As we enter the seventh year of the Arrowverse's existence, we should probably admit how lucky we are to have it. Sure, it isn't great. Hell, Arrow has received quite a bit of contention the farther it strays from its grounded roots and ventures into the territory of superheroics. Throughout the lifespan of the various shows, a number of DC Comics characters have received live action treatments, including many that fans thought could never make an appearance on live action television. While the likes of Green Arrow and The Flash seem obvious, it seemed unlikely for some time that characters like Vibe or Killer Frost could generate enough interest for an appearance, let alone a featured one.
Many of these characters feature interesting designs, either because of how close they are to their original comic book designs or how smartly they update and adapt these designs. With the shows finally returning from their long, winter hiatus, we decided to take a look at these classic characters from The Flash, Arrow, Black Lightning and more to see which of these designs hold up in the long tradition of superhero costumes. Suit up, fans. CBR is counting down the 25 greatest costumes of The CW's Arrowverse.
25 BLACK CANARY II
Character-wise, Dinah Drake is an excellent Black Canary. While Sara and Laurel had their own arcs coping with their relationships to Oliver and family, Dinah had none of that. She hit the ground running, getting her life back on track. She managed to avoid the trope of a costume for the first season, going to the John Diggle school of costuming: street clothes, leather jacket, domino mask.
But for Season 6, Dinah got her own costume at long last: a stylized domino mask, coupled with a suit with a slight scale pattern and elbow length gloves. Dinah's costume suits her, being no frills and effective, but it ranks so low here because it feels like it's missing something. Is it the jacket? Is it the platinum wig? We'll likely never find out for sure unless Dinah undergoes another costume change in the upcoming episodes.
24 KILLER FROST
With the introduction of Firestorm, Killer Frost wasn't far behind. After all, she came from similar origins. But a number of changes had to be made to the character. The typical comic design of the character wasn't going to fly on weekly television. How could you render someone's entire body in solid ice and stay within your special effects budget?
Going the route of Vibe, the Killer Frost costume was given a smart update by not making it a costume, but rather just attire. With a black outfit and a pale blue leather jacket, the suit perfectly meshes with Frost's pale skin and platinum hair. The character has been one to play both sides of any scenario in her appearances so far, finally evolving into a split personality within Caitlin Snow, but may be one of the Arrowverse's best modern updates.
Cisco's journey from scientist to metahuman was an exciting one. Originally just an awkward employee of STAR Labs, he quickly became a steadfast and necessary ally. The updated take on the mostly forgotten Detroit-era Justice League character was well received and proved to be a fan favorite thanks to his quirky nature and earnest charm.
The Vibe suit also proved a smart upgrade. While the comic book iteration had worn some fairly garish attire, The Flash modernized the appearance to replace the suit with a stylish jacket and justified the existence of his goggles by tying them to his powers. Vibe went from being someone nobody knew about to a fan favorite character, a popularity that even led to a resurgence in the comic books as well, with a stint on the New 52's first iteration of the Justice League of America.
22 THE ATOM
Ray Palmer joining the cast of Arrow was something that garnered a lot of interest, especially when it was confirmed he'd be suiting up as The Atom. The surprise came when Ray's suit was first revealed. Ray Palmer didn't suit up as The Atom; instead, he built The A.T.O.M. and aspired to become a superhero, despite Oliver's very real and very justified objections.
Ray's suit really came across as something of an Iron Man rip-off at first. It didn't resemble anything Ray had worn in the comics, instead intended to justify a variety of technological advancements. The suit's come around for many fans, with Ray's upbeat nature being one of the highlights of Legends of Tomorrow for many fans, where the character finally had room to grow and breath.
21 BLACK SIREN
Arrow was presented a unique opportunity with the rise of Zoom on The Flash. Bringing villains from Earth 2 to Earth 1, it was revealed that the Laurel Lance of that Earth was not only alive and well, but a feared metahuman criminal! Black Siren appeared as one of Zoom's many legions of villains, putting everyone in Central City, if not on Earth at risk.
Black Siren's costume is sleek, while still remaining intimidating. Reminiscent of her Black Canary costume while still being a unique design, the look ditched the domino mask and blonde wig for a long dress and killer heels. The evil Black Siren proved a fantastic addition to Arrow's repertoire of villains, allying with the evil Prometheus and even serving as a recurring villain in the show's sixth season.
20 THE FLASH (ORIGINAL)
The Flash made a wave when he landed on The CW in 2014. After a brief debut on Arrow, the series premiere introduced the modern interpretation of the classic Flash costume. Established as experimental firefighter uniform designed by Cisco Ramon, the suit was quickly modified to fit the motif of Barry's new powers. The suit was a far cry from the latex foam muscles of the ‘90s series, but still not perfect.
