As decades of comics, movies, cartoons and video games have shown, superheroes love two things. They love to team up, and they love to fight. And for most of the past decade or so, superheroes have spent a lot of time fighting the heroes they usually work with. While interpersonal conflict on superhero teams is nothing new, superhero squabbles have been the heart of major comic book movies like Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Although minor misunderstandings have fueled some of these conflicts, many of these super-skirmishes are rooted in intense, mutual negative feelings that border on the kind of hatred once reserved for supervillains.
Now, CBR is taking a look at some superhero teammates who absolutely cannot stand each other. In this hardly comprehensive list, we’ll be looking at some of the most fierce superhero rivalries in comics. In addition to finding new depths in famous feuds, we’ll also be looking back at some feuds between superheroes that some fans might not expect. Even though most of these rivalries ended with some kind of truce, they remain compelling sources of conflict that have forced fans to take sides when their favorite heroes almost came to blows.
15. BATMAN AND GREEN LANTERN (HAL JORDAN)
While Batman and Earth’s most famous Green Lantern are two of DC’s biggest icons, the Justice Leaguers have come to blows more than once. In the 1990s, Hal Jordan was infected by a psychic parasite and became the crazed cosmic villain Parallax before his death. When Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver brought Jordan back to life in 2004’s Green Lantern: Rebirth, Batman was skeptical about Jordan’s reform and return.
In response, the Green Lantern expressed skepticism about Batman’s reliance on darkness and fear tactics, which are the opposite of the Green Lantern Corps’ principles. During his return, Jordan ended a confrontation with Batman by knocking him out with one punch, and Batman returned the favor a few months later before reconciling. In the world of Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All Star Batman and Robin #10, the pair clashed again when Hal disapproved of Batman’s new partnership with Robin.
14. CABLE AND DEADPOOL
Cable and Deadpool, the upcoming co-stars of Deadpool 2, have a lot in common. Both debuted during Rob Liefeld’s run on New Mutants in the early 1990s, have a penchant for big guns and found success as solo characters and alongside Marvel’s other mutants. Starting in 2004, they even starred together in the long-running series Cable & Deadpool, where the unlikely partners had a love-hate relationship.
Long before that, the pair first encountered each other as enemies. As revealed in the 2014 miniseries Deadpool vs. X-Force, by Duane Swierczynski and Pepe Larraz, Deadpool tried to erase Cable from time in a previously unseen incident. In 1991’s New Mutants #98, by Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, Deadpool was hired by Tolliver, Cable’s evil time-traveling son, to kill the psychic mutant. In Gerry Duggan and Scott Koblish’s Despicable Deadpool, the pair have started fighting again in the ongoing story “Deadpool Kills Cable.”
13. CYCLOPS AND WOLVERINE
Even before they became rivals for Jean Grey’s affections, Cyclops and Wolverine didn’t get along. From the moment Logan joined the X-Men, he and Scott Summers rubbed each other the wrong way. While those clashing personalities eventually grew into mutual begrudging respect, that relationship was shattered after the events of the 2011 crossover X-Men: Schism. While Cyclops thought the X-Men should continue to follow a more militaristic track, Logan believed the X-Men needed to focus on protecting young mutants.
After that Jason Aaron-penned crossover ended with a brutal fight between the pair, the rift between the two propelled years of X-Men stories. Most of the X-Men took Wolverine’s side, especially after a Phoenix-possessed Cyclops killed Professor X in the 2012 crossover Avengers vs. X-Men. Even though Cyclops wasn’t fully responsible for his actions, Wolverine and his teammates turned against their longtime leader with a vengeance.
12. DAREDEVIL AND PUNISHER
From Marvel’s Netflix shows to their numerous comic book encounters, Daredevil and the Punisher have one of comics’ most enduring superhero rivalries. During their first meeting, in Frank Miller and Roger McKenzie’s Daredevil #183, Frank Castle knocked Daredevil out with a tranquilizer when he thought the hero was too lenient with a criminal.
Since Daredevil believes in the due process of the justice system, the Punisher’s lethal methods have been a continuing source of contention. In Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s The Punisher #3, Castle made a tortured Daredevil choose between murdering him or letting him kill a criminal to prove that he couldn’t be stopped. Despite their numerous conflicts, they’ve worked together on several occasions. In addition to their occasional one-on-one team-ups, both characters were members of the Marvel Knights, a short-lived group of Marvel’s street-level heroes.
