What’s your favorite villain team-up?

What’s your favorite villain team-up?

Batman (1966), Back To The Future Part II, Marvel's M.O.D.O.K.

From top: Batman (1966), Back To The Future Part II, Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. (Screenshots)
Graphic: Libby McGuire

DC’s supervillain team-up spectacular The Suicide Squad premieres in theaters and on HBO Max this weekend. To celebrate, we’re looking back at our favorite villain team-ups across pop culture with this week’s AVQ&A:

What is your favorite villain team-up in pop culture?

2 / 8

Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers

Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers

In its formulaic glory days, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ first big bad was the iconic space witch Rita Repulsa, a cone-bra sporting villain whose earth-conquering plans were consistently thwarted no matter how loud she screeched. Upping the ante in season two, her sinewy superior Lord Zedd shows up, stuffs her into a space dumpster (don’t ask), and takes on the teen heroes himself, but proves to be just as much of a flop. However, Rita—stunt queen that she is—returns, uses a love potion on Zedd, and the two quickly marry, plotting to conquer the earth together in holy matrimony. Love is love. By the third season, the couple is quibbling like Al and Peggy on Married… With Children—only, their “children” are an army of dopey Putty Patrollers. Together, Rita and Zedd still can’t manage to defeat a quintet of teens and a floating hologram face, but I’ll always admire Power Rangers for taking the idea of the “villain team-up” to its daffiest extreme. [Cameron Scheetz]

3 / 8

M.O.D.O.K., Poundcakes, Armadillo, Angar The Screamer, Tenpin, and Melter, Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.

M.O.D.O.K., Poundcakes, Armadillo, Angar The Screamer, Tenpin, and Melter, Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.

While I love a good successful villain team-up, I really love a good futile team-up. No one’s done that better in recent memory than the people behind Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K., which came out earlier this year on Hulu. M.O.D.O.K.’s already a bit of a joke—he’s a lonely, separated giant floating head hell-bent on destroying Iron Man. Good luck with that—but when he’s barred from entering a cool supervillain nightclub frequented by Madame Masque and Mr. Sinister in “If Saturday Be… For The Boys!,” he goes over to the sad watering hole The Bar With No Name, where he finds a whole slate of even more besmirched supervillains, from bowling-based villain Tenpin to Armadillo, who basically just digs really fast. Together, they set out to steal Captain America’s shield. Pathetic rag-taggedness ensues, friendships are forged, and absolutely no shields are stolen. “If Saturday Be… For The Boys!” is a perfect reminder that so many of our favorite villains really are just losers at heart, cosmic oddities in a world of even more perfectly formed cosmic oddities. They deserve wins too sometimes—no matter how small. [Marah Eakin]

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Does it still count as a supervillain team-up if the supervillains in question are trying really hard to pretend that they aren’t? 24 years later, the first issue of Marvel’s Thunderbolts remains shockingly bold, as a team of brand new heroes—much hyped by the company in the preceding weeks—suddenly reveal themselves to actually be the latest incarnation of classic anti-Avengers the Masters Of Evil, attempting to leverage the good publicity of being a “hero team” in order to take over the world. With old-school baddie Baron Zemo in charge, and psychologist-turned-villain Moonstone pulling everyone’s strings, the Thunderbolts were a group of bad people doing good things—and stumbling into the idea that having a team to watch your back could actually be pretty great. [William Hughes]

5 / 8

Young Biff and Old Biff in Back To The Future Part II

Young Biff and Old Biff in Back To The Future Part II

Biff in Back To The Future is a bully and a doofus. Biff in Back To The Future Part II is an old man who has grown bitter and wiser after decades of being bullied by successful capitalist asshole George McFly. Together, they’re a pair of jerks who use a time machine and knowledge of future sporting events to create a third version of Biff who is more disgusting and inhuman and evil than anyone could ever be in the real world (…right?). The two Biffs don’t interact for long, time paradoxes being what they are, but few villain team-ups have been as destructively fruitful. [Sam Barsanti]

6 / 8

Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and Riddler in Batman (1966)

Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and Riddler in Batman (1966)

I know Batman has gone through many incarnations, but I still favor the one I grew up with: the 1960s TV show. And there was nothing better on that series than when villains like Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and Riddler would team up to try to take down the Dynamic Duo. It was a blast to see stellar performers like Cesar Romero (Joker) and Burgess Meredith (Penguin) ham it up completely, bickering at each other while yet another anti-Caped Crusader plan blew up in their collective faces. The 1966 Batman movie is the high point of these nefarious partnerships, as all four villains come together in yet another world-domination plot. An oceanic showdown is highlighted by a group fistfight on Penguin’s submarine and Batman battling a shark on a rope ladder, defeated by what else, Shark Repellent Bat-spray. [Gwen Ihnat]

Mr. McMahon and The Rock

Possibly due to the fact that I’ve been obsessively watching wrestling documentaries, thanks to Dark Side Of The Ring, I was reminded of just how great of a heel Vince McMahon’s Mr. McMahon character was during the company’s “Attitude Era.” For my money, no one made audiences angrier than when he and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, one of the best, most charismatic villains of the period, ran their “Corporate Champion” storyline. The Rock was at his absolute cockiest, McMahon his most diabolical, and together they set up months of conspiracy to screw “Stone Cold” Steve Austin out of the WWF Championship—and there was no crime greater in the late-’90s than cheating Stone Cold. Heel turns are a dime a dozen in pro wrestling, but it takes a special kind of villainy to stay lodged in my brain for nearly 25 years. [Matt Schimkowitz]

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