For many fans of both Marvel films and comics, one of the most exciting things about next year will be Spider-Man and Iron Man teaming up in Spider-Man: Homecoming. This year’s Captain America: Civil War not only proved how great the chemistry is between stars Tom Holland and Robert Downey, Jr. but it gave us our first Peter Parker/Tony Stark team-up. Last week’s trailer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first solo Spidey film further teased this dynamic, as the two palled around as civilians before ending the teaser suited up and flying through the streets of New York together.
The trailer also hinted at some tension between the two, an idea long reflected in the comics. Given both the web-head’s and Shell Head’s longevity in Marvel Comics, Peter and Tony have come to blows almost as often as they’ve teamed up. While we eagerly anticipate next summer’s release, we decided to compile our favorite from both camps. Here’s are 11 Times Spider-Man and Iron Man Have Teamed Up (And 6 Times They Fought).
Beginning in the early ‘70s, Marvel Comics initiated their appropriately named Marvel Team-Up book. The comic allowed the publisher to pair together various heroes outside of their solo adventures and work with the Avengers. For 1973’s “The Tomorrow War,” Marvel finally brought together two of their biggest heroes, Spider-Man and Iron Man. Starting with issue #9, the 3-part story saw Peter and Tony join forces to save the rest of the Avengers from Kang the Conqueror.
As they begin their quest, they encounter Zarrko the Tomorrow Man. Claiming they have a mutual enemy in Kang, Spidey and Iron Man help clear a path through Kang’s forces. In the end, they realize Zarrko’s plan involves not only fighting Kang, but detonating a number of ‘time bombs’ all over the US. After some more time-hopping shenanigans, and Spidey pulling in the Human Torch and the Inhumans, Black Bolt is able to stop Kang and the whole team captures Zarrko. Of course, the Kang they were fighting turns out to have just been a robot. Don’t you just hate when that happens?
While comic readers may take for granted the fact that Spider-Man is regularly a member of the Avengers, he wasn’t always counted among Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Back in 1966’s Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the gang were mulling over whether the new web-slinging hero should be added to their ranks. After some deliberation, they decide to formally invite Spidey to become a member. Unfortunately, the wall-crawler thinks that entry into the greatest team of warriors on the planet requires a show of his fighting prowess.
Possibly one of the worst interview performances of all time, Spider-Man begins picking a fight with each of the Avengers in turn. He throttles Hawkeye, socks Goliath, flips Cap, and delivers an elbow right to Iron Man’s chestplate. Eventually, cooler heads prevail and the Avengers choose to forget the whole thing and induct him anyway. That’s when Spidey decides to go off and take on the Hulk. Naturally.
5 years after their first spotlight, Spider-Man and Iron Man once again joined forces in the pages of Marvel Team-Up. 1978’s issue #72, written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Jim Mooney, paired the two heroes off against the Wraith and Iron Man rogue Whiplash. The story picked up on some plot threads Mantlo had laid out a number of issues back involving Spider-Man supporting character Jean DeWolff and her brother, the villainous Wraith.
Wraith and Whiplash get hired by the Maggia crime family to take out the two Avengers, but spend the whole issue arguing over who’s going to run point on the mission. Though Whiplash temporarily gets the upper-hand on Spidey, he and Iron Man eventually prevail. The victory comes (in part) thanks to Wraith flipping to the side of good and helping his sister, Spider-Man, and Iron Man defeat Whiplash. He does this by using his powers to convince Whiplash that he’s battling monstrous snakes, leading him to deliver the camptastic line “He’s caught in the coils of his own criminality!”
Following the events of Civil War, Secret Invasion, and Siege, Marvel and Brian Michael Bendis attempted to pick back up where they’d left off in 2005, before superheroes fighting each other became standard operating procedure. To do so, he built a team around Iron Man and Spider-Man, along with Spider-Woman, Thor, Hawkeye, and others. With some truly amazing art by John Romita, Jr., the beginning of the “Heroic Age” saw the Avengers world begin to take shape as separate teams like the New Avengers and Young Avengers came into their own.
