Marvel and DC Comics have made big ensemble teams the centerpiece of their shared universes, bringing key heroes together and exploring their shared adventures. Throughout the last nearly ninety years of superhero comics, both publishers have created similar teams, some uncannily alike. The two companies have even enjoyed creating pastiches like Marvel’s Squadron Supreme and parodies like DC’s Retaliators, presenting a fresh take on their rivals’ greatest heroic enterprises.
The two publishing giants have explored some great team dynamics and even examined their differences and similarities in crossover stories. Recent years have seen the companies up the ante in exploring each other’s counterparts and new teams like DC’s Terrifics feel like reflections of more famous Marvel properties. Superhero comics have inspired each other since the Golden Age but some of DC and Marvel’s teams are uncannily similar.
10 Teen Titans And New Mutants
The Teen Titans and New Mutants are both the younger counterparts to two of their respective universe’s most important teams, the Justice League and X-Men. Both books are at their best when they’re telling the stories of young heroes with strong personalities as they carve out separate identities from their older counterparts. This was often done through stories that did a better job of combining the lives of their heroes with classic action.
The Titans and the Young Avengers also have their similarities, but the New Mutants and Teen Titans are both squadrons of youthful outcasts. Not only this, but the nature of their adventures and seeing heroes like Nightwing and Magick grow up has attracted a similar fan base.
9 Justice League And Squadron Supreme
Marvel and DC have enjoyed parodying, satirizing, and sometimes even copying each other over the years. The Squadron Supreme was created as Marvel’s take on the Justice League, with the powerful Hyperion standing in for Superman, even sharing his essential origin story.
The Squadron Supreme has come to more closely resemble the Injustice Justice League than that of Prime Earth, as Hyperion has turned to villainy. It’s not surprising for longtime fans since the Squadron was originally introduced as Avengers villains when they appeared as the Squadron Sinister. For fans of the JLA, it’s clear that characters like Nighthawk and Power Princess represent Batman and Wonder Woman, and Hyperion is a great dark Superman pastiche.
8 Fantastic Four And The Challengers Of The Unknown / The Terrifics
For modern readers, it’s hard not to point to The Terrifics as DC’s version of the Fantastic Four, but back in the 1960s, the Challengers of the Unknown directly inspired the Marvel team. In fact, both teams were designed by Jack Kirby and followed very similar concepts.
Both the Challengers of the Unknown and Fantastic Four are teams of scientists who explore the unknown and battle monsters and villains. That said, the Terrifics also deserve a mention since they basically replicated the best aspects of both teams in a fresh story, and Mister Terrific is basically the Reed Richards of the DCU.
7 Secret Six And Sinister Six
The Sinister Six and Secret Six are both comprised of some of the best villains in their respective worlds, drawing heavily from Batman and Spider-Man’s rogues galleries. Each team could be the most formidable collection of foes their heroes ever faced, if they wanted to be.
The Sinister Six and Secret Six follow a similar idea as a small band of villains, each with their own powers, assembled together by a fellow villain to bring down heroes. While the Secret Six often works more as an antihero or comedic villain team, the Sinister Six are better at staying focused on their villainous goals, though their tendency to compete with each other has been their downfall in the past.
6 Council of Reeds And T-Council
While DC’s The Terrifics were created to resemble Marvel’s Fantastic Four, the T Council helped the book turn the corner from homage to unapologetic copy. In Marvel, Reed Richards assembled his Council of Reeds, a band of multiversal Reed Richards variants who convene to solve the problems threatening reality.
The Terrific-Council doesn’t consist of alternate versions of one man, but rather a slew of the greatest minds from across the DCU, and some gathered from across the multiverse. The two councils form the greatest assemblies of minds in their respective universes, each resolved to tackle the most pressing issues before them using science and logic.
5 X-Men And Doom Patrol
The Doom Patrol and X-Men’s close release dates is just one of many instances where fans are hotly divided over whether Marvel and DC stole ideas from one another. Though the Doom Patrol have gradually become darker and the X-Men have evolved, their original ’60s series was closer to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men.
The X-Men and the Doom Patrol both followed the same idea of social outcasts with strange powers saving the world under the tutelage of a scientist in a wheelchair. Though both teams have undergone some changes over the years, the basics of each team remain the same — marginalized heroes saving the world despite their alienation from it.
4 The Retaliators And The Avengers
The Avengers stand as one of the flagship teams of Marvel Comics, uniting many of the company’s best heroes, like Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. On Earth-8, DC created their mirror image of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Retaliators, composed of heroes like Machinehead, American Crusader, and Behemoth.
The Avengers and Retaliators are arguably closer than the JLA and Squadron Supreme. Although the Retaliators didn’t have a brush with villainy, they did grow disillusioned with the multiverse and isolated themselves from other worlds. However, only Machinehead managed to survive the multiverse’s destruction, so at least for now, The Retaliators are a thing of the past.
3 Masters Of Evil And The Legion Of Doom
While Marvel doesn’t have a perfect stand-in for the Legion of Doom, the Masters of Evil come pretty close to matching the basic idea. The Masters of Evil were formed by the resourceful Nazi supervillain, Baron Zemo, who effectively serves as the team’s Lex Luthor.
The Masters of Evil and Legion of Doom both have a revolving cast of characters, though the former has toyed with obscure villains more often than its DC counterpart. Both are resolved to bring down their adversarial teams, the JLA and the Avengers. The Masters of Evil have needed an upgrade for a while, to help them truly match Luthor’s Legion.
2 Spider-Man Family The Bat-Family
While Batman and Spider-Man don’t have a lot in common personally, it’s hard to see past the similarities of their cities, rogues galleries, and supporting casts. From Commissioner Gordon and Captain Stacey to Black Cat and Catwoman, the heroes of Gotham and Spider-Man’s New York are very close.
Batman and Spider-Man each share their mantles more generously than anyone else in their respective worlds. Just as Spider-Man has Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl and Spider-Boy, Batman has Batwoman, Batgirl and Robin, forming the biggest (and most similar) superhero families of their respective universes.
1 Green Lantern Corps And The Nova Corps
The Green Lantern Corps and Nova Corps were both formed to create Galactic order and peace. However, both teams of space cops go about this differently. Where the Nova Corps operates more like a conventional paramilitary force, organized in units, the Green Lanterns fly solo.
The Green Lanterns and Nova Corps are both the closest thing their universes have to a true intergalactic space force, though the GLC covers much more territory with less support. Both are powered by a centralized energy source and have a planetary home base, though the Lanterns are much better-established heroes in DC Comics.
Between pastiches like the Squadron Supreme and homages like The Terrifics, Marvel and DC Comics have a lot of similar superhero teams. Read More