Comics Features

FEB2ARY: Top Six Duos In Comics

3. Captain America and Bucky


Captain America and Bucky Barnes. Steve Rogers and James Buchanan Barnes. The names go hand and hand with one another, especially since they debuted at the very same time! Yes friends, our favorite ultra-American duo first appeared together in the pages of Captain America Comics #1 in 1941. Published by Timely Comics, the predecessor to a little publishing house you may have heard of called Marvel Comics, Captain America Comics featured Cap’ and Bucky squaring off against Nazis during WWII. Can you say propaganda?

In all seriousness, we’re talking about the earliest team-up between Cap’ and Bucky in their history, long before all the retcons and before Winter Soldier was a thing. Captain America and Bucky Barnes were created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, both of whom require no introduction, and it was during this time that one of Captain America’s greatest adversaries made his first appearance: Red Skull! When Bucky accidentally discovers that Steve Rogers is actually Captain America, hilarity ensues as Rogers decides that it’s perfectly acceptable for a young teenager with hardly any military training to join him as he battles Nazis in one of the most violent wars the world has ever known!

To the surprise of no one, Cap’ and Bucky’s little escapade ends in tragedy while battling the nefarious Baron Zemo when a bomb explodes on a plane, sending our heroes into the frozen ground below. Everyone should be more or less familiar with what happens next; Captain America wakes up only to be a “fish out of water” in modern day America and presumes Bucky to be dead, while Bucky himself is later discovered and conditioned as the assassin known as Winter Soldier. Much later, Bucky even takes up the mantle of Captain America, finally following in his hero’s footsteps. Don’t you just love happy never-ending-second-acts?

Our next entry is sure to boggle the mind of some, and infuriate others! I like to go for a full range of emotions, so here we go; number two!

2. Archie and Jughead


If you think that’s a type-o you are sorely mistaken. Yes, in at the number two spot on the countdown of the best duos in comics are Archie and Jughead! Well, to be fair they’re more like best friends, but I’ll let that slide (I already did, in fact). You may have noticed that this little pairing is unique to this list in that neither Archie nor Jughead have any super powers (usually), but are instead your average teenagers, which was just what creator Bob Montana was going for.

In 1941 (always with the 1940s!), Archie and Jughead made their debut in MLJ Comics’ Pep Comics before the publisher and its flagship title were renamed to reflect the growing popularity of its best book: Archie Comics (duh!). Archie and Jughead became fast friends at an early age, and despite Jughead’s incredibly unsettling appearance (more on that in a bit), he is always the one to help Archie when he is in a jam. Yet, it is the times when Jughead is unable to talk Archie out of any number of hair-brained schemes that the duo are at their best.

Concerning Jughead: Typically, Jughead is depicted as wearing a sweatshirt with an “S” on it, and looking somewhat disheveled. He always seems to be squinting (hmm) and is virtually never shown without his trademark crown/beanie thing (HMM). I don’t know guys, if I didn’t know any better I’d think that Jughead was some kind of burnout, but maybe that’s just the cynic in me. Nevertheless, it’s Jughead’s odd appearance that makes it so strange that he would be the voice of reason.

What gives these guys their place in the countdown is the longevity; it’s all about the longevity. Well, there’s also the fact that two completely normal teenagers (and their friends) have been a staple of the comic book medium for many, many years. Bravo.

The time has come fellow enthusiasts! The coveted number one spot in the countdown of comics’ best duos; it could be a fast ball right down the center, or a curveball right to the shin. So, for the sake of not wasting any more time with sports metaphors, here we go!

1. Batman and Robin


C’mon guys, we all knew this was coming. But, in order to avoid the title of “most cliched number one spot of 2016,” we’re going to do something a little bit different. That’s right, I have randomly (READ: planned the whole time) chosen one incarnation of Robin to go along with the Caped Crusader: and it is…

wait for it…

Jason Todd! Oh, you know you’re even more angry with me now! Yes, Jason Todd. Before Damien and all his mommy and daddy issues, and all that “but I wanna kill people” stuff, Batman was teamed up with an actual criminal! Well, sort of.

When Dick Grayson went on to become Nightwing in the Teen Titans, DC figured “hey, we need another Robin now,” and so Jason Todd was born. Depending on whether you are reading pre or post-Crisis stories, Todd’s origin story will differ. For the purposes of this article, we will be referring to “post-Crisis” Jason Todd.

When Batman catches Jason Todd trying to jack the tires off the Goddamn Batmobile in Crime Alley (of all places), Batman first tries to help him as Bruce Wayne. After some time, Batman decides to train Jason as his new Robin since it worked out so well with Dick, and so the Dynamic Duo go on to thwart many a criminal from committing…crimes…ehem.

The fact that Jason Todd was more or less a “criminal” attempting to deface the vessel of justice known as the Batmobile in Crime Alley, the site of the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, is somewhat poetic. Now, the character of Jason Todd has its fair share of detractors; purists who could not bear to see young Dick Grayson grow up, or those that feel Jason Todd was too unruly to be taken under the wing of the illustrious Batman. Whichever the case, the Batman editor at the time, Dennis O’Neil (yeah, you know who he is), decided that including the audience would be a good financial move for DC Comics. He wasn’t wrong; but then again, I’m not sure he ever was.

In 1988, DC Comics held a telephone poll (remember those?) in which callers would vote on the fate of Jason Todd. Well, the bloodlust of comic book readers everywhere (or perhaps a conspiracy) led to DC Comics’ publication of the epic storyline A Death in the Family, in which Jason Todd is hoodwinked by his own mother, right into the hands of the Joker. And for those of you that haven’t read this storyline, this is the Joker at his absolute worst. The Clown Prince of Crime pulls no punches in A Death in the Family, and brutally murders Jason Todd with a crowbar. Oh, and then he blows him up. If you aren’t able to read the comics, DC’s animated film Under the Red Hood features some of the plot points from A Death in the Family; if only Todd’s demise.

Jason Todd may not have been the best Robin, but his brash and violent tendencies not only paved the way for Damien Wayne, but they also played nicely off of Batman himself. At that point, we already had a wise-cracking sidekick like Dick Grayson, so it was only natural for DC to go in a different direction with the second Robin. If anything, Todd’s return from comic book heaven (hell?) made him even more interesting. The point is, you can “read” characters like Dick Grayson; they’re somewhat predictable. Jason Todd is a whole other animal, and DC used the character in a new and inventive way (at the time), which has had a lasting impact on the Batman mythos. It also gave the Joker something delightfully cruel to do that would forever effect Batman’s approach to crime fighting.

That about wraps it up for this list of comic book team-ups and duos! Before we finish, I’d like to list a few honorable mentions:

1. Ratchet and Buster Witwicky from Marvel Comics’ The Transformers.

2. Casey Jones and Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

3. Wolverine and Jubilee from X-Men

4. Too many to mention!

What are your favorite team-ups, duos, and pairs from the world of comics? Do you agree of disagree with the selections on this list? Let us know in the comments section and on our Twitter page!

About the author

Robert Porter