In typical Bendis style, it also had plenty of twists, as the children of the Avengers (aka the Next Avengers) from the future were introduced. There’s also appearances by Maestro and Immortus, and the Bucky Barnes version of Captain America is also in on the action. All in all, the alternate realities and time travel woven throughout the series foreshadowed Jonathan Hickman’s eventual work of destroying the Marvel Universe and setting up Secret Wars.
Twenty years after Spider-Man first landed a blow on Iron Man, Marvel decided to add a little twist. Written by Fred Schiller and Ken McDonald, 1986’s Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20 squares Spidey in his black symbiote suit against the Iron Man of 2020—who’s actually Arno Stark. In the future, Tony’s warmongering brother “accidentally” kills a radical anti-war protestor. The man places a bomb in Stark’s lab and plans to shut it off using a retinal scan at the last minute. Unfortunately, his premature death at the hands of Stark prevents this. Naturally, the inventor travels back in time to grab a younger version of Saunders and use his eyes.
When Arno appears in the past and roughly handles Saunders, Spidey decides to violently intervene, as he thinks Stark is going to kill the kid. Showing off either the strength of the symbiote suit or the weakness of the future Iron Man’s gear, Spider-Man pummels Arno and busts up his suit pretty bad. In the end, Arno is forced to return to his timeline where the bomb has gone off, destroying his facility and killing Stark’s loved one and a whole lot of other people. Talk about bleak.
Speaking of Spider-Man’s black suit... The original Secret Wars marks not only one of the biggest team-ups for Spidey and Iron Man, but one of the biggest team-ups in the Marvel Comics Universe. Running for 12 issues from 1984–85, the story sees a cosmic entity called the Beyonder transport a number of Earth’s superheroes and villains to his Battleworld in an attempt to watch them fight. Even more significant, it actually contains the origin of Spidey’s symbiote suit. While the full story isn’t revealed here, we do see him discover the symbiote and bond with it, finding that it comes with a number of its own powers.
The series also introduced a number of concepts that would come into play for 2015’s Secret Wars, including the Beyonder (here a single entity) and a collaboration between Doctor Doom and Owen Reece, aka the Molecule Man. All in all, it's an essential entry into Marvel canon, and one of the finest storylines the House of Ideas ever produced.
A few decades after Spidey came to blows with an alternate Iron Man, 2013 saw another Spider-Man join forces with Tony Stark. Beginning in 2000, Marvel launched their Ultimate line in an effort to streamline continuity and introduce new readers to their comics. What followed was the creation of an alternate universe adjacent to Marvel's main Earth-616 reality. Eventually, a new Spider-Man was born, following the death of Peter Parker.
Empowered by a separate radioactive spider from Oscorp, Miles Morales discovered he had a number of the original Spidey’s powers, along with invisibility and a venomous shock ability. Following the events of the Age of Ultron comic storyline, the Galactus of Earth-616 made his way into the universe of the Ultimates and merged with his counterpart. He then began the process of ripping apart the multiverse.
The event saw a number of heroes from both worlds crossing over to solve the threat on both ends. Miles is tasked with getting info from Earth-616, and eventually is one of the few remaining heroes (he actually holds his Captain America in his arms when the hero dies). Thanks to Iron Man and Miles teaming up, the threat is eventually stopped, but the seeds are sowed for the end of the Ultimate Universe in 2015’s Secret Wars.
Peter Parker and Tony Stark are both geeky loudmouths with more than a bit of an ego. While Tony is generally the one pegged for being full of himself, Peter’s sense of self-worth gets inflated plenty too (in between all those bouts of self-recrimination). Thanks to Secret Wars rebooting the Marvel Universe in 2015, those traits haven’t changed much. Starting with last year’s new Invincible Iron Man run, we see a number of Peter Parker’s supporting characters make their way into the Iron Man title. First, Mary Jane Watson begins working with Tony, then Spidey is called in to help Iron Man in Tokyo after Rhodey gets kidnapped. This renewed sense of working together doesn’t last forever, though, as this year’s Amazing Spider-Man #13 once again pits the two against each other.
