If a Superhero
has a Rogues Gallery
, it's an obvious plot for the villains to team up. A Villain Team Up is almost always for the sole purpose of ganging up on a hero or hero team and finishing them off once... and for all!!!
Villains will almost never team up to rob a bank together, or commit any other crime together. Which makes sense, because the typical Rogues Gallery
has villains with nothing in common at all, other than hating the hero.
This is also why they lose; unlike the heroic team they fight, the villains never trust each other. One of them will betray
the rest of the group. Usually after they've captured the heroes, thus letting the heroes escape. Some heroes can even cause a "solid" Villain Team Up to implode with Flaw Exploitation
. Other times, one of the villains has planned the whole team-up as a trap from the start. Cue An Aesop
about The Power of Friendship
. This is one of few situations where maintaining the Status Quo
is well justified
A variant is that instead of ganging up, they make the heroes Run the Gauntlet
. If they get on reasonably well, they'll compliment each other on their evilness
. If conditions are right, they may become a Big Bad Duumvirate
. While this is usually a one-shot team up, a Legion of Doom
is a recurring team of villains and are a major opposition together. Can easily lead to a Joker Jury
situation. When done badly can lead to instant Villain Decay
, as the hero trashes six people who each used to be a threat to him on their own. This trope is the opposite of Evil Versus Evil
. When a villain teams up with the hero, that's Enemy Mine
Compare Evil Is One Big Happy Family
and Legion of Doom
. Contrast Super Team
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Anime & Manga
- Malik/Marik and Yami Bakura from Yu-Gi-Oh! Battle City arc.
- In the episode of InuYasha entitled 'Naraku and Sesshomaru Join Forces'...Take a wild guess.
- In the Mazinger Z versus Devilman feature, Dr. Hell and the demons collaborate to take down Kouji Kabuto and Devilman. It may be subverted, since Hell used a mind-control device to enslave the demons, and he was mainly interested on taking down Mazinger Z (he only sent some demons and Mechanical Beasts against Devilman because the demons warned him he would interfere).
- In the Devilman versus Getter Robo Crossover, the demons team up with the Dinosaur Empire.
- In Naruto, Kabuto and Madara Uchiha are doing this.
- Kabuto takes it a step further with his mass resurrection jutsu of every big name character to ever die in the series, forcing them to work together against the protagonists. They are mostly villains, but they also include some heroes.
- In Dragon Ball GT, practically everyone the protagonists had ever killed teamed up in Hell to try to get revenge, though most of them were just used as distractions until Dr. Myuu and Dr. Gero could create Super Android 17.
- The final arc of Tiger & Bunny saw a Villain Team Up of Big Bad Maverick and villain from one of the earlier episodes, Doctor Rotwang. They got along very well, despite that one of them was NEXT-hater and the other was secretly a NEXT himself until they were at the verge of Disney Villain Death, with Rotwang begging Maverick to save him, only for him to reveal he is a NEXT and kick him in the face.
- Defied in Bleach: Juhabach made a point about visiting the last major villain, Aizen, in his prison cell to offer him to join his army. Aizen refused, presumably because his delusions of godhood left him too proud to become anyone's henchman, even if the person making the offer was capable of one-shotting an enemy that Aizen wasn't willing to approach without major preparations.
- The Disney Fanfic The Hellbound Hearts consists of several Disney villains forming a loose companionship to get revenge on their enemies, and eventually take over the world. Then there's another group that wants to take advantage of the war to take over the world. And Frollo...he's just...there.
- Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams plays this trope with an unusual spin. Instead of any of Sleepwalker's enemies teaming up, it's Spider-Man's enemies that reunite as the Sinister Six to carry out Doctor Octopus's latest diabolical scheme. Sleepwalker and several other heroes are hastily recruited by the web-slinger into an impromptu team to even the odds.
- A very similar story happened in the ''Revenge of the Sinister Six" storyarc in which Spidey enlists the aid of Sleepwalker and other heroes in order to fight Doc Ock and the SS.
