What’s better than a good story with an awesome superhero in it? Naturally, the answer is a good story with two superheroes in it. It’s no secret that fans love seeing heroes join forces; the Avengers movie is evidence of that. DC/Warner Bros. is looking to give moviegoers and fans another great team-up movie with the release of Justice League in November of this year. Most of Marvel’s upcoming movies feature more than the titular characters; just look at Thor:Ragnarok. One of the biggest take-aways from the trailer has been the inclusion of the Hulk.
Many of these movies are taking inspiration from their comic book source material. Comics have had seventy-five plus years to put together various teams and find out what works best. Some pairings seem natural, while others simply happened by dumb luck. Either way you slice it, we’re about to explore the team-ups that have had the most impact and worked the best. There have been so many excellent team-ups over the years that it’s impossible to include every favorite on the list but these entries should satisfy most fans. Without further ado, these are the 15 Best Superhero Team-Ups.
15. Wolverine And Nick Fury
Wolverine and Nick Fury have crossed paths on numerous occasions over the years and are very much like old war buddies that have had shared several close calls. Wolverine’s been around for pretty much every major war and Nick Fury is no slouch himself. The dynamic works so well thanks to their divisive personalities. Nick Fury answers to the government and is sometimes too by-the-book, while Wolverine tends to have a slight disregard for people in positions of authority( Looking at you, Cyclops).
The Scorpio Trilogy is a great place to start if fans want to see these two working together. An enemy from Nick Fury’s past turns up and becomes the main suspect in a murder case involving one of Wolverine’s old friends. The problem is that this enemy (Scorpio) is supposed to be long dead. It’s a good read and well worth the time to check out.
Wolverine’s complicated history with S.H.I.E.L.D. has made for a ton of action and intrigue, and despite their occasional disputes, Wolverine and Nick Fury always manage to get the job done.
14. Iron Man and War Machine
These two are such good friends they’re practically brothers. The Marvel movies have really done a good job of translating that on screen. It’s easy to take a quick look at these two and think of them as knockoffs of each other, but it’s the men behind the armor that makes them special. James Rhodes (War Machine) has been an integral part of Tony Stark’s life well before the armored suit. He’s looked after Tony and has had his back from the start, which is why Tony bestows Rhodes with his own armored suit. The two have had many adventures together and even a few close calls, but no matter what happens they stick together.
The similarities are there but, much like Wolverine and Nick Fury, it’s the differences between the two that really makes their dynamic shine. War Machine is like the older brother always trying to keep his younger brother out of trouble, and Iron Man is the pain in the butt who knows he’s the smartest guy in the room. When you mix in the history, the banter, and the heart, there’s no doubt that Iron Man and War Machine are one of the best superhero team-ups.
Recommended reading/viewing: Iron Man/War Machine:Hands Of The Mandarin, Captain America: Civil War.
13. Spider-Man And Human Torch
Spider-Man actually has a long standing history with the Fantastic Four. Back in the late sixties, Spidey actually auditioned to be a member of the team, in issue number 3 of The Amazing Spider-Man. In that first meeting, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four forged a friendship that’s lasted to this day, but it was Spider-<an’s connection with Human Torch (Johnny Storm) that was most important.
These two men are roughly the same age and both were totally immature and annoying as can be. It’s always hilarious to see these two banter and prank each other. It’s certainly a brotherly relationship between the two but, unlike Iron Man and War Machine, it’s the similarities that make their partnership work.
Sometimes it’s nice to see superheroes just kick back and hang out. A lot of team-ups happen out of necessity, but these two genuinely like each other – even if they’re bickering all the time. When Johnny Storm died, he left his his vacant spot on the team for Peter Parker as a parting gift. Spider-Man fills in on the team until Human Torch’s eventual resurrection – which everyone knew was coming but still, it was a nice gesture.
12. Green Arrow And Black Canary
Fans are really getting familiar with Oliver and Dinah’s rocky love affair thanks to CW’s Arrow. The comics manage to showcase their relationship in a more evolved way. From their very first meeting, Green Arrow and Black Canary couldn’t stand each other, despite their obvious and mutual attraction. Green Arrow saw Dinah as a spoiled daddy’s girl with a lot to prove, while Black Canary saw Oliver as a pigheaded egotist who always thought he was right. Their combustible relationship led to many blow-ups which made for great entertainment. When teaming up, they were both willing to go as far as they needed to for each other. In fact, the first time Green Arrow killed someone in order to save Black Canary.
Their combat styles also complement each other very well. Black Canary can handle things on the ground and has a fierce sonic scream that incapacitates opponents, while Green Arrow is a skilled tactician who’s an expert on long-range attacks.
Green Arrow and Black Canary have gone through marriage, divorce, death and resurrection. This team-up has it all.
11. Blue Beetle And Booster Gold
Who would have thought that a brilliant CEO like Ted Kord (Blue Beetle) and a wannabe superhero from the future (Booster Gold) could end up being such a good team-up? These two heroes are truly the BFFs of this list. In many ways, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are the DC version of Spider-Man and Human Torch, but with many more stories together.
