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Marvel Team-Up: Spider-Man's Best Partners From The Classic Comic

Ever since he swung across the cover of "Amazing Fantasy" #15 in 1962, Spider-Man has been one of the most popular characters in all of comics. He's certainly the tentpole character for Marvel Comics, and despite appearing decades after the likes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and other popular characters over at DC Comics, Spider-Man has kept up with sales across a number of volumes, ensuring he takes a hefty chunk out of the marketplace.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Spider-Man brings in $1.3 billion in global retail sales annually, which puts him far and above the likes of Batman's $494 million. Spidey is the most profitable comic book character, and it's been that way for decades. Given his popularity, it's no wonder Marvel opted to pair him off with nearly every other character in its gallery. While it began as a Spider-Man/Human Torch series, "Marvel Team-Up" evolved into a Spider-Man-dominated series designed to pair off ole' web-head with nearly every hero in the Marvel Comics catalog. 

All but ten of the 150 books are about Peter Parker and everyone from Iron Man to Ka-Zar. After all, an excellent way to boost readership is to attach a low-selling character to the number-one seller. For the most part, it worked, though a lot of the issues were formulaic. Still, when you look at the series as a whole, there are some excellent standouts. These are the best pairings of Spider-Man and the guest superheroes from "Marvel Team-Up" volume one.

Yellowjacket and the Wasp

Issues #59 and #60 paired Spider-Man with Yellowjacket and the Wasp from the Avengers in a two-issue story arc titled "Some Say Spidey Will Die By Fire ... Some Say By Ice!" and "A Matter of Love ... and Death!" The story is brilliantly written and illustrated by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Both creators spent much of the subsequent decade working on the "X-Men," and their undeniable talents shine in this "Marvel Team-Up" adventure that puts our hero in grave jeopardy when Equinox badly injures him.

Issue #59 begins with Spider-Man falling from the sky after he's blasted with fire and a chunk of ice. He's saved by Janet van Dyne (Wasp) and Hank Pym (Yellowjacket) at the last moment, leaving them to explain his situation when he comes to in their apartment a short time later. The heroes team up and are quickly taken out by Equinox's devastating fire/ice attack combination. The fight resumes, and Equinox's mother steps in with the hope of saving her son.

Unfortunately, he seemingly kills Yellowjacket, forcing the readers to wait a month before learning his fate! In the following issue, Wasp and Spidey head to the Baxter Building to create a harness to suppress Equinox's powers. When he attacks, Hank makes a surprise "I'm not dead" return, and they manage to disable Equinox with the device. Hank explains how he boosted his wife's powers earlier, and Spidey is left to clean up the battle damage sustained by the Baxter Building.

Red Sonja

Red Sonja isn't one of Marvel Comics' most well-recognized characters, but she has a long history. She first appeared in "Conan the Barbarian" #23 in 1973 and has long been associated with Marvel's sword and sorcery subset. In 1985, she appeared in her own feature film opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger's Conan, so Red Sonja was a part of the Hyborian Age from the beginning. That's why it was unusual for Marvel to pair the She-Devil with a Sword with everyone's Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man in "Marvel Team-Up" #79, but it worked beautifully!

In the comic "Sword of the She-Devil," a magical amulet unleashes a demonic horde at the museum, and Spidey rushes in to see what all the fuss is about. Unbeknownst to him, Mary Jane Watson snuck inside looking for Peter Parker, and when she grabs a sword, she's engulfed in light! She's switched with Red Sonja, bringing the Hyrkanian warrior to the 20th century. She quickly makes short work of the demons, but Kulan Gath appears, and the heroes have a typical misunderstanding before both are crucified in the museum gallery.

Magic overcomes language barriers, and Spider-Man and Red Sonja team up to remedy the situation. Spidey keeps Sonja from slaughtering their enemy, believing Kulan Gath to be occupying an innocent bystander's body. This is revealed when he disappears and is replaced with a missing museum guard. Red Sonja similarly swaps places with Mary Jane Watson, leaving her confused and believing the whole night to be a dream.


Marvel Comics has never shied away from delving into the demonic, and that's how you get a character like Satana in a Spider-Man book. Satana is the literal daughter of Satan, so it's fair to say she comes to the table with a lot of baggage. Despite this, she has a heroic adventure in "Marvel Team-Up" #80-81, featuring Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Wong, and Clea. The two-issue story arc includes "Last Rites" and "No Way to Treat a Lady," which begins with a werewolf attack on Peter Parker and his date!

A quick investigation reveals Doctor Strange is missing, and wouldn't you know it? He's the werewolf! As Spidey and Wong attempt to save Strange, Clea answers the door and finds Satana, who introduces herself by saying, "I am Satana, who some call the Devil's Daughter! I am here to save the soul of Dr. Strange from eternal damnation – or if he has already tasted human blood, I am here to kill him. May I come in?" Clea lets her in, and Satana brings everyone back to the Sanctum Sanctorum to explain the curse.

