The characters of Marvel have a long list of items they have to check off if they want to be considered great superheroes. They have to have a strong roster of powers, skills, or weapons that they use to fight crime and save lives. Of course, one of the most important parts of being a hero is one that we don’t often think about; the costume. Shallow as it may sound, the costume is a part of a superhero’s identity. Just think about it, what would Iron Man be without his powerful suit of armor? Or Captain America without his extremely patriotic costume?
Yes, the costumes of Marvel superheroes have become just as iconic as they are in some regards. However, throughout the years, our favorite superheroes have undergone some serious costume changes and complete makeovers. Most of these redesigns have been pretty cool and welcomed by fans after their debut. However, some of them have been pretty risky, resulting in our favorite superheroes getting turned into circus clowns. Marvel would much rather fans ignore their past design mistakes, but unfortunately for them, the internet has a nasty habit of uncovering the dark secrets of the past. Here are 15 terrible character makeovers that Marvel hopes we’ll forget (unlikely).
15. THOR’S “THE CROSSING” DESIGN
The God of Thunder starts off the list of shame with the ‘The Crossing’ era redesign of his classic look. While Thor wasn’t actually a large part of the Avengers event ‘The Crossing’, he wasn’t far enough from the story to avoid the same costume changing fate as his fellow superheroes.
Mike Deodato Jr. has a knack for his giving characters brooding faces, hulking biceps, and like many artists in the ’90s, insanely impractical costumes. Thor’s Deodato-era story arc gave the Asgardian a costume full or more rope and chains than a Fifty Shades movie. Not to mention the codpiece and the He-Man-esque crop top. This just wasn’t a good look for the Avenger at all, and it was luckily never referenced in Thor’s history again.
14. HAWKEYE’S MINI-SKIRT
That’s right, Hawkeye went through a completely bizarre mini skirt phase. Look, there’s nothing wrong with an acrobatic superhero wanting to wear something that’s a little more freeing. After all, the costume certainly gave Hawkeye the ability to move and maneuver with ease (although there is the risk of flapping in the breeze, if you get our drift).
But besides this minor convenience, there wasn’t really a point for the new look. After ending his career as Goliath, Hawkeye returned to his original alter-ego sporting the new mini-skirt costume for literally no reason at all. It was so odd and unnecessary that even fellow Avengers like Thor made fun of it. And if Thor, with his poor fashion choices is mocking the outfit, that can’t be good.
13. MUTATED WASP
No one ever looks good when they’ve been mutated, but Janet van Dyne looked…absolutely terrifying in her mutated state, to say the least. After a brawl with Iron Man, Janet was seriously injured. Her husband and fellow bug-like Avenger Hank Pym used a machine to treat her injuries. The machine slowly formed a cocoon around her body, and when she awoke, Janet found that she had undergone a serious metamorphic change.
Janet had transformed into a half-human, half-bug creature, making her codename “The Wasp” just a little too literal. While an interesting idea, the superheroine’s new form gave readers nightmare’s as they tried to grasp the notion that Janet had been transformed into a horrific hybrid fit with giant wings, claws, antennae and, for some reason, a whole lot of slime.
12. PUNISHER 2099
Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of the future, made his debut in the Spider-Man 2099 comic series. As you might expect, he isn’t the only superhero to exist in the future. Many other heroes were given 2099 counterparts, including The Punisher. Punisher 2099 is Jake Gallows, a former member of the Public Eye Police Force and the Church of Thor (yes, that was a real thing).
Gallows became The Punisher of the future after losing his family to the villainous Kron Stone and finding the original Punisher’s journal. Vowing to avenge his family and continue The Punisher’s work, Gallows became a vengeful spirit that struck fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere. That’s all well and good, but there had to be a way for him to do it without wearing a costume that attached the bottom half of his iconic skull logo to his crotch area in an extremely unflattering way.
