As much as Wolverine tries to sell himself as a solitary warrior who prefers to do things on his own, he sure does like to team up with other superheroes. Whether it’s with his closest allies the X-Men or other groups like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Logan constantly finds himself fighting alongside his fellow superhumans.
On the other hand, Spider-Man feels like he must operate by himself, for the most part, so he can keep his identity hidden and protect his loved ones — though it’s obvious that he yearns to work with others and usually does so, any opportunity he can get. In the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, the wall-crawler often teamed up with his pal Johnny Storm, of the Fantastic Four. Yet over the last 20 years, he’s also often found himself paired with a far more unlikely partner: Wolverine.
At first glance, the friendship seems impossible since the two have so little in common: Logan is a quite taciturn and intimidating individual who at the flip of a switch will become a wild savage, while Peter is a talkative goofball. With that said, Wolverine and Spider-Man have always had respect for the other’s strength and power, which are invaluable traits for allies in a world filled with enemies and danger. This is the untold truth of Spider-Man and Wolverine’s relationship.
Spider-Man met Wolverine when helping the X-Men
The history of Spider-Man and Wolverine goes all the way back to 1976, when the web-slinger joined forces with the X-Men in "Marvel Team-Up Annual Vol. 1" #1, which saw Peter Parker traveling to the International Conference on Man-Made Mutation to report for the Daily Bugle on the same flight taken by Charles Xavier and his students, including Wolverine. In mid-flight, the plane is attacked by robots, so the X-Men fight back, and Peter dons his suit to help his fellow superheroes in the battle.
It should come as no shock to those familiar with the characters that Spider-Man and Wolverine don’t hit it off right away. The polar opposite personalities of the two almost immediately clash, nearly leading to a fight between the new allies. However, luckily, the threat of their real enemies brings the heroes back to their senses before any violence breaks out between the two.
Uniquely well-matched power sets
Wolverine and Spider-Man may not have hit it off at the beginning of their relationship, but that didn’t stop them from acknowledging that they were often on the same side. So when Professor Power captures the two superheroes in "Marvel Team-Up Vol 1" #117, they both understand that they can rely on the other for help.
But the duo’s trust can go a step further due to the specific nature of their superpowers. With Peter Parker’s spider-sense and Logan’s heightened sense of smell, the two are more easily able to know they’re dealing with the right person and not some sort of shapeshifter, robot, or other nefarious threat. This realization first occurs to them before working together to escape from Professor Power’s clutches, and has since become an important part of their relationship in the years to follow.
Another fascinating result of Wolverine’s keen nose is that Spider-Man is unable to keep his identity hidden from him for long in the beginning. The first time Logan gets a whiff of Peter Parker, he knows the kid is the web-slinger even before he has any idea who Peter is.
Facing off in Spider-Man versus Wolverine
Prior to "Spider-Man Versus Wolverine Vol 1" #1, things had gotten heated between the two heroes, but none of their disagreements had come to blows. However, when Peter Parker makes a trip to Berlin, again for the Daily Bugle, and runs into Wolverine, the young hero becomes embroiled in a complicated situation he’s unprepared to deal with.
Logan is in Berlin to help his close friend and former lover, Charlie — aka Charlemagne, the deadly assassin. Charlie is practically at war with KGB spies, and even though she’s able to take out many of the Russians pursuing her, she and Wolverine know it’s only a matter of time before she’s captured and forced to endure excruciating torture. Hoping to avoid this horrible fate, Charlie asks Logan to take her life; reluctantly, he agrees.
When Spider-Man witnesses what Wolverine is about to do, he’s horrified. The web-slinger quickly intervenes, unable to stand by while a murder is taking place, no matter the reason. A brutal fight ensues, and Charlie cleverly takes her opportunity to embrace death by sneaking up on the heated Spider-Man, who turns around to swing a punch with all of his strength, thinking it’s Wolverine. The powerful blow grants her wish, killing her — to Spider-Man’s horror.
Wolverine doesn’t blame Spider-Man for killing Charlie; instead, he gives his fellow superhero his space, and the two part ways in silence. A few issues later, in "Web of Spider-Man Vol 1" #29, Wolverine seeks out Spider-Man to see where the two stand after their fight, and discovers that Peter — traumatized by the guilt of Charlie’s death — has hit a devastating low point where he’s contemplating hanging it up as Spider-Man. Wolverine says he doesn’t believe Peter has really given up; to prove his point, he cuts into the disheartened hero’s shirt to reveal the Spider-Man costume he’s still wearing under his clothes.