But is it mind control? An imposter? Shape-shifting Skrulls?! Nope, they just get in a fight over who has the better company. Stark has long run his own enterprise, but recent years have seen Peter finally use his brains to make some money. After Iron Man makes a crack about Peter’s company, Spidey hits him in the face, kicking off a full-on brawl between the two heroes. Turns out, even superheroes can be petty.
During a run of the Avengers in 1990, Spider-Man once again joined forces with Marvel’s greatest heroes to stop a massive threat. Halfway through, he’s invited to join the team, only for the offer to be rescinded by Captain America a few issues later. There’s a lot of editorial behind-the-scenes confusion that kept Spider-Man out of the Avengers for years, but it’s far too much to get into here. What is notable, is that the adventure brought us another team-up between Iron Man and Spidey. This is an all-star issue, featuring Peggy Carter, Vision, the Wasp, Wonder Man, Thor, and even Man-Wolf. A batch of heroes, including Spidey and Iron Man, come together to take on the threat of Nebula and a villain so nefarious, he can only be called Gunthar.
Written alternately by John Byrne and Fabian Nicieza, the arc hardly lives up to the skills of the two legendary comic writers. Still, its cast of characters and space-faring action proves to be a lot of fun. In a way, it even gives us a rough idea of what it would look like if Spidey went into space with the other Avengers to fight Thanos(‘s daughter Nebula). It’s not exactly Infinity War, but we’ll take what we can get.
Don’t worry, we didn't forget about this one. Two years before Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Captain DeWolff teamed up against the Wraith and Whiplash, the trio first learned of Brian DeWolff’s alter-ego when both siblings were introduced in 1976’s Marvel Team-Up #48. The arc, which ran for 4 issues, is significant not only for the Spidey and Tony team-up, but because it also marked the debut of Captain DeWolff. After the two heroes almost get into an altercation at a graveyard over a recent bombing of Stark facility, DeWolff intercedes and lets them know the real score.
The rest of the story pulls in Doctor Strange, Nick Fury, Moon Dragon, and Professor X as the heroes fight the Wraith and his mind control powers, and then try to prove Brian’s innocence during a trial. The argument is that he’s being mind controlled himself by the DeWolff’s evil patriarch. It’s a whole lot of nuttiness for sure, but it’s a fun ride (just like that shot of Spidey cruising with Jean in her roadster).
This alternate reality battle between Iron and Spider involves Tony and Peter, but in Neil Gaiman’s 1602 world. Coming years after the original story that imagined Marvel heroes in King James’ England, this story unfolds in Marvel 1602: New World and introduces us to Anthony Stark, David Banner, and Peter Paquagh. After being tortured by Banner, Stark builds a steam-punky suit and dubs himself Lord Iron. Peter soon becomes the Spider after a radioactive spider turns him into a ‘Witchbreed’ (the world’s name for those with powers, like mutants).
In his quest for revenge against Banner, Lord Iron rampages through the countryside and eventually confronts Peter. As the young man has long worked with the good doctor, Stark attacks and kidnaps him in an attempt to obtain some inside info. Luckily, Peter’s friend Virginia Dare (yes, that Virginia Dare), eventually lures Stark into a trap and turns him to her side.
By now, it should be no surprise that a majority of the collaborations between Spider-Man and Iron Man take place within the pages of Marvel Team-Up. Their final one on our list comes from issue #110 in 1981. Mostly written and drawn by veteran comic book creator Herb Trimpe, the issue finds Iron Man and Spider-Man on the trail of a one-shot villain named Magma. Given his name, the baddie can naturally be found deep within the Earth’s crust. But how can two above-ground heroes like Spidey and Tony possibly hope to confront him in his domain? With the help of a giant drill-tank, of course.
