For all of the flak superheroes find themselves getting for their fashion sense, some of them look surprisingly cool, particularly when they’ve been brought to life in animated or live-action format. Both Batman and Wonder Woman alike have proven that tights don’t preclude one from looking awesome. Unfortunately that’s not quite the truth for every superhero. Sometimes costumes just don’t translate when taken off the page and we see them in motion. Other times, the changes made to try and make a costume look more realistic or adapt better are just wrong-headed, and wind up making the character look even worse, or sometimes outright losing whatever made that character’s outfit cool in the first place.
Whatever the reason might be, in honor of the new Justice League film, CBR has decided to bring you a list of the 15 worst looking on-screen members of the Justice League. In this case, we’ll be pulling from all renditions of these characters outside of comics, so the films, cartoons, and even the live-action television versions are all eligible. Any character that’s ever been a member of the League counts for inclusion, so don’t be surprised if you see some of the League’s more obscure members -- no one is off limits.
15 THE FLASH (1990 SERIES)
For its time this costume was surprisingly good. It looks as close to the comics as any nineties outfit could ever hope to, and it nails the pure simplicity that makes the Flash outfit great in the first place, something that other Flash suits have unfortunately failed miserable at. But as endearing as John Wesley Shipp is, this suit tries a little too hard by trying to make him look exactly like a comic book character, right down to molded muscles on the suit. Plus it looks like it was made of felt, and couldn’t possibly have been comfortable.
Fortunately, by the time Grant Gustin suited up in 2014, the good folks at the CW managed to put together a much more comfy outfit that simultaneously looked realistic while also being undeniably inspired by the comics.
14 BATMAN (1966 SERIES)
One of the few Batman television series in live action, this is still an absolute classic of a show. It cranks up the madcap elements of superheroes to the extreme, right down to comically displaying the sound effects you’d normally find on a comic panel on-screen.
However, there was absolutely nothing positive about Adam West’s Batman outfit. His suit is way too tight, and offers no protection against any threat the Dark Knight would have to face. Its color scheme is off, and Batman’s cape looks like he borrowed it from his little brother…or that the entire outfit shrunk in the wash, because even the spandex is too tight for its own good. Nevermind the Bat-Signal, someone should have flashed the signal for dry cleaning instead.
13 CYBORG (JUSTICE LEAGUE)
The newest addition to the Justice League, Vic Stone spent most of his superhero career as a member of the Teen Titans before finally being made into one of the League’s “founding” members during its New 52 period. And after years of being helping the team battle against everything from the Crime Syndicate to Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor, he was finally acknowledged as a member of the team outside of comics as he became a founding member of the group in the new Justice League film.
It’s recognition that feels like a long time coming, so it’s really too bad that Cyborg’s first live-action rendition looks absolutely horrid. A complete CGI’d mess, it subsumes most of the human elements of Vic’s body in favor of making him look like a complete robot, dropping the “man meets machine” element that made him so appealing to begin with.
12 RED TORNADO (SUPERGIRL)
Red Tornado is lucky enough to have one of the sleekest outfits in all of comics. Decked out in all red with golden highlights, the most human robot in DC’s universe has always had something of a good sense of style, at least until he was introduced into the CW's Arrowverse. His origin is somewhat similar to the comics, in that he was created by Professor T.O. Morrow, only in Supergirl he was meant to be a new weapon for the military (And a stealth weapon for Morrow to wipe out Kryptonians).
Unfortunately, this version of Red Tornado actually winds up looking much more like Paul Bettany’s Vision on a lower budget than the elemental android he actually takes after. The additional armor plating is meant to make him look more realistic and robotic, but it just winds up complicating a normally slick design.
11 VIGILANTE (JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED)
Created by DC legends Mort Weisenger and Mort Meskin back in 1942, Greg Saunders first appeared in the DCAU during the film Justice League: Starcrossed, where he was one of the many heroes helping to fight against the Thanagarian Invasion. Later, after the Justice League expanded its ranks for the series Justice League Unlimited, he would become one of the many members to join up, though he spent most of the episodes as more of a background cameo character than anything else.
This probably wasn’t the worst decision in the world either, considering this is a character that clearly should’ve stayed in the Golden Age. Though he was certainly a part of one of the best episodes in an already great series, Patriot Act, his design is one of the most generic a superhero has ever come up with. It’s like he got it out of Sears’ “Stagecoach Robber” collection.
10 THE ATOM (LEGENDS OF TOMORROW)
When Ray Palmer first appeared on CW’s Arrow, he was fairly different from his comics counterpart. Whereas the original Atom more of a pure scientist, spending his non-superhero time as a physics professor at Ivy University, the CW’s Atom was a more benevolent Tony Stark, building up his own company based off his genius inventions until one terrible night in Starling City led to the death of his wife. After that, Ray decided to make a difference in Starling City, creating the Atom armor that granted him a variety of superpowers including strength, flight, and wrist-mounted lasers…and eventually shrinking.
It’s just too bad his outfit looks absolutely nothing like a superheroes, and everything like what they’ll eventually have NFL football players wearing in the year 2030, right down to the giant, visored helmet.
9 ATOM SMASHER (JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED)
Al Rothstein is one of the oldest Legacy characters that DC has, and his character arc in Geoff Johns’ JSA was pretty fantastic. We got to watch him as he made an attempt at living up to Al Pratt, the Golden Age Atom, and how hard it is for a hero to stay on the straight and narrow, as he eventually joined up with the Black Adam out of a sense of camaraderie and belief that the JSA was too “light” on crime.
But in JLU, all of that is gone. That’s not his fault, with only so many episodes and having so many heroes some had to fall through the cracks. But all that’s left afterwards is a guy who grows tall and has one of the most boring costumes ever.
