For a hero who has been an outlaw for most of his fictional lifespan and who has often bemoaned his loner status, Spider-Man has lots of friends in the capes community. We’ve seen that come into play in the MCU, where Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has been mentored by Iron Man and saddled up with the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. And now he’s got a new bestie in Doctor Strange in the latest Spider-film, Spider-Man: No Way Home. You can read Amelia Amberwing’s IGN review on No Way Home here.
In the comics, it’s a safe bet no one in the Marvel universe has teamed up with as many heroes as Peter Parker. For a long time, those temporary alliances occurred in Marvel Team-Up, but also in the various other titles under the Spider-Man editorial bubble. Some have had a lasting impact on Marvel canon, such as Spidey’s long relationship with the Fantastic Four, while others have been interesting one-offs and some have been downright… weird.
So to celebrate Peter’s latest tag-team, we’ve spun together a list of eight memorable comics where J. Jonah Jameson’s least-favorite wall-crawler joined up with other heroes… and even the occasional villain.
8 Amazing Spider-Man Team-Ups
Spider-Man and Wolverine #1
It’s hard to properly describe how big a deal this one-shot was when it was published in 1987. Wolverine was arguably more popular among comics fans than Spider-Man was. Adding to its uniqueness is that writer Christopher Priest (then going by Jim Owsley) and artist Mark Bright crafted a standalone story set squarely in the Spider continuity of the day. Set in Germany and dripping with Cold War allusions, it marked the most significant pairing of Marvel’s top two heroes up to that point. It also underscored how, despite his years of fighting all sorts of supervillains, delving into the lethal waters of international espionage unnerved Spidey.
This story featured several key moments of great impact in Spider-Man’s life. For one, it includes the rekindling of Peter and Mary Jane’s romance. Second, the story turned on the death of Ned Leeds. Leeds had gone with Peter to Germany to investigate a mysterious spy known only as “Charlemagne,” who turned out to be an agent Logan had known for years. The death of Leeds caused a big brouhaha at Marvel, according to Priest. He has told this writer that he caught major heat within the bullpen for killing off the character, who was to be revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #289 as the masked villain Hobgoblin. Priest insists he cleared with then-Spider-Man writer Roger Stern that Leeds was not the Hobgoblin before killing him in his story, and that it was decided after his story to put the longtime supporting character under the mask.
Yellowjacket and the Wasp
Marvel Team-Up #59-60
Marvel Team-Up featured mainly one-and-done stories, but by the late ’70s it would occasionally tell multi-part tales like this where Spidey teamed with the husband-and-wife Avengers Yellowjacket and the Wasp. It’s one of the best of the too, coming from the legendary duo of Chris Claremont and John Byrne who had a too-brief run on MTU but made their presence felt with emotional thrillers like this.
The trio fight the fire and ice bad guy Equinox, who comes loaded with a backstory packed with pathos. Part one features the death of an Avenger as Hank Pym appears to be killed by Equinox. Of course, that doesn’t turn out to be the case, but without this turn we wouldn’t have been treated to that incredible Dave Cockrum cover to issue #59. The issues still hold up as a classic example of compact Bronze Age comics storytelling by two masters of the medium. It also offered up a then-rare chance for the Wasp to stand on her own and out of the shadow of the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Marvel Team-Up #4
This early issue of MTU featured Spider-Man pairing up with the original X-Men. What made this notable was that at the time the X-Men title had been cancelled, so this was a rather rare sighting. The only original X-Man who didn’t take part was Hank McCoy, as he was trying to hide the transformation he was going through to become the fabulous furry version of the Beast everyone knows today.
As for the story itself, it features a classic Marvel setup where the mutants believe Spidey has kidnapped an old friend of Professor Xavier’s. Eventually they learn that it was Morbius the Living Vampire who was behind the abduction. In the modern day, this story would have been stretched out over six issues. Gerry Conway and Gil Kane did it all in one 20-pager.