Dr. Strange's previous contact with the Darkhold cursed him with lycanthropy and made him an agent of Basilisk on Earth. Spidey rushes out to capture the lupine Sorcerer Supreme, and once he's brought home, Satana uses magic to go into Basilisk's realm to free Strange. She succeeds in her task but is killed in her effort to save the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth.


Spider-Man and Wolverine have teamed up numerous times over the years, and they have an interesting and sometimes adversarial relationship. Wolverine sniffed out Spider-Man's true identity years ago, thanks to his enhanced senses, but only revealed this after the two had worked together for years. While teaming up two of Marvel Comics' most popular characters is nothing new, it had to start somewhere, which is where "Marvel Team-Up" #117 comes into play in a story called "Scents and Senses!"

In their first team-up adventure, Wolverine finds himself in hot water after he's captured by enigmatic soldiers dressed as Roman gladiators in the woods of upstate New York. The man behind the masquerade is Professor Power, and he orders his soldiers to secure another superhero so he can study them more closely. Enter, Spider-Man, who finds himself in trouble as soldiers aboard small one-man aircraft attack him in Manhattan. Before the Romans can escape, he plants a spider-tracer on one of their ships so he can investigate.

Meanwhile, Wolverine is subjected to gladiatorial trials in a Roman coliseum, but escapes and teams up with Spider-Man. Granted, he attacks him at first, believing he is one of the many robots he's fought, but he comes to his senses. They work to save a group of prisoners and innocent civilians but fail to capture the leader of their misadventure. The story is exciting and interesting, as it's Wolverine and Spidey's first team-up, and it boasts one of the best covers of the series.

The Watcher

Uatu the Watcher has been associated with the Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer since his introduction in "Fantastic Four" #13 in 1963. He's a cosmic-level entity who does as his name implies: he watches the various events of the Marvel Universe. Despite being near-omnipotent, he is sworn never to become involved in the goings-on of the universe, so it's unusual to pair him in a team-up comic with Spider-Man. Despite this, Uatu graces the cover of "Marvel Team-Up" #127 via a story called "Small Miracles."

The book tells the story of a Christmas miracle brought about by Spider-Man and some information gleaned from Uatu. When one of Aunt May's friends' grandchildren, Bette, doesn't arrive safely at May's boarding house, Spider-Man sets out to investigate. He's surprised when he meets the Watcher, though he doesn't know who he is. He hands him a blue jewel, and Spider-Man realizes Bette may be in danger, so he heads to Brooklyn to search for her. After some time, he becomes dejected, but a surprise visit by Captain America changes things when he gives him a pep talk about not giving up.

Another nudge from Uatu points Spidey in the right direction, and he saves Bette from a drug dealer who puts her in danger with the mob. She's eventually shot and almost dies, but she's saved thanks to the blue gem the Watcher gave Spider-Man. The story concludes with Uatu realizing his actions afforded him an emotion rarely felt by his people: joy.


If you watched "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD," you likely recall Barbara "Bobbi" Morse, an agent of SHIELD who used the codename Mockingbird. She was played to perfection in the series by Adrianne Palicki and nearly got her own spinoff called "Marvel's Most Wanted." Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but the character dates back to "Astonishing Tales" #6 in 1971, so she has a rich history. Of course, she didn't go by Mockingbird back then — that didn't happen until she appeared alongside Spider-Man in "Marvel Team-Up" #95's "... And No Birds Sing!"

Upon returning from Los Angeles, California, Peter Parker stumbles upon a group of men attacking a lone woman. She quickly dispatches two of them, and a newly changed Spider-Man saves her from a third. Before Spidey can determine what's happening, a flying car attacks the woman, requiring both Spider-Man and his unknown accomplice to work together to stop them and ensure the vehicle doesn't crash. When things calm down, she introduces herself as Mockingbird and explains they just fought Agents of SHIELD.

After they are separated, Spidey is forced to help SHIELD stop Mockingbird from assassinating Nick Fury. He's led by Fury's Life Model Decoy, but it soon becomes clear that Mockingbird is trying to save Fury, and SHIELD has become corrupted. She and Spidey team up properly and save the day. This was an important issue in Mockingbird and SHIELD's development, as the story would impact the agency throughout the 1980s and into the '90s.


One of Marvel's more obscure characters, Frog-Man, scored a live-action debut in an episode of "She-Hulk," but the character isn't as villainous as he appears. In the comics, he's more of a wannabe superhero who thrusts himself into situations he's unequipped for and usually gets saved by someone like Spider-Man. It happened in "Marvel Team-Up" #121's "Look Before You Leap!," and he opted for another round of trouble in issue #131's story, "The Best Things in Life are Free ... But Everything Else Costs Money!"

