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. Usually this is 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. For example, one of the villains with a case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder will show no loyalty nor cooperation with one another. 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 them on their own. This trope is the opposite of Evil Versus Evil. When a villain teams up with the hero, that's Enemy Mine. When villains from different universes team up and appoint one of their own to lead them, that's Crossover Villain-in-Chief.
Compare Evil Is One Big, Happy Family and Legion of Doom. Contrast Super Team.
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- In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Abis Mal accidentally becomes Jafar's master and is promised his third wish if they work together to kill Aladdin.
- 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.
- This more or less happens in Don Bluth's Thumbelina when Stalker with a Crush Determinator Grundel blackmails slimy Jerkass Berkley Beetle to search for the title character.
- What might be the biggest villain team-up yet in film happens in The LEGO Batman Movie first with The Joker and what is esentially the entire Batman's Rogues Gallery, but then after he escapes from the Phantom Zone he brings back; King Kong, Sauron, Lord Voldemort, the Daleks, the Gremlins, Agent Smith, the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys, Medusa, the Kraken, the T. rex and Velociraptors, Count Dracula, Jaws, the Mummy, Zod, Skeletons, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
- Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, as is based on the 60s series, has The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin and Catwoman teaming up. They do turn against Catwoman at some point.
- The Paul McCartney song "Magneto & Titanium Man" is about the titular Marvel comics supervillains teaming up to rob a bank, and dragging fellow supervillain Crimson Dynamo along for the ride.
- Villain Team-Ups are a common occurrence in Red Panda Adventures. The most prominent in the series is the Red Panda Revenge Squad, consisting of the Crimson Death, the Electric Eel, the Genie, Mordriel the Malevolent, and Professor Zombie. An Alternate Timeline version of this team up successfully killed the Flying Squirrel and information on how is used to sway the main timeline's Red Panda into helping a traveler from that world. When the group eventually forms in the main timeline, they very nearly succeed in defeating the Red Panda despite the mystery man having had years to work out how to beat them. The episode also brings up some of the issues that plague such team-ups, such as Insufferable Geniuses and Large Hams causing clashing egos, past team ups ending on a sour note restricting who to have join.
- This was the point of the Vengeance expansion for Sentinels of the Multiverse, with Baron Blade uniting a team of minor villains to take out the Freedom Five. More minor villains turned up to join the team with Villains of the Multiverse.
- Tends to happen quite a bit in the Disney Theme Parks' stage shows.
- The Disney Afternoon Live! stage show that ran at Disneyland in 1991 had Don Karnage and Fat Cat teaming up to steal a top secret plane.
- Fantasmic! contains one between Queen Grimhilde, Ursula, Chernabog, and Maleficent in its original California version. For the Florida version, Jafar, Frollo, Hades, Cruella DeVil, and Scar join in as well.
- From 2002 to 2005, Walt Disney World ran a daily stage show in which Cinderella hosts a party at her castle and it gets crashed and taken over by Queen Grimhilde, Captain Hook, Jafar, and Shan-Yu.
- Subverted in Daughter for Dessert when Cecilia enlists Saul’s legal assistance. Although Saul appears to be working for Cecilia, he eventually starts giving assistance to the protagonist instead, telling him where to find Cecilia and Amanda after Amanda suddenly leaves, giving him free legal representation at his trial, and conspiring with Mortelli to neutralize all the evidence against him.
- In Melody, while Bethany is in a bar plotting her next move to get the protagonist back, she meets Steve. In talking to him, they discover that their exes (the protagonist and Melody) are in a relationship together (professional and possibly romantic). Together, they plot to bring their exes down.
- A Massive Multiplayer Crossover web series example, the Los no Frollos organization in The Frollo Show consists of Stocking, Scanty, Kneesocks, Corset, Hades, Batiatus, Marco Antonio Regil, Hans Frollo (not willingly), Achmed Frollo, Jafar, Gwonam, Yusuf, Umlaut, Hitler, Günsche, Dmitri Frollo, Stalin, Yzma, Lemongrab, Wilford Brimley, The Irate Gamer, and Best Hercules. It eventually unravels when Stocking is revealed to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist to minimize consequences, half of the members are killed off or KO'd, and Wilford backstabs the organization and becomes the biggest threat to the world after absorbing Madotsuki's sorrows, forcing the remaining members to team up with Frollo and his allies.
- RWBY: Neo uses Little Miss Malachite's services to track down Cinder, seeking revenge for Roman's death while in Cinder's employment. During their fight, Cinder convinces Neo that her blame is misplaced, and that the person she needs to target for revenge is Ruby. Neo stops fighting Cinder when she is given a demonstration of the Fall Maiden's full power, but becomes a little irritated with Cinder's suggestion that they talk it out because she doesn't speak, something Cinder momentarily forgets.
- 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.
- At the climax of Everyone Is Home's Sephiroth arc, Sephiroth brings an army of video game villains to wipe out the other Smash fighters. The team-up lasts until the Phantom Thieves (and Kirby) use their respective Heel–Face Brainwashing techniques on Sephiroth, at which point the villains lose their respect for him and go home.
- 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.
- The Order of the Stick:
- The team of Lord Xykon and Redcloak 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!"
- General Tarquin joins 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 are 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.
- Ian and Anita in the grand finale of Errant Story.
- The final storyline of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has the Doc become cursed with bad luck, leading most of his notable past adversaries to decide to kill him at the same time and team up to do so: King Radical, Donald McBonald, Frans Rayner, Dracula, and even the Doc's morally ambiguous clone Old McNinja. Oh, and the birdosaurus.
- When some of Wonderella's lamer enemies with edible themes team up against her, she just sees an opportunity to not buy Thanksgiving food. With one of them even being a turkey, they were kind of asking for it.
- In another strip Wonderella discusses and deconstructs the Villain Team Up when fighting two minor supervillains, pointing out that it makes villains seem weak because they can't succeed on their own, and the hero only looks better when they win. Conversely, Hero Team Ups are a lot more impressive since they're usually combatting a gigantic, world-ending threat.
- Hero House gives us numerous examples, from multiple franchises, though Skeletor and Hordak are the most prominent.
- 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.
- Hitler Rants:
- The Hitler Council in hitlerrantsparodies' videos consists of the aforementioned Downfall Hitler, the real life Hitler, The Bunker Hitler, Inglourious Basterds Hitler, The Last Ten Days Hitler, Valkyrie Hitler, and War and Remembrance Hitler. Cooperation rarely goes well in the organization, and a war breaks apart among them when the Downfall Hitler assassinates Valkyrie Hitler. In said war, the real Hitler teams up with the Na'kuhl to help him defeat the other Hitlers.
- There are times when Fegelein may team up with other pranksters to pull an antic on Hitler. Usually this is Himmler, whom tends to act as a mentor to Fegelein.
- In the renowned Dwarf Fortress Let's Play 'Boatmurdered', a rather hilarious one occurs, when a group of goblins decide to team up with the elephants who were already holding the fortress under siege:
"I think they're starting their own little town in there, elephants and goblins living together in peace and harmony, joined only by burning hatred for dwarves."
- Jreg: In Centricide, from the centrist perspective, this happens whenever the 4 Extremists hang out to oppose centrism. The ideologies that get along better end up with Villainous Friendship.