The Thing (and Friends)
Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2
The 1970s featured all sorts of trippy occurrences in comics, with a good many of them emanating from the psychedelic imagination of Jim Starlin. His years-long Thanos saga came to an end with this story, which he plotted, wrote and partially penciled, with Joe Rubenstein doing the finished art. While it may seem random to see this long-running story wrap-up in an annual for an unrelated title, Marvel at that time often used annuals as part of ongoing storylines.
It actually was a continuation of the events that began in Avengers Annual #7, and Spider-Man is looped into the action by visions of Thanos implanted in his mind by Moondragon. Those projections serve as a neat way to catch the reader up on what’s happened until now. A major-league donnybrook ensues that ends when Spider-Man releases the spirit of Adam Warlock, who turns Thanos into a block of solid granite. So ended the threat of Thanos for more than a decade.
Marvel Team-Up #79
One of the weirdest team-ups in Spidey’s long history came in this issue when he partnered with then-girlfriend Mary Jane. Actually, it was MJ transformed into the Hyborian Age warrior Red Sonja by some well-placed comic book sorcery.
The resulting story gave readers the chance to see the web-slinger partner with Sonja against the threat of the evil wizard Kulan-Gath in present-day New York City. This was another gem from the comics dream team of Claremont and Byrne.
The Human Torch
Spider-Man and the Human Torch #1-5
Spidey’s friendship with Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, has its roots going all the way back to Amazing Spider-Man #1. They’ve gone from hot-tempered rivals to bickering friends to well… practically brothers. There are a good number of stories that capture the dynamic between the two, but this series by Dan Slott, Ty Templeton, Drew Geraci and others does so by weaving humor, action and nostalgia in seamless fashion.
For longtime fans, the references to past storylines will hit all the right feels, and the creative team handles those moments in a way that lets newer readers get a good sense of why this is one of comics’ most enduring friendships. The trade paperback of this limited series should be handed to any incoming writer at Marvel pitching a Spider-Man/Torch story.
The Fantastic Four
Amazing Spider-Man #657
There is no shortage of heart-rending Spider-Man stories, but this one, detailing the aftermath of Johnny Storm’s “death,” is certainly in the top five. As Peter and the surviving members of the FF remember stories of their fallen friend and family member, Reed plays a video message Johnny left in which he shows how much Peter meant to him by asking him to take his spot on the team.
“You up for it, bro?” is the type of line that you could mistake for just being youthful slang talk. But in the context of this elegantly scripted and drawn tale, it’s clear that it’s meant to show that Johnny viewed Peter not just as a friend, but as family. And thus, Peter joins the Future Foundation.
Otto Octavius and J. Jonah Jameson
Amazing Spider-Man #800
Slott wrapped up his history-making run on Marvel’s flagship hero by crafting one of the biggest stories in Spider-Man history, in which Norman Osborn, having combined the powers of the Green Goblin and Carnage into the Red Goblin, threatened everything and everyone Peter holds dear. Things get so dire that Peter is forced to team up with Otto Octavius, recently removed as the Superior Spider-Man, not to mention J. Jonah Jameson, who makes things progressively worse throughout the story.
What makes this story special and places it as one of Spidey’s most memorable team-ups is that it celebrates his supporting cast as much as perhaps any storyline ever has. From Aunt May to MJ and Harry, and especially poor Jonah, they all get moments to shine and show how important they are to Peter Parker. The best and most tragic part of the story belongs to Flash Thompson, who gives his life trying to end the threat of the Red Goblin. It’s one of the best-written endings to a comics character in history, so good that you hope they don’t bring him back and spoil such a magnificent farewell.
What are your favorite Spider-Man team-ups? Let’s discuss in the comments! And for even more on the new movie, check out our No Way Home Ending and Post Credits Explained, dig in on our Biggest WTF Questions from the film, or catch up on Why What If…? Just Became Essential for MCU Fans.