11. GREEN ARROW AND HAWKMAN
Although Marvel super-teams like the Fantastic Four and the Avengers made bickering superheroes popular, two stalwart Justice League members embraced the new trope in the 1970s. Thanks to his progressive, prickly nature, the outspoken Green Arrow, found a regular verbal sparring partner with Hawkman, a more traditionally conservative hero who’s sometimes associated with an alien police force.
Those arguments were given a more serious undertone in John Ostrander and Val Semeiks’ JLA: Incarnations #3. In that 2001 flashback story, Green Arrow went on TV and said that the Justice League was out of touch and didn’t pay enough attention to social issues. That didn’t sit well with Hawkman, who had been reimagined as a more established hero from a previous generation at that time. Green Arrow left the League after the incident, and the political firebrand continued to ruffle Hawkman’s feathers in several subsequent encounters.
10. ROGUE AND SCARLET WITCH
As former members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, both Rogue and the Scarlet Witch had auspicious starts to their superhero careers. As the surrogate children of Mystique and Magneto, respectively, both heroes found redemption and rose to leadership positions on teams like the X-Men and the Avengers.
After Scarlet Witch depowered most of the world’s mutants during the 2005 crossover House of M, Rogue held her personally responsible for the decimation of mutantkind. In 2013’s Uncanny Avengers #14, by Rick Remender and Steve McNiven, a confused Rogue stole Wolverine’s powers and fatally wounded the Scarlet Witch, who she thought was trying to depower mutants again. Although that was undone by time travel shenanigans, Rogue still gave Wanda Maximoff a frosty reception when she recently rejoined the team, partially due to her involvement in the events of Secret Empire.
9. BLACK PANTHER AND NAMOR
While most of Marvel’s heroes have relatively tame day jobs, Black Panther and Namor the Sub-Mariner are kings. The respective rulers of Wakanda and Atlantis generally got along well until the 2012 crossover Avengers Vs. X-Men. While possessed by the Phoenix Force, Namor flooded Wakanda in an effort to wipe out the Avengers. Although he was defeated, the attack left thousands of Wakandans dead.
Although Black Panther and Namor were both members of the Illuminati in New Avengers, tensions between the two rulers and their nations remained high. Wakanda attacked Atlantis, and Namor tricked Thanos and his Black Order into destroying Wakanda again. In 2015’s Avengers #40, by Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Caselli, T’Challa left Namor to certain death by abandoning him on a parallel world that was moments away from being destroyed. The pair ultimately made an uneasy truce to save all of existence in the crossover Secret Wars.
8. WONDER WOMAN AND HAWKGIRL
In the DC Animated Universe, Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl were both founding members of the Justice League. As Justice League morphed into Justice League Unlimited, Hawkgirl’s was revealed to secretly be an advance scout for the alien Thanagarians. After working with her people, Hawkgirl betrayed them and helped Earth’s heroes save the world in “Starcrossed.”
After some time in a self-imposed exile, Hawkgirl slowly came back into the newly expanded Justice League. While some members, like the Flash, embraced her, Wonder Woman remained skeptical of Hawkgirl’s true loyalties. Despite the Flash’s attempts to mend his teammates’ friendship, Hawkgirl was similarly standoffish towards Wonder Woman, since the Amazon seemingly voted to kick her off of the team. In the JLU episode, “The Balance,” the pair reconciled after they were forced to team up to defeat the sorcerer Felix Faust.
7. CABLE AND BISHOP
As heavily-armed, time-traveling mutants from the future, both Cable and Bishop joined today’s X-Men to create a better tomorrow for mutants. Despite the similarities in their backstories, Cable and Bishop didn’t share more than a few adventures for the first several years of their existence. Although they were on opposite sides of Marvel’s Civil War, the pair didn’t really come to blows until the 2007 X-Men crossover “Messiah Complex.”
In that crossover, Bishop believed that the newborn mutant Hope Summers would grow up to kill millions and trigger vicious anti-mutant hysteria. After Cable took Hope under his wing, Bishop chased the X-Force leader through time during Duane Swierczynski’s run on Cable. While Cable was responsible for the loss of Bishop’s arm, Bishop killed millions in alternate timelines as he hunted Cable and Hope. After an extended stay in a dead future, Bishop repented and came back into the X-Men’s fold.
6. ROBIN (DAMIAN WAYNE) AND RED ROBIN (TIM DRAKE)
Since Bruce Wayne took in Dick Grayson as his ward in 1940, Robin has basically been treated as Batman’s adopted son. When Damian Wayne, the biological son of Bruce Wayne, debuted in Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert’s Batman #655, he attacked that era’s Robin, Tim Drake. Although the pair co-existed as Robins for a short time, they continued to antagonize each other, even as they were forced to work together. While Damian felt Tim had taken his birthright, Tim, understandably, couldn’t get over Damian’s early attempts to kill him.