The issue centers around a minor villain known as the White Rabbit. She's a widow with means who can only find enjoyment in life by stealing money from the less fortunate. She's an absolute peach, and her gang hits a restaurant while Eugene Palilio (Frog-Man) is dining within. Eugene decides to capture White Rabbit for the reward money, which is the same idea Spider-Man has, leading the heroes to come together and take on the White Rabbit inside a hospital.

The heroes defeat their enemy together, and Frog-Man is the one who ultimately takes her down. It's a huge victory for the street-level hero, and his heroics don't stop there. Spidey wanted the money to help his friend Roger pay for his mother's surgery. Conversely, Frog-Man needs the cash, but in the end, Eugene agrees to share the reward with Roger. It's a heroic moment, but it's one of many that sees Spider-Man walk off into the sunset without a dime to his name.

Iron Man

Spider-Man teams up with Iron Man across seven issues in "Marvel Team-Up," and the best story arc shared by the heroes runs through issues #48-51. The books are titled "A Fine Night for Dying!," "Madness Is All in the Mind!," "The Mystery of the Wraith!," and "The Trial of the Wraith!" The four-issue story arc centers around a villainous newcomer known as the Wraith, but it does something "Marvel Team-Up" rarely did: it introduces a character who becomes a significant part of Spider-Man's life outside this series.

That character is Police Captain Jean DeWolff, who is front and center in the "Spectacular Spider-Man" story "The Death of Jean DeWolff." In the first story, Spidey teams up with Iron Man to investigate a bombing at Stark International, requiring the assistance of the aforementioned police captain. By the second issue, the heroes find and are quickly defeated by the Wraith, though it appears the villain may have something unusual in common with Captain DeWolff!

By the third issue, Doctor Strange is on the scene, and he will have to bring all his mystical might to the table to take on the Wraith. The story arc concludes in the final issue, with Spider-Man, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Captain DeWolff all taking part in the Wraith's downfall. The storyline comes to a satisfying conclusion and makes for a great read, though it's probably best known for introducing Captain DeWolff and her complicated family.

The Human Torch

When Marvel launched "Marvel Team-Up" in 1972, the plan was to create a spinoff headlined by Spidey and the Human Torch. This was changed after a few issues, but Johnny Storm continued to play a role in the series. He took over for several issues that didn't include Spider-Man and returned to fight by his friend's side. While many of his stories are exceptional, the best is the one that started it all, "Marvel Team-Up" #1's "Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas!"

Peter Parker's photography career gains ground when an event he's covering at the beach is interrupted by the Sandman. He dons his costume for a fight but fails to beat the bad guy. Spidey webs over to the Baxter Building to get some help, and he finds the Human Torch by himself, so they agree to work together to take on their foe. The heroes foil a Christmas robbery on the way and track Sandman down to a water tower, but he escapes!

They find him again, and he explains that he only broke out of prison to visit his mother (who doesn't know he's a supervillain). Spidey and Torch let him visit with his mother before returning him to prison, and Spidey even gives the man a gift to give to his mother that was intended for Gwen Stacey. After some time, the heroes return to find the Sandman has escaped, but they move on and celebrate the holidays instead of pursuing Sandman any further.

The Not Ready for Prime Time Players

Of the 150 issues of "Marvel Team-Up," issue #74 is arguably the most well-known ... outside of #141's cover featuring Spider-Man's new black costume. The issue features Spider-Man and the Not Ready for Prime Time Players, which the younger readers may not realize is the cast of "Saturday Night Live." The cover features John Belushi in his famous Samurai costume, and while it's certainly an unusual issue, it falls within the Marvel Universe's continuity quite nicely.

The story is appropriately titled "Live from New York, It's Saturday Night!," and features or references Dan Ackroyd, Belushi, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Bill Murray, Laraine Newman, and Gilda Radner. The story begins with Peter Parker taking Mary Janne Watson to a taping of SNL — it took him a year to get the tickets. While the cast is preparing for the show, Belushi reveals he's wearing a ring he received from a fan but cannot remove. Meanwhile, Stan "The Man" Lee is introduced as the host, and Peter's spider-sense triggers in the vicinity of the Silver Samurai, who is after the ring.

He jumps into action when the villain's goons reveal themselves and work with the comics to fend off their attack. The cast dons superhero costumes to confuse and intimidate the goons, which works long enough for Spidey to save the day. The Silver Samurai gets the ring and teleports away, leaving the audience none the wiser, as they think everything they witnessed was all part of the show.

Nick Fury

Many of the "Marvel Team-Up" issues feature Spider-Man and a small posse of heroes. Spidey teams up with Nick Fury in this four-issue story arc, but much of the story sees him working alongside the Black Widow. The only problem: she has amnesia, and the gentle Spider-Man helps her regain her memories as a potential romance blossoms. The story plays out in issues #82-84 via "No Way to Treat a Lady," "Slaughter on 10th Avenue!," "Catch a Falling Hero," and "The Woman Who Never Was!"

