With Captain America: Civil War around the corner, there’s no better time than now to explore the magnanimous history between our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and members of the Mighty Avengers.
In the Marvel comic books, Spidey has historically been known to be a loner by trade. He’s never felt totally comfortable being on a team and typically preferred to work alone. That being said, he’s put those feelings aside more times than not and collaborated with many of Marvel’s canon of crime fighters. He’s even occasionally become a member of various teams, like The Avengers, The Fantastic Four, Secret Defenders and the Outlaws, despite his personal preferences.
Alternatively, throughout their illustrious comic book history, the Avengers have had more members come and go than one can count. Almost all of Marvel’s greatest heroes have either crossed paths with them or have joined their team. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Spider-Man has had his share of run-ins with members of Earth’s Mightiest.
This list covers some of those legendary encounters between our friendly wall-crawler and various members of The Avengers. This list focuses more on the one-on-one brushes the webhead has had with the team and its members rather than the larger Marvel crossover events (like Civil War).
So without further ado, here are the 15 Best Encounters Between Spider-Man and The Avengers.
15. Marvel Team-Up #106 (Captain America/Spider-man)
This story has so much going for it. Not only is this one of the rare times that Spidey goes on a solo mission with Captain America, but they do so against the Scorpion, who is one of Spider-Man’s most powerful arch-enemies. We also get to see J. Jonah Jameson chew both of them out in his typical fashion while they’re posing as their alter egos, Steve Rogers and Peter Parker. At this time in the Marvel Universe, Steve Rogers is Captain America’s secret identity. Rogers is looking for employment as a freelance commercial artist for the Daily Bugle (If only JJJ knew he was chewing out the legend himself).
We find Scorpion at his most crazed and maniacal, breaking into the Daily Bugle and attempting to kidnap Jameson. Cap and Spidey show up to stop him. Scorpion actually defeats them simultaneously, leaving both unconscious. He kidnaps his least favorite person, J. Jonah Jameson, and heads uptown. Damaged and bruised, both heroes track Scorpion back to the South Bronx where they get into a brawl with Scorpion’s crew. Ultimately, they both knock out a game Scorpion and afterward, Cap suggests removing the gag from JJJ, but Spider-Man refuses.
14. Marvel Team-Up #103 (Ant-Man, Spider-Man)
This happens to be a team-up between Scott Lang’s Ant-Man and Spidey, not Hank Pym. An old time friend of Scott Lang, Gus Sweezer pays a visit to recruit him for a top secret criminal operation. Lang declines the job, telling him he’s gone legit. Some time later his friend is run over by a mysterious sports car. Lang decides to find out who killed his friend and why.
Meanwhile, J. Jonah Jameson sends Peter on an assignment to find out why, despite the East coast experiencing all-time high crime rates, a particularly bad neighborhood on the lower east side of Manhattan hasn’t experienced so much as a jaywalker. Parker walks around the dark shady neighborhood when suddenly his spider-sense goes crazy. It’s a giant warehouse that gets his attention, and he heads inside to investigate. He finds himself center stage in a massive auditorium where thousands of villains are attending a training academy demo for criminals run by the Taskmaster. Taskmaster, utilizing all the skills he’s learned from Captain America, Daredevil, Moon Knight, Iron Fist, makes quick work of Spider-Man.
Lang infiltrates the warehouse as an ex-con and rescues a captive Spider-Man. This is the first time Spider-Man meets Scott Lang, and then they take on the Taskmaster together. It’s quite a good read.
13. Amazing Spider-man #123 (Luke Cage vs. Spider-man)
Luke Cage made the list because he was a member of the Avengers for a short time, and even led them at one point. This issue directly follows a story that made comic book history, where two of Spider-Man’s most important supporting characters, his old girlfriend Gwen Stacy and the original Green Goblin, perish. Luke Cage taking on Spidey is part of the direct fallout from that very tale.
Norman Osborn’s dead body is found and the city is in shock. J. Jonah Jameson is distraught by the death of an old friend and fellow financier. He assumes (this time correctly) that Spider-Man had something to do with it. He enlists the aid of a unique character named Luke Cage who runs a Hero-For-Hire service out of a crumbled movie house in Times Square. He offers Cage five thousand dollars (which was worth a lot more at the time) to capture Spider-Man. Cage takes him up on the offer and what follows is a classic fist-a-cuffs between the two.
In a moment of comic relief during their battle, Cage references DC’s Batman by telling him “Some dudes have to do this number for a livin’- we ain’t all rich playboys like Bruce Wayne.” Spidey takes round 1, and in round 2 Spidey immobilizes Cage long enough to get him to change his mind about Jameson. John Romita Sr.’s artwork is in top form on this issue.
