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The 15 Most Shocking Teen Titans Costume Changes

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The 15 Most Shocking Teen Titans Costume Changes

The Titans may have been unique at the time of their creation as DC’s first team of teenage superheroes, but there is one thing they have in common with the older folks: when it comes to their costumes, they don’t know how to quit when they’re ahead. No matter how long they’ve worn a costume or how well said costume has served them, the Titans are forever dissatisfied with their crimefighting attire and make frequent efforts to overhaul their appearances.  Sometimes this works out for the best.  Other times, the readers are left wondering what they did to deserve such visual punishment.

RELATED: Runway Injustice: 15 Controversial Justice League Costume Changes

And that’s where this list comes in. Below is just a small sampling of the innumerable outlandish outfits the Titans (teen and otherwise) have had the audacity to wear with a straight face and expected us to take seriously as well. We would express the hope that this article serves as a fashion intervention for these brave young heroes, but if decades of making such choices hasn’t already convinced them to get help, nothing will. After all, not many people would dare criticize the costume of a person who could bury you on the moon as easily as they can slice butter. Who wouldn’t take advantage of that?

15. SUPERBOY REALLY LIKES TRON

Superboy, a clone of Superman and either Lex Luthor or Lois Lane depending on which continuity you’re in, did not have much of a costume prior to the 2011 New 52 reboot. He eschewed traditional superhero garments for jeans and a Superman “S” shirt that you could probably buy at any mall. Post-reboot, however, Superboy’s outfit got rebooted as well.

Gone were the civilian-looking clothes, and in their place was a bland black bodysuit with glowing red lines running all over it. When not wearing his Tron cosplay, Kon-El has donned equally bland black clothes with a tattoo of the Superman emblem on his shoulder. Actually, the tattoo raises questions far more interesting than either of Superboy’s new ensembles. How does one tattoo the flesh of a Kryptonian, anyway?

14. NIGHTWING SQUARED

robin-nightwing

We could probably devote an entire list to Dick Grayson’s lack of fashion sense, but for now this entry will have to do. By 1984, after 44 years as Batman’s kid sidekick Robin, Grayson finally grew up enough to want to start his own, solo crimefighting career. He settled on the name Nightwing and donned the now-iconic (and always hilarious) Discowing costume, featuring a sky-high collar and generous cleavage.

Tacky it may be, but it was at least fun to mock, which is far more than can be said of the second Nightwing costume. The yellow feather design that had once been an amusing detail was now a prominent feature, as were a newly-acquired ponytail and a shawl-like top presumably meant to resemble wings as its wearer swung around Bludhaven.

13. STARFIRE LOSES HER MEMORY

Starfire has never been shy about showing some skin, but the New 52 version of her took this fact to a level no one asked for or wanted. In Red Hood and the Outlaws (Starfire being one of said outlaws), the Tamaranean Titan somehow managed to make her famously skimpy outfit even skimpier.

Accompanying this pointless change was a personality makeover; replacing the empathetic woman she’d always been was now an alien with memory issues, who hardly remembered her own former teammates and didn’t seem to care about them at all beyond whether or not they were good in bed. The changes generated a great deal of bad publicity, and Starfire has since returned to her old caring self and given a much more modest costume. Well, modest for Starfire, anyway.

12. JERICHO GETS WILD

Despite being the son of Deathstroke, one of the Titans’ most formidable enemies, Joseph Wilson chose to use his ability to possess others for the forces of good, joining the Titans in Tales of the Teen Titans #44 as the flamboyantly-dressed Jericho.

Jericho, in a great demonstration of irony, ultimately became possessed himself, by malevolent spirits who wanted him to kill all of his teammates. Those spirits compelled him to join the evil Wildebeest Society, which involved dressing as a bipedal wildebeest with giant shoulder pads. Jericho was ultimately able to shake the mind control just enough to ask his father to kill him and put an end to his rampage. Deathstroke reluctantly obeyed Jericho’s wishes, which may be the nicest thing he’s ever done for him.

11. ARSENAL STICKS IT TO GREEN ARROW

Like his fellow founding Titans, Speedy (aka Roy Harper) started out as a sidekick to another adult hero. Also like his fellow founders, Speedy eventually grew up and decided he’d learned all he could from his mentor, and that he was prepared to forge his own path. His chosen code name was Arsenal, and his chosen costume was far more fitting for Captain Boomerang than an archer.