In an even more heartwarming sign of concern for his young ally, Logan also makes sure Spider-Man knows he shouldn’t feel responsible for Charlie’s death in their previous encounter. He emphasizes that Peter has too much to live for, and it doesn’t make sense for him to constantly carry the weight of responsibility for other people’s lives.
Sparring partners again
Just as their relationship gets on the right track and Logan becomes something of a mentor to his much younger colleague, the two land in an awkward situation that leads to another full-on battle — sparked by the X-Men’s brutal fight to the death against their powerful foe the Adversary, which ends with their supposed demise, broadcast worldwide. As far as Spider-Man knows, Logan is sadly deceased, like the rest of his team.
This comes to a head in "Marvel Comics Presents Vol. 1" #48, when Spider-Man is confused and angry to encounter a man dressed as Wolverine who acts and speaks just like his dead friend. In fact, Peter is so enraged at the utter disrespect of someone impersonating Wolverine that he starts to fight the imposter.
Once the wall-crawler realizes the man also fights just like Wolverine, and that his spider-sense never alerted him to any danger, he finally understands it’s actually Logan. Realizing his mistake, Peter berates himself for escalating things so quickly, but the encounter doesn’t seem to faze Wolverine much. Ever the brooding hero, his chief concern is rescuing a mutant girl who’s been kidnapped; naturally, he enlists Spider-Man’s help on his mission.
Teaming up, time and time again
At this point, the duo has been through enough together that Wolverine has no doubt that he can rely on Spider-Man when he needed him. In a story arc from "Spider-Man Vol. 1" issues #8-13, Logan recruits Spider-Man to help him stop hunters from slaughtering animals while solving a series of child murders.
Although Peter ultimately agrees to help, he’s hesitant at first, mostly because of how differently the two view the situation. Wolverine argues that Spider-Man should want to uncover the truth about the slain children, knowing that the web-slinger would care more about them than the animals that Logan was more focused on.
Peter was also reluctant to believe that a wendigo that had attacked six cops was also innocent, but Wolverine was adamant that the creature was only defending himself, using information gleaned from his superhuman senses to determine that men committed the horrific crimes. In the end, Wolverine’s word was enough for Spider-Man, and a legendary partnership took another solid step.
Spider-Man to the rescue
The duo’s popularity eventually led to the four-issue limited series "Spider-Man/Wolverine," launched in 2003. The story begins with Spider-Man being sent to Japan on a rescue mission by Nick Fury, who charges him with saving a captured man. Once there, he discovers that the man he’d been sent to save is, in fact, Wolverine.
Spider-Man manages to rescue Logan, but the Japanese crime lord who had imprisoned and tortured him, Takeshi Kishimoto, is still out for blood. After dealing with Takeshi and his army of goons, the two continue their dangerous adventures in Paris and Switzerland. At one point, the X-Men even offer to help, but as a sign of his growing confidence in Peter, Wolverine assures his teammates that the two of them can handle it alone.
Once their final mission is complete, Logan joins Peter and Aunt May for a private dinner. Wolverine tries excusing himself, but Peter and Aunt May insist that he stay — a sign that, in a way, he’s becoming a part of Spider-Man’s family.
Teaming up with Daredevil
Spider-Man and Wolverine team up again when Daredevil invites them to a rooftop to discuss how to deal with Punisher. All three of them have been embarrassed by the gun-toting vigilante, so they decide it’s time to teach him a lesson in "Punisher Vol. 6" issue #33. The trio ambushes Punisher outside a diner, but it all goes terribly wrong for them.
Even though he’s outnumbered, Punisher ends up making fools of the three superheroes in their showdown, perhaps because of who wrote the story. According to CBR, Garth Ennis’ love of crime stories makes him a great writer for Punisher, but his disdain for superheroes is shown in a fight that makes Peter Parker look like an idiot who basically doesn’t understand how his own spider-sense works. Flawed as it may be, the battle once again proves how comfortable the two have grown with working together.
In addition to fighting side by side on several occasions, Spider-Man and Wolverine have also randomly arrived to help the other when in need. Since Spider-Man usually works solo, and Logan likes to take time away from the X-Men and do his own thing, the two have plenty of freedom to check in from time to time.
For example, a 2009 Spider-Man comic strip tells the story of how Wolverine is visiting Manhattan while the web-slinger is battling Doctor Octopus, so the two force the villain to retreat. In "Ultimate Spider-Man and Wolverine Vol. 1" #1, Spider-Man helps Wolverine when he’s being pursued by Sabretooth and other agents of Weapon X, also in New York City.
