When it comes to hero/villain team-ups, it takes a lot to bring arch-nemeses together. In the world of superhero comic books, team-ups were once main events reserved for special occasions, but now they happen every week. Heroes partnering up with other heroes is commonplace, and sometimes, the villains get in on the action and join forces to do evil. But only rarely do superheroes team up with supervillains - and they usually need an extremely good reason to do so.
Whether absolute evil villains like Red Skull or a world-ending threat like Thanos, there's always a bigger potential threat out there that can make hero and villain ignore their differences and pool resources for the greater good. Sometimes, it's the baddie who steps in to ensure that only they, and not some other chump, may slay their heroic archnemesis. Whatever the reason, hero/villain team-ups are always rife with tension; a “will they, won’t they” where the action in question is betraying their temporary ally.
- Photo: DC Comics
Batman and The Joker have always had a love/hate relationship, and that’s fostered many team-ups over the years and across several continuities. However, never have the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince stood side-by-side with more on the line than when they faced off against The Batman Who Laughs in Dark Nights: Metal.
Batman and The Joker combined forces to take on a being that was essentially a mashup of the two. The Batman Who Laughs was a Bruce Wayne from an alternate universe who slayed his own version of The Joker and was then cursed to slowly take on Joker’s identity, like Tim Allen in The Santa Clause except much more messed up. The Batman Who Laughs and his dark lord, Barbatos, brought the entire DC Multiverse to the brink of eternal darkness, but those plans were halted when Batman and The Joker showed up to deliver him a vicious beatdown. From there, Batman and The Joker’s relationship quickly returned to hostility.222Awesome team-up?
- Photo: Marvel Comics
Both the Venom symbiote and Eddie Brock, its most notable host, had their own reasons for hating Peter Parker. So when they finally crossed paths to form Venom, their shared mission in life was to destroy Spider-Man. The symbiote and wall-crawler had to forge an uneasy peace when Brock’s symbiote procreated and its offspring bonded with serial killer Cletus Kasady, resulting in Maximum Carnage.
Carnage almost immediately went on a vicious rampage across New York City, forcing Venom to reach out to Spider-Man and offer his reluctant expertise. In the end, the duo used the sound system at Madison Square Garden to separate Kasady from Carnage, but then Spider-Man turned on Venom and captured him too.
Though this gave Venom all the more reason to hate Spidey, they’ve since teamed up dozens of times. These days, Brock is thought of as a genuine hero who has Captain America on speed-dial and considers Spider-Man one of his closest allies (even if he still kind of hates the guy).201Awesome team-up?
- Photo: Marvel Comics
Thor and Loki temporarily teaming up is nothing new, though such alliances are usually revealed to be part of some scheme put on by the God of Mischief. When the Fire Giant Surtur and the forces of Muspelheim made their way into Asgard and attempted to bring about Ragnarok though, Loki found it in his best interest to stand alongside both his brother and father in defense of his adopted home.
The ensuing clash was fierce, with Odin ultimately sacrificing himself to push Surtur into a dimensional rift. At the loss of their father, Thor and Loki very briefly put their differences aside, touching off a tradition of them swapping back and forth between allies and enemies for the next several decades. In the modern age, Thor rules Asgard and Loki rules Jotunheim, and their relationship is tepid while not outright adversarial.150Awesome team-up?
- Photo: DC Comics
When Hal Jordan first joined the Green Lantern Corps, he was mentored by Thaal Sinestro, then thought to be the greatest Green Lantern to ever wield a Power Ring. But Sinestro turned out to be a totalitarian despot, forcing Jordan to take down his former mentor and leaving the defeated Sinestro to form his own Yellow Lantern Corps.
The canon reboot of The New 52 kept all that personal history intact, which is what made it so surprising that Sinestro reached out to Jordan when the human was stripped of his Power Ring by the Guardians. Sinestro offered Hal a chance to earn his ring back by helping to free Sinestro’s home planet of Korugar - the very same planet he once ruled over with an iron fist - and Hal agreed after some convincing. The two were successful, and Sinestro has remained morally grey in the post-Rebirth era, though he and Jordan still don’t get along very well.120Awesome team-up?