The superhero genre loves a good trope. Regardless of whether it be an instance of mixed up personality, powers misbehaving, or something different completely, there’s continually something the genre re-visits on numerous occasions.
One of the most beloved tropes is that of the Hero-Villain group up. Sometimes the superheroes of the Marvel and DC universes have needed to set aside their disparities with their most noteworthy foe, suit up, and take on a greater danger with their adversary next to them.
There’s a reason why it’s so effective, and that is because the curiosity never gets old. Writers consistently figure out how to make these onetime collaborations preposterously engaging, giving enough excites, spills, and once in a while chills, to warrant another return a couple of years sometime later. Here we have compiled 10 memorable team-ups between superheroes and supervillains.
10) Thor & Loki
Out of all the ‘hero joins villain’ team-ups that occurred, Thor and Loki are by far the most famous. Loki, for a great period of his history, was far less vague than his cinema partner. Be that as it may, in the finale to Walt Simonson’s Surtur Saga in Thor #353, the Trickster god’s good streak did begin to break through. The issue itself sees the brothers team-up alongside Odin to vanquish the world-ending threat posed by Surture as he attempts to reunite with the Eternal Flame.
9) Batman & Joker
There isn’t a rivalry quite as revered (or quite as violent), as the one shared between Batman and the Joker.
Although 2017-18’s Dark Nights saga wasn’t the first occasion where the Caped Crusader collaborated with the Clown Prince, it certainly made for one of the most impressive. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s swan song to the metal genre was exactly the kind of Batman story fans had been without for years. And though it’s important to remember that Joker is the most detestable comic book character going, there’s something uniquely gratifying in seeing him team up with Bats to put a stop to the Batman Who Laughs.
8) Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom
Apart from their affinity for the mystic arts (and their titles), Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom had no reason to intersect. However, in 1989’s Triumph and Torment, Roger Stern and Mike Mignola collaborated to tell a truly unique tale centered around Marvel’s two most preeminent mystics. Doom enlists the Sorcerer Supreme to travel with him to Hell to end a long-running feud with Mephisto. It’s a great tale, and while the Doom/Strange partnership isn’t particularly famous, it’s undeniably one of Marvel’s best.
7) X-Men & The Brotherhood
Even though the contention between the X-Men and the Brotherhood is much more nuanced to be sandwiched in a conventional hero/villain dynamic, they are at least rivals. The two gatherings – one led by Charles Xavier, the other by Magneto – both make progress toward mutant liberation.
Notwithstanding the complexities behind these two groups’ relationship, they have united on various events. The most essential one came during the appearance of Apocalypse, where both groups were alerted to the threat posed by the being and set aside their disparities to bring him down. In the years following, members of both the Brotherhood and the X-Men have swapped sides, switched allegiances, and even attempted to bring the two groups together.
6) Spider-man And Doc Ock
Luke Carlyle wanted to become a superior Doctor Octopus. He stole and improved upon Otto Octavius’ trademark technology and began a campaign of terror as the new Doc Ock. Then, in Amazing Spider-Man v2 #45, the thief attempts to kill poor old Aunt May but then Doctor Octopus bursts in and battles the thief. The villainous showdown is then interrupted by a battered Spider-Man, who must work with Doc Ock in front of Mary Jane and Aunt May to defeat the thief and save the studio full of potential victims. We also find out that May and Octavius had been intimate at one point.
5) Black Panther And Namor
At some point in the recent past of Marvel Comics, the fictional nations of Wakanda and Atlantis went to war. Then, the monarch of Atlantis, Namor the Submariner, gained access to the powers of the Phoenix Force and used it to wreak havoc on Wakanda’s capital city. As the king of Wakanda, Black Panther swore revenge on Namor.
These two have so different personalities, but still, they have a lot in common and this is why the two oppose each other on various issues at first. But then eventually, Namor calms down, and the two Kings team up to solve the mystery of a rogue Atlantean who wants to usurp his king and also look for the missing Wakandan citizens.
4) Flash And The Rouges
In the New 52, Barry Allen is once again the one and only Flash. The Rogues, though, are a little less villainous than in the Silver Age, almost – but not quite – antiheroes. They don’t kill, and they’re willing to defend Central City when needed. In Barry’s original series, he’d have written that off as the Rogues protecting their turf; in the New 52, the Rogues seem genuinely public-spirited about it.
When Gorilla Grodd’s ape armies invade Central City, for instance, the Rogues backed Flash up in fighting them off. Later, when the Crime Syndicate of Earth Three took over the world, the Rogues were among the villains working against them, particularly when the Syndicate tried to destroy Central City.
3) Mister Fantastic And Doctor Doom
Reed Richards and Victor von Doom were once college classmates, but they grew up to become two of the Marvel Universe’s greatest minds and bitter archnemeses.
When Richards decided to leave the Singularity Conference body, he put together a new group of free-thinking individuals to plan for a better future for all of humanity and Earth. Richards plans to mold the new young team so they will come up with solutions to the world’s problems.
The roster of the team consists of the hero Alex Power, the android Dragon Man, four evolved Moloids Tong, Turg, Mik, and Korr, and Bentley 23 who is a clone of The Wizard. Artie Maddicks and Leech later join as recruits. Even Spider-Man joins the team. The most shocking of all the recruits was Doctor Doom who was invited by Valeria and Nathaniel Richards.
2) Superman & Lex Luthor
Superman and Lex Luthor exemplify what is, to many, the most famous comic book competition in the business. With more than 75 years’ worth of history to draw from, it just makes sense that there’ve been in excess of a couple of events where they’ve united.
The most recent occasion came in the wake of 2013’s Forever Evil crossover, which saw Lex Luthor saddle up with the Justice League after pretty much saving the world. Superman is obviously reluctant to accept the bald-headed baddie onto the team, and while Lex is no longer a part of that group anymore, it was an interesting dynamic to showcase for a dozen or so issues.
1) Spider-Man & Venom
Though Eddie Brock today (and the symbiote for that matter too) is very much an anti-hero, there was a time where he was Spider-Man’s greatest foe.
Marvel first decided to break the mould and have Brock take on a more heroic identity in 1993’s Lethal Protector, before having him and Spidey face off against the symbiote’s progeny that very same year in Maximum Carnage.
Today, Parker and the symbiote are very much allies, but it’s Eddie who has undergone the most change. These two team-ups started a trend that would see the pair fight together on countless other occasions and Marvel hasn’t looked back since.