12. Amazing Spider-man #86 (Black Widow vs. Spider-man)
Spidey and Black Widow have teamed up a number of times. This is the first appearance of Natasha Romanoff in her famous black costume. In this issue, Romanoff is trying to find a way to reinvent herself, and turn a new page in her troubled life. She seeks to reinvent herself and become a better version of the one that once worked alongside S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.
As she’s traveling above the rooftops, she notices Spider-Man swinging by. It dawns on her to incorporate some of Spidey’s abilities into her own repertoire. She redesigned her costume to a sleek black and added some venom-sting bracelets. Unwilling to play second fiddle to anyone, though, she attacks the webhead to see how she fares against him. She gets him at a bad time, though, as he’s struggling with an illness. Despite being sick, he shows her enough of his spider-power, speed, and agility that she retreats. She comes to the realization that she can never train enough to match the spider-powers that he possesses, so she decides to hone and utilizes the skills that are uniquely hers alone.
11. Marvel Fanfare #47 (Spider-man vs. Hulk)
The artwork in this storyline is unique and the final battle between Spider-Man and the Hulk is emotionally resonant. Mochael Golden perfectly captures the pain of the Hulk when he’s about to be caught.
S.H.I.E.L.D. takes on the Hulk in New York and Spider-Man gets caught in the crossfire. This isn’t the first time Spidey’s sympathies for the Hulk makes him conflicted on what side he should be on. In this issue, you also get to see Spider-Man looking more like a young kid than anything else. It’s one of those rare occasions especially since this comic book came out in ‘89 that you see Spider-Man more like a high schooler rather than the older college student he is in the ‘80s.
10. Marvel Team-Up #72 (Iron-Man/Spider-Man)
Iron Man and Spider-Man never received as many one-on-one team-ups as they should have, but on this issue, they get to work together to take down a classic villain.
It begins when Spidey tries to stop what he thinks are some low-level thieves who are stealing furs. Spidey finds himself ambushed by Whiplash. It’s the first time Spidey confronts the Iron Man arch villain and it’s almost his last. Whiplash leaves Spidey for dead as they escape. When Spidey wakes up, he finds himself in the presence of both Iron Man and Police Captain Jean DeWolff. It turns out Whiplash is working for another villain called the Wraith, who is DeWolff’s brother.
Iron Man and Spidey battle them both. Initially, the Wraith, whose power over the mind and illusion tries to convince the Captain to try to shoot herself. Spider-Man intervenes while Cap and Whiplash crash through the wall from the next room, duking it out. Captain Jean convinces her brother that he’s being mind controlled himself and Whiplash turns his attention to them both. Whiplash and the Wraith fight and Wraith mind controls Whiplash into thinking he’s fighting a snake, just as he did to Spider-Man earlier.
9. Amazing Spider-man #187 (Captain America vs. Spider-Man)
This is an interesting team-up between Spider-Man and the Cap. There aren’t many times when they go toe-to-toe. They also go up against another of Spidey’s villains, Electro.
When Peter Parker requests a raise from J. Jonah Jameson, JJJ tells him if he can get into Indian Point in upstate New York, which has been closed off by SHIELD from the media, he’ll consider giving him one. Spidey sneaks past road block and the SHIELD agents into the abandoned town. He meets up with Captain America who isn’t having it. Cap tries to force Spidey out of the town, and they end up coming to blows. Even though Spidey is stronger and faster than Cap, Cap’s hand-to-hand fighting technique and peak human strength overwhelms Spidey.
Spidey leaves and Cap takes on Electro. Spidey pops out of nowhere and they both take on Electro, who’s holding a child hostage so he can escape justice. As Electro holds the captive child, Cap tells him that the child has the plague to where Electro panics. Cap and Spidey run off as Electro tries to burn away the disease through a generator. He overloads it and explodes the entire power station.
8. The All New Avengers #1
This is a classic Avengers issue, and one of the better ones in modern times. Steve Rogers recruits the best of the best in the Marvel Universe to start a new team of Avengers. Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Maria Hill all join mainstays Steve Rogers, the new Captain America (Bucky Barnes), Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye in one of the most enjoyable Avengers line-ups of the modern age.
The artwork by John Romita Jr. is nothing short of phenomenal. The first villain they face off with is, fittingly, Kang the Conqueror, who warns them of the coming menace of Ultron. The last page is something that cannot be mentioned here for fear of spoilers, but it’s so worth it. This volume of The Avengers has a lot of twists and turns. The dynamic between new Avengers Spider-Man and Wolverine also become a favorite thing for fans to follow.
