In the world of comic books, anything is possible. Men can fly, ancient Amazonian warriors can fight in World War I, and a genetic mutation can make you shoot laser beams out of your eyes… there are no limits to what can happen! Because of this, writers like to write one-off stories that completely change the status quo and then justify it by making it take place on an “alternate timeline.” Often, when a publisher wants to do a earth-shattering crossover event, these alternate versions of the characters come into “our” universe and meet their more well-known counterparts.
Other common tropes of the comic genre include clones, robot replicas, battles of the consciousness, and mind control. Long story short, it is ridiculously easy for a comic book character to end up fighting against themselves. Nearly every major superhero has fought a character that was similar to them in nature; Spider-Man fights Venom, Superman fights Zod, etc. However, surprisingly few comic book characters have actually fought themselves directly.
To count for this list, the characters have to be of the same genetic material or biologically related. Whether it be via clone, copy, or alt-universes, here are 15 Superheroes Who Fought Themselves!
18. Wolverine in Age of Ultron
Not to be confused with the hit 2015 film of the same name, the 2013 story Age of Ultron acted as the Days of Future Past for the entire Marvel Universe. Far in the future we see a timeline in which Ultron has completely taken over the world and killed a bunch of the 616 superheroes. In an effort to prevent this, Wolverine and the Invisible Woman travel back in time to kill Hank Pym (and thus prevent the creation of Ultron). After the deed is done and the pair return to the future, they find that their actions have altered the timeline even more; without Pym, the Kree-Skrull conflict was able to spread to Earth.
The time-traveling pair encounter the Defenders in this timeline, a team that includes this timeline’s Wolverine on the roster. The Defenders claim that there cannot be two Wolverines (and also that Sue is missing in this timeline) and that they are really Skrulls in disguise. What happens next is a violent brawl between two different versions of Logan that ends up with the time-traveling hero besting and killing his alt-timeline counterpart.
17. Superman in Superman III
Even though it wasn’t as bad as its sequel, Superman III was a major decline in quality for the Superman film franchise. The first two movies were somewhat campy in nature, but had enough charm and heart that audiences took them seriously. The same can’t be said about the third entry; this movie sidestepped having any major Superman baddies, opting to replace Zod and Lex Luthor with a evil corporation intent on getting a monopoly on the world’s coffee crop. Also, Richard Pryor was added as the comic relief/unwitting villain. It’s just as bad as it sounds.
Part of Superman III‘s plot involved Pryor (a computer genius) being blackmailed into creating a form of synthetic Kryptonite to stop the Man of Steel. However, one of the elements of Kryptonite is unknown to man, so they substitute tar instead. This causes Superman to go into a depressive and antagonistic state, drinking alcohol and causing passive-aggressive annoyances like straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Kal-El eventually splits into two different personas- His “evil” Superman and the “good” Clark Kent. The two fight in a junk yard, but we use the term “fight” here loosely. It mainly consists of Clark Kent getting tossed around like a rag doll before getting the jump on Superman and strangling him so hard that he ceases to exist. Yes, you read that right.
16. The Sentry vs. The Void
Now let’s talk lesser-known Marvel characters! The Sentry is one of the most powerful characters in the entire Marvel universe. However, most do not know him; even the flagship characters of Marvel were unfamiliar with the character when he made his debut in 2000.
Robert Reynolds is an overweight, middle-aged man who one day remembers that he is the Sentry and begins to go around telling all of our favorite Marvel heroes that his arch nemesis, The Void, is returning. At the story’s end the reader discovers that The Void and The Sentry are one in the same and that Reynolds used his powers to erase himself from everyone’s memory to prevent it from returning.
Of course, now that the Sentry was back in action, so was the Void. Reynolds is always in a constant struggle to keep his dark persona from breaking out: He even went so far as to lock himself in the Vault prison to keep it from escaping.
In the appropriately-titled one-shot Sentry vs. The Void, the dark side of the character manifests itself physically. This forces Sentry to team up with the Avengers in order to bring it down once and for all. In the comic world, however, “once and for all” doesn’t mean much. The Void eventually returned, and Reynolds is still forced to live the internal struggle to this day.
