Superhero Team-Ups: Spider-Man

Spider-Man Team-Ups Spin a Worlds-Wide Web

[Ms. Marvel has been sent flying by a villain]
Spider-Man: [grabs her] “Gotcha! You okay, kid?
Ms. Marvel:Oh! My! Gosh! You’re Spider-Man! I’m in a Spider-Man team-up!
Spider-Man: [resigned] “Oy. Look, I put my suit on one web at a time…

The Amazing Spider-Man #7 (2014)

Spider-Man is Marvel’s most popular superhero. Writers began partnering him with other heroes almost immediately. He has since headlined Marvel Team-Up for thirteen years. Spider-Man has worked with almost every superhero and a surprising number of villains. So what are his best team-ups? Let’s find out.

#5 The Transformers #3

Team-Up With: The Transformers

Gears: [thinking] “This human reminds me of Bluestreak. They both seem to love the sound of their own voice! [out loud] Do all humans have powers like yours?”
Spider-Man:Not since I last checked. I would feel very foolish if they did!

The Transformers #3

Spider-Man’s allies aren’t always apparent. Sometimes he only meets their secret identity, while he only knows others in costume. His team-up with the Transformers features allies who are more than meets the eye.

The Transformers had recently arrived on Earth and were cut off from Energon, their food source. A mechanic named Sparkplug devised an alternative that could fuel them, but he was kidnapped by the Decepticons. 

The Autobots sent in an infiltrator named Gears to save Sparkplug. At the same time, Peter Parker was assigned to investigate reports of giant robots. Spider-Man and Gears had the customary first meeting fight before teaming up to fight the Decepticons. Spider-Man saved Sparkplug, but Gears was killed in the battle.

The Transformers slid into an odd area after this team-up, still part of the Marvel Universe for years, but separated from the other characters.

#4 Marvel Team-Up #14

Team-Up With: Invincible

Invincible: Hey, man, do you know this guy? I didn’t really mean to attack him. He’s got those crazy spider arms, so I’m hoping he has superpowers. [quietly] Does he?”
Spider-Man:You’re not Nova! Who… yeah, I know him. He was trying to kill me a minute ago so don’t worry about it.”

Marvel Team-Up #14 (2005)

Spider-Man is Marvel’s first stop for dimensional travelers. Any hero from another company wandering into the Marvel Universe is guaranteed to trip over him within minutes. This Spider-Man Team-Up stars an Invincible hero from Image Comics.

Invincible returned home to find his family threatened by dimension traveler Angstrom Levy. A desperate charge launched Invincible through the portal and into Doctor Octopus. Spider-Man had been fighting him and chastised the new hero, but backed off after seeing Invincible panicking.

The heroes talked, Invincible questioning Marvel tropes while Spider-Man had a laugh at his name. They went to the Avengers, who revealed that Doc Ock has recently stolen a dimensional portal. Spider-Man and Invincible fought their way through the villain’s forces and activated the portal. Invincible flew through, but the portal closed before Spider-Man could follow and help.

#3 Marvel Team-Up #79

Team-Up With: Red Sonja

[monsters are torturing Spider-Man]
Mary Jane: [notices a sword on display] “That sword… it’s glowing. Light inside my head. A voice calling. So bright… but I’m no longer afraid…” [transforms]
Red Sonja:Back to your pits, you thrice-damned spawn of Hell, or face the naked steel of Red Sonja: She-Devil of the Hyrkanian Steppes!

Marvel Team-Up #79

Superhero team-ups thrive on differences. How would a scientist fare in a magical world? What would a delivery person do in the year 3000? Should heroes inspire or terrify? This Spider-Man Team-Up pits contemporary superheroics against the queen of sword and sorcery stories.

A museum showcased artifacts from ancient Ukraine. The night guard was bewitched by a necklace and put it on, freeing sorcerer Kulan Gath. The sorcerer summoned a horde of demons and planned to conquer New York. Spider-Man intervened, but was unprepared for the monster’s brutality.

Spider-Man also didn’t know that his girlfriend, Mary Jane, had followed him into the museum. She discovered a glowing sword and was compelled to pick it up. The sword transformed Mary Jane into Red Sonja, a contemporary of Conan the Barbarian. She killed the demons, but also fought Spider-Man because she thought he was a demon since she didn’t speak English.

Kulan Gath captured them and cast a convenient translation spell. They broke free and fought the sorcerer, Spider-Man struggling to stop her from killing Gath. He got in a lucky blow while Gath was distracted, freeing the guard. Red Sonja’s transformation wore off at the same time, leaving a confused Mary Jane.

Fun Fact: This Spider-Man Team-Up got a sequel 30 years later, with Mary Jane once again becoming Red Sonja. Funny how she keeps turning into an identical redheaded superhero from an age long past. If Marvel owned the rights, I suspect they’d make Mary Jane her direct descendant.

#2 Spider-Man: Riot at Robotworld

Team-Up With: Multiple

Spider-Man:Hey, you electrocuted your friend! You realize this means you’re grounded. Get it?
Robocop:You’re under arrest, creep!
Spider-Man: “Oh, since when is a bad pun a crime?


Superhero team-ups occasionally have ulterior motives, including selling a product, promoting a character, or drawing attention to a cause. Promoting diversity in engineering was behind Marvel’s agreement to accept an IBM grant to publish a special story for a trade association.

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) commissioned Marvel for a promotional comic. Peter Parker was assigned to get pictures of a theme park called Robotworld. The lead engineer and several students show him around, explaining robotics and how they could improve the world.

Shortly into the tour, the robots attack guests. Spider-Man destroyed a robotic T-Rex, R2D2, and C-3PO. The students discovered that Ultron had taken control of the robots to conquer the world.

Spider-Man struggled to survive fighting Ultron, the Terminator, Robocop, and Robot from Lost in Space at the same time. The engineer jerry-rigged a remote control and shut down Ultron, ending the threat. The story concludes with Spider-Man and the class advising readers how to become an engineer.

#1 Spider-Man Team-Up: Marvel Team-Up #74

Team-Up With: Saturday Night Live

[Garrett Morris is bluffing crooks while dressed as Thor]
Crook:Hey, somethin’s screwy here. Ain’t Thor supposed to be Swedish? This dude’s Black!
Morris:Varlets! Know thee not a warrior of Asgard when thou seest one?! [spots Bill Murray and Gilda Radner about to electrify the catwalk he’s on] Fall, miscreants, before him who is Lord of the Living Lightning! HIT IT, KIDS!” 

Marvel Team-Up #74

Who needs superheroes when you have superstars? Celebrities are popular choices for crossovers, often resulting in bonkers stories. So what happens when Spider-Man joins the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players? Live from New York: It’s a Spider-Man Team-Up!

Peter Parker scored tickets to a recording of Saturday Night Live. The show is quickly derailed by criminals led by the Silver Samurai. He’s hunting a ring that is stuck on John Belushi’s finger, but trying to keep a low profile to avoid heroes dogpiling the studio. 

The cast juggles stopping the criminals while keeping the show going. Luckily, Stan Lee and perennial sidekick Rick Jones are on hand to cover for the Players. The episode’s theme was superheroes, leading to Laraine Newman and Garrett Morris taking down crooks as Captain Marvel and Thor. 

The Silver Samurai eventually catches Belushi, who is in his SNL Samurai costume. Spider-Man saves Belushi from the offended samurai, who returns the favor by distracting Silver while Spidey is stunned. Silver Samurai flees, leaving a misled crowd to applaud the show while Spider-Man and the Players take a bow.

What is your favorite Spider-Man Team-Up? Tell us in the comments.

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