- A Dark Knight Over Sin City has various Batman villains teaming up with Sin City villains.
- Fallout: Equestria: Red Eye and the Goddess, though both are plotting behind each other's back.
- Subverted example: the Enclave tries to form one with the Goddess. Since she has just a few minutes before being killed by a megaspell when they make the offer, the Enclave has incredibly bad timing.
- Getting Back on Your Hooves: the story's definite Big Bad, Checker Monarch, employs the Diamond Dogs to help her ruin her sister Trixie's life. It's worth noting that the Dogs don't care about this goal, and they have no real agenda of their own either — they're Only In It For The Gems. Which is what allows Rarity to buy them off during the climax. Well, that, and the fact they find out that Checker was planning on double crossing them anyway.
- Played With in the Calvin At Camp episode "A Stalkers Life"—multiple villains appear to attack the kids, yet they do nothing but trip each other up.
- Down quite a few times in the Facing The Future Series.
- Earth and Sky: After Chrysalis replaces Diamond Tiara, her husband Prince Blueblood discovers it, and takes advantage of the situation to strike a deal — he'll stay quiet about what he knows, in exchange for Chrysalis using her new position to help him gain power of attorney over his wife's fortune. However, the deal ends up falling through when Chrysalis exposes herself to avoid getting arrested for the real Diamond Tiara's crimes only to get arrested anyway, at which point Blueblood throws her under the bus to protect his own hide.
- Burning Black: Remy has coerced both Crocker and Dr. Bender into working for him, and at the same time is in a secret alliance with the Pixies, which even the other villains are unaware of.
- Olivia Goes West: After Cat R. Waul from An American Tail: Fievel Goes West rescues Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective from falling to his death from Big Ben, Waul takes Professor Ratigan to America in a scheme to run him for president and take over the country.
- XSGCOM: Near the end of the first story, Anubis and Loki strike a resource-sharing alliance against Earth and the System Lords.
- The Pooh's Adventures series pulls this off tons of times. The villain of the movie Pooh is going through will almost always have back up from another villain, sometimes a villain working for a Bigger Bad. And then there are times when an entire Legion of Doom teams up with a villain, or have them join their ranks.
- Nightmare Moon with Titan's henchmen in order to take over Equestria in My Little Unicorn.
- Justice League of Equestria:
- The Powers Of Harmony: Chrysalis frees Sombra from his imprisonment in order to help her take over the Crystal Empire (and by extension, all of Tarandus) as part of her larger plan for a full-scale invasion of Equestria. She keeps him on a short leash, however, which makes him plot against her even more than he probably already would be anyway.
- Shadows Awakening: Daolon Wong and The Phantom/Kyosuke ally fairly early on in the story, with The Phantom making it perfectly clear that he's only using Wong to further his own agenda. And then it turns out that The Queen and Tarakudo are operating under a similar setup.
- Near the end of the story, it turns out that the Queen and Kyosuke cut a deal behind their partners' backs; on condition of Wong's failure and the Queen proving herself a more worthy ruler of the Shadowkhan, Kyosuke will pledge loyalty to her. This is exactly what comes to pass.
- Dave Stdider Pokemon Traner: Team Bad and Elite Four Boss have teamed up on several occasions in order to accomplish absolutely nothing, because they all really suck.
Films — Animated
- Double Subverted in The Thief and the Cobbler. When the evil grand vizier Zigzag goes to join the Big Bad, the Mighty One-eye (who has an entire army of monstrous one-eyed men at his command), One-eye is unimpressed and has Zigzag thrown to his alligators. However, with his charisma Zigzag is able to convince the alligators to spare his life and help him out of the alligator pit. This impresses the Mighty One-eye enough to let him join him.
