DC Comics has a long history of bringing together some of the most iconic superheroes and supervillains in its stories. While most of these pairings have been of the classic hero-vs-villain variety, there have been several instances where the lines between hero and villain have blurred. These unusual team-ups between heroes and villains have created some of the most compelling and unpredictable storylines in DC Comics’ history. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most memorable and Unusual Hero-Villain Team-Ups in DC Comics, exploring the motivations behind these unlikely partnerships and how they have shaped the DC Universe.
Unusual Hero-Villain Team-Ups in DC Comics
Batman and The Joker
The opening scene of Brave and the Bold #111 doesn’t follow the typical hero/villain team-up formula. The Joker mercilessly kills an innocent family in Gotham City as revenge against the father who testified against organized crime. Batman is furious and wants justice for the slain family. However, things take an unexpected turn when the evidence doesn’t add up, and it seems that the Joker may have been framed for the murders. Batman follows clues from the Joker to track down the real killer, Burt Slade, but ends up falling into a trap set by Slade and the Joker. The issue is a rare but enjoyable deviation from the typical superhero/supervillain team-ups.
Superman and Lex Luthor
During the New 52, Lex Luthor, one of Superman’s archenemies, transformed into a superhero after donning armor he obtained from Apokolips, which led to him adopting the name Superman in honor of the deceased New 52 Superman. He and the post-Crisis Superman formed an unexpected alliance, teaming up to fight their foes. Despite the initial shock, fans eventually became accustomed to seeing Luthor and Superman working together. Although Luthor eventually returned to his villainous ways, it was a remarkable period when they fought alongside one another, a scenario no one would have predicted.
Hal Jordan and Sinestro
Hal Jordan and Sinestro used to be friends, but their relationship quickly turned sour when Hal discovered that Sinestro was running his sector as a fascist dictatorship. For years, they were bitter enemies, but they eventually put aside their differences to fight against a common enemy, the Black Lantern Corps. This led to a temporary partnership, and Sinestro became a full-time Green Lantern again in the New 52. The two joined forces once again to battle the Guardians’ Third Army and save the Green Lantern Corps.
Aquaman and Ocean Master
In the Silver Age of comics, Ocean Master and Aquaman had a complex hero-villain dynamic. Unbeknownst to Ocean Master, he was actually Aquaman’s human brother, and he harbored resentment towards his brother’s abilities. Although he suffered from amnesia, he still wanted to prove that he was the true master of the ocean. In Aquaman #37, they briefly teamed up when a criminal threatened to destroy the ocean while searching for an immortality device. However, their alliance ended when Aquaman discovered that Ocean Master had set a trap to kill his wife and child. Despite his anger towards Aquaman, Ocean Master couldn’t shake his attachment to him.
Flash and Captain Boomerang
In Flash #124, Flash, Captain Boomerang, and Elongated Man join forces to fight off an alien invasion, unaware that it was Captain Boomerang’s fault in the first place. Despite being considered a minor villain with limited skills, Boomerang’s ability to throw a boomerang through time impresses everyone. Unfortunately, the boomerang travels through an alien dimension, triggering an attack on Earth. As they team up to save the day, Boomerang double-crosses Flash and ties him up, but is ultimately defeated by Elongated Man. Although Captain Boomerang’s character only became interesting when he joined the Suicide Squad, this issue highlights his impressive throwing skills.
Superboy-Prime and Superman Family
In Death Metal, the fight against the Batman Who Laughs became increasingly intense. By transferring his brain into the body of a Doctor Manhattan-enhanced Batman, he acquired godlike abilities and overthrew Perpetua, intending to reconstruct the Multiverse to his own liking. The heroes sought assistance from unlikely sources, including Superboy-Prime. Despite a history of animosity towards the heroes, Superboy-Prime fought valiantly against the BWL, ultimately sacrificing himself in a poignant moment that transformed the heroes’ perception of him.
Legion of Super-Heroes and The Fatal Five
In Adventure Comics #352, DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th century created the Fatal Five – a group of the most notorious villains in the galaxy, including the cyborg Tharok and the powerful being Validus. The Legion recruited the Five to help stop the Sun-Eater, a living plasma cloud that threatened to destroy the Milky Way. Despite their efforts, it took a Legionnaire’s sacrifice to defeat the Sun-Eater. The Five decided to stick together but ended their partnership with the Legion on bad terms. They were later trapped in another dimension and would only return as enemies.
All the Heroes and all the Villains
DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths set the standard for crossover events, featuring multiple tie-ins, a large cast of characters, and significant changes to the status quo. The story centers on the Monitor, a mysterious being tasked with protecting DC’s multiverse, who enlists both heroes and villains to stop the Anti-Monitor, his anti-matter counterpart, from eradicating the entire multiverse. Although the Flash seemingly defeats the Anti-Monitor, a handful of Earths remain. In the aftermath, the remaining supervillains attempt to take control of these worlds, prompting a final battle where everyone teams up to defeat the Anti-Monitor and merge the multiverse into one Earth. Darkseid even joins forces with the heroes to destroy the ultimate threat.
Also Read: 10 Smartest Aliens in DC Comics and Universe