Batman and Robin are so ubiquitous with the notion of superhero duos that the phrase “dynamic duo” is attributed to them. And while it’s impossible to deny Batman and Robin as being the premier comic duo for almost a century, there are plenty of other superhero pairs who should share the limelight who didn’t go through a really strange period where they did everything together, including fight crime in spandex. Now this isn’t to say other superhero duos didn’t go through tumultuous periods of time (in regards to time of publication or within their narratives). In fact, superheroes going through turmoil is what often defines them. Duos, however are a little different in that what makes them memorable is not how they came to be or the hurdles they have to clear to establish their heroism.
Instead, they are often defined by how the characters play off one another and how well (or, sometimes, how not well they get along with one another). For some duos, they work best when they are continually butting heads. Other times they jibe like peanut butter and jelly when they’re on the same wave length. Either way, the best duos learn from one another. They grow as a unit and are often seen as not being able to have one without the other (in some cases, this is literally true as they may need each other for survival). And while these duos may not be as iconic as Batman and Robin, they are just as dynamic and unique.
25. RICK GRIMES AND CARL GRIMES
Say what you will about the relationship between Rick Grimes and his preteen son, Carl in AMC’s television series The Walking Dead, in the comics, these two jibe on a level that goes beyond father and son. These two are partners in crime (so to speak).
Rick sees Carl as an equal on some level. Sure it took over a decade and more than a hundred issues to get there for us, but for the characters, it was no more than a year or two. We suppose the zombie apocalypse you grow up fast.
24. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Husband and wife superhero duos aren’t terribly rare in comic books, but few are as iconic as Ant-Man and the Wasp. These two have certainly have their ups and downs (and boy are their downs awful), but when they’re together, there isn’t much they can’t accomplish both on the page and on the big screen.
Despite their tumultuous marriage, their names are forever linked to one another. Their miniature crime-fighting bouts can stop a purse-snatcher or disrupt an alien invasion. When it comes to Ant-Man and the Wasp, size matters.
23. COLLEEN WING AND MISTY KNIGHT
One is a tough-as-nails martial arts master who can cut you to ribbons with a katana. The other is street-smart former NYPD cop with a cybernetic arm and never misses her target. Together they are the Daughters of the Dragon.
If that isn’t the opening tagline to a grind house action flick, we don’t know what is. Misty Knight and Colleen Wing are opposite sides to the same butt-kicking, street vigilant coin and when they’re together no crime is unstoppable and no gang of ninjas is too big.
22. BEAST AND WONDER MAN
Beast and Wonder Man are the unlikeliest pair for Avengers BFFs to have ever graced the series. One is a blue-furred mutant and the other is… well, that part is a little more complicated. But once these two got together, their disparate backgrounds they became fast friends.
When they aren’t fighting world-ending threats, they’re going to the movies, playing table tennis and all the other activities best friends engage in. Their bromance is the stuff of Marvel Comics legend. Even at the height their popularity, the pair’s friendship was immortalized in a Marvel trading card.
21. THE WILL AND LYING CAT
Sometimes the relationship dynamic between a duo is predicated upon utilitarianism more so than it is companionship. This is the case when it comes to two of Saga’s more colorful characters, The Will and Lying Cat.
The Will is an intergalactic superhuman bounty hunter and Lying Cat is his pet/partner who acts as a living, breathing lie detector. While these two do care for one another (The Will once nearly sacrificed himself to rescue Lying Cat from the vacuum of space) they need each other to get the job done.
20. ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT
Up until they made their film debut in the James Gunn-helmed MCU film Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon and Groot were relatively unknown outside the realm of comics. On paper, their pairing seems pretty unlikely. A sentient tree and an alien raccoon with a penchant for over-sized fire arms doesn’t exactly sound like a match made in heaven.
19. BATGIRL AND BLACK CANARY
As of late, The Birds of Prey has been a trio, but two of its members are nothing short of best friends (and perhaps something more, if Tumblr has anything to say about it?). Batgirl and Black Canary have been there since the inception of Birds of Prey.
After Barbara Gordon took on the role of Oracle, having been confined to a wheelchair after the Joker attacked her, the first person she called to be her crime-fighting operative was Dinah Laurel Lance. And now they continue their fight back-to-back under DC’s Rebirth banner.
18. SPIDER-MAN AND HUMAN TORCH
Sometimes superhero duos work best not out of their ability to play off one another’s physical strengths, but their shared character traits, even if those traits are often seen obnoxious by any other hero who spends time with them.