15. Iron Lad vs. Kang the Conqueror
Bear with us here, as this one is a little hard to explain if you’re not familiar with all the different universe of Marvel. Nathaniel Richards, aka Iron Lad, is a young man who comes from a universe where humanity never experienced the Dark Ages. As a result, his people were peace-loving and much more technologically advanced than those in our world. During a fight with a bully in the schoolyard Richards is visited by Kang the Conqueror, who reveals that the boy is really a younger version of himself. Kang tries to goad the boy into embracing his destiny even earlier, but the plan backfires; Nathaniel is horrified at what he is to become.
In the Young Avengers story arc, Richards travels to the 616 universe and discovers that the Avengers have been destroyed. Donning a suit of armor, he then partners up with the sidekicks and children of the current Avengers to fight off Kang (who has chased him through time and space).
After he kills his older self with a sword, Iron Lad returns to his universe and awaits his grim destiny. The character has returned in other mutliverse-spanning stories, usually which involve taking on his future self in some way, shape, or form.
14. Deadpool in Deadpool Kills Deadpool
Is there any adventure that Deadpool could go on that wouldn’t surprise us nowadays? The Merc with a Mouth has killed the entire Marvel Universe, been part of a samurai group in Feudal Japan, and even had a fling with Lady Death herself. Traveling through time, space, and reality while making fun of the insanity of the whole thing is kinda what Deadpool does.
This means that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Wade Wilson has fought himself many times. The most famous of these stories was Deadpool Kills Deadpool, a tale which saw our anti-hero slice his way through a bunch of evil versions of himself from alternate universes. It all culminated with a showdown of Deadpool vs “Dreadpool,” who was the version of the character that killed all the superheroes and villains in his universe before hopping through realities and killing a bunch of famous literary characters.
13. Reed Richards in Secret Wars
For some reason lately, Marvel has been recycling its past crossovers. There was a second Civil War, a sequel to World War Hulk, and soon we will be treated to Inhumans vs. X-Men (which bears a striking similarity to Avengers vx. X-Men). In 2015, Marvel tried to reset its convoluted array of timelines and universes with a second Secret Wars. Suddenly there were five different versions of Spider-Man in the 616 universe as well as four different versions of Wolverine. It kind of worked… but it also made things a little more confusing.
One of the major goals of this crossover was to give the Fantastic Four characters a proper sendoff before their flagship title was cancelled. This meant that Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) took center stage and also that his evil counterpart from the Ultimate Universe, The Maker, had a large role. Throughout the entirety of Secret Wars the two characters tried to work together for the greater good of their universes.
Red flags should have gone up right from the beginning: When the two universes are colliding, the two leaders get to choose a group of characters to bring along on their “lifeboat.” Reed chooses a bunch of his fellow heroes while the Maker chooses a bunch of villains. This conflict eventually comes to a head when Maker tries to betray Mr. Fantastic; the villain gets the upper hand, and is only stopped when Molecule Man steps in and splits the character’s atoms at a subatomic level.
12. Jean Grey (The Eternal Struggle With The Phoenix)
If you’re any sort of fan of the X-Men you are familiar with the Phoenix Force. Touted as the most powerful cosmic entity in the Marvel Universe, this manifestation of power often lives within a host and takes over their body. Though it has had several hosts in its eternal existence, the Phoenix Force frequently lies within the mutant Jean Grey. Jean is one of the most powerful telepaths in all of comics, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she doesn’t lose control without a fight.
Every time the Phoenix takes control of Grey, a little part of her remains to fight from within. In the early days of the X-Men, Jean worked with Professor X to create a sort of “mental barrier” that protected her from the Force’s powers. In the original Dark Phoenix Saga story, where Jean gets completely possessed and uses the powers to destroy entire solar systems, the entity is only defeated when Grey regains control of her body temporarily and commits suicide to save everyone.
