While the events surrounding their creation are often odd, quirky or controversial, comic book character mashups have long been a guilty pleasure among the fan world. It's one of the pillars of fan service, and character mashups have graced every medium, from music supergroups to anime characters fusing in their respective shows. But in Marvel Comics, character mashups are not only encouraged and plentiful -- they're often very good. Over the years, tons of character mashups that started as inside jokes or variant covers have spun off into full-fledged heroes and villains, capable of carrying a run or two in the comics. Characters like Ghost Rider, Punisher, Captain America and Deadpool have all been subject to some interesting mashups over the years, whether it's an obsession with Gwen Stacy or the need to bring together all of the "Captains" of the Marvel Universe. There was even that time DC and Marvel met in the Amalgam Universe.
But not every mashup is something special like Gwenpool or Cosmic Ghost Rider. No, some mashups are unpopular, and often times weaker in power than their separated counterparts. For heavy hitters, the power boost totally works and these new, combined heroes take on a name of their own. But for many, they simply fade into oblivion. With "Infinity Warps" set to usher in a whole new era of mashup Marvel heroes with names like Arachknight and Soldier Supreme, let's break down ten past mashups that were more powerful than their separate parts, and ten that couldn't quite cut it.
20 MORE POWERFUL: COSMIC GHOST RIDER
He's a bit newer to the scene, but this fiery creation has proven to be something quite special. A future version of Frank Castle, Cosmic Ghost Rider has been everything from a Herald of Galactus to Thanos' right-hand to the perpetrator of a back-in-time taking (of Baby Thanos, of course).
His humor is top notch, but it's nothing compared to his pure power, with the rage and determination of the Punisher, the Spirit of Vengeance and the Power Cosmic all rolled into one neat little, expertly designed package. Plus, his mount might be the greatest Ghost Rider ride this side of a Wooly Mammoth.
19 LESS POWERFUL: WEAPON H
Being more powerful doesn't always mean that the more brute strength you have, the more likely you are to take down the enemy. In the case of Weapon H, he's a jack of all trades but a master of none when it comes to harnessing the powers of the heroes he's a mashup of. With the strength of the Hulk and the claws of Wolverine, Weapon H should be one of the most dangerous forces out there in the grounded Marvel Universe.
Instead, Weapon H is a bit of a loose cannon, not exactly in control of any parts of his power set, which often leads him to flailing in the middle of nowhere or destroying some property for no reason. Wolverine and Hulk could easily take him on solo.
18 MORE POWERFUL: RED GOBLIN
If you were to pick two villains that could cause the most havoc thrown together, chances are you'd eventually land on Green Goblin and Carnage. Sure, each are psychotic, treacherous and diabolical in their own right, but a mindful Norman Osborn equipped with the serial violent tendencies of the Carnage symbiote means that there won't be any remorse in the tactile ways he goes about offing his enemies.
Sure, his villainous stint in the comics was short, but we wouldn't be surprised to see a return to the Red Goblin in the future. After all, Norman seems better suited than Cletus Kasady to wield the evil goo.
17 LESS: JUGGERDUCK
OK, so we haven't gotten to see too much of what Juggerduck can do, but we can break down his parts to see if there's really any benefit to blending the Omega Level brute force of Juggernaut with the snideness of Howard the Duck.
And sure, it's a quirky, probably hilarious take on the two characters (and more Howard the Duck is always a good thing), but we're not so sure that Juggerduck will be more powerful than the Juggernaut himself or even Howard the Duck and his incredible detective skills. OK, maybe we're not married to that last assertion.
16 MORE POWERFUL: GWENPOOL
As far as "things that could have gone terribly wrong" go, Gwenpool was a best-case scenario. Not only has this amalgamation of Deadpool and Gwen Stacy (that's really neither of them) have one of the most well-drawn runs of the last ten years, but she also happens to have a power set that could quite literally unravel reality as the heroes of the Marvel Universe know it.
Seriously, though she may be grounded in her day-to-day exploits, her knowledge, awareness and ability to manipulate the panels and pages of comic books might be the strongest weapon in all of Marvel Comics. Hey, it's definitely up there.