When it comes to Spider-Man and Johnny Storm (the Human Torch), they strive on their shared affinity for poorly-timed quips. When these two are in their own respective comics, their jokes are usually shrugged off by anyone who hears them, but when these two are together, it’s almost something out of a Judd Apatow movie. They never stop talking.
17. ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG
Co-created by the legendary writer/artist Barry Windsor-Smith (Conan the Barbarian, Weapon X) Archer and Armstrong have always had a great pedigree behind them from a creative standpoint. But it wasn’t until recently that they’ve really been in the spotlight for broader comic readers.
The relationship between these two is unlike anything in comic books. Archer, a young naïve man who has been raised by monks, and Armstrong, an immortal hedonist who has become jaded over the passing millennia are the most unlikely of duos, but their dynamic blends humor, heartache and hope to make something truly special.
16. POWER MAN AND IRON FIST
Danny Rand and Luke Cage have one the most memorable partnerships in comic books. Upon their first encounter they got in a fight over a misunderstanding (that old chestnut), but soon worked things out and teamed up to defeat Bushmaster. Their partnership would continue as they formed The Heroes for Hire.
These guys were practically inseparable for most of the ’70s and ‘80s. And while they did eventually go their own ways (Luke settling down and Danny doing… well his own thing, sometimes dressed as Daredevil), they would continue their friendship and still team up from time to time.
15. CLOAK AND DAGGER
Some duos are comprised of two superheroes whose names are rarely uttered separately. Such is the case with Cloak and Dagger. While, yes, Cloak and Dagger have their own unique personalities, the reliance that have for one another makes them inseparable both in the comics and in the minds of readers.
Their relationship is unique in that they need each other for survival. Cloak needs to feed of Dagger’s light and Dagger needs Cloak to consume it order to keep their balance and stay alive. It’s as beautiful as it is tragic.
14. GREEN ARROW AND GREEN LANTERN
These two became the corner stone of social awareness for DC comics in the ’70s. Yes, we realize that sounds strange, but it’s absolutely true. And while this “wokeness” is certainly important in comic history (and the history of both Green Lantern and Green Arrow), it isn’t the only reason this duo is relevant.
These two are the closest to having a bickering married couple as a superhero duo without the matrimony as you can get. They constantly balance one another out and often tackle situations in disparate ways. The fact they are both arrogant hotheads exacerbates matters.
13. BOOSTER GOLD AND BLUE BEETLE
Best friends often rip on one another in an act to show affection. Yes, it’s a counter-intuitive facet of human relationships, but it so common place it’s hard to refute it as a natural part of friendship. Sadly, more often than not, one person becomes the butt of a lot of jokes.
However, if that person can take it and dish right back, the dynamic between them makes for comedy gold. Booster Gold and Blue Beetle have this kind of relationship. These guys are great and we’ve happy nothing (not even passing) can keep them apart.
12. HARLEY QUINN AND POISON IVY
People often cite The Joker as Harley Quinn’s greatest love, but a close second is Poison Ivy. These two are amazing at bringing out the best in each other (for what that’s worth in a couple of villains). Their relationship stems all the way back from Batman: The Animated Series and continues to grow.
Harley and Ivy challenge each other in a way only close friends can. Ivy is quick to point out the dangers of Harley’s obsession with Mr. J while Harley gets Ivy out of her comfort zone to try new things. They might be comics’ premier BFFs.
11. HAWKEYE AND HAWKEYE
What’s better than a sarcastic crack shot archer who runs headlong into any dangerous situation? Two sarcastic crack shot archers who run headlong into any dangerous situation. And no, we aren’t talking about Green Arrow and Speedy. The quiver-obsesses superhero duo we love is made up of Kate Bishop and Clint Barton (or Hawkeye and…well, Hawkeye).
The relationship between these two is fantastic. Their banter is always snippy and hilarious in the way there seems to be a debate about who the real Hawkeye is. And while they don’t get enough time on page together, when they do, it’s electric.
10. CAPTAIN AMERICA AND FALCON
Samuel Wilson has been Steve Rogers’s wing man (pun totally intended) since 1969. They are best friends and together they worked as a team to help better the lives of poorer neighborhoods in New York City, fighting crime and making the streets safe. Despite the smaller scope, this task somehow seems larger than facing an intergalactic cosmic threat.