During the eighties, both heroes were part of the Justice League and Justice League International, providing a lot of the comic relief. They were, for many readers, the highlight of the series. Booster and Blue Beetle often lament about not being taken seriously by their peers due to their immature attitudes. Well, Booster Gold laments while Blue Beetle just makes fun of him.
While both characters have had their own comic series, it’s hard to picture one without the other. Many of their best moments and stories take place when they join forces. There has yet to be a live-action interpretation of either character but that is sure to change with the rising popularity of superhero movies and TV projects.
10. Huntress And The Question (Vic Sage)
Some fans may be a bit unfamiliar with this pairing but rest assured, it’s a good one. Over the years there have been two people that have donned the mask and fedora of The Question (Renee Montoya and Vic Sage). This team-up focuses on Vic Sage’s tenure as the Question. He’s a masked detective with a penchant for conspiracies and Eastern philosophies. The Question is a more zen version of the character Rorschach from Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Huntress is a costumed vigilante working out of Gotham City. Helena Bertinelli is the daughter of a murdered mafia family who grows up to become a costumed crime-fighter in search of revenge. She is the slightly more vengeful of the two.
It’s working on a case in Gotham that unites these two together for the first time. They have a strange rapport that leads to an even stranger romantic relationship. This is explored very well in a few episodes of the animated series Justice League Unlimited. Their dynamic is usually very fun and engaging, and makes for great reading/watching. Huntress is one of the few characters in the DC universe who totally embraces The Question’s weird eccentricities.
9. Luke Cage (Power Man) And Iron Fist
In the ’70s Marvel decided to take their two lowest-selling titles, Luke Cage: Hero For Hire and Iron Fist, and combine them into Power Man and Iron Fist. The new series caught on quickly and ran for an impressive seventy six issues.
Luke Cage and Danny Rand have always had a streetwise edge to them, despite Iron Fist being more of an outsider. Luke Cage served as a bit of a mentor to Iron Fist, sometimes trying to temper Danny’s exuberance. Both heroes have a unique fighting style which proved useful on a variety of occasions.
Initially, Luke Cage and Iron Fist had little in common but grew to understand and ultimately care for one another. The two eventually opened their own business and declared themselves Heroes For Hire. Power Man and Iron Fist are fondly remembered as one of the best superhero team-ups to come out of the ’70s.
In 2016, Danny and Luke had a successful reunion of sorts when they received their own five-part mini series simply titled: Power Man And Iron Fist. Netflix will no doubt explore their relationship in the upcoming The Defenders series set to come out in August of this year.
8. Captain America And The Winter Soldier
Captain America could’ve made this list with someone else, but it’s his history with his old friend Bucky Barnes (aka The Winter Soldier) that made it impossible to leave Captain America and The Winter Soldier off the list. In the comics, Cap is the older hero who mentors and fights alongside his younger sidekick. The movies changed this a bit but still provided an excellent backstory for Bucky, starting with Captain America: The First Avenger. Much like in the comics, Bucky served with Steve Rogers in World War II, but he enlisted first and was roughly the same age as Cap.
In the comics, Bucky tragically perished during the war – or so we thought. We didn’t see him again until 2004. Thanks to a few alterations from Hydra, Bucky had returned as The Winter Soldier: a cold and calculating killing machine that seemed only to remember glimpses of who he was. This was a devastating revelation for Cap, who had partially blamed himself for his death. The dramatic confrontation between the two is as good on film as it is in the pages of the comics. Take your pick.
It’s the strength of the friendship that makes this duo so compelling. They never give up on each other, despite everyone else giving up on them. Just watch Captain America: Civil War and you’ll see how much Captain America risks to save his friend.
7. Cable And Deadpool
Here’s a team-up that seems like it happened by chance. Perhaps it was the early beginnings both characters had in the pages of X-Force and New Mutants. Either way, the pairing worked and fans have been loving the duo ever since. Deadpool is a foul-mouthed nutjob that seems to irk the hell out of everyone. Cable is a no nonsense time traveler who is determined to make a better tomorrow for everyone. In other words, Cable is the perfect straight-man for Deadpool. They can be crude and violent when together, yet caring and sympathetic at the same time. There’s an unspoken bond between the two that is hard to explain.
They often drive each other nuts but Cable always seems to recognize the value in having Deadpool on his side. On the flip side, Cable seems to be one of the few people Deadpool has true affection for. He cares for his buddy and he annoys because he loves – or something like that.
Josh Brolin (aka Jonah Hex, aka Thanos) was recently announced to play Cable in Deadpool 2, so we’re looking forward to seeing this dynamic duo on screen.
6. The Flash And Green Lantern
Over the years, a few different men have taken the mantle of the Flash and Green Lantern, but when it comes to the best team-ups, it’s hard to argue against Barry Allen and Hal Jordan landing at the top. They often bring out the best in each other when working together but have also been known to clash.
On paper, Barry and Hal are very different people. Barry’s a scientist who’s calm and collected. He’s analytical to a fault and this causes him to often steer clear of impulsive actions. Hal’s a cocky thrill-seeking pilot, who runs before he walks. Understandably, the two guys rubbed each other the wrong way at first. It took a few missions and hours of spending time together for the Flash and Green Lantern to understand and confide in each other. As the years passed, they shared laughs and relationship troubles while saving the world.
