[[quoteright:300:[[ComicBook/ArchieMeetsThePunisher http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/archiepunisher_9911.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:And then everybody that survived [[EverybodyLaughsEnding had a hearty chuckle]]!]]

->''"Any time there's a crossover in, say, ComicBooks there's a risk that one team or hero will overshadow the other, questioning the competence or effectiveness of the other."''
-->-- '''Linkara''', ''[[HistoryOfPowerRangers History of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy]]''

Who doesn't love [[CrossOver character team-ups]]? Be it in comic books, cartoons, literature, TV or other media, putting two heroes (or villains!) together can make for exciting stories. However, care should go into this "matchmaking", since not every team up is thematically appropriate or compatible power-wise. If the creative teams go ahead with the team up anyway (the pull of WolverinePublicity and MoneyDearBoy are ''strong''), the result is a Story Breaker Team-Up.

This can happen due to a few different (sometimes overlapping) factors. Firstly is premise. If the characters are from different ends of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, either one will have to tough it out as an "inserted" character in the other's verse (suffering the equivalent of morality whiplash) or they'll have to risk meeting in morality neutral ground and hope the GreyAndGreyMorality based story is of good quality.

The above can get complicated if one hero (like the {{Punisher}} above) routinely deals with his "RoguesGallery" by [[GottaKillThemAll killing them on sight]], while the other [[ThouShaltNotKill firmly refuses to kill]] or [[ActualPacifist doesn't even fight at all]] (like {{Archie|Comics}} above)[[note]]In [[ComicBook/ArchieMeetsThePunisher the crossover that provides the page image]], the Punisher makes a deal with the government that requires him to ''apprehend'' the suspect instead of killing him, and it's only because of Riverdale's innocence that he allows his quarry to live[[/note]]. If the relative pacifist has favor, the militant hero will be [[InverseLawOfUtilityAndLethality severely]] [[NonLethalWarfare nerfed]]; whereas if the militant one is shown right, it may risk invalidating the other's morals or making them seem irrelevant.

Similarly, another potential problem is their [[SuperWeight relative power]]. If one is vastly more powerful, the other will become TheLoad, so one or both character may have to undergo PowerCreepPowerSeep to avoid one being [[OvershadowedByAwesome made irrelevant]] while the other [[StoryBreakerPower becomes a god]]. This doesn't just happen when there's a wide difference on the scale of a character with the SuperpowerLottery and a {{Muggle}} teaming up; even a simple power like one way {{Telepathy}} can cripple a crossover. Imagine how ''MurderOnTheOrientExpress'' (or any other detective story) would go if Poirot was teamed up with a Telepath.

Another factor is the seriousness of the setting and the temperament of the character. Teaming up a highly GenreSavvy character, or competent person from a world where everything is LikeRealityUnlessNoted, with a GenreBlind one in a cliche bound world won't end well, nor would the reverse be kind. In a similar vein, putting a stand up comedian in a show about international politics or similar won't usually go over well but oddly, [[TheStraightMan the reverse]] [[RuleOfFunny probably isn't the case]].

Last but not least is the content of the featured series. If you've got a series RatedMForMoney teaming up with a far less violent series, the former will most likely be {{bowdlerise}}d for the crossover so as to not clash aesthetically and/or upset the owners of the less violent series.