It featured a cumbersome and highly stylized helmet and a body cover that seemed more akin to a loose-fitting tracksuit than Arrow's leather gear by comparison. The suit underwent a number of small changes over time, most notably replacing the all red chest emblem with one that had a white circle in the beginning of season 2.
19 BLACK CANARY I
The death of Sara Lance sent Team Arrow spinning, but none were as radically shocked as Laurel Lance. Having become incredibly close to her sister following her surprising resurrection, Laurel was sent into a downward spiral as she tried to cope, hiding Sara's death from their father and growing distant from Oliver.
But Laurel took on Sara's mantle and became the series' first proper Black Canary. Donning a leather outfit that included Sara's jacket and a pair of police batons, Laurel perfectly encapsulated how far she'd come and the people who helped her get there. Still, the costume felt out of place as Arrow was already becoming more fantastical with the introduction of metahumans and tie-ins to The Flash. Laurel's tenure as Black Canary became punctuated by a tragic death, though her legacy lives on.
18 REVERSE FLASH
Doing justice to the design of the Reverse Flash was always going to be a troublesome affair. The comic book design is simple enough, swapping out The Flash's bright red costume for a luminous yellow one with red boots and lightning bolts. The character got a number of tweaks over the years, including a complete overhaul for The New 52, but Eobard Thawne keeps coming back.
To update the look for live-action, Reverse Flash's suit was changed to a duller yellow with a black lower torso. The suit notably takes cues from Barry's to create what appears to be a version of his costume from the future, including stiffer shoulders and a less rigid mask. Most impressive though was the costume ring, which made its debut in The Flash's first season finale. Though it was teased, it has yet to make a return.
17 JESSE QUICK
Jesse Chambers is a weird instance on The Flash. Gaining super speed in the show's third season, Jesse took to being a hero a little too quick (no pun intended). Jesse's comic counterpart had several costumes, running the gamut from her time as Jesse Quick to Liberty Belle, and even a snazzy Flash outfit in the ‘90s when she briefly was poised to be Wally's replacement.
For television, Jesse's costume loses a bit of personality. Rather than receiving her own unique look, she receives a uniform which plays off of Bary's, up to and including an identical insignia. Still, the suit held a special meaning, highlighting her rise as a hero into her own character, though it remains to be seen if Jesse Quick will be returning to the Arrowverse anytime soon.
It came as a surprise that Supergirl also featured the best live-action version of Superman to appear in the modern era. Portrayed by Teen Wolf alum Tyler Hoechlin, the pressure was absolutely on to make a killer live-action Superman. On television, the character hadn't been seen proper since Lois & Clark went off the air, as Smallville worked double time to obscure Welling in costume.
Hoechlin's Superman costume doesn't appear to take notes directly from the current Man of Steel design but instead learn from what fans didn't like about it. The suit was much brighter on screen, with blues and yellows that popped off-screen. And while the red trunks weren't present, the addition of a red belt did break up the suit nicely. Superman only made a handful of appearances so far, but definitely left a lasting impression on fans.
15 MISTER TERRIFIC
The first appearances of Mister Terrific in the Arrowverse were, appropriately, awkward. The suit seemed ill-fitting and the mask seemed off somehow. But it made sense, as the Curtis Holt of Arrow has proven to be an ill fit in the context of the universe. Still, the suit was a notable adaptation of the modern Mister Terrific design.
Mister Terrific was a great addition, bringing a character who wouldn't have typically received much adoration outside of the comics into live action. The character was drastically different from his comic book counterpart, portrayed as something of a joke for many of his early appearances. Still, for Arrow's sixth season, Mister Terrific received an upgrade with a sharper mask and a better-designed suit, adding in some white highlights and improving the fit of the jacket for a better-looking version of a beloved character.
14 SPARTAN V1
John Diggle had it rough early on in Arrow. Originally serving as a bodyguard, he was brought into the fold by Oliver largely against his will. Though the two came around and became close friends and staunch allies, Diggle went a long while before he got any kind of a costume for in the field. With Oliver gone after season 3, John became more active in the field and finally donned something of a costume.
It wasn't much of one. Wearing basically what he wore in his downtime, Diggle donned a mask with a retractable visor that fit the Spartan codename but looked somewhat clunky. John must have thought so too, because he upgraded it to a more stylish and better fitting helmet by the next season, and received a full on new outfit from Oliver when he returned to the field as Spartan in season 6.