The first book features Spider-Man saving Widow, and by the end of the book, she rushes in and saves him, though she doesn't remember who she is. At the last moment, Fury shows up and shoots both of them, but being comic book heroes, they're effectively immortal and don't die. In the next book, Spidey comes to and realizes he was struck with an anesthetic bullet. Things go from weird to worse when the Silver Samurai and Boomerang appear, and by the next issue, Spider-Man teams up with Shang-Chi!

Eventually, it all comes out that Madame Hydra is responsible for the story's events, and Spidey teams up with Nick Fury, Shang-Chi, and Black Widow to take her down. By the end, the potential romance between Spidey and Widow is dashed when she reveals he is too nice a guy to be of interest to her (she has her memories back by this time), so she files him firmly in the friend zone!


Havok is typically associated with the X-Men, but he's been known to moonlight from time to time. He appears in this two-part story written and illustrated by Byrne and Claremont titled "Night of the Living God" and "Whom Gods Destroy!" "Marvel Team-Up #69-70 represents the first pairing of Havok and Spider-Man, but it won't be the last. The big bad of the story is an unusual fellow known as the Living Pharoah, a cosmic-level mutant from Egypt who has the power to absorb cosmic energy and use it for anything he wishes.

In the story, Spider-Man rushes to Havok's aid but gets caught between the two powerful beings. This results in the bad guy sucking down Havok's mutant-borne solar energy, which transforms him into a gigantic and overcharged Living Monolith. This leaves Spider-Man falling to his death, but he's saved at the last minute by Thor, who headlines the second issue with the wall-crawler. Meanwhile, Havok is locked away to ensure his power remains with the Living Monolith, threatening all of Earth.

With Thor on his side, Spider-Man uses the God of Thunder as a distraction to locate Havok. Once he releases him from his coffin, the Living Pharoah's power decreases. This leaves him vulnerable to the dangerous Asgardian, so he flees from sight, living to wreak havoc another day. This storyline was an excellent addition to Spider-Man's exploits, as he rarely has a chance to go up against a villain who exponentially outclasses him.

The Fantastic Four

Spider-Man has had a lot of run-ins with the Fantastic Four. In "Amazing Spider-Man" #1, Spidey breaks into the Baxter building in the hopes of being recruited as a fifth member of the team, so they go back a long way. Most of his interactions have been with Johnny Storm, but Spidey has spent plenty of pages running around with Reed Richards, Susan Storm, and the Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing. In the 100th issue of "Marvel Team-Up," Spidey joins forces with the FF once more in a story called "And Introducing — Karma! She Possesses People!"

When Spidey's evening web-slinging is interrupted by a psychic attack, he nearly falls to his death, thanks to a young woman on the street below. She overcomes the web-slinger and learns how to use his powers and gear. With a thought, she possesses his body and swings off into the distance. Later, she/Spider-Man observes members of the Fantastic Four at a charity event before attacking! Reed quickly wraps Spider-Man's body in his arms, and the rest of the team joins in on the fun.

The FF hold back as they realize Spidey isn't behaving normally, and before long, he's unconscious. Both sides of the conflict are possessed throughout the fighting, but in the end, the attacker is revealed to be Karma, who would later join the New Mutants. It's an excellent 100th issue and features Spider-Man in an unusual manner: as a puppet controlled by someone else, which doesn't happen again until "Amazing Spider-Man" #700.

Captain Britain

A common trope in superhero comics requires heroes who meet each other for the first time to fight. Think back to all the trouble in "Marvel's The Avengers," which saw everyone fighting and arguing before coming together. That often happens in comics, and it happened when Spider-Man and Captain Britain met for the first time via a two-part story arc titled "Introducing, Captain Britain" and "Murder-World." Issue #65 introduces Captain Britain to the States, but it's also the first appearance of the villain, Arcade.

The books culminate in the kidnapping of Spidey and Captain Britain by Arcade, who takes them to Murderworld! While there, they must fight to survive a plethora of deadly traps, including a gigantic (and deadly) pinball machine! Overall, the story is more fun than anything else, but that's what makes it such a great entry in the series. Both heroes are subjected to deadly devices, but they are separated, so when Spidey is about to capture Arcade, he reveals Captain Britain's plight.

Choosing to rescue his ally, Spidey lets Arcade escape, and in the end, the heroes return to the streets of New York City, safe and mostly sound. The story concludes with Arcade vowing to rebuild his Murderworld but make it bigger and better, so the next time he throws Spider-Man inside, he won't be able to escape! While it's not the most serious story in the series, it stands as the most fun and best of the 140 issues featuring Spider-Man!