Perhaps that design on his chest is meant to be an archer’s bow or a simple geometric shape, but from where we’re sitting it could just as easily be a boomerang. Intentional or not, that’s a pretty big “screw you” to Green Arrow right there. And that’s not even getting into the pouches strapped to his arm or how in the world those sleeves stay in place.

10. FLASH DOES THE SPLITS

Several men have worn the Flash costume over the years. One of them is Wally West, who began his crimefighting career as Kid Flash before taking over the Flash’s role in the wake of his uncle Barry Allen’s apparent death in “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” For the most part, he stuck pretty closely to Barry’s costume design, but in JLA #52, his two identities were split into two distinct people.

While Wally gave civilian life a shot, the Flash went mucking about with his costume, changing its yellow accents to silver and added some new touches of his own, including vambraces and little antenna that somehow manage to look sillier (and are at any rate less topical) than the usual lightning bolts. When Wally and Flash were restored to normal, so was his costume.

9. HAWK BECOMES EXTANT

Hank Hall and his brother Don started out as the superheroes Hawk and Dove, but Hank was destined to play a much different role in the Titans’ future. After Dove died saving a civilian, Hawk turned his back on his heroic past. He had a brief stint as the villainous Monarch, and then he acquired (read: stole) the ability to travel through time and began calling himself Extant.

Together with former Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who was possessed by the embodiment of fear known as Parallax, Extant was the big villain of the “Zero Hour” event, in which he tried to remake the world as he saw fit. Too bad he didn’t also remake his costume to reflect his new, darker persona rather than running around in garish, clashing reds and purples. The original Hawk costume makes a more convincing villain outfit than this.

8. ATOM IS A TRUE ’90S KID

The Atom (aka Ray Palmer) is more closely identified with the Justice League, but for a brief time he was the leader of the Teen Titans. During “Zero Hour,” Extant’s time-bending shenanigans shaved almost 20 years off the Atom’s true age, leaving him stuck as a teenager until further notice. And what do teen superheroes do? Join the Titans!

Much like during his previous attempt at changing his wardrobe (the “Sword of the Atom” storyline in which he wore a loincloth over his normal costume), Palmer was quite lazy about altering his look for his new venture, throwing a red cargo vest over a variation of his old duds. Perhaps he assumed that’s what all the cool kids were wearing in 1996? In any event, Palmer remained a Titan until he was returned to his proper age, at which point his team of Titans disbanded.

7. HORNBLOWER BLOWS

hornblower

Mal Duncan made his debut in Teen Titans #26 as a helpful civilian, and while the Titans invited him to join the team, Duncan declined until he got superpowers of his own through the armored suit of the Guardian. Upon acquiring Gabriel’s Horn, an artifact capable of opening portals between dimensions, Duncan switched codenames again, this time dubbing himself the Hornblower.

This would be bad enough on its own, but the costume that went with his new identity only makes sense if you make several mental leaps (from horns to rams to Zodiac sign Aries), and even then it’s still pretty ridiculous. Only later did Duncan develop the classy caped look that he used as the Herald and then Vox. This was also the outfit he wore (thankfully) during his appearance on the Teen Titans cartoon.

6. RAVEN’S DAD PICKS HER CLOTHES

RAVEN'S DAD PICKS HER CLOTHES  Raven is a dichotomy unto herself; while she very much desires to protect the world, she is still the daughter of the demon Trigon, and as such, she occasionally succumbs to her father's attempts to wreak havoc through her. And whenever that happens, her otherwise solidly designed costumes go right out the window. In the '90s, Raven fell under Trigon's influence and, continuing the time-honored Titan tradition of losing all fashion sense after turning evil, she wore nothing but strips of black cloth and thigh-high boots. But even that was not the worst outfit Trigon would inflict on his daughter. In the wake of the changes wrought by the New 52, Trigon was once again pressuring Raven to follow in his footsteps.  She accordingly donned another terrible costume, this one with what looks like a seashell consuming her head.

Raven is a dichotomy unto herself; while she very much desires to protect the world, she is still the daughter of the demon Trigon, and as such, she occasionally succumbs to her father’s attempts to wreak havoc through her. And whenever that happens, her otherwise solidly designed costumes go right out the window.

