When you’ve been a superhero for as long as Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, you oftentimes find yourself in offbeat and bizarre situations. Sometimes you’re forced to ally yourself with hero and villain alike, all in the name of the greater good. No matter the circumstances, living the life of a crime-fighter is a challenging existence.
From Captain America to the New Warriors, Spider-Man has teamed up with nearly every hero under the sun and then some. His team-ups usually unplanned and they typically end in complete chaos or far better than anyone was hoping. Yet for the reader, they couldn’t be more entertaining. With that, we’re here to look at 15 of his craziest and more peculiar team-ups with heroes and villains you probably weren’t expecting.
15. MOON KNIGHT AND DAREDEVIL
In one of the more comical team-ups Spider-Man has had the misfortune in taking part in, our webbed hero finds himself teaming up with Daredevil and Moon Knight. Over the course of the 2004 series of Marvel Team-Up, issues #7-#10 involve the heroes squaring off the Ringmaster. Maynard Tiboldt, the Ringmaster, has been a part of Marvel Comics for decades now, and since he first appeared back in Incredible Hulk #3, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, has always been considered a joke. Armed with nothing more than a pink top hat that hypnotizes people, it’s pretty easy for Ringmaster and his circus troupe to be bested. Yet after acquiring a cosmic cube ring, the Ringmaster is no longer a laughing matter.
Capable of doing anything, Moon Knight, Spider-Man, and Daredevil are at the Ringmaster’s whim, but the kooky bad guy can’t decide whether to kill them with super-powered elephants or to shoot them out of circus-themed cannons into the ground. His indecision lends time for the Punisher to arrive on the scene and shoot his finger off, leaving Spider-Man and friends feeling miserable from nearly getting defeated by one of Marvel’s lamest villains.
14. THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
In Marvel Team-Up #86, Spider-Man encounters the Guardians of the Galaxy. This isn’t the team from recent years who have gone on to appear in the movies, featuring the likes of Star-Lord and Groot, but rather the original Guardians team from the future, featuring Starhawk, Martinex, and Nikki. These Guardians are trying to leave the planet Earth. Before they go, they needed to try and destroy videotape evidence of them. Spider-Man gets involved and, after a brief misunderstanding, he reluctantly teams up with them. This team-up however, is brought more by Spider-Man being captured by bad guys Hammer and Anvil (created by Lein Wein and Herb Trimpe and first appearing in Incredible Hulk #182), only to then get rescued by the Guardians.
13. ROCKET RACER
The world was introduced to the rocket-propelled skateboard-riding villain, hero, then villain again Rocket Racer in Amazing Spider-Man #172. Created by Lein Wein and Ross Andrus, it wouldn’t be the last time Spidey ran across Robert Farrell, a.k.a. the Rocket Racer. Farrell, a genius of sorts, though not genius enough to realize going around on a souped up skateboard was a silly idea, thought to use his talents for crime; of course Spider-Man easily defeated him. That was until the Rocket Racer reappeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #182 and #183. Granted, Rocket Racer proves again to be little challenge to the web-slinger, but they are forced to team up. Against who you might ask? Against the Big Wheel, that’s who!
Jackson Weele was a corrupt businessman who thanks to the Tinkerer, assumed the moniker of Big Wheel. Rolling around in a big wheel as his primary weapon, he went after Rocket Racer, with Spider-Man caught in the middle. With two zany bad guys to contend with, Spider-Man was all but at a loss for words. At the battle’s zenith, Spidey simply rolls out of the way of Big Wheel and the unfortunate villain rolls into the ocean. End of fight.
12. ADAM WARLOCK
One of the most powerful forces in the Marvel Universe, there are few beings that can stand up to the might of Adam Warlock. Usually dealing with cosmic-level threats, Adam Warlock’s world rarely coincides with the more grounded Spider-Man’s. At least that was until Marvel Team-Up #55. Accidentally hitching a ride on a runaway rocket in the previous issue, Spider-Man finds himself trapped on the space-faring vessel. Close to death, Adam Warlock rescues him. Gently resting the craft on the Moon, Spidey and Warlock meet for the first time, where Spider-Man is flabbergasted about his current whereabouts.
It doesn’t take long for shenanigans to ensue, as the duo run across the Stranger, a cosmic being hungrily seeking the Infinity Gems and wants the Soul Gem that was then attached to Warlock’s forehead. After losing the first battle, with Spider-Man barely making it out alive, our webbed hero meets the Gardener, another cosmic being who wields another Soul Gem. Eventually the combined might of Spider-Man, the Gardner, and Warlock is enough to defeat the Stranger. As the battle ends and the Gardner disappears into the ether of space, Warlock agrees to take Spider-Man back to Earth.
Marvel Comics and DC Comics don’t often find occasion to interact with one another. However, back in 1976, the Big Two teamed-up, and under the penmanship of Gerry Conway, delivered Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man and then its sequel Superman and Spider-Man in 1981. Two of the most iconic characters in popular culture meeting and teaming up was something no one had seen before. It was a thing for the ages.