Because of these issues, avoiding this trope may require that SupermanStaysOutOfGotham for no adequately explained reason.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Whenever Franchise/{{Superman}} is involved in a crossover, he has to be weakened or somehow disabled for the plot to work.
** Actually there have been plenty of good Superman team-ups, mostly in his own crossover series ''DCComicsPresents''. The best ones simply [[PlotTailoredToTheParty gave the guest stars something to do in the story that Superman could not do]]. Though the trope did apply in some cases.
** ''SupermanBatman'' can be considered a case study in successfully teaming up very different heroes. Both are on equal grounds, and they face challenges each can contribute to solving, making a team far more effective than the sum of its parts.
*** However, this trope was fully in force in their first crossover, where Batman's contribution consisted of confirming that the only man on the cruise ship hiding a gun in his pocket was suspicious and having Superman throw Batman at the escaping helicopter because he was busy towing the disabled cruise ship back to port.
** In his second intercompany crossover with {{Spider-Man}}, Spidey saves the day with his Spider-Sense (while Supes is busy holding a massive explosive gizmo together with his bare hands).
** [[http://www.misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics41.html There was also the time he met the Quik Bunny.]]
*** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman_%26_Bugs_Bunny And one time, the entire DC verse crossover with the LooneyTunes]].
* Yes, the above ''ComicBook/ArchieMeetsThePunisher'' cover is real. But it's probably easy to guess that it was mostly PlayedForLaughs. If you were wondering, the plot involves the Punisher hunting a criminal with a marked resemblance to Archie... who happens to be hiding in Riverdale.
* Likewise, ''Eminem/Punisher''. [[http://comics.ign.com/articles/979/979917p1.html Yes]], {{Eminem}}.
* Some of ThePunisher's adventures in the mainstream MarvelUniverse feature him loading his gun with rubber bullets.
* A comic book actually featured a character from ''TheGuidingLight'' who had become a superhero, team up with {{Spider-Man}} and ''IronMan'', inspired by an episode where she gained [[HowUnscientific superpowers from an accident involving Halloween decorations.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* Various ''GundamSeed'' and ''{{Gundam 00}}'' crossover has this as PLAGUE, considering the later's incarnation of eponymous Gundams is plain GameBreaker compared to the former. Common joke amongst those crossovers are Setsuna complaining that G-Project unit doesn't deserve the title of Gundam.
* A few ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' fanfics make jokes about how ''Manga/DragonBall'' characters take out the angels with ease.
** This is actually very common in ''Manga/DragonBall'' crossover fics. While the ''Manga/DragonBall'' universe is not the most powerful by any means, many inexperienced fanfic writers would cross it over with fiction that was ''significently'' weaker. This was most common in the nineties, as the really well-known animes (''RanmaOneHalf, Anime/SailorMoon, Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'') were leagues beneath the ''Manga/DragonBall'' universe, while universes that could compete with or even ''dominate'' ''Manga/DragonBall'' (''TenchiMuyo, SaintSeiya, MarvelComics'') were unknown or underutilised.
*** On a similar note is an old DBZ fanfic where the Briefs family is targeted by a serial killer. Yes, a normal human serial killer. It's not BAD, but the author would need hundreds of {{Handwave}}s to fly to get it to work fully, and he only does several.
* The ''Fanfic/PrettyCureFanficFeatures'', due to crossing over a ''ton'' of stories on varying points of the Scale, tend to do this. If ''[[Fanfic/PrettyCurePerfumePreppy Perfume Preppy]]'' is in a feature with a bunch of casts from series that are as child-friendly as [[PrettyCure the source material]], no mention will be made of its various {{Family Unfriendly Death}}s and rather disgusting moments like [[spoiler:Ashley's cannibalistic mass murder spree]]. If ''[[Fanfic/PrettyCureHeavyMetal Heavy Metal]]'' is in there too, since it's even less child-friendly, the other fics in the pile will be made DarkerAndEdgier.