15 LESS POWERFUL: GWENOM
In a similar vein to Peter Parker's run-in with the Venom symbiote, Gwen Stacy really isn't made a better or more powerful hero because of it. OK, in terms of pure strength it might help, but even Gwen knew when it was time to move past the power boost and use her own skills as Spider-Gwen to become a better hero.
We've got to say though, the design of Gwenom is top-notch, and might be one of the coolest uses of "Venomization" since the early days of the symbiote's variant cover cameos. Who would've thought that a hoodie with teeth would be so menacing?
14 MORE POWERFUL: STORM THOR
How can you take one of the strongest mutants of all time and give her a power-up? Well, make her worthy of the power of Mjolnir, of course. Not only does Storm Thor still retain all of her abilities from being one of the top, leading members of the X-Men, but she also gains the imbued power of an Asgardian and everything that comes with it.
She's even recently regained the power of Mjolnir (and lost it again) in the comics, so the hype is certainly still there. We're not sure about you, but we'd read an entire run based on the Storm Thor concept.
13 LESS: VENOMPOOL
Like most of the "Venomized" versions of the not-so-friendly symbiote, Venompool didn't really enhance Deadpool as a character beyond just have a really cool suit to show off. Sure, having the symbiote bonded to a "hero" with an already too lax stance on questionable tendencies probably wasn't the greatest idea to begin with, but when said mutant is already nigh indestructible, there's really not much higher to strive for.
That being said, a return to the character in the future could make for an interesting dynamic now that Deadpool is back to his classic mercenary ways. And maybe there's another symbiote out there for him, perhaps one with wings?
12 MORE POWERFUL: SPIDER-GWEN
Originally a variant cover character turned Spider-Verse guest, Spider-Gwen quickly became a phenomenon in her own right. Not only does she offer a unique take on the Spider-Man origin story by taking Peter Parker out of the picture, but she opens up a new, fresh corner of the Marvel Universe to explore, one that allows her to show off just how powerful she is.
She's dueled with The Hand, run from the police and traveled the Multiverse. And honestly, we'd say she's doing a much better job than Peter was at her age. Oh, and we suppose we should call her "Ghost-Spider" now.
11 LESS: PUNISHER/WAR MACHINE
Look, this concept totally made sense, and it was a fun handful of issues while the original War Machine was out of commission. But both Frank Castle and War Machine (James Rhodes) are better off on their own. For one thing, it's probably not the best idea to arm Frank Castle to the teeth with the best the military can offer, considering he takes out basically every bad guy which, despite how bad they may be, is still illegal in the Marvel Universe.
With Rhodey back in action in the pages of Tony Stark: Iron Man, we'll always look back at what could have been: Frank Castle as a true hero (now, where have we seen that before?)
10 MORE POWERFUL: ONSLAUGHT
When he first appeared, Onslaught might have been the most intimidating villain in a long time for the members of the X-Men. Seriously, an entity that blends that darkest parts of both Magneto and Professor X with the limitless power of Nate Grey and Franklin Richards, let loose on the world with a sweet design and some amped up abilities.
In recent years, Onslaught kind of made a return in "Avengers vs. X-Men: AXIS" with Red Skull thrown in to the mix, but he wasn't quite the brute terror that the original was. Can people please stop stealing Professor X's brain and/or consciousness? Thank you.
9 LESS POWERFUL: CAPTAIN AMERICA/PUNISHER
Hey, remember that time that the Punisher donned the mantle of Captain America and tried to be the beacon of hope that the world needed? Yeah, that didn't work out so well. In both the alternate reality take and main Marvel Universe take on the idea, Frank Castle simply couldn't live up to the precedent set by the previous Captains America (that's the plural of Captain America).
It's always a fun "What If?", but there's something powerful and idealistic about Steve Rogers and his defense of what's right. It's hard to imagine Frank Castle filling those shoes successfully. It didn't work with Cap and it didn't really work with War Machine. Just be you, Frank.
8 MORE POWERFUL: VENOM/RED HULK/GHOST RIDER
Sometimes you've just got to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall to make it stick, right? Well, in the cast of this Venom/Red Hulk/Ghost Rider combo pack, things got a little too wild for Thunderbolt Ross. And while blending these power set together might seem like to much, it certainly got the job done.
Plus, it'll be an extremely long time before we get the image of a symbiote-clad Hulk riding a flaming motorcycle out of our heads. Speaking of which, this is now an appreciation post for all of the cool stuff Ghost Rider has been doing the last few months. Riding mammoths? Possessing a Celestial? We're here for it.