Films — Live-Action
- In Superhero movies this seems to be required for sequels. A single villain can occupy for the first movie, but once a sequel comes out you've got to throw more and more villains together. Batman Returns: Penguin + Catwoman, Batman Forever: Riddler + Two Face, Batman & Robin: Mr. Freeze + Poison Ivy (whether Bane is a villain or a henchman, you pick). Superman: Lex Luthor, Superman II: Lex + 3 Kryptonians. Spider-Man avoided this for the first sequel, but made up for it by throwing in three villains (Sandman, Venom, New Goblin) for Spider-Man3, two of which team up (Sandman + Venom).
- The whole point of Batman Returns was to deconstruct this trope, by showing Catwoman and the Penguin working together for all of five minutes before breaking it off.
- Batman Begins has the Scarecrow initially working with Falcone, and unwittingly working for Ra's Al Ghul. The Dark Knight is borderline, as the Joker creates the second villain but never truly works with him; however, the Joker does initially work with the mob. In The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle being blackmailed into providing some assistance to Bane is borderline given she becomes more of an Anti Heroine later and is the one who kills Bane at the end... but Talia Al Ghul being the woman behind the man mantains it on "two villains per movie". Cillian Murphy's cameo as Dr. Crane, here presiding judge at the Kangaroo Court, is too minor to count.
- X-Men and X2 avert this since, while there are multiple villains, they're on opposite sides (human villains who want to imprison or kill all mutants, and the Brotherhood using extreme means to ensure this doesn't happen), with the X-Men playing a role that is closer to a peacekeeping force trying to limit the amount of damage either can do. (In both cases, it's actually the Brotherhood that successfully thwarts the human villains' plans.) X-Men: The Last Stand had Magneto convince Jean Grey in Phoenix form to work together; sadly, this was because Jean didn't trust Charles Xavier and killed him while Magneto watched.
- All of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films feature this:
- The 1966 Batman: The Movie featured a team-up between Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman.
- Several of the TV episodes of that series featured team-ups between various villains, they did no better or worse than usual against Batman.
- Kamen Rider Den-O: Climax Deka features the Imagin Negataros forms an "evil syndicate", and to strengthen their numbers, he recruited Fangire into his cause. In turn, this necessitates the arrival of the Fangires' main enemy, Kamen Rider Kiva, to come to the aid of Den-O and his allies.
- In Lies, the third book of the Gone series, Caine and Zil team up to burn down Perdido Beach, which acts as a distraction to let Caine escape to the island.
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse, Villain Team Up is essentially the idea behind the Star Trek: Typhon Pact series, only with a twist. It's uncertain if the Typhon Pact will be an enemy of the United Federation of Planets or not. Politically, everything is highly uncertain, following the formation of the Pact in A Singular Destiny (a novel detailing the aftermath of Star Trek: Destiny). While the Pact members were historically antagonistic, their outlook may be changing, at least in some cases. The extent to which they will remain "villains" is unclear. The Tholians, at least, look set to remain enemies, whether the rest of the Pact follows their lead or reins them in is anyone's guess. As of the most recent books, a division between those members who hate the Federation and those who seek peace and even alliance with it looks increasingly likely.
- The Omen Of The Stars arc of Warrior Cats features all the villains who were killed off except Scourge and Bone teaming up to destroy the clans.
- The failure half of this occurs in the Star Wars novel Darth Bane: Path of Destruction due to nature of the Sith's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Bane creates his rule of two to avoid this problem.
- In The Warlord of Mars, third book of the John Carter of Mars series, Matai Shang (a previously-offscreen but often mentioned chessmaster), Thurid (a minor villain from the previous book) and Salensus Oll (a newly-introduced Evil Overlord) pull off one of these, which ends up falling apart messily, since all three hate each other's guts and have only temporarily-related goals. Rounding out the partnership is Matai Shang's daughter Phaidor, though she's genuinely loyal to her dad and is mostly along for the ride rather than a co-conspirator.