11. Wonder Woman in the ’70s TV Show
Much like the Adam West Batman show of the 1960s, the Wonder Woman show from the ’70s was cheesy as hell, with ridiculous plots and hammy, over-the-top acting. And, just like Batman ’66, we absolutely love it for that! Lynda Carter is still the actress that most fans associate with the character (though Gal Gadot is quickly gaining ground!) and the show actually was pretty faithful to the source material. The first season took place during World War II and then the concurrent seasons took place in the modern day.
In the twelfth episode of season two, Diana Prince encounters a plot to replace the nation’s leading scientists with Androids. While she is in the villain’s shop, he reveals to her that he has constructed a perfect replica of Wonder Woman as well, not realizing that he is revealing his creation to the Amazon herself. Diana is able to escape and return as her alter ego, where she is confronted by the replica. The two fight (pretty badly), with Wonder Woman being able to trick the villain into thinking she had lost and posing as the Android herself. If you want full Wonder Woman cheese at it’s finest, look no further!
10. Doctor Strange in the DC Comics vs. Marvel Crossover
What if we told you that, despite their intense rivalry, Marvel and DC have done multiple crossover events in the past. Apparently a character called Dr. Strangefate, who was a mix of Dr. Strange, Professor X., and Dr. Fate, created a universe called the Amalgam Universe. This was a marketing ploy by the two comic publishers, as the Amalgam was made up of a combination of the Marvel and DC Universes. In the beginning, the character Access allows Amalgam to separate into the two separate universes we know and love. Dr. Strangefate spent the rest of his existence trying to re-merge the two realities, coming into contact with characters from both Marvel and DC in the process.
The only character that was strong enough to take this quasi-villain down was his own counterpart, Doctor Strange. After being defeated the first time, Strangefate kept himself alive by hiding within the psyche of Doctor Strange until the next time the two companies decided to do a crossover. In his final appearance, Dr. Strangefate was defeated once and for all when the Sorcerer Supreme trapped the Amalgam Universe within a pocket universe.
9. Supergirl vs. Dark Supergirl
If you come from the world of Krypton, chances are there is a clone of you out there somewhere. Sometimes it’s a version of you from an alternate reality, sometimes it’s a cybernetic clone, and other times it’s an exact replica of you created by your arch-nemesis when you get exposed to a certain version of your biggest weakness. If you’re wondering why that last description is so specific, look no further than 2005’s Supergirl #3.
Lex Luthor (who else?) once again has a dastardly plan to defeat Kara Zor-El. He lures her into a trap out in the deserts of Utah, where he exposes her to an experimental form of Black Kryptonite. However, instead of corrupting her like he had intended, the rock creates an entire new clone of Supergirl who can only speak an unknown language.
“Dark Supergirl” was so powerful that she was able to take on the entire Justice League on her own before the real Supergirl was able to intervene. The two characters have an epic fight that ranges from the moon all the way to Gotham City. In the end, Wonder Woman is able to use her lasso of truth to reconnect the two Supergirls back into one singular entity.
8. Silver Surfer vs. the Cosmic Messiah
The Silver Surfer is a character that we definitely wish could be included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that the film series has shown that it’s not afraid to go cosmic, with Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity War, the sky is the limit! Unfortunately, the Silver Surfer and his master Galactus’ film rights are owned by Fox, meaning that chances are slim that they’ll appear in the MCU anytime soon. If you’d like to get a glimpse of the kind of off-the-wall adventures that a Cosmic Marvel Universe entails, take a look at Silver Surfer #135-#138.
In these issues, the plot revolves around a religious fanatic’s search for a “Cosmic Messiah” that would save humanity. When the Surfer declines this position, they take matters into their own hands by creating an empty body, stealing the Power Cosmic from Silver Surfer, and placing it into their creation. This new Cosmic Messiah has all the powers, memories, and emotions of the Surfer; this becomes evident when he shows feelings for Alicia Masters and recognizes the Thing.