The plots and stories that make up the individual issues themselves, including the whys and hows of how the Spectacular Spider-Man is able to go toe-to-toe with the Last Son of Krypton (it would be a disservice to explain the epic battle between the two, as you really should just go and read it) almost don’t matter when put up against the benchmark achievement of bringing these two legends together. It didn’t matter that Superman was leaps and bounds above Spider-Man, Spidey found ways to contribute, saving the Man of Steel on more than one occasion. The fact that Marvel and DC were able to come together, putting aside whatever differences they had, and deliver an incredibly satisfying story not once, but twice, speaks volumes to the industry’s potential.
These days there are nearly half a dozen spider-themed people swinging about over the streets of New York. Yet there was a time when Peter Parker was the only wall-crawling hero out there. Flash backwards to 1982 to introduce Ollie Osnick. First appearing in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #72, and then making a more memorable appearance later in The Amazing Spider-Man #263, creators Bill Mantio and Ed Hannigan designed Ollie as a teenager who idolized Doctor Octopus. Designing his own, albeit somewhat wonky, mechanical arms, Ollie attempted a life of crime, but Spider-Man found him and gave him a stern lecture. Ollie changed his ways and went on to idolize Spidey.
In Amazing Spider-Man #263, Ollie dons the moniker of Spider-Kid, and in a hilarious issue of misadventure, teams up with Frog-Man, Toad, and Spider-Man to stop a small entourage of criminals. Terribly inefficient, Frog-Man, Toad, Spider-Kid nearly end up getting killed numerous times, only to each time be rescued by Spider-Man, but Spidey lets them think they were able to thwart the crooks themselves. All in all, it was a team-up that gave Spider-Man one of his biggest headaches.
There’s no two ways about it; Spider-Ham is a bizarre character. Originally conceived as something of a gag character by Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong, Spider-Ham first appeared in Marvel Tales Starring Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham #1 in 1983. In a universe where bipedal pigs were all the norm, Spider-Ham’s origin is all the stranger. Peter Porker got his powers after Aunt May Porker was accidentally irradiated with radiation after conducting experiments with a nuclear hair-dryer; somewhere along the lines she bites a spider and that spider turns into a spider-powered pig.
It wouldn’t be until years later in Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse event that Peter Parker would meet his pig counterpart; the two teaming up with many alternate versions of themselves to defeat a monstrous threat. Needless to say, Spider-Man’s response is exactly what your response would be, were you to encounter a pig-like version of yourself.
Since Spider-Man teamed up with Superman twice already, the next logical step was for Spidey to meet the Dark Knight. Again, like with the Man of Steel, having two great characters from two different companies team up is a treat we rarely get these days
In 1995 and 1998, Batman and Spider-Man would team-up to combat various evil forces. Their first team-up, appropriately called Spider-Man and Batman and written by J.M. DeMatteis and with stellar artwork by Mark Bagley, featured the two heroes having to combat the Joker and Carnage, two emissaries of chaos. Some might think Batman would struggle against Carnage, but he’s Batman, so of course he doesn’t. Their second team up, titled Batman and Spider-Man: New Age Dawning, was written again by J.M. DeMatteis, starred the Caped Crusader and the wall-crawler going against the Kingpin and Ra’s al Ghul.
Spider-Man doesn’t have a habit of teaming up with bad guys, but every once in a while, he’s forced to make an exception. Teaming up with Thor’s half-brother, Loki, definitely proved to be such an exception. While originally an inarguable force for evil, Loki has mellowed over the years and become less and less associated with world-dominating plots. In The Amazing Spider-Man #502 and #503, the web-slinger had to team up with Loki to take on an evil sorceress.
While the idea of getting these two guys together is pretty fun, the real interesting bits aren’t the fighting necessarily, but rather the bond Spider-Man and Loki unexpectedly form. It might be pushing it to call them friends, especially with Loki still going by the moniker the God of Mischief, but by story’s end, after having hot dogs on top of a building and Loki gifting Spider-Man with a favor to cash in whenever he wants, this team-up was as satisfying and character-driven as there ever was.
6. HOWARD THE DUCK
First debuting in Adventure Into Fear #19 and created by Steve Gerver and Val Mayerik, Howard the Duck has been a fringe character over at Marvel Comics for as long as anyone can remember. A weird little bipedal, English-speaking, clothes-wearing duck, Howard comes from the planet Duckworld, located in another dimension. Now thrust into the 616 Marvel Universe (which is the main universe in the comics), he’s ever the odd man out in a world full of humans who consider him a freak. For some reason, a reason even unbeknownst to him, Howard continually finds himself at the center of mishaps and general craziness.