7. The Avengers #314-318
This is a fun adventure that Spidey takes with The Avengers as they fight Nebula (Granddaughter of Thanos). A galactic flux event begins to occur and the Avengers seek to get to the bottom of it as the entire universe flames out of existence. Their new member, an Eternal named Sersei, creates a force field to protect them from the cataclysmic event. Spider-Man joins them and they discover Nebula has erased the entire universe. Turns out Nebula and her scientists were trying to create a power she can harness that would make her the most powerful being in the universe. Instead, they recreated the big bang and wiped the universe back to its infancy.
They find a way to deactivate the device while battling Nebula. Once deactivated, she escapes. With a kidnapped Starfox (Brother of Thanos), The Avengers head to her command center to save their fellow Avenger and put an end to Nebula’s evil plan. After their successful mission, Captain America offers Spider-Man membership to the Avengers, which Spidey accepts.
Nebula gets a hold of the Infinity Union and The Avengers must take down a 20 foot cosmic omnipotent Demi-Goddess. But then for some reason, Captain America “fires” Spider-Man at the end of the story, telling him his contributions are better for the city level crimes. While it’s a fun story, we’re really not sure about that turn of events.
6. Captain America #137 (Captain America and Falcon vs. Spider-Man)
This is more of a Falcon versus Spider-Man issue. Falcon is bent on trying to prove himself worthy of being Captain America’s equal, so he looks to bring the public menace Spider-Man to justice. He’s quoted in the comic as saying, “I’ll rate even higher with Cap if I can take Spider-Man… Alone.”
Falcon gets into an exchange with Captain America. With his pride a bit hurt, Falcon sets out on building his rep by traveling through the city streets taking down criminals to get some notches under his belt. He sees Spider-Man and decides Spidey would be just the kind of guy to take down to build his rep and prove himself to be equal to Cap. He sends Redwing to follow Spider-Man, who follows Spidey to his apartment where he roommates with Harry Osborn. Falcon mistakes Harry Osborn for Spidey and captures him with plans on bringing him to the police. Spider-Man catches up to the two and Falcon and Spidey duke it out. Spidey wipes the floor with him pretty quick and plants a Spider-tracer on the knocked-out Falcon to figure out what’s going on.
When Falcon awakens, he’s ambushed by some goons and taken hostage by a gangster named Stoneface. Spidey saves Falcon and just as he’s carrying Falcon out to safety, Falcon wakes up and puts Spidey in a headlock. Spidey webs him up and tries to reason with him, and just as he’s talking to Falcon, he’s attacked by Redwing and Captain America. Spidey can’t catch a break. That being said, it’s a fun read and worth checking out.
5. The Avengers #236-237
This is a fun adventure between Spider-Man and The Avengers because it seems like, at every turn, Spidey is doing something to annoy various members of the team during their mission. When Spider-Man finds out that an Avenger makes a thousand dollars a week, he eagerly applies to become a member, but he doesn’t pick the best way of going about it. He breaks into the Avengers Mansion and destroys some of their property in doing so. He also teases the new recruits Starfox and She-Hulk.
He then stows away in their Quinjet when they go on a mission, despite being told he’s not welcome to accompany them. In sneaking onboard, he violates security at a federal installation according to Captain America. Not the best way for Spidey to get a job with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. When they battle the Lava-Men, Spidey disobeys direct orders by Captain America, almost sabotaging the mission. Despite Spidey’s apologies, Cap is not amused.
After they battle it out with Electro, Blackout, and Rhino, they return to the Avengers headquarters. The Avengers agree to have him on as a member in training but when the National Security council hears that Spider-Man is being made a new member, they reject him. Spidey takes it in stride and swings away.
4. Amazing Spider-man #119-120 (Spider-Man vs. Hulk)
The Amazing Spider-Man series was in top form during this period. It can be argued that this was the best written comic book of that era. It achieved many firsts in the industry, but that’s for another article. As for the two-parter itself, there have been many classic battles between the webhead and the Green Behemoth, but this may be one of the best.
Parker comes across a telegram from a man named Rimbaud requesting for Aunt May to make an urgent visit to Quebec, Canada. Parker looks to investigate on his own as to what the telegram is about. Coincidentally, the Hulk happens to also be in Quebec, causing property value to crash. Parker uses that as an excuse to get Jameson to pay for his airfare to take pics of the Green Goliath.
Once in Quebec, Parker notices a crush of media surrounding a hotel to find that General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross is giving a press conference about how he’s going to take down the Jade Giant. Posing as a media correspondent, Parker hitches a ride with the army as they head up to the country to take on their green menace. As an army of trucks and jeeps head up the mountainside, they’re ambushed by the Hulk. Spidey appears and let’s just say that a lot of damage is caused to Canadian soil. The Hulk takes on Spider-Man, the Canadian infantry and the U.S. Army led by ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross. Nothing short of mountainsides getting destroyed, dams bursting, trees being thrown, and tidal waves washing away portions of the army. Fun times. Fun times.