Unfortunately the Messiah believes that the only way to save humanity is to wipe them from existence via turning them into beings of pure energy. Silver Surfer and the Thing fight the misguided hero and are turned into energy themselves. Luckily, the Cosmic Messiah reverses his actions at the behest of Alicia and goes off to “find himself.”
7. Psylocke vs. Kwannon/Revanche
The X-Men comics are always a great place to go when you want to see a character fight themselves. Just about every character on the roster has met themselves in an alternate timeline or has been cloned by one of their enemies. Heck, Kwannon (or Revanche), one of the characters introduced in the ’90s, seemed to exist purely to make Psylocke fight herself.
The character was introduced thinking that she was the “real Psylocke” and that the one in the X-Men was an imposter. With the help of the mystical villain Spiral, Kwannon was able to switch bodies with her counterpart; this gave them the same powers and memories. She renamed herself “Revanche” and swore to kill Psylocke. These two have had multiple encounters over the years. They once fought in the Danger Room of the X-Mansion, which led to much confusion and Kwannon officially joining the team as a good guy.
Even after her death from the Legacy Virus, Kwannon still haunted her double. In a 2009 story, the Red Queen dug up Kwannon’s body (which was Psylocke’s original) and used her powers to transfer Psylocke’s mind back into it. The X-Man then had to get Psylocke’s mind back into Kwannon’s original body, which required her consciousness and Kwannon’s consciousness to fight internally. Confused yet?
6. Thor vs. Ragnarok
One of the biggest shocks in the original Civil War story line came when Black Goliath was killed in cold blood by Thor’s clone. The character had his sinister origins in the lab of Tony Stark, Reed Richards, and Hank Pym. Years ago, during their first meeting, Iron Man snatched a hair from the head of the God of Thunder. When Thor went missing just before Civil War, Tony mixed this Asgardian DNA with his own technology to create a cyborg replica of the hero. In true comic book fashion, Ragnarok goes off the rails and turns evil.
When the real God of Thunder finally returns he is not very happy that his reputation has been slighted by his former teammate. However, it is in the Siege arc that the two finally come to blows. In his return, Thor creates a new Asgard in the sky above Oklahoma; Ragnarok sees this as an insult to “true Asgardians” and vows to make Thor pay. However, he gets way more than he bargains for.
The real Thor completely manhandles the clone, whose cybernetic powers can’t even compete with those of the God of Thunder. Ragnarok is destroyed and, although he’s been rebuilt since, he hasn’t had the courage to take on his counterpart again.
5. Beast vs. Dark Beast
If you are unfamiliar with Dark Beast, you definitely need to change that! The Hank McCoy from the Age of Apocalypse universe is one of the most underrated villains in the Marvel canon. We’re used to seeing a Beast that is benevolent, wise, and quiet. His alt-universe counterpart is still wise, but he’s also amazingly sadistic and power hungry. In his universe, McCoy was an underling of Apocalypse who put his subjects through painful experiments as a means to create the “ultimate mutant.” When he realized his universe was crumbling at the end of Age of Apocalypse he put himself into a M’Kraan Crystal and was transported into the 616 Universe.
Here, he reigned as a recurring X-Men villain until his death right before Secret Wars. In that time he clashed with our version of Beast. Their first encounter ended with Dark Beast defeating McCoy, locking him away behind a brick wall, and then infiltrating the X-Men by impersonating him.
This continued on into the story Onslaught, when the evil McCoy revealed his identity and abandoned the team to join the villain. Although they only tangoed individually once, Beast would fight his evil counterpart again over the years as a member of the X-Men.
4. Adam Warlock vs. Magus
Although nothing has been confirmed yet, it feels very odd that Marvel would move forward with a movie based on The Infinity Gauntlet without the inclusion of Adam Warlock. In the original story, he was almost as important as Thanos himself! Created by the legends themselves, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Adam Warlock was developed in a lab by scientists as the perfect human specimen. He rebels against his creators and then goes into space, where he is given possession of the Soul Gem. Naturally, this made the character the prime candidate to clash with Thanos and other cosmic beings during his adventures.