In Marvel Team-Up #96, Howard, who’s now a taxi driver, meets Spider-Man for the first time as they join forces to take on Status Quo, a librarian who wants to destroy all fads. In so doing, he somehow manages to gather a large following. Howard and Spidey intervene, with Howard getting chased by anti-fad henchmen and Spider-Man dealing with exploding Frisbees, until the heroes eventually discredit Status Quo as a hypocritical terrorist. It’s one of the web-head’s kookier adventures, and an unforgettable one at that.
Created by J.M. DeMatteis and Kerry Gammill and appearing in Marvel Team-Up #121 for the first time, Frog-Man, the son of the criminal Leap Frog, was one of the goofiest characters in a long history of goofy characters. Wanting to inspire his father by becoming a superhero, he went to help Spider-Man and the Human Torch combat Speed Demon. To literally everyone’s surprise, Frog-Man defeats Speed Demon (though it was entirely an accident), something the two veteran heroes were unable to. Donning a new name, the Fabulous Frog-Man, he would go on to help out Spider-Man on several more occasions.
Taking on everyone from the Walrus to your average armed thugs, Frog-Man’s, or Eugene Patilio’s, heart is always in the right place. Usually surviving encounters with bad guys more out of luck than skill, Spider-Man or other heroes are always there to save his bacon. Still, despite serving as a friendly nuisance and an all-around inconvenience, Spider-Man appreciates that Frog-Man is at least attempting to do the right thing.
4. DOCTOR DOOM
The mortal enemy to the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom has always maintained a unique relationship with Spider-Man. One of the first villains Spidey ever faced, way back in The Amazing Spider-Man #5, it wouldn’t be the last time they met. Without question, the two are foes, but neither holds hatred for the other in the way Doom does for Mr. Fantastic. Spider-Man pairing up with the ever-haughty Doctor Doom is a challenging experience nonetheless for the wall-crawler.
In Marvel Team-Up #43-44, Spider-Man, along with the heroes Vision Scarlet Witch, and Moondragon, all fight alongside Doctor Doom to take on the mystical baddie known as the Dark Rider. With plenty of time travel, magic bolts, and prophecies involved, Spider-Man finds himself out of his comfort zone to say the least, but despite his and his friends’ feelings for Doom, they realize they need his power to save the day.
3. JOHN BELUSHI
Occasionally reality and fantasy meet. That’s what happened in issue #74 of Marvel Team-Up when Spider-Man encounters the cast of Saturday Night Live, including John Belushi himself. It’s a pretty bizarre story, even as Spider-Man-related comics go. Not because of other dimensions or stuff like that, but because comedian John Belushi takes on the Silver Samurai in front of a live audience. Also, Stan Lee makes a cameo in there too.
Additionally, despite any powers or training, the SNL cast, made up of Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Bill Murray, Laraine Newman, and Gilda Radner all do their part, defeating nearly all of Silver Samurai’s henchmen without any help from Spider-Man. It’s a team-up nobody saw coming, but one that harkens back to a simpler time in comics when actors and superheroes went together surprisingly well. This was the first and last time that Spider-Man would team up with the SNL cast, but not the last celebrity he’d meet throughout his many years of comics.
One of Marvel’s most iconic characters hands-down, Venom is also one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes. With an unbridled hatred for the wall-crawler, Venom’s singular goal in life is to destroy, and sometimes eat, Spider-Man. Venom would rear his ugly head numerous times since his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #299 and #300. Created by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane, Venom remained an antagonist who Spider-Man feared with a healthy passion. Yet all their animosity for one another would be put on hold during the 1994 mini-event written by Tom DeFalco known as Maximum Carnage.
Forced to team up against the murderously insane Kletus Cassady, otherwise known as Carnage, a maddened symbiote with all of Venom and Spider-Man’s powers, it’s the team-up neither saw coming. Frankly, despite being outmatched by Carnage, they still don’t want to help the other; only when the city of New York starts descending into real chaos do Venom and Spider-Man realize that like it or not, they need one another.
1. NORMAN OSBORN
It’s one thing to work alongside a laughable D-list villain or a super-powered pig, but it’s another thing entirely to work with your greatest enemy. The Green Goblin and Spider-Man have been at each other’s throats for decades, the two constantly a thorn in the other’s side, with Norman Osborn all but making it his life’s mission to ruin Peter Parker and everything Spider-man stands for. There is no one Peter hates more, especially since the death of Gwen Stacy. Whenever he faces the Green Goblin, Spider-Man’s banter is put on hold; he’s deadly serious. Enter issue #95 of Spider-Man by Howard Mackie.
At this point, the two figures have been playing a long game of cat and mouse, but that all gets put on hold when the supervillain Nitro blows up the elevator Peter, Norman, Betty Brant and young Normie Osborn (Norman’s grandson) are in. What follows features the two men, still at odds with one another, but now talking freely and having to team up despite the loathing they feel for one another, in order to survive. It’s as ghastly a team up as Peter Parker has ever endured and definitely one for the history books.
What’s the weirdest Spider-Man team-up that you can think of? Let us know in the comments!