Top 10 Comic Book Rivalries

Good vs Evil At It's Best

Good Vs Evil
Good Vs Evil

Good and Evil

Good and evil. Those two polar opposites have been facing off since the beginning of creation. The battle between the two has blazed a trail through the very pages of our history books, the big screen, and even around the traditional campfire setting. In all it's forms the one medium I feel has served to best capture this feud of the super powers, yet still be underrated in many ways, is that of the comic book.

The battle between the just forces of good and the vile wickedness of evil has transpired in the vibrant pages of comic books for decades. As a teenager I can still recall Doomsday landing the final blow on the man of steel or Magneto always having an answer for the X-Men's advances. It is often said that a hero is only as strong as his or her greatest foe. I think that to be a true statement but I feel in terms of comic books that a comic book is only as potent as it's greatest story or rivalry. I present here for your entertainment pleasure my top 10 comic book rivalries.

The Punisher

The Punisher's war on crime is extreme and effective.
The Punisher's war on crime is extreme and effective.

10. Punisher vs Crime In General

I know this probably seems like a huge cop out but stay tuned and I will make it all crystal clear. For me as a kid I was always into the hero who did not have the cosmic powers or a radioactive spider bite to fuel their ability to fight crime and defeat evil. Punisher was one of those colorful characters that just caught my attention. I will admit first and foremost he has had some very epic battles with some remarkable foes. Kingpin, Jigsaw, and of course the horrid movies that keep popping out like bad rashes.

Punisher for me has never really been about an epic feud with one supreme bad guy. He has always taken on the whole of crime as his nemisis and that to me was just amazing. Where Spider-man might spend a great deal of his time focused on the apprehension of the Green Goblin Punisher does not simply focus on that one criminal. He is always on the look out for all law breaking members of the society he is forced to exist in and that to me is why his rivalry is crime in general.

Daredevil VS Kingpin

These two have fought for ages and it always gets more and more interesting
These two have fought for ages and it always gets more and more interesting

9. Daredevil vs Kingpin

I may take a little heat for this but growing up I was never a real big fan of the Daredevil. I always found the story work less than captivating and lacking for me, but then came along the Man Without Fear story arc and guess who was hooked like a little fish on a big hook? The battle between Kingpin and the blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen is one that literally spans all mediums from print to film and back again.

I think it is cool that Daredevil is disabled by his blindness but he has turned that disability into a plus for his work. Just like other comic books the foe here is one in the same. Kingpin is a very large man and in some eyes obesity could be considered a disability but he has turned that into a plus for him as well. It did not take me long to realize Wilson Fisk was more than a crime boss with an affliction for eating, he was pure power.

This rivalry was more than just a bout between two foes. It brought in the likes of Bullseye, Elektra and even the web head himself had to intervene at times.

Behold the greatness

8. X-Men Vs Magneto

I am a huge fan of the X-Men. As a youth Saturday mornings for me was all about the animated series and what would happen next to Xavier's motley crew of mutant super heroes. I was drawn to it like a dumb kid to a black van with free candy painted on the side in white spray paint.

Of all the amazing enemies, and let's just be honest the X-Men had them, that graced the pages of the epic comic books few had the tenacity of Magneto. What really fueled this rivalry was not hatred but morality and questioning that morality. On one side you have the X-Men who believe that man and mutant can live together in harmony without conflict. On the other you have the views of Magneto, which clearly see that harmony as discord and dissonance.

Both sides feel they are fighting for a just and noble cause yet their opposite opinions make for some very hearty battles. In many ways the story has taken pages from history in the real world by creating a rivalry that is not based on supremacy or who has the best comic book power but more or less on civil rights and who has the right to exist what way.

Magneto never hated his X-Men foes as they never hated him, which really made this one of those memorable and talked about comic book rivalries. There was a mutual respect that was always present even when it would appear one side would lose a soldier to the fray,.

Says it all!

These two have had some amazing battles.
These two have had some amazing battles.

7. The Flash Vs Captain Cold

I love The Flash! Point blank he is and has been my favorite super hero since I was a child. While the rogues gallery for the Flash is almost as deep as that of Batman's one villain has always stood out for me. Captain Cold!

Cold is the one villain who just always seems to up the Flash. What I feel makes this such an amazing rivalry is not that super speed meets with the slowing down effects of the amazing cold ray but more in that the two are not engaged in a battle of powers. The comic book meetings of these two men seem to me to be more about who can out think the other and at what cost the people around them will end up paying.

So It Begins...

6. Green Lantern Vs. Sinnestro

The will of the mighty green lantern ring vs the fear instilling might of the yellow power ring. This epic beat down is one that I feel deserves mention here for sure. This war between the two sides of the spectrum has been featured in animated series, motion pictures and the time honored pages of comic books.

The rivalry here is one that spans from one of the most heart breaking experiences one can ever endure. The betrayal of a friend. Sinnestro left the Green Lantern Corp to find his own way and unfortunately for those who remained that meant he would be a foe most worthy of their full attention.

Power can and will corrupt most souls and when given the opportunity to wield unlimited power Sinnestro decided he would take it. This meant for The Green Lantern that he would no longer be able to call him friend or mentor but foe and enemy. What I always found alarming and somewhat interesting to boot was that in their match ups it always seemed in the back of The Green Lantern's mind he still viewed Sinnestro as that friend to the corps and someone he could learn from.

