Recently, DC Comics announced they would be “relaunching” their entire line of comics, with new number ones. Along with these new number ones, will be a line-wide redesign for every character. Many of these redesigns have already been criticized, so instead of hating on a bunch of costumes from comic books that haven’t even been published yet, I will be taking a stroll down memory lane, in the hopes of digging up redesigns that should never be forgotten. Join me, will you?
#10 – The Red Hood
Nothing, not even death, is sacred in comics. When Jason Todd was brought back as the gun totting killer, the Red Hood, his costume was simple: A domino mask, leather jacket, and the occasional “Jelly Bean” helmet. But when Grant Morrison had him appear in his second arc of Batman & Robin, the Red Hood sported a Red Pill Head, a high collared cape, and a white jumpsuit with a red skull. To put it simply, it was too complicated, and though it harkens back to previous “Red Hood’s”, it was unnecessary.
#9 – Black Canary
Dinah Lance followed in her mother’s footsteps, and became Black Canary. Her wardrobe consisted of a skin tight black one piece, fishnet stockings, and jacket, very respectable when it comes to being a female costumed adventurer. But during her tenure as a member of Justice League International, she discarded her classic ensemble in favor of a frumpy black and blue costume, with a big gaudy bird motif on the upper torso, and the requisite 1980’s headband. Thankfully, common sense eventually prevailed, and this redesign was burned like the trash it was.
#8 – Aquaman (DC Comics,
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Aquaman’s origin, as well as the dynamic with Ocean Master, his half brother, was expanded upon. But what this series also introduced was the deep blue sea camo suit, which in theory makes sense. Really, why would you wear a scaly orange shirt, and a pair of bright green pants? Logic would dictate you’d want to blend in with your surroundings, but this is a comic book about the King of Atlantis who can communicate with fish. Logic shouldn’t enter into the equation.
#7 – U.S. Agent
John Walker took the mantle of U.S. Agent, and wore a variation of the costume worn by Steve Rogers when he was going under the alias, “The Captain”. The costume was clearly heavily inspired by that of Captain America’s, but when the writers had John Walker throw his classic U.S. Agent costume, and shield into the Hudson River, that was the beginning of the pain. When U.S. Agent joined Force Works, he wore a radically different costume, and used a energy shield. After a few more failed deviations, U.S. Agent finally returned to his classic togs.
#6 – Saturn Girl
Imra Ardeen is a telepath from Titan, a moon of Saturn, and one of the founding members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. She is a strong, self sacrificing, and heroic member of the Legion, but that doesn’t prevent her from being dressed like a cage dancer with thigh high purple boots, purple evening gown gloves, and a matching barely-there one piece bathing suit. All in all, it was a poor attempt to make Saturn Girl sexy, and in the process brought her down a few rungs in respectability.
#5 – Wonder Woman
In 1994, Mike Deodato Jr. was illustrating everyone’s favorite Amazon warrior, and soon, something began to happen: Diana’s ass began to hang out. Thongs! Thongs everywhere! It’s the Dark Age, I tells ya! By 1995 Artemis had deposed Diana as Wonder Woman, and Diana began to wear a biker outfit, designed by Brian Bolland, and it looks like it was done so in a hurry. Though Diana was spared the indignity of having the stars and stripes riding up her crack thanks to Bolland’s redesign, her getup was not the iconic and comparably noble attire she was accustomed to.
#4 – Invisible Woman
By the 1990’s, Susan Storm had been bottling up her emotions way too long, and with the prodding of Psycho-Man, “Malice”, her hidden sadistic side, was set free. Susan had to battle her inner demon, and she eventually absorbed it. Unfortunately, this caused the “Malice” personality to influence Susan in such ways as to make her wear a glorified bathing suit, with a cut out “4” giving the fanboys a convenient boob window. Eventually this “skanky” side of Susan was exorcised, thanks to her time hopping son Franklin and Susan would eventually learn how to rationally deal with her emotions.
#3 – Vampirella
The bathing-suit-wearing, blood-drinking vixen from the Planet Draculon played hostess, and eventually leading lady in her own stories starting in the early 70’s. But by the year 2000, Manga influences were able to taint even a All-American bloodsucker like Vampirella. Only in the “Year 2000” could you give Vampirella, sorry, Vampi, more clothes, and have her turn out looking like more of a tramp.
#2 – Superman
Originally a “Imaginary Story” from 35 years prior, the Superman Red/Superman Blue tale was revisited and re-imagined in the mid-90s. But unlike the original story, this was a prolonged mess with arcing lightning to boot. The costume betrayed all that was iconic about the Man of Steel, and made him more like the Man of Currents. Even the resolution to the Electric Superman arc was convoluted, with Supes saying his unification was a reward, but then later saying it was due to the electromagnetic energies dispersing. Just be glad it’s all over.
#1 – Batman
After Bane broke Batman’s back, Jean-Paul Valley a.k.a. Azrael, took up the mantle of Batman while Bruce recovered. But Jean-Paul wasn’t content with Batman’s costume. He had to have bladed wings, a flame thrower, tons of armor, and other gadgets that would put him on the same level as War Machine. With this modification, “Azbats” was born, and so was his memorable (in all the wrong ways) costume. Designed by a pre-Marvel Joe Quesada, and first appearing in Batman #500, “Azbats” is one of those designs that is justifiably a relic of its time period. It still lives on in infamy as one of the worst costume designs, nearly 20 years later.