11. GOOD GUY MAGNETO
Magneto is one of the X-Men’s most famous antagonists. A seriously powerful mutant with the ability to manipulate various metals and magnetic fields, Magneto has gone toe-to-toe with several members of the X-Men, including his old friend, Professor Charles Xavier. With a track record such as his own (murdering fellow mutants, capsizing cities, etc.), it would be pretty difficult for Magneto to ever turn over a new leaf. But since comics are full of bizarre and unrealistic story lines, the malicious mutant got his redemption tale.
After Xavier goes into a space for heroic-related reasons, he entrusts his old mutant pal to watch over his school for gifted youngsters. With his newfound heroism came a new suit that…well, didn’t quite sit right with readers. Donning a sleeveless costume with a large ‘M’ plastered on front, Magneto looked more like an aging wrestler than a superhero.
10. NOBLE KALE GHOST RIDER
The history behind the Ghost Rider can be a little confusing. For a time, it was thought that Johnny Blaze was the first and only Ghost Rider. Of course, as time went on it was revealed that the “Spirit of Vengeance” had been around for some time — centuries to be exact. The first Ghost Rider was Noble Kale, who in the 1700s became the hellish being after a run-in with the demon Mephisto.
Kale’s soul was destined to be trapped in between heaven and hell, never really claimed by either. As such, he became the Ghost Rider and bonded with his descendants for generations. With such a cool origin, it’s a shame that Kale was given a bright orange costume that made him look more like a Cheetos mascot than a demonic anti-hero. Such a huge contrast from Johnny Blaze’s original leather-jacket costume was welcomed with laughter by most readers.
9. FERAL WOLVERINE
Magneto isn’t the only Marvel mutant to get an ill-received redesign. Back in 1993, during the X-Men event “Fatal Attractions”, Wolverine took a serious blow by getting the adamantium encasing his skeleton completely ripped out of his body. He was still alive, and with a skeleton for that matter, but something was definitely different about Logan — and it wasn’t his adamantium-less bone claws.
A couple issues later and Wolverine debuts a drastic new and wild look, complete with sharper claws, a lot of hair and absolutely no nose, for some strange reason. It turns out that the adamantium in his body was keeping him from going completely feral. Obviously this story arc was scrapped and retconned, but just imagine if Logan just one day transformed into an actual wolverine. Talk about a plot twist.
8. LONG-HAIRED NAMOR
Keeping with the theme of “feral looks gone wrong”, the King of the Sea joined Wolverine in putting down the clippers and letting his locks grow. For some reason, comic developers thought that more hair meant the character would look more badass, but this simply wasn’t the case with Namor the Sub-Mariner.
Namor ditched his sleek and regal design for a more wild appearance, growing his hair out and practicing his “grr face”. To match his new edgy hairstyle, Namor wore a new outfit custom fit head to toe with spikes. We can only imagine that his name was going to be changed from “Namor the Sub-Mariner” to the “Sub-Sea Urchin”, but this odd look luckily didn’t last long enough for that to take effect.
7. DAREDEVIL’S SHOULDER PADS
Another common comic book trend is that of power armor. Iron Man may have popularized the craze, but he’s not the only superhero to walk around wearing boosted armor. Although, given how ridiculous some of his fellow heroes have looked in their armor, he probably should be the only one.
Regardless, Matt Murdock decided to try his hand at power armor in the ’90s (when everyone was trying crazy new things). The result was a black and red costume that completely missed the point of his reputation as “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen”. However, the worst part of this new costume were the completely unnecessary shoulder pads. Unless Murdock planned to take up extreme hockey, the pads were nothing more than a visual example of why the ’90s were a weird time for comics.
The New Warriors are a Marvel team that don’t really get a lot of credit. The “mini-Avengers” are mostly known for being the main reason for the Marvel Civil War, with their actions resulting in the deaths of over 600 people (including some of the New Warriors themselves) starting the comic book event.
Their lack of popularity probably had something to do with Marvel just not trying hard enough to sell their comics, but there is such a thing as trying too hard. That’s exactly what Marvel did with Speedball when they gave him a complete makeover. Speedball, now Penance, could now only access his bouncy bubble-forming powers when in extreme pain. So in order to keep being a hero, he made a new suit covered with spikes on the inside that constantly scraped against his flesh. Needless to say, Marvel should never take creative inspiration from Hellraiser ever again.
