With over 78 years of publication history under their belt, Marvel Comics' never-ending roster of characters has grown to levels that are unmatched by any other company in the industry. With so many superheroes at their disposal, Marvel has created a seemingly infinite amount of team-ups and pairings, often times clashing their A-level heroes with fringe characters you’d never even heard of. These pairings are ripe for unique, and often times bizarre, storytelling that could only be possible in the limitless world of comic books. While this list can only hope to scratch the surface of Marvel’s long history of character team-ups, it will highlight some of the most odd, awesome and questionable in the companies history. Grab a buddy, and get ready to dive into Marvel’s most WTF team-ups.
15 Spider-Man and Venom
If you asked someone who Spider-Man’s arch nemesis is, the unanimous answer would almost certainly be Venom. While this technically wouldn’t be incorrect, we would have to gently remind them about that time Venom and Spidey teamed up.
Back in the '90s, Venom’s popularity was at an all-time high, leaving Marvel in a bit of a predicament being that it was pretty difficult to successfully market a brain hungry villain as a key player in their comic book line. As a result, Venom would put his blood lust for Spider-Man aside to take on Carnage, a newly created and ultra violent symbiote character. Venom and Spider-Man would only work together for a short period of time, but their initial pairing was very shocking to readers in the 1990s.
14 Hawkeye and Pizza Dog
Hawkeye and Pizza Dog’s “meet cute” is equal parts adorable and heart-wrenching. When Hawkeye found himself on the receiving end of a beating from the dreaded Tracksuit Mafia, things didn’t look good for the Avengers member. That is, until a dog attacked the members of the Mafia, saving Hawkeye from certain death.
The Tracksuit Mafia was so enraged by the intrusion that they beat the dog and left him for dead. To repay the favor, Hawkeye rescued the dog and took him in as his own. He even named the heroic pooch Pizza Dog. Pizza Dog continued to live with Hawkeye for some time, and would even help Clint out when he was danger (which, as it turns out, is most of the time). Pizza Dog has become a beloved character, and even had an entire issue devoted to one of his pizza-loving adventures.
13 Iron Man and The Guardians of the Galaxy
Iron Man has done nearly everything there is to do on Earth. He formed the Avengers, acted as CEO of Stark Enterprises and protected the world from more villains than you could shake an arc reactor at. So what does the billionaire, playboy, philanthropist do when he grows bored of his Earthly surroundings? He sets his sight on the galaxy that surrounds it.
Once Tony made this decision to go on a little “space retreat,” he knew just the people to call: The Guardians of the Galaxy. During his brief stint as a Guardian, Tony offered a unique level of experience and intellect that made him a welcome addition to the team. While this partnership only occurred in the comic books, we can only hope that it will make it’s way onto the silver screen one day.
12 Rocket Raccoon and the Hulk
Long before Rocket Raccoon ever met Groot, the fur ball with firepower had another partner: The Incredible Hulk. While this duo’s team-up in The Incredible Hulk #271 was brief, it maintains a level of significance due to the fact that it was Rocket’s first appearance in a Marvel comic book.
When Hulk woke up on Rocket’s home planet of Halfworld, he found himself stuck in the middle of a battle that threatened to destroy the planet. Lucky for Rocket, there aren't many heroes better suited to help you out in a pinch like The Incredible Hulk. Hulk helped Rocket defeat a slew of utterly bizarre characters (killer clowns and bunnies, to be exact) to regain order on the planet. This is a team-up we wouldn’t mind seeing again.
11 Wolverine and Deadpool
When Wolverine and Deadpool cross paths, you can never be quite sure what may come of it. On a good day, Wolvie and Deadpool may team-up to take down some poor unsuspecting villain, but on a bad day, they could spend an inordinate amount of time trying to murder each other.
To call this pairing volatile would be an understatement. Lucky for this duo, they’ve both gone through the weapon-X program, an experiment that left them both with an exceptional regenerative healing ability. So, at least they can’t actually kill each other. Over the years, Deadpool and Wolverine have shared more than a handful of comic book stories together. While sharing the pages of a comic book is great, we can’t help but dream about the awesomeness that would ensue if this partnership made its way onto movie screens.
In perhaps the biggest team-up to grace this list, 2014’s Spider-Verse storyline involved every Spider-Man character to ever exist. Turns out, there are a ton of spider-men/women/pigs running around the endless Marvel universe. Yes, we did say pigs.
Just some of the spider characters involved were Spider-Ham (a pig named Peter Porker), Spider-Gwen (from a world where Peter Parker’s friend was bitten by the spider instead of him) and even Spider-Man UK (this one’s pretty self explanatory). All of these spider characters were forced to gather in one universe to battle an inter-dimensional threat that was traveling through time and space with a goal of killing every version of Spider-Man to ever exist. Sadly, there were a lot of casualties in this story, but luckily it also birthed a whole new generation of Spider-Man characters.
9 Squirrel Girl and Iron Man
When Doctor Doom hatched yet another one of his nefarious world threatening plans, Tony Stark was forced to rely on the most immediate partner he could find: Squirrel Girl.
Doom managed to get the upper hand on Iron Man, which left him imprisoned on the super villain’s ship. Luckily his partner, Squirrel Girl, had a plan up her sleeve. How does Squirrel Girl solve a problem, you ask? She uses hundreds of—you guessed it—squirrels. Squirrel Girl ordered her furry friends to swarm Doom’s ship, overwhelming the Latverian leader, and distracting him long enough for Stark to gain the upper hand. After Squirrel Girl’s invaluable assistance, you’d think Iron Man would be clamoring to make her an Avenger, but Stark seemed reluctant to make a girl who talks to squirrels his permanent partner.