In the future, Warlock becomes the dictator of a religious empire which he rules through fear and intimidation. In this future timeline, the character is known as Magus. He fears that there is a chance that his younger self won’t follow the same path without proper guidance, so Magus travels back in time to set Warlock on the right track.
Being a superhero, Adam Warlock doesn’t necessarily like the idea that he becomes evil in the future and vows to alter the timeline. With a little help from the Mad Titan, he is able to alter his timeline and prevent Magus from ever existing. But this is the comic book world we’re talking about; Magus came back, stole the infinity gauntlet, and wreaked havoc on the universe before Warlock could stop him once again.
3. Cable vs. X-Man
Cable’s casting may still remain a mystery, but there’s no doubting that he’s the most anticipated part of Deadpool 2. The writers were so stoked for the character that they spent the entire post-credits stinger going on and on about how awesome he was going to be! The time-traveling offspring of Scott Summers exploded in popularity during his run in The New Mutants during the early ’90s, and it was only a matter of time before the character started to get spin-offs, knockoffs, and clones. Enter Nate Grey, aka “X-Man.”
Nate Grey fills the role of Cable from the Age of Apocalypse universe. However, unlike Nathaniel Summers (who was born of normal parents), Nate was created in a test tube by Mister Sinister, using the genes of Scott Summers and Jean Grey. This makes him extremely powerful and very unstable at the same time. The character eventually made his way to the main Marvel Universe and encountered Cable.
The relationship between the two has been rocky, to say the least. In Cable #30-31 and X-Man #14, Nate attacks Cable (who he fears is causing his powers to fluctuate). The two fight to a standstill until X-Man exhausts himself by using his full power and faints.
2. Spider-man in The Clone Saga
Perhaps the most famous (or infamous, depending on who you talk to) instance of a hero fighting his own clone came about in the ’90s, when the Amazing Spider-Man was front and center for The Clone Saga. This wasn’t the first time the wall-crawler had fought himself; back in the ’70s Spider-Man villain the Jackal made a perfect replica of Peter Parker and forced it to do battle with Spidey. An explosion killed both the baddie and the clone. Or so we thought…
In 1994 Ben Reilly, aka the clone from the ’70s, returned. Even more shockingly, it was revealed that our Peter Parker was really the clone and that Ben was the original Peter Parker who was thought to have perished in the ’70s. Over the course of the story Peter and Ben team up to fight the clones Kaine and Spidercide before Parker passes the torch of Spider-Man to its rightful owner.
However, at the story’s end we discover that Norman Osborn has been behind the whole plot and that he manipulated the genetic test results just to mess with Peter. This is confirmed when Ben Reilly sacrifices himself to save Peter and his body disintegrates like the other clones.
1. The Justice League vs. The Crime Syndicate of America
The Justice League is the most popular superhero team ever assembled. Yeah, everyone may know the Avengers nowadays, but if had asked someone to name off the roster of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes ten years ago they would have looked at you funny and said something like, “I don’t know… Spider-Man? Wolverine?” If you asked someone about the characters on the Justice League, chances are they would get most of them right. Marvel’s team may be the main moneymaker right now, but there’s something so iconic about the Justice League that the Avengers can never touch. With DC being famous for having multiple Earths, it’s a no-brainer that the publisher’s characters were going to encounter alternate versions of themselves now and then.
But, what about an entire team of doppelgängers? Inhabiting Earth-3, the Crime Syndicate of America are literally the polar opposites of the Justice League. They are led by Ultraman, a Superman lookalike that gets his power from Kryptonite. His wife, Super Woman, is an Amazonian warrior with an evil lasso. The team had a speedster named Johnny Quick, a brooding hero named Owlman, and a guy with a magic ring named Power Ring. You get the picture.
These foes were introduced in the Silver Age of comics and have been reoccurring villains to the heroes of the Justice League ever since. These evildoers were most recently seen in the arc Darksied War, where they were all killed off.
Would you like to see any of these confrontations happen on the big screen? Let us know in the comments!