13 MARTIAN MANHUNTER
It seemed like a given that the cold and withdrawn Hank Henshaw would be revealed to be the evil Cyborg Superman. With glowing red eyes and a gruff demeanor, everything about the character screamed secret villain. So it was a hell of a surprise when it was revealed Hank Henshaw had died decades earlier, and he was actually J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter!
The show went a step ahead by giving J'onn a great look. Based on his pre-New 52 attire, J'onn's look is starkly comic accurate. The CG done to render the character is a step ahead of the rest, with a great look that even makes the character tower over the rest of the cast. Supergirl stands on its own just fine, but the addition of J'onn cemented the show as one of the best on The CW.
12 WILD DOG V1
Wild Dog was a weird choice. With Laurel dead and Diggle and Thea leaving the team, Oliver had to recruit new team members. The antagonistic Wild Dog had already encountered Oliver on multiple occasions, and the two butted heads on more than a few occasions. Still, Renee proved to be a steadfast member of the team and an integral aid of the show's fifth season.
Wild Dog's suit was notable for being pretty much an exact rip of his comic book costume. Though Renee Ramirez is an original creation (the comics version, Jack Wheeler, turned vigilante after his girlfriend's murder at the hands of the mob), the look was spot on with the hockey mask and blue sports jersey. The look was one fans seemed to dig, though Renee upgraded to less impressive and somewhat cumbersome looking armor for Season 6.
11 DARK ARCHER/LEAGUE OF ASSASSINS
The Dark Archer was an interesting look when he first appeared in Arrow's first season. Clad in thick, black attire and a mask which obscured his entire face, the identity of the mysterious archer was a mystery to everyone. Well, to everyone who didn't know that Tommy's father Malcolm Merlyn shared a name with Green Arrow's comic book nemesis.
So how do you make a costume like the Dark Archer cooler? You give it to an entire group. It was revealed in Arrow's third season that Merlyn didn't wear a unique costume, but rather the standard garb of the League of Assassins. Seeing hundreds of assassins in this same garb was pretty impressive, and even more of a shocking look when Oliver dawned it as the League's heir for the conclusion of the season.
10 WHITE CANARY
Transitioning from Arrow to Legends of Tomorrow was a pretty big leap for Sara Lance. After all, she was dead when the series was announced. How was she going to be included? Time travel? Alternate Earths? In fact, the long-dead Sara was revived using the Lazarus Pit, which was destroyed after her revival to write out that plot contrivance.
Sara adopted the identity of White Canary to join the team aboard the Waverider. Reflecting all that she had been through, from her time as a member of the League of Assassins to death and beyond, the White Canary represented a phenomenal change in the life of Sara Lance. The stylish, original White Canary costume was phenomenal, with a sleeveless top and matching coat, though she swapped it out for an updated, ‘70s style attire with a high collar in Legends' third season.
9 "JAY GARRICK"
The man who introduced himself as Jay Garrick in the second season premiere of The Flash turned a lot of heads when it was revealed he was actually Zoom, an evil speedster who wanted to take Barry's speed. It was revealed that the real Jay Garrick, an Earth 3 speedster, had been taken hostage on Earth 2 Zoom stole his identity.
The fake Jay Garrick wore a suit instantly reminiscent of his comic book counterpart. Updated to include a dark crimson jacket with a yellow thunderbolt outline and adding a pair of gloves, the suit was instantly familiar while still being new. The greatest tragedy of this Jay being fake was the loss of his costume, as Earth 3's Jay wore a much more traditionally designed uniform, complete with a bright red and blue suit and simple thunderbolt on his chest.
8 FIRESTORM II
The death of Ronnie Raymond was something of a hit to the series. Ronnie was killed, off-screen, in the season 1 finale of The Flash before he could even don a Firestorm costume. With Professor Stein slowly dying without a Firestorm to bond with, the series introduced Jefferson Jackson. Jefferson only made a handful of appearances on The Flash and Arrow before transitioning to Legends of Tomorrow.
Firestorm got his first costume once he turned up on Legends of Tomorrow. There's never really an explanation given for the creation of the costume or where it came from, he's just wearing it once the show starts up. Though a nod to the classic Firestorm costume of the comics, it remains its own unique thing. Unfortunately for fans, it was never seen much, as Firestorm's raw power meant he could solve most episode's respective crisis in about 10 minutes.
Arrow's Roy Harper certainly had it better than his comic book counterpart. Debuting near the end of Season 1, Roy was a street punk of sorts, though one with a heart of gold. But his life fell apart as he fell in with The Arrow, nearly losing his leg and finding himself injected with the mysterious super steroid Mirakuru.