Right vs Wrong

The battle was more than who they were.
The battle was more than who they were.

5. Captain America Vs. Red Skull

When discussing good vs evil and the relationship it has to comic books it would be a disservice to leave out the rivalry of Captain America and Red Skull. In many ways this is America vs Nazi Germany on a smaller more entertaining scale. The cap stands for all that is wholesome in the world. Family values, God and country while on the other hand you have the Red Skull who is every evil aspect of the nazi movement rolled into one hideous form that is hell bent on world domination by any means.

This rivalry was one that stayed fresh because in essence it was never Captain America against the Red Skull. It was in fact right against wrong, good against evil. The battle was not for who was better but for what frame of thinking served to better move the world.

The fight for scientific reason.

4. Fantastic Four Vs. Doctor Doom

Marvel's age of comics kind of began with the Fantastic Four. It was these four super powers characters who laid the starting foundation for the Marvel Universe. No character has ever been more of a thorn in the side of the four than Doctor Doom.

Doom was the villain that just could not stay down and would always have the answer for any action taken against him by the cosmic powered ones. This rivalry was one I recall so well simply because to me it was never the team vs Doom but more so Reed Richards vs Doom in an intellectual battle of wits that would destroy cities and people just alike.

The battles these two heated foes have had make for excellent comic book reading but also stand as a reminder that when power is introduced in large quantities madness is likely to follow.

Engaged in Endless Battle

Spider-Man and The Green Goblin battle in the skies.
Spider-Man and The Green Goblin battle in the skies.

3. Spider-Man Vs. Green Goblin

Venom, Lizard, even the death of Uncle Ben can not compare to the madness caused by The Green Goblins assaults on Spider-Man. As a kid I was always quick to snatch any book that would showcase these two foes in battle. The Goblin was the one villain I felt really had Spidey's number.

I was always used to seeing the Spider-Man charging forward with witty one liners and insults but when the Goblin came to play the roles were reversed. Spider-Man would take a more serious approach while the green one would spout the one liners and toss catch phrases out like a hollywood agent.

This rivalry gets more fuel added by the fact the Green Goblin killed Gwen Stacy, the love interest of Peter Parker and to add more fire to the fire, so to speak, he also is the person young Peter Parker admired and looked up to.

The Goblin was Peter's best friend's father which adds to just how chaotic this rivalry can and does get on a regular basis.

One of the most epic rivalries.

An endless game of cat and bat!
An endless game of cat and bat!

2. Batman Vs Joker

I realize a lot of people are going to feel this should have grabbed the top spot but stay with me. Batman is the embodiment of serious calm demeanors while Joker may very well be the complete opposite, seeming to sometimes not even know what he himself is going to do. These two foes have torn through the pages of comic book royalty and still maintain a very close love hate relationship.

You have on one hand the dark knight. His demeanor and poise hardly ever shaken. He stands as a calming reminder of the fact someone is out there to protect Gotham City. Take the other hand into view and the picture is a bit more fuzzy. The Joker. A work of pure madness who reacts and responds with no real justified direction of goal. He also stands in the dark of Gotham, but on his face there is no scowl but a smile that reminds us all that we never know what he will do next.

In many ways it would seem Batman is in some ways responsible for the actions of the Joker since he continues to allow him to live regardless of what is done. That one rule sparks a question of is it morally correct to allow a man like Joker to continue to exist in a society scared of him. Even odder is it seems in many ways that the two foes who make up this comic book rivalry must have the other to function as they are meant to.

Joker has caused Batman more pain than any villain to date and still Batman shows mercy to his foe. It is almost as if he knows The Joker completes his crazy puzzle of existence. Joker truly feels he needs Batman to chase him so he has an excuse to run. It is what seems to drive him in his madness which makes it all the more odd that Batmen feels he must chase the Joker. Together they have formed this endless loop and that is what creates a strong and enjoyable rivalry for us as comic book fans.

The Rivalry to end them all.

Superman Vs Lex Luthor
Superman Vs Lex Luthor

1. Superman Vs. Lex Luthor

Let's just look at the facts here. Superman kind of put the costumed hero idea in work on the pages of comic books and I felt his ongoing war with Luthor was one that needed to be listed at the top spot. This one is a timeless battle and one that has made many appearances in TV, film, and most vitally the pages of Superman comic books.

The rivalry here is one that I feel actually has to do with status. Luthor is the rich man who gives freely to Metropolis to see it become a better city. Superman is the protector of the city who keeps it safe. Both feel that they are the most important man in Metropolis and as a result they have this retention toward each other that spans a rivalry of epic proportions.

Luthor is to the eyes of the city a stand up man who has made contributions all over to better his city yet under the surface he is hell bent on eliminating Superman at all cost. This means life, property, it just does not matter as long as he remains the public entity that defines Metropolis. Luthor's money and smarts has made him a very dangerous foe for the man of steel. He has ready access to kryptonite as well as a horde of supers ready to pounce on Superman at a moment's notice.

Superman on the other hand is always ready to defend against the madness of Lex Luthor despite knowing that in all the evil he still has done good things.

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Comments 2 comments

Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

Great overview of some of the most epic comic book rivalries.


lorddraven2000 profile image

lorddraven2000 17 months ago from Wheelwright KY Author

Thanks so much.

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