7 LESS POWERFUL: STAR-LORD/KITTY PRYDE
While this is less of a mashup and more of Kitty Pryde donning the Star-Lord moniker and costume, there's a point to be made. Having Kitty Pryde lead the Guardians of the Galaxy after Peter Quill's royal departure, prior to "Secret Wars," should have been great.
It was a wonderful advancement for Kitty as a character and gave Star-Lord a break from the spotlight. But her time leading the ragtag space heroes was cut short, often sidelined and ultimately tossed in favor of splitting the happy couple of Kitty and Peter apart. We're still not over it. And then more heartbreak with Colossus? That's just too much to take.
6 MORE POWERFUL: CAPTAIN MARVEL/CAPTAIN AMERICA
There's really no two purer forces in the universe to bring together than Carol Danvers and Steve Rogers. They're beacons, leaders and the representations of what it means to be a true hero in the Marvel Universe.
So with Cosmic Ghost Rider assembling a weird superteam in his own future, it only makes sense that Danielle Cage, daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, would potentially be taking on the mantle of not only Captain America, but Captain Marvel. A cosmic superpower combined with the wit and will of Captain America is a force sure to be reckoned with, and we'll know soon enough how that shakes out.
5 LESS POWERFUL: ROCKET GROOT
Ugh, now that's just gross. OK, but seriously, an amalgamation of Rocket Raccoon and Groot seems like a no-brainer on paper, but the power set of this new Guardian of the Galaxy honestly seems like it'll just be Groot with Rocket's head. And no, we're not only saying that because that's exactly what this "Rocket Groot" is.
Groot's mild-mannered tendencies but incredible power are thrown off balance by how wild Rocket Raccoon is. We bet the combination of the two could have some spiraling ethical boundaries and end up causing more harm than chaotic good. But hey, we're all for weird character combinations.
4 MORE POWERFUL: VENOM/WOLVERINE
Now, this is one "Venomization" we can totally get behind, especially when it comes to pure power. Wolverine, in all of his ravenous, yet heroic ways, could tame the symbiote and use it to his benefit. Should he try again? Probably not, but that doesn't mean that this combined anti-hero isn't one of the most powerful amalgamations out there.
You've got Wolverine, with his nigh-limitless healing factor and Adamantium bones/claws, combined with the searing darkness of Venom. Yeah, we can't say we'd ever sleep soundly again after a run in with this guy. Can we go back to Deadpool having the symbiote now, please?
3 LESS POWERFUL: CYCLOPS/APOCALYPSE
Sure, let's go ahead an combine two of the most powerful and influential mutants of all-time. What could go wrong? After saving Nate Grey from bonding with the very first mutant, Cyclops fuses with Apocalypse himself, creating an awfully gross cyborg abomination.
But this new form is at odds, and seemingly overpowered by Cyclops, rendering its body and power set mostly useless. Cyclops is able to escape the bond of this new merged body, and the world is made better for never having to witness what those two power sets could do lock step with one another, at least for now.
2 MORE POWERFUL: GHOST RIDER/CELESTIAL
This may be one of the most recent additions to this list, but it's absolutely worth mentioning as far as being powerful goes. During the recent arc in Avengers, where the squad of Iron Man, She-Hulk, Ghost Rider and more go head-to-head with a group of zombified Celestials, Robbie Reyes is able to bond and possess a Celestial himself, becoming a flame-headed cosmic superpower that quite literally went toe-to-toe with a handful of other Celestials.
The design is straight out of mecha, and absolutely face-melting. If the rest of this Avengers run is as buckwild as this, we're totally on board.
1 LESS POWERFUL: RED ONSLAUGHT
While the original Onslaught was one of the scariest foes the X-Men have ever had to face, Red Onslaught really couldn't live up to what was set by his predecessor. Take the basic concept of Onslaught (the merging of minds between Professor X and Magneto) and combine that with the pure evil and intention of Red Skull and you've got yourself a Red Onslaught, in which Red Skull literally steals the brain of Professor X.
Sure, it didn't help that this all happened during the controversial "Avengers vs. X-Men: AXIS" event, but it doesn't change the fact that Red Onslaught just wasn't up to par with his previous form.