5. INVISIBLE WOMAN’S WINDOW
Often times in comic books, characters aren’t drawn very realistically. We see it with male superhero from time to time, with characters like Captain America or Batman having way too many abs for it to be considered normal, but it’s usually apparent in female characters. The heroines of comics are often drawn completely out of proportion, their bodies angled and shown in a way that heavily markets to sex appeal. The biggest offender of this crime in comic history has got to be Invisible Woman’s “boob window”.
There was time in the Fantastic Four line of comics where Sue Storm, for whatever reason, decided to switch things up a bit and change her outfit. Donning a blue and white costume with the iconic “4” logo outlined in a super inconvenient place, Invisible Woman looked just a little too provocative for anyone to be comfortable with it.
4. HAWKEYE’S GOLIATH COSTUME
Hawkeye’s “powers” are as follows: He’s really good at archery, doing backflips, and is surprisingly lucky enough to survive going head-to-head with powerful, godlike cosmic beings…most of the time. Nothing’s wrong with being a powerless superhero, in fact it put Hawkeye in the same underdog league as such legends as Batman, Green Arrow, and fellow Avenger Black Widow.
However, there came a time incomic book history when Hawkeye was granted superpowers. After getting a taste of Ant-Man’s trademark Pym Particles, Clint Barton became the new Goliath, a gigantic and powerful superhero with an absolutely hilarious looking costume. While Barton was a formidable hero, readers just couldn’t look past his new suit with its odd mask and “barely a shirt” design. Hawkeye’s original design wasn’t exactly the greatest thing either, but at least it didn’t make the Avenger look like a ’90s Stretch Armstrong action figure.
Nowadays, Thor Odinson is Thor’s only identity, but not a lot of people know or remember that he used to share a body with regular human architect Eric Masterson. And why should they? It was a part of the character’s history that was really unnecessary, and added nothing to Thor’s story. Why would Thor need to share a body with a human? Sure, Odin did it to save Eric’s life after he was wounded, but how does that even work? Aren’t there better ways to save Eric than making his body the vessel for a thunder God?
So what does Marvel do with Masterson after rightfully removing him from Thor’s story? Why, the only logical thing of course, giving him his own superhero identity with a set of powers almost identical to Thor’s and a brand new costume and name that made him look like a failed saturday morning cartoon.
2. DEADPOOL’S X-MEN ORIGINS DESIGN
The general consensus for X-Men Origins: Wolverine is that it’s not a very good movie. This is due in part to a number of things, from the sloppy special effects, to the rushed plot. But the biggest offense the movie made in the eyes of fans is how they treated Deadpool. Wade Wilson made an appearance in X-Men Origins, portrayed by Ryan Reynolds.
The first couple of minutes that Wilson is on screen are fine, he’s the same wise-cracking, loud-mouthed mercenary we’ve all come to love — but as soon as he transforms into his super altar-ego, that’s when things get very, very bad. Deadpool’s design in the film looks more like a rejected walker from The Walking Dead than the anti-hero from the comics. Luckily, Reynolds would return to the role in 2016’s Deadpool, making up for the sins of his character’s past tenfold.
1. SPIDER-MAN’S SILVER ARMOR
Daredevil isn’t the only Marvel hero to make terrible armor related fashion choices, he’s not even the worst offender. While gigantic shoulder pads might be bad, they are certainly better than an entire suit made of silver padding. Peter Parker has had number of costumes throughout his career as Spider-Man, and while some of them have been pretty cool, his silver armor definitely doesn’t fit that definition.
After realizing that he can’t dodge every bullet that comes his way, Spider-Man creates his own bulletproof armor in order to keep himself safe. Sure, the idea behind the suit made it pretty useful, but we couldn’t help but laugh as one of Earth’s mightiest ran around in a suit that looked like it was comprised of ice cube trays. Luckily, future iterations of the suit made it look a little sleeker and a little less ridiculous.
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