8 Spider-Man and Spider-Man
After Mysterio (bowl-head and Spider-Man Villian with a grudge) created a rift in the fabric of time that separates the Marvel multiverse, Peter Parker found himself in an unfamiliar world where he discovered that he had been dead for several years.
While that would be enough to leave any hero shaking in their red and blue tights, things only got weirder when Peter encountered a younger—and similarly dressed—hero who also called himself Spider-Man. The Spider-Man of this alternate reality was Miles Morales, and he had had his own fateful run in with a radioactive spider, and when Peter died, Miles vowed to fight crime to honor Peter’s legacy under the Spider-Man mantle. After some tense first moments consisting of a lot of web shooting, the pair would eventually team-up to get Peter back home to his rightful universe.
7 Deadpool and the X-Men
One of Deadpool’s greatest dreams was to one day be welcomed in as a member of the X-Men, but being an X-Man isn’t always fun and games.
The X-Men are almost always the target of some sort of slanderous political campaign designed to take the group down, and when the X-Men found themselves dealing with just such a scandal, Deadpool decided to take matters into his own hands. Deadpool hoped that by silencing (and by silencing, we mean murdering) the talking head publicly slandering the team, he would be welcomed with open arms as a new member of the X-Men. Great plan, right? Once Cyclops, the leader of the X-Men, got wind of Deadpool’s little plan, he was furious, and decided that the only way to keep Deadpool from murdering people in the name of the X-Men was to make Deadpool a part of the team.
6 The Illuminati
There are A LOT of teams in the Marvel universe, and at the head of each is a powerful, influential leader. So what happens when Tony Stark (founder of the Avengers), Reed Richards (founder of the Fantastic Four), Charles Xavier (founder of the X-Men), Namor (king of Atlantis) and Black Bolt (leader of the Inhumans) secretly join forces? You get Marvel’s own version of the Illuminati.
The Illuminati would use their vast influence over their respective groups to guide the superhero world in whatever direction the team saw fit. While the Illuminati sounds good in theory, their time as a team was short-lived, and they would quickly disband once distrust began to run rampant throughout the group. Will the Illuminati ever reform? If they do, we’d probably never see it coming.
5 Superior Foes of Spider-Man
When Doctor Octopus managed to switch his dying body with Peter Parker's, the villain would not only take over Peter Parker’s life, but also his role as Spider-Man.
During that time, Doc Ock was much rougher on villains than Peter Parker ever was. As a result of his hard nose approach, a new villainous team was formed to take down this new “Superior” Spider-Man. This team consisted of such C-list villains as Boomerang, the Shocker, Beetle, Speed Demon, Overdrive and the Living Brain. Sure, this team did have some success, but the majority of their super villainy was laughable at best, but despite their bumbling nature, the team did manage to get their own comic book series for a brief period of time.
4 The Great Lake Avengers
Over the years, there have been A LOT of different superhero groups to take on the name “Avengers.” There are the US Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, Secret Avengers, New Avengers, and… okay, you probably get the point. Out of all these different offshoot Avenger teams, the award for the most bizarre group has to go to the Great Lake Avengers.
Yes, these Avengers have the honor of guarding the upper-mid-eastern portion of the United States. Hey, New York City isn’t the only place in the U.S that needs to be protected from super villainy. Together, this band of fringe characters consisting of Squirrel Girl, Flatman, Mr. Immortal and Big Bertha, would protect their portion of the United States with upstanding vigilance.
After Spider-Woman (AKA Jessica Drew) gave birth to her first child, she was in need of some well-deserved R&R. For her relaxing getaway, Spider-Woman and Silk (AKA Cindy Moon) decided to go on an inter-dimensional trip to visit Gwen Stacy in her home world of Earth 65. What, did you think this was going to be a beach vacation?
Upon their arrival, the girls discovered that the Cindy Moon of Earth-65 was actually running an evil organization known as S.I.L.K (get it?). Once this evil Cindy Moon of Earth-65 learned of Spider-Woman’s little inter-dimensional vay-cay, she stole her time traveling technology and permanently stranded her on Earth-65. Together, the three spider-women would combine forces in an epic team-up to defeat the evil Cindy Moon and return back to their home dimension. Jeez, that one was confusing.
2 Howard the Duck and Rocket Raccoon
Can you say anthropomorphic match made in heaven?! Well, it’s a mouth full, but there’s no better way to describe a Howard the Duck and Rocket Raccoon team-up.
This perfect pairing occurred when Howard found himself abducted and thrown in jail in The Collector’s own personal lock up. Luckily, Howard wasn’t alone in his prison cell, as Rocket Raccoon was also being held captive, too. The Collector didn’t want to just “collect” Howard and Rocket; he wanted to harvest their DNA to create more of their kind. As you can probably imagine, this didn’t sit well with our animal friends. While Howard opted to scream at the prison guards, Rocket chose to formulate a plan of escape. With an escape route shaved into his furry little chest (yeah, you read that correctly), Rocket proceeded to guide Howard out of the Collector’s creepy little prison.
1 Spider-Man and Deadpool
On paper, Spider-Man and Deadpool seem like they were tailor-made for a team-up. They both DO have an affinity for red spandex, after all.
Luckily, the Web Head and the Merc With the Mouth have actually had several run ins with each other in the pages of Marvel Comics. Deadpool even traveled back in time to the 1960s and pretended to be Peter Parker for a brief period of time. While this duo has had their fair share of ups and downs, Deadpool’s and Spider-Man’s admiration for each other is unmatched. Nowadays, fans of both of the characters are lucky enough to see the duo teaming up in their own monthly comic book series where they have a sometimes-adversarial (but constantly hilarious) relationship with each other.