20 most upbeat superhero stories

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Cover of Spider-Man/Human Torch #1 (Image via Marvel

7. Spider-Man/Human Torch: I’m With Stupid

Superhuman team-ups are potentially tricky situations. They could be riotously funny in the rights hands, or merely grounds for lame jokes and awkward, obviously manufactured character interactions. Merely saying “hey, ___ should team up with ___ because… it’ll look cool?” is not reason enough.

For all my skepticism, however, there are quite a few examples of good team-ups. Take the Justice League or the Avengers, for a couple of big examples. Or, if you’re looking for something smaller and, well, a little less self-serious, turn to the partnership of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch.

Despite the t-shirt slogan name, Spider-Man/Human Torch: I’m With Stupid is actually really good. It follows years of comics where Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four cross paths, from their first meeting until the then-present era of 2004. This five-issue miniseries was written by Dan Slott and drawn by Ty Templeton (along with Nelson, Tom Palmer, Drew Geraci and Greg Adams as inkers).

Beyond the jokes (including one about Johnny Storm’s envy of Peter and Storm’s coining of the phrase “the Parker luck”), Slott also writes some truly good character moments and a genuine, growing friendship between the pair. You’ll also encounter plenty of silliness, including Spider-Man’s face-off against Doctor Doom and a villain named Paste-Pot-Pete.