9. DAREDEVIL AND BLACK WIDOW
If you didn’t know any better and someone was to tell you that one of the coolest superhero duos was comprised of a blind lawyer and a Russian spy, you would probably look at us like he had two heads (we’d be our own duo). But for those in the know, Black Widow and Daredevil are pretty awesome together.
While they have never had an established partnership in the same way that some team ups (Luke Cage and Iron First for example), when they are trolling the rooftops to take out magic ninjas and whatnot, they’re practically unbeatable.
8. JUDGE DREDD AND JUDGE ANDERSON
Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson couldn’t be any more different. Dredd is a steely, justice-serving machine and Anderson is an empathetic telepath with a sense of humor. But their conflicting personalities are what make them so great. They bring a balance to their very different takes on dystopian law enforcement.
And while they do share a similar knack for resourcefulness (the biggest reasons they both stay alive in Mega-City One), the scowl and smile dichotomy make for a great partnership, one with a pretty successful judgement rate… so, yay?
7. SWAMP THING AND JOHN CONSTANTINE
Elemental avatar, Swamp Thing and occult detective/magician John Constantine are as an unlikely pair as they come. Now to be fair, Constantine did make his first appearance in the pages of The Saga of Swamp Thing and actually helped Swamp Thing amplify his powers, but a snarky Englishman in a trench coat sure does seem out of place in a Louisianan marsh.
6. NOVA AND STAR-LORD
Nova and Star-Lord operate in vary similar capacities in that they both trek across the galaxy, finding trouble. While Nova acts more a deterrent and defender of injustice, Peter Quill often stumbles into trouble, dragging his team of fellow Guardians of the Galaxy into the mess.
But these two solidified their roles in the galaxy when they teamed up against one of the most powerful villains in Marvel Comics: Thanos. During the “Original Sin” crossover even, Peter Quill and Richard Rider face off against the Mad Titan, but only one of the heroes came out of it unscathed.
5. WOLVERINE AND NIGHTCRAWLER
Sometimes all a superhero duo has to have in order to work well together is the knack for engaging in lively discussions about theology and a mutual appreciation for drinking beer. Wolverine and Nightcrawler might be Marvel Comics’ greatest hangout buddies.
Sure they have seen their fair share of battles together, but where they really shine is when they are engaged over a discussion about religion while several deep at a bar. These moments are usually punctuated with some loud-mouthed yokel spewing anti-mutant sentiment before he gets Snikt’d and Bamf’s out of the watering hole.
4. SAM AND TWITCH
Sam and Twitch have been staples in Image Comics for over two decades. First appearing in the pages of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, the pair of homicide detectives have faced everything from monsters to vampires and everything in between (which includes the demonic entities that Al Simmons is often entangled with).
Twitch’s diminutive size and sharp-shooting skills standing in stark contract with Sam’s hulking mass and no-nonsense approach to getting the job done make them a surprisingly well-balanced duo in a world filled with seemingly endless horrors.
3. CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX
The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix might be one of the most bonkers X-Men miniseries ever published, which is saying a lot sense huge swathes of X-Men lore is nothing but craziness. But this four issues series is something special, mostly due to its titular leads.
Cyclops and Phoenix’s minds were spirited away into the future where they inhabited versions of themselves and raised Nathan Summers for over decade. Their cause to save the world in raising a man who would stand against Apocalypse an epic isolated tale, and one of the best Cyclops and Jean Grey stories ever written.
2. BATMAN AND SUPERMAN
When the world’s greatest tactician teams up with the world’s mightiest hero, they are practically unstoppable. Batman and Superman could not be any more different in regards to ability. Where Superman has practically unlimited strength and endurance, batman has practical unlimited wits about him and a complete lack of fear.
The only thing more disparate than their abilities is their personalities. Superman is a figure to inspire hope and Batman tries to scare the livening day lights out of people. But it’s their differences that make them such a unique pairing in comics.
1. CABLE AND DEADPOOL
There is a reason that Cable made an appearance in Deadpool 2 before showing up in any other X-Men film: he is the Dean Martin to Deadpool’s Jerry Lewis… only more insane. Cable might be the Marvel Comics character with the most convoluted backstory and Deadpool might be the most obnoxious.
Given his penchant for fourth-wall breaking meta-humor, Cable is perfect to be the butt of Wade Wilson’s peculiar brand of humor. Their series Cable & Deadpool galvanized their winning formula for 50 issues.
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