- In Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen, this is a fear of the Grand Alliance should their two enemies (the Japanese-aided Grik and the Holy Dominion) find out about each other. While they admit that the thoroughly racist Doms wouldn't even consider allying with such vile creatures as the Grik, they wouldn't put it past Hisashi Kurokawa or the Celestial Mother to offer the Dominion a chance to join the Hunt. By the end of Storm Surge, both of the enemies are aware of one another. The Doms intend to send an expedition across the Atlantic to see if the Grik can somehow be subverted to serve their "holy" purpose. Of course, the "Grand Alliance of all Allied powers united beneath (or beside) the Banner of the Trees" is the heroic version of this. Originally made up of the crew of the USS Walker and several Lemurian Homes, it now includes most of the known Lemurians, several more crossed-over crews, the Empire of New Britain Isles, and the Republic of Real People. Additionally, another potential new ally is found, the United States.
- Burn Notice: Had an episode with "Dead" Larry Sizemore and Tyler Brennen, two of Michael Westen's worst enemies, team up. Their partnership lasted just half the episode, since Larry never intended to work with Brennen long-term and simply stabs him in the chest, killing him.
- Defiance: Near the end of the first season, Datak allies with the corrupt Earth Republic (represented by Colonel Marsh) in order to discredit Nolan and Amanda and help Datak win the mayoral election. In exchange, the plan is that Datak will help the E-Rep gain control of Rafe's mines (with Datak getting a sizable chunk of the profits). Then, in the season finale, it turns out Marsh was just using Datak to take over the town and get to the ancient Votan ship buried underneath it. When Datak realizes this, he kills Marsh in a rage.
- Doctor Who: The episode "Doomsday" makes this a Subverted Trope; the Cybermen offer the Daleks an alliance. The Daleks instinctively refuse. The rest of the episode involves the Daleks and the Cybermen kicking the snot out of each other, with the Doctor and the humans trapped in the middle.
- A comic strip from the 1990s also parodies this, with an omnipotent superbeing uniting all the Doctor's enemies together as one super-army, and then siccing them on all (then) eight Doctors. The Doctors point out the obvious flaw in the logic of bad guys all of whom they'd already defeated uniting to try and defeat them again... and then go on to defeat them all again.
- This is basically the plot of "Mark of the Rani" wherein the Master and the Rani team up against the Sixth Doctor, though it's not really a mutual agreement. The Master blackmails and bribes the Rani into cooperating with him, and when he eventually botches the entire plan due to his obsession with the Doctor, the Rani registers her displeasure.
- In "The Pandorica Opens" almost all of the Doctor's enemies we've ever heard of and more descend on Earth in 102A.D. to witness the titular event. Turns out that, while the Doctor knew the Pandorica was a prison of some sort he had assumed it was already occupied by someone. Really what happened was that all of his foes came together to trap the Doctor in the Pandorica in order to prevent the destruction of the universe at his hands.
- Heroes: Season Three is about every villain still alive being united to serve Arthur Petrelli.
- Power Rangers in Space: There was the United Alliance of Evil, a group formed by Dark Spectre and comprised of the villains from the first five seasons of Power Rangers, namely Lord Zedd, Rita Repulsa, the Machine Empire and Divatox.
- In Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, when Lothor returned, he briefly teamed up with Mesogog. After the Rangers foiled their plan, Mesogog ended the alliance and the two villains fought each other. Mesogog won.
- In Power Rangers S.P.D., when Emperor Grumm went back in time, he teamed up with Zeltrax.
- With four villain factions in Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, it was unavoidable there'd be some occasional team ups but the most memorable was when Thrax, the son of Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd, temporarily united all of them against the Power Rangers. The villains made it quite clear they'd only be united against the Rangers and, after the heroes were permanently dealt with, the factions would war among themselves again. Well, it was said at the top of the page the villains usually only team up to destroy the heroes. That alliance ended when Thrax was destroyed.
- Revolution: Monroe and Randall Flynn ally in the second half of the season, starting at the end of episode 11.
