Comics are known for many things, but of the utmost importance are the characters that pop off the page. Comic book writers strive to write for the characters they love and sometimes a run is dictated not by an event, or a storyline, but by the character being portrayed. Something that I love to see in comics is two characters whom I love, working together to fight the bad guys, solve a mystery, or just have incredible character moments. We’ve taken a look at some unlikely team-ups in comics before, but this time we’re going to delve into some altogether great team-ups featured across the various comic universes. Instead of focusing on regular or routine duos such as Batman-Robin or Captain America-Bucky, we’ll be talking about two characters coming together outside of their everyday life in order to bring us some ultra fun and entertaining escapades.
Harley Quinn + Poison Ivy
Popularized by Batman: The Animated Series is the partnership between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. These two Gotham City Sirens share the stage to deliver some diabolical and colorful hijinks for Batman to maneuver his way through. Harley’s kookiness foils well with the sultry and serious demeanor of Ivy, giving nice contrast and an interesting dynamic between the two. Considering each other to be the best of friends, the relationship between the two is deep and complex (with a romance in most iterations). Though sometimes the Joker cuts in (to the protest of Ivy who urges Harley to emancipate herself from the demented Clown), they remain thick as thieves and have forged a mismatched friendship for the ages.
Spider-Man + Doctor Strange
Great friends and fellow New Yorkers, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange have been on a few memorable outings. The young man from Queens meets the Sorcerer Supreme on Bleaker Street, and they share more in common than you’d think. They both know the meaning of “great power” begetting “great responsibility,” what with Spider-Man obligated to protect the innocent after the death of his Uncle, and Doctor Strange governing the multiverse all because he learned magic to fix his hands. They both have immense respect for the preservation of human life, going so far as to make sure no collateral damage or criminal lives are unnecessarily taken; if lives are ever taken at all. And to top it all off, they both chuck up the universal sign for “I Love You” with their hands whenever they are about to use their powers. Spider-Man loves to swing in through that big skylight in the Sanctum Sanctorum for a chat with the Doc, and possibly a jaunt through the mystical realm.
Batman + The Flash
Two of the worlds greatest detectives to walk, or run, upon the Earth. Batman and The Flash crossovers are some of the funnest comics to read because of the relationship between the two heroes. Batman has immense respect for the work of Barry Allen and The Flash has nothing but admiration for the work of the “World’s Greatest Detective” himself. Particularly showcased in the The Button, it’s very entertaining to see the interplay between the two Justice Leaguers, with Batman seeking the opinion of The Flash in business mode while the Flash tries to add a sense of optimism and mirth to the situation. It focuses the strengths of the individuals and makes up for the weaknesses that they each have. A team fit for finding the truth and doling out justice, what more could you want?
Daredevil + Black Widow
Daredevil and Black Widow are known for having pretty tragic backstories, sauntering around in corridors and alleyways, and the use of the color red in their personas. They also dated for a time in the comics making them a fan favorite relationship in the Marvel Universe. Black Widow’s skills in espionage, assassination and stealth perfectly compliment Daredevil’s swinging through Hell’s Kitchen with his grappling hook and springing his martial arts skills on unsuspecting ninjas. Even though they broke up, they’ve both confessed their love for each other time and time again but bigger problems always seem to take the stage before they can culminate any sort of relationship. Regardless, they make an excellent crime fighting team and covert operatives. They’ve shared some great character moments together, but just never seem to be in sync romantically when it comes to the comics (though hardcore shippers are still hoping).
Green Lantern + Green Arrow
This team-up was a no-brainer to the executives at DC, leading to many great adventures to be had with the Emerald Archer and the Defender of Sector 2814. Both happy-go-lucky hotshots who’ve had a heavy dose of humility in their lifetimes, the cosmic and earthbound adventures of the duo are comedic, fun, sometimes harrowing, but always entertaining to read. The fact that Green Arrow is mostly just a guy and is such great friends with Green Lantern, a god of light, is an interesting dynamic to be explored between the two characters. They both have a hard time listening to authority and always have a stunt up their sleeves in order to keep their enemies on their toes. Together they dish out justice with enough style, melodrama, and imagination that reading their stories brings a sense of awe and a smile at the prospect of a man shooting a green boxing glove arrow while his partner sends off translucent green jets towards enemies behind them.
Captain Marvel + Jessica Jones
Two of the toughest heroines in the Marvel Universe are Captain Marvel and Jessica Jones. In the comics they are very close as friends with Jessica routinely asking Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) for advice on her ever complicated life. Carol holds Jessica with high respect and is always happy for a chat. They have a similar power-set in the comics, that being super-durability, super-strength, and flight. What’s great about this is the contrast in Captain Marvel, who is this bright and inspiring character, working with Jessica Jones who is a sort of brooding and cynical private detective who had given up the life of a superhero. And despite these differences, they remain the closest of friends and can team-up to knock down a building on the head of a world threatening force.
Superman + Shazam!
These two characters were virtually the same person when they were first invented. It was not until DC comics purchased Shazam and gave the character a little more nuance. Superman’s powers come from him being raised on a harsh alien world, Shazam derives his powers from the magic powers of a wizard bearing the same name. With Shazam being a child with the powers of an adult, Superman acts as a mentor figure to young Billy Batson, and helps him get a handle on his powers. But when Black Adam comes around to challenge Superman and he falls prey to the magic that Black Adam posses, Shazam steps in to save his hero. They make a great duo in whatever the situation; be it fighting back Darkseid on Earth or flying through the Bleed of the Multiverse to save a loved one.
Doctor Doom + Namor
Namor the Submariner, ruler of Atlantis, and Vincent von Doom, ruler of Latveria. Two royal leaders, and two of the Marvel Universe’s most smug jerks come together in order to benefit each others kingdoms. Doom helps Namor out of hell, Namor helps Doom conquer some territory. Both anti-heroes in their own respect (Namor mostly a hero at times, and Doom mostly a villain at times), they see eye to eye on how to rule a nation and combat their foes with an iron hand. Namors tenacity and Dooms ambition would make a deadly coalition that could threaten or help the world. Mostly however, their allegiances tend to waver between hero and villain which would make a real alliance difficult to maintain to the fortune of the world. These two world leaders make an ultra powerful, and very dangerous, team of mutant and genius alike.
Batgirl + Black Canary
Batgirl and Black Canary, Birds of Prey, the friendship between Dinah Lance and Barbara Gordon is one to be remembered. Both very proficient in martial arts, both parade the town on a motorcycle, and both are incredibly strong, independent characters. When they come together however, the scum of the criminal underworld run for cover. Batgirls analytic mind and detective skills compliment Canarys power of will, force and a voice like a canary (a high pitched, make-your-ears-bleed canary). Their duo would go on to become a team of DC’s heroines called the Birds of Prey with Batgirl and Canary typically leading the throng. Whether it’s in Gotham, Star City, Burnside, or Seattle, these two are always ready to spring into action and protect what they love most.
Wolverine + Captain America
Both men living long past the time that they were born, Wolverine and Captain America seem like a fairly unlikely pair. But on multiple occasions they have banded together to find the evil of either The Brotherhood of Mutants or Hydra. Wolverine’s skeleton is indestructible, Captain’s Shield in impenetrable, and both are scrappy fighters always ready for a brawl. Cap’s tactical mind and leadership skills work well with a force of pure tenacity and grit such as Wolverine, who is ready to go at anything aimed at. Even though they have fought (like a lot of heroes do in the Marvel Universe), they come out as friends. Wolverine has a lot of respect for Captain America (when he doesn’t usually for anyone else), and Cap knows the value of a teammate that he can count on.