Roy finally found himself in the good graces of Oliver after proving himself and was given his own costume. While Oliver's suit was still his fairly simple leather gear he'd worn earlier, Roy got a rather ornate costume. A deep red fading into a black lower body with a number of straps and wires, Roy also carried a combat knife and a number of bright red flechettes. Dubbed Arsenal, Roy's look was arguably one of the most interesting costumes in the entire Arrowverse.
6 BLACK LIGHTNING
Black Lightning's back, baby! The surprise gem of this season's gamut of superhero television, Black Lightning's Jefferson Pierce re-entered superheroics after a decade away to save his daughters and push back against growing gang violence. Though notably removed from the Arrowverse (at least for now), Black Lightning still takes on many of the styles and tropes associated with the character.
Though a classic costume was designed and very briefly seen, the suit is updated by Jefferson's ally Gambi, who seems to fill the atypical role of tech guy/motivational friend. The suit's got a lot of flash and pizazz, including glowing lightning bolts and lenses that darken to better conceal his identity. Most notably it allows Jefferson to protect himself from gunfire with a persistent shield. Black Lightning's suit does suffer from a somewhat clunky appearance, but still shines as a brilliant update of a classic look.
5 GREEN ARROW
Joining the League of Assassins in Season 3 meant Oliver had to make some drastic choices, so he destroyed his costume he'd worn since the beginning. Seemingly retiring from the game at the end of the season, he found himself dragged back in during season 4 and was given a new costume made by, who else, Cisco.
Finally declaring himself the Green Arrow in the season premiere's emotionally charged ending, Oliver's new look takes on a lot more flash than previous costumes. Most notably, the Season 4 iteration bared his arms for the first time. The look was great, and Amell absolutely pulled it off, but it just didn't feel like it jived with the character. Oliver slightly tweaked the suit going into Season 5, adding a pair of sleeves that make Arrow's GA look that much nicer.
4 THE CANARY
There have been multiple Black Canaries in the Arrowverse, but Sara Lance may be the best of them. Sure, Laurel and Dinah have had their moments. And Dinah still has a chance to truly step into her own. But Sara was the original and set the bar incredibly high. And where she stepped up the game was in the costuming department.
Okay, sure, Sara wasn't wearing the traditional fishnets and didn't have a Canary Cry, but it was Arrow's second season. The show was still playing in the realm of grounded street crime and hadn't even introduced a metahuman yet. But Sara's original look when she just went by The Canary is a flawless update of the classic look. With a platinum blonde wig, massive domino mask and black leather jacket, Arrow's original Canary looked the part and no one has come close to matching it.
You don't really mess with a classic, and Supergirl took this to heart. Thanks largely to appearing on an alternate Earth, Supergirl has managed to avoid the dread costume plague of "We had Cisco whip this up for you." Kara Danvers wears the classic, comics-accurate Supergirl attire, and she wears it well.
It was an easy suit to mess up. After all, Supergirl has plenty of comic book costumes to pick from. From midriff baring ‘00s attire to a headband and disco-inspired motif in the ‘70s, there's plenty of places to go wrong. Supergirl creators went traditional and went simple. The suit is sleek, instantly recognizable, and the colors pop in just the right way. While it may not be the most exciting suit in the Arrowverse, it certainly is the most appropriate.
2 THE FLASH (REBORN)
The Flash had something of a soft reboot in 2017's season 4 premiere, and one that fans were pleasantly surprised by was a new Flash suit. After being teased in Season 3's "The Once and Future Flash," fans knew there could be something better, something sleeker than the crimson garb Barry had been donning since the series premiere.
The new suit skewed towards a classic Flash design. The material was streamlined and the suit redesigned to look like one full piece. The running shoes were replaced with proper boots, and the traditional lightning bolts on the forearms and waist were restored. Most importantly, though, was the suit's color. No longer a drab maroon, the color was brightened up to a more appropriate shade of red, making The Flash look a lot more like the character fans grew up loving.
1 THE ARROW
It all had to start somewhere, and for the Arrowverse it obviously started with Arrow. It's easy to forget now what the debut season of Arrow was like. Coming off the heels of Smallville, the series played it safe and skewed very close to its roots. The show started with a focus on character drama and emotional bonds, with superhero action playing something of a second fiddle.
There were no metahumans yet, and Oliver typically fought street-level crime under the moniker of The Hood. This was reflected in his costume, a leather bodysuit, and gloves, with the hood he received from Shado sewn to it. This suit would undergo a few small changes, notably in Season 2's "Three Ghosts," where newly introduced Barry Allen provided Oliver with a proper domino mask to replace his greasepaint.