After taking over as Batman in Bruce’s absence, Dick Grayson made Damian his Robin. While Tim began operating as the more independent teen hero Red Robin, he maintained that Damian wasn’t worthy enough to carry on the Robin mantle and considered him a potential threat. While tensions between them have cooled, those Robins still have a serious case of sibling rivalry.
5. NAMOR AND THE HUMAN TORCH
Decades before the modern Marvel Universe took, two of Marvel’s earliest heroes fought in one of comics’ most formative events. By introducing the antihero Namor the Sub-Mariner in 1939’s Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1, Bill Everett created Marvel’s first major character. A few months later, Carl Burgos created the original Human Torch, an android named Jim Hammond, in 1939’s Marvel Comics #1. Since the Prince of Atlantis and the fiery hero made perfect foils for each other, they fought one another in the first superhero crossover.
In 1940’s Marvel Mystery Comics #8, by Everett and Burgos, Namor destroyed several New York landmarks and fought the Torch as part of his campaign against “surface dwellers.” The pair battled a few more times, including one memorable instance when Namor flooded Manhattan with a tidal wave. During World War II, they set aside their differences and joined Captain America to form the Invaders.
4. KITTY PRYDE AND EMMA FROST
Both Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost made their debut in 1980’s X-Men #129, by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. While they would both eventually become essential X-Men members, they couldn’t have been more different in their early years. Kitty was a young teenage mutant, and Emma was the White Queen of the powerful Hellfire Club. When Kitty rejected Emma’s offer to join her Massachusetts Academy, the White Queen punished her by sending the Hellfire Club’s forces after her and the X-Men.
When Kitty rejoined the X-Men in 2004’s Astonishing X-Men #1, by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, she wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about Frost’s presence on the team. Although Frost had long since reformed and been an ally of the X-Men, Kitty said the she still thought Frost was the embodiment of all evil. After Cassandra Nova’s machinations led the two to fight, the pair reconciled and became uneasy allies.
3. CAPTAIN AMERICA AND IRON MAN
Before Civil War, Captain America and Iron Man had a fairly close friendship from their shared time on the Avengers. While they bristled against each other when the Captain ordered Iron Man’s West Coast Avengers to disband in the mid-1990s, they only fought during obligatory occasional superhero skirmishes until 2006’s Civil War, by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.
As adapted in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark found themselves leading opposing factions during the fight over the Superhero Registration Act. Even though the pair began to mend fences after that well-documented conflict, Iron Man betrayed Captain America again in 2010’s New Avengers #3, by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting. After realizing that they had to destroy parallel worlds, Iron Man and the Illuminati, a secret group of heroes, kicked Rogers out of their group and erased his memories of his time there.
2. HULK AND IRON MAN
While they might be “science buddies” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner haven’t always had the coziest relationship in comics. Using his specially-built Hulkbuster armor, Iron Man tried to calm down a rampaging Hulk on a few occasions over the years. Still, their real animosity towards each other didn’t start until Iron Man and the other members of the Illuminati sent Hulk to exile in outer space.
After the events of “Planet Hulk,” the Hulk returned to Earth where he unleashed an all-out assault on Iron Man and the Illuminati during the 2007 crossover World War Hulk, by Greg Pak and John Romita Jr. The pair came to blows again in the wake of revelations revealed during the 2014 crossover Original Sin. In that story, Banner discovered that Stark drunkenly made secret modifications to the gamma bomb that turned him into the Hulk.
1. BATMAN AND GREEN LANTERN (GUY GARDNER)
When a makeshift group of heroes became the foundation of the Justice League International, Guy Gardner, Earth’s most outspoken, standoffish Green Lantern, took over Hal Jordan’s traditional role as the team’s Lantern. In Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire’s comedic take on the League, Gardner’s belligerence and continued complaints about leadership didn’t sit well with the rest of team members, especially Batman.
In 1987’s Justice League #5, the conflict between Batman and Gardner came to a head when Gardner challenged the Dark Knight to a fist fight. After taking his ring off, Batman knocked Gardner out with one punch in one of the funniest moments in the Justice League’s history. Years later, Batman even kept Gardner from rejoining the League with a silent stare. Although the two have worked together on occasion, their intense mutual dislike has become the stuff of Justice League legend.
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