- Smallville: There have been a few villain team-ups. Firstly, in season 3, three of the meteor freaks Clark Kent had taken down teamed up to steal his powers and escape. There have also been team-ups between Brainiac and Bizarro, Lex and Toyman, and recently several Superman villains from the comics were teamed up by LuthorCorp to become Smallville's version of the Injustice Gang.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Cardassians and the Dominion form an alliance in the last few seasons, which eventually expands to include the Breen.
- Supernatural: Subverted Trope. Crowley tries to pull one with the Boss Leviathan (he even bakes gluten-free baby uvula muffins for the occasion!), but gets shot down.
- He did manage to temporarily team up with Raphael in the previous season finale after his previous deal with Castiel fell apart, but that lasted all of ten minutes before Cas Out-Gambitted them both, killed Raph, and sent Crowley on the run.
- TV Colosso: There was a sketch named "As Aventuras do Super Cão" (The Adventures of Super Dog). Not that superdog. In one episode, the villains teamed up and the eponymous hero wasn't worried. The villains argued about who had the idea one of them was presenting.
- There have been MANY stables in wrestling history that were centered around a manager who was supposedly looking out for the financial interests of his wrestlers. While this was usually Kayfabe, "Precious" Paul Ellering, who assembled the original Legion of Doom in Georgia in the 1980s, which featured the Tag Team The Road Warriors, really was the team's legitimate business manager in Real Life.
- The Four Horsemen can be considered the Trope Codifier for professional wrestling. The heel group, known in wrestling as a "stable" or "faction," first formed with Ric Flair, Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. Various incarnations lasted for 13 years; however, they have direct descendants running up to today's current wrestlers.
- Professional Wrestling sort of did this when rival heel stables The Corporation and The Ministry Of Darkness put aside their differences and teamed up to take on their mutual enemies.
- The Undertaker and Kane would alternate between heels and faces during their time as a tag team: the Brothers of Destruction.
- The Miz and R-Truth, two heels in separate stories at the time, somehow found common ground and teamed up in September 2011. They were disqualified from a tag team title match at WWE Night of Champions when Miz attacked a referee. The next night on Raw, then-WWE COO Triple H, sick of their antics, "fired" them. In a reverse Nice Job BreakingItVillain, this set off a chain of events where most of the WWE roster turned against Triple H, leading to Triple H's ouster as the on-screen authority figure. Miz and Truth returned to WWE TV in mid-October 2011.
- Not a straight example, since they teamed up to Take Over the World(s) rather then to beat up the hero, but in Kingdom Hearts, Maleficent teams up with Captain Hook, Oogie Boogie, Jafar, Ursula, Hades, and, later on, Pete. One of the few villain alliances that actually managed to keep itself united without any form of internal struggles or betrayals entering the picture (the same can't be said about Organization XIII).
- Being a Massive Multiplayer Crossover title, Dissidia: Final Fantasy features one of these involving every main villain from the first ten games of the main series, and Gabranth, in direct opposition to the heroes from their respective games, and Shantotto.
- Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics has Bowser and Dr. "Eggman" Robotnik scheme to melt all the snow in the world by capturing the Snow Spirits.
- They're at it again in the London 2012 sequel. This time creating an artificial thick fog to ruin the London games.
- Another Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, the Subspace Emissary mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, also starts out with one of these, involving Ganondorf, Bowser, Wario, King Dedede, Master Hand, and with special guest appearances by Petey Pirahna, Rayquaza, Ridley, and Porky Minch. It quickly unravels though when Ganondorf attempts to backstab everyone, Dedede turns out to be a good guy, and then turns into a full-blown Enemy Mine when the real Big Bad is revealed.
- It also potentially has some lesser versions in event matches and what not. The showdown of Melee has Giga Bowser, Ganondorf and Mewtwo as a team vs whatever character you chose. Brawl has the Final Battle (Bowser, Ganondorf and Dedede team up), Two Trouble Kings (Bowser and King Dedede against Mario or Mario and Kirby), and the Final Battle for Two (two chararacters of player choice against Bowser, Ganondorf, King Dedede, Meta Knight, Wolf and Wario).
