For comic nerds, the sight of two or more superheroes working together has as much attraction as the sight of two or more girls making out. In fact, given a choice, the true comic book fan will probably go for the former.
That doesn't mean comic companies can just take any two popular characters and throw them together, regardless of how mismatched or downright bizarre the pairings turn out to be. Like when ...
#6. Batman Teams Up With Sherlock Holmes
In this special anniversary issue, Batman and Robin travel to England to stop a plot from Professor Moriarty's evil descendant to murder Queen Elizabeth.
"What could we possibly be swinging from?"
After doing some sightseeing, Batman succeeds in taking down Moriarty Jr. thanks to some unexpected help.
"My eyes ... I've rolled them too far back!"
This actually seems like a pretty good match. They're both detectives, they're both rich, they both have sidekicks. We can picture Batman and Holmes sitting together at the country club, sipping champagne and being condescending to the Hispanic waiter. So what's the problem?
Math. Math is the problem. Holmes first showed up in 1887, and he was 33 at the time. This comic came out in the late 1980's and is completely set in the present ... meaning Holmes is roughly impossibly fucking old.
"If I put literally anything into my body my century-old system won't be able to handle it."
But being over 130 doesn't mean Holmes has lost his mad ninja skills:
That criminal looks pretty damn old, too. Where are all the kids? Is crime not cool anymore?
By the way, the whole point of Moriarty's plan to murder the Queen is to honor his ancestor's name ... so why doesn't he just use all those henchmen and weapons (at one point he even gets a hold of atomic missiles) to bomb the shit out of Sherlock? It's not like the old man goes to great lengths to hide his identity -- he hasn't even changed his wardrobe in 100 years.
And, of course, it's a comic, so if the writers wanted a Batman/Holmes team-up, they could have sent Batman back in time, as they've done before, or they could've sent Holmes forward, or they could have just said "To hell with reality, Holmes is in his 30s like Batman because I said 'fuck it' and I'm writing this comic," as comic writers have done for years. Bruce Wayne has been roughly the same age forever. Robin punches robots. They regularly team up with aliens and fight monsters. They could have made up any damn thing they wanted to get healthy, young Holmes and Batman in a room together, but they chose to make him unnaturally old and forced themselves into coming up with all of this Tibetan Beekeeping bullshit to explain away the impossible.
Also, the story itself establishes the special kind of rivalry Professor Moriarty and Holmes had:
"I'm sure douchey, Internet writers of the future won't take this panel out of context
to make me look foolish."- Whoever Wrote This Comic, 1987
... rivaled only by Batman and the Joker.
"Me too." -- Whoever Wrote This One
#5. The Punisher Meets Eminem
Unlike most bizarre celebrity cameos in comics, this one was done with Eminem's full approval and cooperation. The story opens with the Punisher slaughtering Eminem's bodyguards after a concert in Detroit.
Bang-up job, bodyguards.
The downside to having Eminem's approval is that you also get a shit-ton of Eminem's suggestions... which explains why the story tries so hard to make him look like a bad-ass. When Punisher attacks him, he just happens to be carrying a Glock, and we later learn he's wearing a bulletproof vest.
"Is it because I'm famous? Or because I shoot people? Is that a crime?"
The plot reveals that Eminem is good buddies with one of the Punisher's rival hit men, a degenerate, merciless mass murderer called Barracuda.
"Me, I was on Jimmy Kimmel the other night."
Incidentally, the only reason the Punisher was around Eminem in the first place was to protect him from Barracuda ... which he somewhat paradoxically accomplished by murdering Em's bodyguards.
Eminem's story suggestions read like a child's interpretation of "cool toughness," as seen here, where Eminem beats the Punisher with a gun. While rapping.
"Can I be riding a dinosaur in this panel, too? And then fireworks happen?
Once the Punisher is lying on the floor unconscious, Eminem proceeds to shoot him in the chest.
This is when Barracuda reveals that he was the one hired by the Parents Music Council to murder Eminem, and that the Punisher was only there to stop Barracuda. 'Cuda takes Shady and the unconscious Punisher, chains them up together and runs off on a boat, to drown them instead of, say, shooting them directly in their faces. (He is a bad hit man.)
Eminem gets out of his chains, of course, and at this point you can practically hear the writer's head smashing against the keyboard as he tries to figure out how to incorporate Eminem's latest "suggestion" into the plot.
"I should like, get a chainsaw..."
"What? Where would you get a chainsaw?"
"Barracuda throws me off the boat, right? But the water is like ice, so I just land and walk off on it."
"The water that the boat was just traveling through is solid ice?"
"Yeah, and then I walk off and straight up run into some dude with a chainsaw, just chillin' on the ice."
"...and I fuckin' slice the Punisher open, yo."
"Whoa, no, he's a Marvel Comics character, we can't kill-"
"Fine, then I'll slice open Barracuda."
"But he's also a-"
"And then I grow like huge metal wings, and I fly over the X-Men's house and take a dump on Wolverine. And he cries. And I have a giant boner. Four giant boners."
"... OK, let's just kill Barracuda."
And so they did.
The comic ends with the Punisher and Eminem clearing up the misunderstanding and parting on more or less friendly terms. Eminem gets off the boat and continues to walk on the frozen water, while the Punisher sails away on the inexplicably unfrozen water, now on a new mission.
And everyone lived happily ever after. Except Barracuda. And the two dead bodyguards. And every single member of the Parents Music Council, evidently.
...and then he murdered all of them? Jesus.
#4. Jesus vs. Zeus
In 1996, controversial comic book artist Rob Liefeld published a crossover between two of his most brilliant creations: Avengelyne (a fallen angel based on Christian mythology) and Glory (an Amazon based on Greek religious mythology).
Who are they? How do their spines bend like that? Titties? That's not important, and that last one isn't even technically a question. What's important is that Liefeld thought that the religious crossover in this comic was the perfect excuse to give Jesus a much-needed gritty reboot.
The comic starts in a dream sequence when, as one reviewer put it, "the Greek gods stop by Jesus' crucifixion to talk some trash."
"Yo Jesus" jokes predate "Yo Momma" jokes by thousands of years.
When the Greek gods start talking shit on the human race, Jesus is in no mood to put up with their bad jive, so he rips himself down from the cross and kicks their Greek asses.
You, uh, don't mess with the Jesus.
That whole "turning the other cheek" crap? That was the old Jesus. The All-New Jesus has no patience for fools.
"More like a Tri-don't," Jesus would have said if this was CSI: Jerusalem.
After Jesus easily takes down all of the lesser gods, he goes head-to-head with Zeus himself, who offers to spare him if he admits the whole human race is lame and unworthy of Jesus' sacrifice. Calling the human race lame would be an insult to Jesus' mother, and you should NEVER make fun of another man's mom, especially Jesus' mom.
The dream sequence ends before we can see the outcome of the fight, and we learn that Avengelyne's dream was a prophecy. The interpretation of the dream is that there's a war between the forces of Zeus and God's army of badass angels, and it's up to two large-breasted superheroes to stop it before it destroys the universe.
What's their solution? Is it boobs? We hope it's boobs.
Unfortunately, this was the first issue, and a second issue was never printed. We don't know how the women save the day, we don't know if Zeus gets his ass handed to him in either reality or a dream sequence, we don't know if Jesus does the ass-handing, we don't know anything. We believe the outcome will be the subject of intense theological debate in the distant future, when the comic is found and mistaken for a real part of the Bible.
Meanwhile, Avengelyne and Glory did meet again, in a comic with a much deeper plot and captivating story.