Let’s not forget that as fans, it’s fun to see these two in action. Green Lantern can construct anything his mind imagines and Flash is the fastest man alive. It’d be difficult not to enjoy a team-up featuring this duo.
5. Spider-Man And Daredevil
Spidey and Daredevil have crossed paths and shared many adventures together over the years. There’s a bunch of comic stories featuring the duo, and the ’90s Spider-Man TV show had a few episodes guest-starring Daredevil. It’s might seem natural for them to run into each other, since both reside in New York, but quite a few other heroes live in New York as well, like Doctor Strange and the Fantastic Four. While Spider-Man does occasionally joins them on their fantastical adventures, he prefers keeping his boots on the ground. Daredevil, is also a city guy who mainly focuses on Hell’s Kitchen.
Peter and Matt’s methods are quite similar but their personalities are not. Daredevil has suffered, arguably more than any other Marvel hero and it shows. As Matt Murdock, he tries to live a normal life but as Daredevil, his patience for Spider-Man’s jokes can wear thin.
Spidey often looks up to “old horn head” but he can find him a bit too stiff for his own good. In 2011, writer, Mark Waid took over Daredevil and gave The Man Without Fear a new, more positive attitude. Since then, Daredevil and Spider-Man have shared a lot more lighthearted moments. They’ve even battled for the affections of Black Cat (Spider-Man’s long standing crush). Whether it’s the Daredevil of old or the new, friendlier version, he always makes for a great teammate for Spider-Man.
3. Green Lantern And Green Arrow
Back in the ’70s, DC comics editorial needed to find a way to use Green Arrow because he couldn’t sustain his own series. They paired him up with another character with the word Green in his name, figuring that Green Lantern and Green Arrow sounded good enough. Similar-colored costumes is one thing, but writer Denny O’Neil took their personalities in vastly different directions. He gave Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) a left-leaning liberal viewpoint, and wrote Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) as more of a right-wing conservative cop. Artist Neal Adams provided the artwork and totally redefined Green Arrow’s look for the next fifteen to twenty years.
Some truly fantastic stories came from this series, to the point that it’s become the standard for any team-up story since. Green Arrow and Green Lantern had a few run-ins with each other after their historic run together, but none more important than Green Lantern: Rebirth in 2005. This story marked the return of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern after a long absence, and Green Arrow played an important part in that story.
It’s amazing how different Green Lantern acts when he’s with Green Arrow, as opposed to Flash. Green Arrow is the impulsive hothead one instead of Green Lantern. With Flash, Green Lantern becomes the more dominant personality. But eventually, having two strong personalities will lead to clashing, and this is where reading Green Lantern and Green Arrow can be the most entertaining.
2. Daredevil And Elektra
You could make the case that Elektra is not exactly a superhero, but she does enough good to warrant her on this list. Daredevil and Elektra are sort of the Romeo and Juliet of comics. Theirs is a love that can never be, not because of family, but because of their morals and ethics. Elektra is constantly pushing Daredevil to be more extreme and embrace his wild side. Daredevil, in turn, tries to show Elektra a better way to be a noble hero. It’s a seesaw battle that neither ever fully wins.
When it comes to getting down to business, this duo is hard to beat. Ninjas and criminals beware. Both are highly skilled martial artists with the benefit of knowing how the other fights. Writer/artist Frank Miller drafted some gorgeous fight scenes featuring these two when he was working on Daredevil in the eighties.
One of Daredevil’s greatest losses was Elektra’s death at the hands of his arch-nemesis, Bullseye. Losing Elektra changed Daredevil. Of course, nobody stays dead in comics for long. She eventually made her triumphant return, and picked up right where she left off.
Season two of Marvel’s Netflix series Daredevil finally gave fans the Elektra and Daredevil depiction they craved, washing away the stain left by Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s version of the characters.
1. Superman And Batman
This is it, the grand daddy of all superhero team-ups. Superman and Batman have joined forces on many occasions and fans never seem to tire of seeing them together. Both characters have such a huge fan base, it seems like a no brainer to have them join forces.
Superman and Batman shared a title on three different occasions, not to mention a number of mini-series. The World’s Finest animated movie was the crowning jewel of their representation on the small screen. Relax, no one is forgetting Super Friends. Warner Bros. animation likes these two so much, that they’ve released two more animated movies featuring Superman and Batman, plus eight more Justice League movies. In 2016, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice marked Superman and Batman’s first joint appearance in a live-action feature film, much to the delight of some fans and the disappointment of others.
As cliche as it sounds, Superman and Batman are like yin and yang; the light and the dark. Superman; a constant crusader for hope, truth and justice. Batman; a creature of the night, hell bent on eradicating crime by almost, any means necessary. It’s the stuff of comic book legend.
Recommended reading/ viewing: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Batman & Superman: World’s Finest.
What’s your favorite team-up in superhero comics? Let us know in the comments!