In the ’90s, Raven fell under Trigon’s influence and, continuing the time-honored Titan tradition of losing all fashion sense after turning evil, she wore nothing but strips of black cloth and thigh-high boots. But even that was not the worst outfit Trigon would inflict on his daughter. In the wake of the changes wrought by the New 52, Trigon was once again pressuring Raven to follow in his footsteps. She accordingly donned another terrible costume, this one with what looks like a seashell consuming her head.

5. CYBORG BECOMES CYBERION

cyborg

Technically speaking, Cyborg has never had a costume; the technology that grants him his superhuman abilities is all a part of him and completely necessary to his survival, since most of his body was irreparably damaged by some alien ooze his parents accidentally unleashed on S.T.A.R. Labs. But in the mid-’90s, he was deprived even of his familiar cybernetic enhancements.

After Cyborg was critically damaged by brainwashed teammate Jericho, he was operated on by Russian scientists with less-than-noble intentions. Their experiments left him brain-dead until a collective of alien intelligences called the Technis restored him to normal. In gratitude, Cyborg merged with Technis to save it/them from destruction and took the name Cyberion. For a time, the former Cyborg appeared as a figure of black energy outlined in red, but he soon acquired a set of alien armor that made him look like a victim of Goldfinger.

4. TERRA’S TERRIBLE FASHION SENSE

terra

One of the most famous Titans storylines is “The Judas Contract,” in which the team welcomes bucktoothed ingenue Terra into their ranks, not realizing she is a spy working for Deathstroke. Terra’s rage ended up being her undoing, as she brought an entire mountain down on herself. In the ’90s, Terra was seemingly resurrected, this time as a real hero. But was this the real Terra or some kind of clone?

Her origins remain somewhat muddled to this day, but what’s clear is that her fashion sense had deteriorated since over time. While Terra II initially wore a costume much like the original Terra’s with a leather jacket added on top, she later changed to a laced-up black crop top and matching pants. Fortunately, the change was temporary, and she returned to her classic costume in time to be murdered by Black Adam.

3. JESSE’S QUICK-CHANGE

jesse quick

As the daughter of superheroes Liberty Belle and Johnny Quick, it was all but inevitable that Jesse Chambers would grow up to follow in their footsteps. Thanks to a formula developed by her father, Jesse can tap into the Speed Force. But unlike many other speedsters in the DCU, Jesse Quick’s costume has not had lasting appeal and has been subject to numerous redesigns over the years.

She started out with a perfectly serviceable leotard before switching over to what looked like a cyclist’s biking shorts, which at least implied she was ready to get up and move; another variation of her costume involved a low-cut T-shirt and short-shorts that make her seem more ready for a day at the beach than a day punching supervillains.

2. SPEEDY THE WANNABE MARVEL

speedy mia dearden

Mia Dearden is the second person to bear the name Speedy after Roy Harper, and like her predecessor, Mia doesn’t always demonstrate the best judgment when it comes to her wardrobe. She started out in a maroon leotard with gold accents and hooded cape, but by the time of the disastrous “Cry for Justice” storyline, she had made some changes, albeit minor ones.

Her costume was fundamentally the same, except the dark red base of her bodysuit was now black, giving her a look eerily reminiscent of Black Adam’s, or even (heaven forbid) evil Mary Marvel’s from the infamous “Countdown” event. In short, the change made it look like she wants to be a member of Captain Marvel’s family rather than the Arrow clan. And really, considering everything the Arrows went through in “Cry for Justice” and its follow-ups, who can blame her?

1. BEAST BOY GETS SCARLET FEVER

beast boy

Initially a member of the Doom Patrol, Beast Boy (aka Garfield Logan) became a Titan in DC Comics Presents #26. Throughout his entire crimefighting career, he was famous for his green skin (or, later, fur), the result of an experimental medical treatment administered when he was a child.

With the New 52 reboot, it was revealed that Beast Boy got his shapeshifting powers from the Red, the force which connects all animal life in the DC Universe and which is therefore the source of all animal-related superpowers. Accordingly, Beast Boy’s green skin was now red, which would make sense if all of DC’s animal-themed heroes and/or their sources of power also turned red, but happily that is not the case. Even Beast Boy himself is no longer red; DC recently released yet another new design for young Logan, one where the only red to be seen is on his costume.

Which of these Titans costume changes did you hate or like? Let us know in the comments!

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teen titans
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