- Because of the nature of the game, this also happens in the Super Robot Wars series frequently and in nearly every game. For example, ZAFT can be found helping the Jovian army.
- Who teams up with who and for what reasons often vary, depending on the game. The first game has the Principality of Zeon, Doctor Hell and the Dinosaur Empire being mind controlled by ancient evil mecha, the second game has the villains united into Divine Crusaders by Brian Zoldak, an alliance that has fallen apart only in the sequel, when the Zabi familly took over after Zoldak's death and soon they started fighting each other. From that point different games saw different variations of alliances with varying results, sometimes even fighting other villains.
- Mega Man X 5 does this by way of implication. He never shows up on screen, but given all the callbacks, and the overall plan Sigma has, it's obvious that Dr. Wily is somehow teaming up with him. Word Of God later confirmed he was brought back to live by the Maverick Virus somehow.
- In Mass Effect 2, the vigilante Archangel was such a royal pain in the ass that Omega's major mercenary groups put their differences aside to hunt just ONE guy.
- The story in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 revolves around Doctor Doom and Albert Wesker leading a villain team up, which includes Magneto, Super-Skrull, Dormammu and Akuma. They also hired Taskmaster according to the promotional comic, but he seems to remain neutral to maximize his own personal gain.
- The titular Deadly Alliance in Mortal Kombat 5 consists of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, who form an alliance to kill the two people who possess the biggest threats to them (Liu Kang and Shao Kahn) and conquer the realms using the lost army of the Dragon King.
- Sonic Generations has Dr. Eggman team up with his past self, Dr. Robotnik. ("Nobody calls me that anymore.")
- While the original version of Tales of Vesperia has them fight you seperately, the PS3 version gets Dhaos, Shizel, Barbatos Goetia... and Kratos Aurion together for an epic four vs. four battle in the Merciless rank of the team arena.
- One story in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has Fructose Riboflavin, the Pirates of Ipecac, and Galatea all teaming up, although the pirates are there against their will, and it's arguable that Galatea doesn't really understand what's going on.
- The Hat and Robo-Cube in Stickman and Cube, although this is more of a hostile takeover on The Hat's part.
- As it's based on the Mega Man X series (specifically the game mentioned above), this happens in Burning Stickman Presents...Something!, with a third villain, original to the comic actually being the one to put Sigma and Wily together. Naturally, all three are planning to betray the hell out of each other, though to their credit, they're planning to do it after the Evil Plan plays out.
- We see that the team of Lord Xykon and Redcloak from The Order of the Stick started off as this. The prequel shows that the two first met when Redcloak saw Xykon obliterate a garrison of paladins and, as Redcloak's brother says, "Let's suggest a team-up with him, Marvel style!"
- And then General Tarquin joined forces with Nale and the Linear Guild.
- Tales from the Pit: The Rules Manager and the copier team up to defeat MaRo! Their evil plan: make duplicate copies of the relevant rules to prevent Mark's new mechanic from seeing print!
- In RPG World, Galgarion and Jeff, Eikre's rival have been hired by South Corp to take out the main group of heroes. While Galgarion is using South Corp for his own ends, he invites Jeff to do the same, effectively making him his Dragon.
- In Sonichu a number of villains from the earlier issues (including Dr. Eggman and Giovanni) team up to take over CWCVille when Chris was away.
- In the Web Novel, The Impossible Man, the villains team up to form The Amalgamated Union of Malicious Malcontents.
- In "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl" of the Whateley Universe, Hekate's unseen master makes her team up with The Necromancer so she has a safe haven from a true Sidhe curse. The same unseen figured gets Don Sebastiano to give them intel, and The Necromancer gets his Children of the Night, the Felonious Four, and Obsession to help him.
- In Worm, the city's villains are smart enough to temporarily set aside their differences against common Omnicidal Maniac threats.