3. Fantastic Four #73 (Thor, Spider-man and Daredevil vs. Fantastic Four)
This is one of the most exciting Silver Age comics you’d ever have the pleasure of reading. If you like to see superheroes duke it out, then you couldn’t pick a better issue. This is one of the earliest times we’d see a story crossover into different comic books. Events took place in Daredevil #38, and Thor #150 and culminated in Fantastic Four #73. It’s also presented with the visual mastery of Jack “King” Kirby!
Whenever there’s this much of a misunderstanding, there has to be a villain instigating in the shadows, and who better than Dr. Doom? He tricks the Fantastic Four into believing that a doppelgänger of Daredevil is about to attack them. The Fantastic Four go on the offensive and attack the real Daredevil. Spider-Man just happens to be swinging through and notice what’s going on. Daredevil explains to him the misunderstanding, which Spidey finds hard to believe.
After seeing for himself, Spidey backtracks to where he happened to have witnessed Thor (what a lovely little city, where one could spot characters like Thor or Daredevil while traveling crosstown). Spidey and Thor show up at the Baxter building and with haste a battle royale ensues. Thor vs. The Thing, Spidey vs. Human Torch and Mr. Fantastic vs. Daredevil. The battle rages on for eleven pages. Sue Storm appears and clears things up. Thor flies away to battle the Wrecker in Thor #150, which in itself is worth a read.
2. The Avengers #11 (Spider-Man vs. The Avengers)
The first (published) meeting between the webhead and the Avengers is a doozy. The Avengers’ nemesis, Kang the Conqueror, decides to create a doppelgänger of Spider-Man to attack the Avengers. The Spidey clone is sent back in time by Kang, who sets up a meeting between Spidey and Captain America. Captain America is ambushed by Kang’s robots who are made to look like typical thugs. Spidey comes to Caps aid to gain his confidence.
The Spidey requests to join the Avengers, so Cap brings him to the headquarters to meet the rest of the team. The squad is very suspicious of Spider-Man, as Ant-Man grows in size to become Giant-Man ready to fight. Seeing Thor, Wasp and Giant-Man react to him the way they do, the Spidey-bot resorts to plan B and tells them he has information about Iron Man, who’s in need of dire aid. A frustrated Avengers team ends up heading to the temple of Tirod in Mexico only for Spidey-bot to spring a trap on them.
Kang filled the tomb with a nerve gas that dulled the fighting ability of the members. Despite this, the Spider-bot has his hands full with each of them. He fights Ant-Man/Giant-Man to a stand still and barely defeats Thor, Wasp, and Captain America. Lucky for them, the REAL Spider-Man snuck into their jet. He saves the Avengers and Cap witnesses everything, seeing Spidey defeat the bot menace.
1. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3 (Spider-Man vs. Hulk vs. The Avengers)
This is one of the most enjoyable comics you could ever come across. The cover art by John Romita Sr. can fill any comic fan with joy. This issue captures the essence of the original Spider-Man and how he’d respond to the possibility of becoming an Avenger. What also makes this a historic issue is that in Marvel chronology, THIS is the first time Spidey meets the Avengers. It takes place before Avengers #11.
The story starts out with a splash page of Avengers HQ where Captain America, Hawkeye, Goliath, Wasp, Thor, and Iron-Man discuss whether Spider-Man is worthy of being a member. The team has mixed feelings, so they decide to seek out Daredevil’s opinion. After Daredevil gives the highest recommendation, the Avengers decide to look for him. Thor ends up finding Spidey and informs him of their intentions. Spidey hesitates to tell him that he’s been a loner his whole life, and he doesn’t know if he wants to be a member. An offended Thor gives Spider-Man 24 hours to decide. In Spidey fashion, Peter ponders how it could affect his Aunt May’s health if he commits to the Avengers. It hangs on his heart greatly as he thinks of his school work and how difficult it’d be to keep his secret identity if he’s in the public eye. Finally, the conflicted youngster decides he must follow his destiny and fulfill his obligation to help wherever he can.
He heads over to the Avengers headquarters where things go south fast. A skirmish ensues between the wall-crawler and Earth’s Mightiest. Cooler heads prevail and Cap realizes they can send Spidey to lure the Hulk to their headquarters. Spidey mixes it up with the Hulk downtown, only to discover that the Hulk is Bruce Banner and is as misunderstood as anyone. Spidey lets the tragic figure be and passes on his chance of being an Avenger. The story ends with a heartbroken Peter Parker sitting in his room wondering what could have been.
Hope you enjoyed our listings! Do you agree with the entrees? Do you think there are any we missed? Let us know in the comments below. Honestly, there are too many great crossovers to count, these were my favorite, what are yours?