** Other commonalities have to be made to make stories fit in, too. ''[[Fanfic/FutariWaPrettyCureBlueMoon Blue Moon]]'' features a two-Cure team who are part of a FiveManBand with their {{Secret Keeper}}s, and also a DarkMagicalGirl who plays a less major role: most other stories relegate all {{Muggles}} to the position of ThoseTwoGuys and make the DarkMagicalGirl super-important. Crossovers with ''Blue Moon'' thus remove Hoshi, Yukari and Mia entirely while playing up the role of [[spoiler:Emiru]].
* ''FanFic/ADarkKnightOverSinCity'' has a mild example. Franchise/{{Batman}} and his rogues operate on a slightly different level than the ''SinCity'' characters. The [[AntiHero anti-heroes]] and villains in Sin City still serve important roles in the plot but when it comes to, say, explaining Scarecrow's weapons or Joker's toxin, they resort to BuffySpeak.
* While on it, between 2003 and 2007 there were many crossovers between ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' and ''Literature/HarryPotter''. While many of them were very well written, they were extremely prone to this trope, in both directions: If early seasons of BTVS were depicted, then a team of one physical fighter (Buffy), one slow (and then weak) witch (Willow) and two BadassNormal's (Giles/Xander) could not really make a difference against all Death Eaters, with their apparition, direct magic etc. By contrast, if BTVS was depicted post S7, then there was the simple fact that all Death Eaters combined could not match the power of Willow, not even taking hundreds of slayers, Giles, and rest into account.
* While [[FateStayNight Shirou Emiya]] appears in Fanfic/JusticeSocietyOfJapan, the fic is explicitly stated to take place before the fifth grail war, as the presence of Saber or Shirou mastering Unlimited Blade Works would break the story's balance like a pinata.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Occurs repeatedly in ''LightNovel/OreGaHeroineOTasukesugiteSekaiGaLittleMokushiroku''. After getting sucked into multiple stories at the same time (starting with SummonEverymanHero and SpaceOpera), the protagonist frequently abuses resources from one story to solve problems in another (such as shooting the DemonKing with a DisintegratorRay, and [[TeleportersAndTransporters teleporting]] the SwordInTheStone out of its resting place).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Jack Black on ''Series/{{Community}}'', as a parody of RememberTheNewGuy, turned into this. He upsets the group dynamic with his weird schtick eventually forcing Jeff to drag him out of the Study Room kicking and screaming.
* The ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' story arc of ''Series/KamenRiderDecade''. Since Franchise/{{Kamen Rider}}s do not deal with giant monsters on a regular basis whereas ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' does and the crossover occurs in a ''Kamen Rider'' show, the arc was written to feature an original MonsterOfTheWeek who became an anomaly of sorts thanks to the intrusion of ''Decade''[='=]s cast and thus could not [[MakeMyMonsterGrow grow]] unlike his brethren.
** Inverted years later in the ''Series/ResshaSentaiTokkyuger'' and ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'' crossover, where one of ''Gaim'''s {{Mook}} monsters grows to giant size (something they never did before or since) so the Tokkyugers can take it down with their giant robot.
* Parodied on the first episode of ''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'', with the superhero team of BMX Bandit and Angel Summoner. BMX Bandit can ride a BMX ''really'' well, while Angel Summoner can summon and control a horde of invincible celestial superbeings. [[SarcasmMode Oddly]], BMX Bandit feels he doesn't add much to the team.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Table Top Games]]
* The players can cause this in any given table role playing game, almost all of which begin with a team-up of brand new characters. The GM can deal with conflicting power levels by enforcing balance. The players may come to the table with different assumptions about what the genre's conventions are. They may play characters with vastly different ethical stances that simply can't reconcile. They may come with vastly different levels of knowledge of the rules of the game and different tolerances for bending those rules. They may be the only [[TheLoonie Loony]] in a group which quickly tires of their antics or the only [[TheRealMan Real Man]] when everyone else is in deep immersion gaming. Preventing these differences both in and out of character from becoming a StoryBreakerTeamUp is important for making sure everyone has fun. The obvious example is from ''DungeonsAndDragons'', with its infamous trope-naming LawfulStupid, ChaoticStupid, and StupidEvil characters.