8 HAWKMAN (SMALLVILLE)
Much like in the comics, in Smallville, Carter Hall was an archaeologist cursed with the gift of reincarnation. Unlike in the comics though, in the '70s he founded the original super-team, the Justice Society of America. He led the team as best he could, but after something went wrong and he lost his love Shayera thanks to Icicle, he went into retirement for several years until he was forced to take action against the returning villain, reforming the JSA.
Smallville actually did the best it could to bring Carter Hall to life, making a good casting choice and nailing Carter’s intensity and strong moral character. The real problem is that a winged character’s abilities are quite difficult to do without a lot of expensive CG techniques that the series couldn’t afford, so he winds up with fake looking wings strapped to a ridiculous plastic chestplate.
7 GREEN LANTERN (GREEN LANTERN)
At a time where Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern run had built the character up into one of DC Comics’ premiere superhero franchises, DC announced that they would be working on a Green Lantern film starring the “Why Is He Any Super-Character But Deadpool” actor Ryan Reynolds. The film came out in the summer of 2011 to poor reviews and sales, but it was honestly doomed out of the gate.
Instead of sticking with the iconic suit that had made Green Lantern a staple in the comics world for decades, they created a wholly new outfit for the film. Pictured above, the suit distinctly resembles glowing, green space bacon, and feels less like he should be a space cop and more the cook of the Space BBQ Joint of 2814.
6 B'WANA BEAST (BATMAN: BRAVE AND THE BOLD)
Absurd as it sounds, Michael Maxwell was a game warden on an African preserve when he challenged a red ape known as Djuba and lost. While mulling over his defeat, he gained animal-focused superpowers while drinking from toxic waste-infested waters, and would later go on to help Batman out on a couple of missions during the Brave and the Bold series.
B’wana Beast’s costume isn’t actually inaccurate to the outfit he had when he debuted in the DC’s Showcase back in 1967, it’s just that his costume is absolutely awful. Dressed in basically a loincloth and a mask, his outfit’s barely a costume to begin with, and if the wind blows the wrong way he’s probably going to have some serious issues with public indecency laws.
5 CITIZEN STEEL (LEGENDS OF TOMORROW)
Hank Heywood started out as your average, run-of-the-mill historian with an adventurer’s spirit, until he discovered the Legends’ lost Waverider time ship with the help of Oliver Queen, and traveled through time to put the scattered team back together again. After a mission went wrong, Nate was given an experimental biomolecular enhancer that allowed him to transform his skin into a strange form of organic steel, allowing him to finally don a costume and join the group as a proper superhero.
This costume is neither close to the comic version or a decent enough costume to stand on its own. It barely even looks like a superhero outfit, instead more closely resembling what some kids on the playground might put together out of whatever they had at home.
4 AQUAMAN (SMALLVILLE)
Once a former marine biology student, Arthur Curry (clearly the King Bro of the Seven Seas) made his first appearance on Smallville saving Lois Lane while en route to destroy a weapon made by Luthor Corp known was Leviathan, which was harming the sea life in the area. He would make a handful of appearances in the series, eventually joining Green Arrow’s Justice League team on a tentative basis.
Given that Smallville started out with something of a problem with superhero costumes and was infamous for its “no capes” philosophy, it’s not a surprise that when they finally started introducing costumed characters onto the show their outfits weren’t exactly the best. In particular, Aquaman’s costume looks more like the crappy Halloween costume version you’d get from Wal-Mart.
3 S.T.R.I.P.E. (JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED)
In the source material, Pat Dugan was the Stripesy half of Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, tracking down spies until one adventure left him lost in time and winding up in the present day, where after he gets married his stepdaughter Courtney Whitmore becomes the new Star-Spangled Kid (and later Stargirl) to annoy him. In JLU and the comics, Dugan spends most of his time in the armored suit of S.T.R.I.P.E. looking after Courtney to keep any major harm from coming to her.
S.T.R.I.P.E. is just not terribly visually inspired. He’s reminiscent of the proto-mecha designs of the earliest super robot era like Gigantor, and looked boring in comparison to Gundam or other giant robots at the time. Worst still, he just comes off like a less cool version of the giant robot from The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot.
Absolutely nothing like either of her comic book versions, The Brave and the Bold version of Batwoman is Katrina Moldoff, heiress to the Moldoff Circus and a high-level acrobat and athlete. During one of her adventures, she winds up being unmasked by the Riddler and forced into retirement by the legal system, eventually becoming a recluse until she gets a shot at taking the Riddler out. Naturally, Batman foils her scheme and stops her from killing the Riddler, and Katrina winds up in jail for her crimes.
….And if they hadn’t gotten her, the fashion police would have for this absolutely hideous outfit. Red and yellow barely work to begin with, but rather than separate the colors cleanly, the Brave and the Bold outfit combines the two for an ugly mess of a costume that really should have been an obvious fashion faux-pas for a wealthy heiress.
1 FLASH (JUSTICE LEAGUE)
Of all the members of the League in the films, Ezra Miller arguably had it the hardest, as the rest of the heroes didn’t have much in the way of live-action representation to be compared to. Unfortunately for Miller though, before we even saw the first footage of his Flash, the CW series was several seasons in already.
To his credit, Miller actually seems to play quite the charming, likable Flash -- a fanboy who just seems to want some friends that know what it is to be a superhero. Too bad his outfit is absolutely awful. The Flash’s outfit is usually the perfect example of iconic simplicity. A sleek red runner’s outfit and is possibly the best attempt at minimalism superheroes have ever done. But the film winds up slapping on tons of nonsensical armor and pieces to it that make it an absolute aesthetic nightmare.
What Justice League members do you think should've been on this list? Be sure to let us know in the comments!