Thanks to Tony’s ingenuity, the two heroes are able to burrow down underground and come face-to-face with Magma so they can get his backstory. As it turns out, his wife was killed in a car accident when Magma swerved off a cliff to avoid some environmental protestors. Heavy-handed to the max, Magma wants to repay the favor by destroying all of New York City with a massive volcano. Now that’s what we call global warming!
The line-up and popularity of the Avengers has changed a number of times over its 5 decades of existence. In 2005, it wasn’t quite the juggernaut it is today or was in its heyday, but Marvel had a plan. Enlisting Brian Michael Bendis to form a new team, the publisher made moves to add big names like Wolverine and Spider-Man to the roster. The story revolves around a power outage instigated by Electro that leads to a number of supervillains from the Raft making their escape. Captain America eventually rounds up all the heroes who helped stop the threat by forming a new Avengers team around them.
Meanwhile, the Amazing Spider-Man arc of the time had recently left Peter Parker and his family without a home. Spidey and Iron Man spend the next couple of years bonding over science and crime fighting, and Tony even provides the Parkers with a place to live. All of this leads to the creation of one of Spidey’s most famous suits, the Iron Spider armor designed by Stark. Sadly, the end of the friendship (and the costume) are just around the corner.
This entry combines a number of our twist/alternate versions of Spider-Man and Iron Man for one hell of a fight. It also involves a lot of backstory, so we’ll do our best to hit the finer points. To make a long story short, Peter Parker’s body is housing the mind of Otto Octavius, who adopts a more ruthless approach to fighting crime as the Superior Spider-Man. Making matters worse, he eventually bonds with the Venom Symbiote after kicking it off its current host, Flash Thompson (aka Agent Venom). Going on a city-wide rampage, the Avengers head into battle.
Captain America, meanwhile, sends Iron Man off to find Flash to see if he can help separate the Symbiote from Spidey. The two eventually head into the fray, and while Tony distracts the Superior Venom, Flash swoops in wearing Tony’s armor. The attack doesn’t quite work, but the return of the Symbiote's preferred host causes it to leave Spidey’s body and re-bond with Flash. The aftermath sees Agent Venom joining the Avengers and the Superior Spider-Man (dubbed ‘Sp0ck’ by fans) blaming the symbiote for his recent run of rash behavior. Alternate Spidey, alternate Iron Man, and the black suit—it’s the greatest hits of this list!
It’s fitting that are previous “Both” entry happened during the lead-up to Civil War II, as the original Civil War arc marks both the most infamous Spider-Man/Iron Man team-up and their most well-known brawl. Following the events of Bendis' run on New Avengers in 2005 and Spidey obtaining his Iron Spider suit in 2006, Marvel initiated their Civil War event. With Iron Man coming down on the side of registration, Spidey follows suit and joins his friend. He then famously reveals his identity to the public and fights against Captain America’s team in his mechanized suit.
Eventually, however, the web-slinger sees that Tony has lost his way when he learns those opposed to registration are being jailed. He switches sides, battling Iron Man in the very suit Tony created. Of course, the forward-thinking Stark has been using the suit to analyze Peter’s powers the whole time. Still, Spidey gets the upper hand during one battle, webbing up Tony’s face. Later, Tony returns the favor when he handily beats down Spidey (now back to his normal costume) when a team of Avengers face off against Iron Man at Yankee Stadium.
While the movie version of Civil War only gave us the friendly half of this situation, there’s still hope that a fight between Iron Man and Spider-Man will someday come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Until then, we’ll just have to make do with them teaming up again next year.
Which team-ups and fights between Spider-Man and Iron Man are your favorite? Can you think of any from their history you wish we’d included? Let us know in the comments.