* This trope pretty well spelled the downfall of ''TabletopGame/AniMayhem''. When the game started off with shows like ''Anime/RanmaOneHalf'', ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'', and ''Anime/BubblegumCrisis'', everything worked out pretty well; some characters were better at straight-up fights, while others had better skills and could be brought up to equal footing with equipment and enhancement effects. But then the second expansion added ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', and suddenly characters like [[Anime/DominionTankPolice Leona Ozaki]] couldn't do squat against the likes of Super Saiyan Goku.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MortalKombatVsDCUniverse'' solves this in one sense while being disadvantaged by it in another. The difference in powers between ''MortalKombat'' and {{DCU}} characters is explained by mentioning that the universe merging directly affects the abilities of everyone involve, as well as spreading a HatePlague in order for LetsYouAndHimFight to ensue. However, DC's treatment of their intellectual properties meant that the ''Mortal Kombat'' side had to temporarily lose [[RatedMForMoney its extreme blood and gore]]... which, unfortunately for that series, is its entire selling point, period.
** Also some DC characters, especially Superman, have their abilities weakened from the flux of magical energy while some characters, like Joker are supercharged by it. This is probably the only way Joker could beat Superman in a fair fight realistically.
** It also helps that Superman is weak to the sorcery used by most Mortal Kombat characters and that the DC cast is holding back because most of the heroes don't like to kill others anyways while the more 'mortal' Mortal Kombat characters show no mercy.
* To a minor extent, ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros. Brawl'' and [[Franchise/MetalGear Snake]]. An M-rated character battles heroes who are perfectly OK for the entire family? Wave goodbye to his realistic firearms. He gets to keep explosive arms, though.
** Samus is a sci-fi bounty hunter in PowerArmor with an ArmCannon. Ness has a bat. Snake doesn't get anything that is too far removed from real world arms. Jigglypuff makes do with cuteness. Link has a sword and a bow. Respectively, they come from dystopian SpaceOpera, comedic CosmicHorror, action-espionage MagicalRealism, whatever genre Pokemon is, and HighFantasy. The whole game is a StoryBreakerTeamUp forgiven on RuleOfCool, RuleOfFun, and the NostalgiaFilter.
* While Banpresto usually handles this trope quite well, ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' has had a few offenders in the past. What immediately comes to mind is ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsJudgment'', where the plot of ''GundamSEED'' is handled the exact same way despite the crossover drastically altering the circumstances. The most {{egregious}} case is [[spoiler:Mu La Flaga's HeroicSacrifice]], even though the various {{Super Robot}}s in the player's group could have ''easily'' [[spoiler:tanked the positron cannon]].
** The first appearances of a series tend to stick closer to canon. Later ones get more wiggling room. Compare ''SEED'''s appearance in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsW'': [[spoiler:Mu lives. And so do a lot of other ''SEED'' characters]].
* The plot of ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'' involves time being rewritten and past and present to be in the same place resulting in two Sonic's, one modern, one classic. Problem is Sonic has gained a few powers and skills since the old days, resulting in modern Sonic easily outperforming his classic counterpart. The plot gets around this by having both Sonic's have their own stages and bosses. Still it can feel a little patronizing when Classic Sonic has bosses and stages that Modern Sonic could easily defeat, and Classic Sonic could not do anything if he went up against Modern Sonic's bosses.
** In fact, given that only the "Classic Era" has bosses from Classic games, Classic Sonic only has 1 boss fight and 1 rival fight (not counting the [[spoiler:Time Eater]] since both Sonics fight that in their super forms) in the entire game, Death Egg Robot (3DS version has Big Arm instead) and Metal Sonic. The rest of the bosses and rivals are fought by Modern Sonic.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* It's a minor RunningGag in ''TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' that Molly likes writing [[CrackFic crack]] crossover fanfics, such as ''Literature/TheBrothersKaramazov'' meet ''Literature/HaroldAndThePurpleCrayon'', [[Literature/GulliversTravels Gulliver]] versus [[Franchise/{{Godzilla}} Mechagodzilla]], and SherlockHolmes meets ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja''.
* [[http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2011/09/05 This]] ''PennyArcade'' comic.