Aside from another cool team-up with the two superheroes defeating one of Wolverine’s worst enemies, the issue also emphasizes the hilarious differences in their intimidation techniques, as pointed out by Screen Rant. After Spider-Man is laughed at by criminals even while he’s taking them out, he tries to emulate Wolverine in his ability to frighten people just with a look. The attempt ends in disaster — his bullies give him an even harder time for having Logan’s hairstyle — but it shows how much Spider-Man looks up to his clawed partner.
Lots of love
Although the two have allied fairly frequently over the years, Wolverine and Spider-Man were never part of the same team for long until the mid-2000s, when they both joined the New Avengers. With less time apart, their conflicting personalities clash far more often, leading to some tense interactions — and a lot of funny moments.
The back and forth banter is nearly constant, but their conflicts rarely escalate much further — although there are some extreme moments. On one occasion, Logan stabs Spider-Man during a training exercise, triggering a beating that Wolverine knows he deserves.
An even more intense interaction erupts over the untrue story that Mary Jane Watson is having an affair with Tony Stark, which understandably upsets Peter. Logan makes the mistake of joking about it, and Spider-Man’s reaction is to hurl him through a Stark Tower window. (Due to Wolverine’s superhuman healing, he quickly returned to the building, complaining that Peter couldn’t take a joke.)
Crossing the line with Mary Jane
Spider-Man and Wolverine have been allies on more than one occasion, but that hasn’t stopped Logan from making the jerk move of hitting on Mary Jane. In his defense, one of the times he did so, Logan was unaware that Spider-Man was Peter Parker in that particular storyline. But it isn’t the only time he’s made a move on the love of Spidey’s life.
In another particularly unwise moment, Logan certainly took things way too far with MJ. After Spider-Man’s tragic (and temporary) death during a battle with the villain Morlun, Wolverine asks his teammate’s widow out on a date. Unsurprisingly, MJ is furious, straight up smacking him. Later, when speaking with the Avengers’ butler Jarvis, Logan claims he did it to help, wanting Mary Jane to focus on her rage instead of grief over the devastating loss. It certainly works, and MJ goes on to forgive Wolverine, but many would still consider the act a major violation of Wolverine’s friendship with Spider-Man.
Their relationship has had some serious ups and downs over the decades, but overall, Spider-Man and Wolverine are a very entertaining odd couple. As the illustrator Adam Kubert says, "They’re completely different personalities, so they act different. They stand different, they walk different, they talk different, they look different. But in a weird way … they don’t get along but they kinda have to get along."
After the death of Captain America, the two grow closer over the tragic loss as members of the New Avengers, and in the "Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine" series, they go on a journey through time together, and cementing their bond of friendship by becoming blood brothers. In a moving scene, Wolverine tells Spider-Man, "There’s a lot I oughta say, Peter but … I just ain’t as good with words as you are, kid," before slicing open both their palms and clasping hands.
Wolverine can be brutally honest with Spider-Man
Logan may appear to be the tougher of the two, yet he’s the one who’s hurt enough by Peter Parker not replying to emails that he even comes out and says so to the web-slinger’s face. Though Wolverine isn’t the only one to be upset with Spider-Man for taking his loner mentality too far and becoming too distant, Logan feels comfortable enough in their friendship to be open and honest. And instead of getting defensive, Peter acknowledges the complaint, expressing a little guilt as well.
Regardless of their differing personalities, these superheroes have come to firmly trust each other, which has greatly helped to strengthen their friendship. One of the deepest signs of this in recent years is seen at a time when most people are unaware of Spider-Man’s secret identity — and Logan is one of the few that Peter trusts with his secret.
Spider-Man and Wolverine led the Fantastic Four
While the classic Fantastic Four team is off in outer space fighting the major threat to the galaxy known as the Cotati, Reed and Sue Richards send their children back to protect Earth. However, Valeria and Franklin Richards are not alone: Spider-Man and Wolverine agree to join them, rounding out a new version of the Fantastic Four. Weathered superhero veterans, the two obviously add a significant amount of experience to the team.
The duo have long been connected to the legendary squad — both Logan and Peter Parker have been members in the past, and Spider-Man replaced Johnny Storm in the lineup during "The Amazing Spider-Man" #657, after he supposedly died in the Negative Zone. And the connections don’t end there — Wolverine and the wall-crawler were also members of another version of the Fantastic Four, along with Ghost Rider and the Hulk.