Part of the fun of The Marvel Universe is watching the eclectic collection of heroes, anti-heroes and villains that call it home bounce off of each other and interact. Those types of interactions were the inspiration for two popular and influential books from the '70s and '80s; Marvel Team-Up, which usually paired Spider-Man with a wide variety of characters, and Marvel-Two-In-One, where the Thing joined forces with both big name and lesser known characters. Unfortunately it's much harder for those types of books to find a foothold in the current comic market -- even the recently announced Marvel Two-In-One reboot looks to be more of a Human Torch/Thing book than one featuring a rotating cast of guest stars. As a result, a lot of great and natural Marvel team-up stories are going untold.
This is, quite frankly, a shame! So we've decided to put together some Marvel pairings we think a lot of readers might be interested in. We break down why putting these characters together would make for compelling and fun tales, which creators might be best suited for their stories, and what types of books the tales could appear in. Let's have some fun!
Captain America and Indiana Jones
Since Disney owns both Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm, there's been a lot of fan chatter about potential crossovers between the Marvel and Star Wars Universes. That would be fun, but personally I'm way more excited about a possible team-up between pop culture's premier Nazi punchers: Marvel's Captain America, and Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones.
The bonds Cap and Indy share would make for a natural, incredibly fun, and visually dynamic tale. On top of a common enemy in the Nazi's both characters are known for big pulp style World War II era exploits. There's also the fact that each character has a signature and visually distinctive weapon. Imagine Cap having to use Indy's bullwhip to swing across a dangerous chasm! Or Indy weathering machine gun fire by wielding Cap's shield! Heck the teaser poster for the story could be the shield in the center with the whip coiled around it!
You could have quite a bit of interesting character moments between Steve Rogers and Henry Jones Jr. Both characters lost their mothers at a young age and had difficult relationships with their fathers. Both are champions of freedom and knowledge. Both have had big brother-style relationships with younger characters (Cap with Bucky, and Indy with Short Round). Plus, I think as an archeologist, Indy would have an interesting perspective on the symbolic power of Cap.
Possible creators: Given his experience writing both Captain America and other iconic Lucasfilm characters like Star Wars' Princess Leia, Mark Waid would be the perfect writer for a Captain America and Indiana Jones adventure. On the art side, you'd want someone capable of capturing both the iconic feel of the lead characters and telling a gripping World War II adventure story. Either Stuart Immonen or John Cassaday could do both of those things, and knock the story out of the park
Where to do it: A Cap-Indy team up is an event in and of itself and therefore would require it's own miniseries. Set it out of continuity in a separate universe where both characters exist, and have a young screw up Army private named Steve Rogers be assigned as a military escort to Indiana Jones' latest expedition for the U.S. Government. Then you're off and running!
U.S. Agent and Batroc
I love buddy stories, especially mismatched ones, where characters who would normally hate each other are forced to team up and find out they work well together. You could do that sort of reluctant team up with a number of Marvel heroes and villains, but if you're looking for a tale that has the potential to be fun, action-packed and hilarious, look no further than the volatile combination that is former Captain America John Walker, AKA The U.S. Agent, and frequent Captain America foe, Batroc.
Walker's gruff, take no prisoners approach to both patriotism and superheroics would clash wonderfully with Batroc's mercenary and European sensibilities. In the hands of the right writer, the banter between the two characters could be amazing and incredibly funny. Plus there's the two characters' relationship with the identity of Captain America. Walker believes that only Steve Rogers is fit to be Cap while Batroc frequently tests his cunning and combat skills against Rogers. I believe he's also clashed with every modern day replacement incarnation of Cap, except John Walker.
Possible creators: Gerry Duggan has done a number of Shane Black “mismatched buddy” style team-ups for Marvel including a Deadpool Vs. Hawkeye miniseries, and a Captain America and Cyclops serial that ran through the pages of A+X. So he's got the action-comedy chops for such a story. Kieron Gillen also showed an incredible affinity for and insight into Batroc with his 2011 Captain America & Batroc one-shot. The artists for this story would have to be able to deliver big action, humor and moments of pathos. Artists Scott Koblish and Mike Hawthorne routinely and expertly delivered those types of moments during their work on Deadpool.
Where to do it: Since neither character have their own ongoing title, a U.S. Agent-Batroc story would probably be best done as a one-shot or a short miniseries.
Wolverine (Laura Kinney) and Shang-Chi
The road to heroism isn't always an easy one. In fact some of the Marvel Universe's most fascinating heroes are the ones that overcame horrific pasts and became something greater. Two of my favorite examples of that type of hero are the current Wolverine (AKA Laura Kinney) and the martial artist, reluctant spy, and former Avenger Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu.