--> ''Green Lantern'': What's the plan, Clark?
--> ''Superman'': The plan is that I will solve everything, by myself, because I'm an invincible, immortal alien with unlimited power. If there's anything bad, I'll just pick it up and throw it into the sun.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Pooh's Adventures'' runs on this trope. The main character, Franchise/WinnieThePooh, crosses over with people like Franchise/{{Batman}}, the ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'', the ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', and many others dipping into either a very high SuperWeight (even for a stuffed animal) or the [[DarkerAndEdgier darkest part of town]], or even both. Then there's the allies Pooh has, although not a lot of them could affect the plot, some ''do'' with just a few super powers.
* The animations ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FywMOuMqNuI The Dark Knight Meets Superman]]'' and ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeT1t0lQn5Q&feature=fvwrel The Dark Knight Meets Superman Part 2]]'' do this intentionally for parody. First {{Superman}} visits Gotham City during the events of ''Film/TheDarkKnight''. "Hey, bat-bro, I hope it's not a big deal, but while you were talking there, I went ahead and stopped crime. Like, all of it." Then this version of Batman stands in for Superman in Metropolis alongside the JusticeLeague. It doesn't go that well.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' had this trope inverted, Batman is transported to 1880s England, where he "teams up" with SherlockHolmes and outclasses him in most ways. While Sherlock is no slouch (and discovers and reaches the villain's hideout before Batman), Batman fights better, can make {{Bat Deduction}}s with less information, and can handle the clearly supernatural Gentleman Ghost while Holmes is made a victim. Although the fact that Holmes beat Batman at anything [[FridgeBrilliance speaks volumes,]] as Batman has both more experience with supernatural phenomena, and information, knowledge and training from over a century ahead of Sherlock's time.
** And again with "The Super-Batman of Planet X!", where Batman is stranded on a strange, alien planet and teams up with the local near-identical Batman to foil crime. Then it turns out that thanks to the planet's atmosphere Batman becomes a FlyingBrick, much to the local Batman-X's chagrin. That is, until the [[KryptoniteIsEverywhere commonly occurring]] mineral ''[[WeaksauceWeakness Quartz]]'' renders him worse than powerless and allows Batman-X to save the day.
** The show also had a crossover with ''ScoobyDoo'' that managed to fix the story breaker. How, you ask? [[spoiler:RealityWarper Bat-Mite gives Batman, Robin, and the villains the ability to fight (since this was based off of the 60s cartoon, he couldn't even throw a punch). Then he gives it to Shaggy and Scooby, too. Ass-kicking ensues.]]
* ''The New ScoobyDoo Movies'' in which Mystery, Inc. teamed with people like Franchise/{{Batman}}, Series/TheAddamsFamily and Film/TheThreeStooges.
* ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' uses this effect intentionally in many of its sketches. As the series page puts it:
-->Most sketches involve [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot "mashups"]], a collision of two pop-cultural items (one innocent, and the other "mature") degenerating into chaos, like [[SuperMarioBros Mario and Luigi]] travelling to [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity Vice City]], BeavisAndButthead joining the WesternAnimation/TeenTitans, the ScoobyDoo team encountering [[Franchise/FridayThe13th Jason Voorhees]], or ''TheSmurfs'' doing their version of the movie ''Film/{{Se7en}}'' (Yes, all of these, even the last one, are actual sketches from the show).
* [[WhatCouldHaveBeen If early concepts for]] ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTheMovie'' were used, it would be a cross-over with ''[[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers Transformers]]''.
* It's difficult for FamilyGuy to have a genuine crossover with ''anything'' seeing as how they were only with AmericanDad characters for twenty seconds in an episode of the latter. As the show is itself notorious for the use of the CutawayGag (eight times per episode usually!), a lack of them would stand out if they tried to really incorporate the theme of any other show. The fact that many of these gags already have other fictional characters in [[LawyerFriendlyCameo Lawyer Friendly Cameos]] also hurts it.
[[/folder]]

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