avengers by a villain Moses Magnum.
Wishing to test his powers and help Earth’s heroes, Triathlon helped the Avengers and defeated Moses Magnum. The second time Triathlon met Avengers was during the siege of the new Triune Understanding facility by two villains, Lord Templar and Pagan.
The facility sustained heavy damage, for which Avengers got blamed by Jonathan Tremont. Of course, the leader of the Triune Understanding religion added more serious accusations and told the press that Avengers didn’t want to add Triathlon to their group because of his ethnicity and that they lacked African-American heroes in their group for a reason. This was a serious accusation that put Avengers in a really bad spot publically, prompting the resignation of Captain America and Thor, two original group members.
The Triune Understanding didn’t stop there, and Tremont decided to go even further – he put Taskmaster to pose as Captain America and tricked the members of the Avengers into destroying one of Triune’s facilities. The event put the superhero team in an even bigger hole.
They reluctantly decided to add Triathlon to the team to counter the media and their exaggerated claims of Avengers’ racial intolerance. Understandably, Garrett wasn’t welcomed with open arms by the Avengers, but he eventually developed solid friendships with Warbird and Pulsar (Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau).
Now that we know how and why Triathlon joined the Avengers, we can explain why we think Triathlon is the weakest Avenger in Marvel comics.
Why is Triathlon the weakest Avenger in Marvel comics?
Marvel comics have over a thousand characters in their collection, most of which are heroes or villains using their advantages, tools, or powers for their own gain or protection. Moreover, there are many groups of superheroes in the comics, but the Avengers are probably the most notable and elite, and they have a lot of members on their team.
Historically, some superheroes were weaker and stronger, but unfortunately for Triathlon, he belongs to the “weak tier.” Some would argue that he might be more powerful than Hawkeye, but that’s just objectively wrong – he has enhanced fitness, athleticism, and special goggles that can locate Skrulls but cannot overcome an ex-spy and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
He doesn’t have an experience like “human” Avengers have, like Black Widow and Hawkeye, and he isn’t trained in combat. Yes, Triathlon saved Avengers on a few occasions and actually participated in big Avengers story arcs, like Civil War and Secret Invasion. Still, his feats and powers, compared to other Avengers, are not that impressive.
It seems that his story mattered in one story arc, and after that, he fell into the background like many secondary characters in Marvel comics. There was a talk about bringing the character of Delroy Garrett Jr., aka Triathlon, back, but the rumors stayed on that.
Ultimately, we can conclude that Triathlon had a purpose and an interesting story in his comic book run. Still, when it comes to his powers, experience, and feats in comparison to other Avengers, he is just underwhelming. Moreover, Triathlon joining Avengers was overshadowed by the blind fate of his Triune Understanding religion, and that was something that “tainted” Triathlon joining the Avengers.