Both Laura and Shang had their childhoods stolen from them by evil forces that wanted to forge them into living weapons. Essentially, they're former child soldiers who know what it's like to commit murder and be haunted by past deeds. That's a powerful bond to share, and could lead to some compelling and action-packed stories.
Possible creators and where to do it: The current All-New Wolverine creative teams of writer Tom Taylor and artists like David Lopez, Nik Virella, and Leonard Kirk have been doing an excellent job of weaving their title character into the larger Marvel Universe. Given room and time to tell the story organically, Taylor and his collaborators could do wonders with a team up between Wolverine and Shang-Chi. Plus, you would get the added bonus of seeing Shang interact with Laura's kid-sister and protege, Gabby
Quicksilver and Northstar
Sometimes the best interactions come from two characters so much alike that they would probably hate each other. One of the best examples of that in the Marvel Universe are the characters of Northstar and Quicksilver. Both are arrogant, super-fast heroes with sister issues, whose superheroic careers have been mostly team-driven. And, of course, both characters are known for their snarky senses of humor.
There's bound to be a lot of fun to be had bouncing them off of each other. In addition to beating up supervillains, the inevitable race to see who's faster and quibbles over which of their twin sisters have caused the biggest headaches, you could also explore the characters' differences. Like the fact that Northstar is happily married while Quicksilver is divorced, or the fact that Northstar is a mutant, while after years of believing he was one, too, Quicksilver recently discovered that he's actually a human who was genetically altered by the High Evolutionary.
Possible creators: Fred Van Lente does great and incredibly funny character based work as demonstrated in recent Marvel titles like Slapstick and Deadpool Vs. Punisher. Van Lente's co-writer and artistic collaborator on Slapstick, Reilly Brown could deliver the humor and highly kinetic action that a story pairing Marvel's fastest and snarkiest heroes would demand.
Where to do it: I think the fast paced nature of both Quicksilver and Northstar would lend itself to a short digital serial done in Marvel's “Infinite Comic” style format.
Daredevil and Nightcrawler
Matt Murdock and Kurt Wagner move in separate circles, so I don't believe they've had much interaction, which is a shame, because there's a lot of fun and interesting stories you could tell by pairing the two together. There's, of course, the striking visual contrast between the two: Daredevil looks human and dresses in a devil-themed costume, whereas Nightcrawler has a naturally demonic appearance. That element is made even more interesting by the fact that both characters are men of faith.
The best reason, though, for a Daredevil/Nightcrawler team up is the fact that both characters have swashbuckling sides. You could embroil them in a variety of fun, devil-may-care adventures like battling pirates on the high seas or chasing Hand ninjas across rooftops and clifftops. Plus I think these two character would legitimately enjoy each other's company. I could see them becoming very good friends.
Possible creators and where to do it: This is the kind of story where it should be fun, first and foremost. So perhaps it could be done as a mini-arc or even an annual in Charles Soule's current Daredevil run. Marc Guggenheim, writer of X-Men Gold (where Nightcrawler currently appears) is also a Daredevil fan, so another option would be to present it as a crossover between both books. Goran Sudzuka, who pencilled the recent two part Honk Kong arc of Daredevil where he teamed up with Spider-Man could provide art for the DD chapter(s), and R.B. Silva would be a great choice for the X-Men: Gold's installment.
Unstoppable Wasp and Tilda Johnson
Nadia Pym, AKA the Unstoppable Wasp, is optimistic and more than a little naive while Tilda Johnson is a sarcastic, worldly, violent anti-hero trying to atone for her past as the super villain known as Deadly Nightshade. What do these two seemingly unrelated heroes have in common? A love of science, and the fact that both are two of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe. Both are also Avengers; Nadia serves with the current Sam Wilson-led team, while Tilda recently joined with Clint Barton's band of traveling adventurers in Occupy Avengers. Plus, like Tilda, Nadia is trying to move beyond a difficult past; in her case, the hellish childhood she spent as part of the Red Room training program for super assassins and spies.
A team up between these two character could happen organically, and it's probably only a matter of time before it happens. A shared love and aptitude for science could unite the two, resulting in some great moments where Nadia's guileless optimism clashes with Tilda's brutally honest sarcasm. It would be a team up that has the chance to be both hilarious and heartfelt.
Possible creators and where to do it: As I mentioned, it's probably only a matter of time until Nadia and Tilda cross paths and I think Mark Waid would do a great job with that combination in Avengers, where Nadia currently appears. David Walker, who revived Tilda, in his fantastic Nighthawk series, and currently writes her in Occupy Avengers would also be great. Probably the best place for this team-up, though is in Nadia's fantastic and fun Unstoppable Wasp title, where writer Jeremy Whitley and artist Elsa Charretier could focus in on just the two characters and not have to worry about including their teammates.