When comic books were first created, artists had to come up with iconic yet simple designs so their characters would stand out in the pages and be memorable to any who read them. This is how we got the bright blue and red of Superman and his cape as well as the muted tones of Batman's first costume -- they're each distinct in their own way. As time went on, publishers knew they needed to redesign their characters over the years (this was largely because they wanted to sell more toys and products). Sometimes, the result was less than ideal, especially in the '90s, but that wasn't always the case. Several times, comic writers have taken readers to alternate futures and distant timelines. In them, we get new costumes for our favorite characters that leave a lasting impression.
While the costumes being "better" is largely subjective, many of them have stuck with readers since their debut. These future versions of our favorite heroes have even been praised enough to get their own series on multiple occasions. Sometimes, they're liked even more than their original characters. That's where we'll begin as we look at 15 future versions of superheroes who look better than the originals.
15 BATMAN BEYOND
All good things must come to an end, and that includes the protector of Gotham City. After decades of fighting crime, Bruce Wayne eventually starts to deteriorate and lose his edge. Crime comes back and threatens innocent lives. Then, everything changes when Terry McGinnis shows up and befriends the aging Wayne. After much discussion, Wayne decides to train the young boy how to become the next Dark Knight.
Dubbed Batman Beyond, this version of the Not-So-Caped Crusader first appeared in his own animated show. Fan response was so high that he was then incorporated into the comics. Can you blame them? This version of the Batsuit is sleek, black, and has appropriate red accents to distinguish him from Wayne's design. On that note, if you haven't seen the show, then stop reading this article and do yourself a favor.
14 FUTURE FLASH
Barry Allen has a vastly different physical structure thanks to his superpowers and connection to the Speed Force. Years in the future, he loses his partner in battle and starts to go insane. He decides to travel through the past and kill his foes before encountering present-day Barry. When the two meet, there's no denying how different they are.
Where Barry is still sporting the red suit with yellow lightning bolts, Future Flash looks like he's made entirely of Speed Force energy. Featuring a dark blue suit and skin replaced with white lightning, present-day Barry never stood a chance. The Flash of the future has become so purely connected to the Speed Force that there are none who can best him in battle. His suit also looks fantastic.
13 SPIDER-MAN 2099
Decades after the days of Spider-Man and the Avengers, Miguel O'Hara encounters a science accident where his powers somewhat replicate that of the now-deceased Peter Parker. Knowing the history of the Age of Heroes, he decides to become the Spider-Man of the future, complete with his own design.
Where the classic Spider-Man was red with blue accents and black webbing, O'Hara's costume is blue with red accents and no webbing at all. On top of that, Spider-Man 2099 is equipped with blades on his arms. The two wall crawlers couldn't look more different when placed side by side. O'Hara is also different from Peter in his philosophy on dealing with criminals. Whereas Peter Parker wouldn't think of killing a criminal, Miguel doesn't have many reservations about it.
12 OLD MAN LOGAN
Fast forward to a post-apocalyptic future and you'll see a Wolverine who refuses to pop his claws. The days of Xavier's School for Mutants are done, and Logan has something to do with it. That said, he has chosen to live out the rest of his days old, withered, and with his family. Never again will he be known as the vicious Wolverine.
In terms of a cosmetic design, there's a simplistic approach that makes Old Man Logan so memorable. He doesn't have any of the yellow tights. Instead, he's dressed in poor garb and his hair is white all around his head. What completes the look is when he finally decides to use his Adamantium claws again, resulting in blood dripping down his hands. We feel bad for the guy, but we'll be darned if this realistic interpretation isn't worth remembering.
The Marvel Universe has been subject to some serious wars, but one reality caused a nuclear war to send the entire Earth into an apocalyptic landscape. The one person strong enough to take leadership in that event was the Incredible Hulk. This time, though, he managed to keep the intelligence of Bruce Banner and the savagery of his more unpredictable side. The result was a bearded leader known as Maestro.
There's something innately mesmerizing about Maestro's design. From the very first glance, we can tell that this is a creature who is much wiser and more violent than present-day Hulk. Couple that with the fact that he ended up being a warlord for the planet Earth, and things start to click. If Earth were to go down in flames, only someone with the sheer power of the Hulk would be able to rise above the ashes.
10 FUTURE DEADPOOL
Deadpool has one of the most persistent healing factors in comic book history. Because of this, he can sustain nearly any injury known to man and still live to fight another day and live indefinitely. However, his allegiances have always been dancing on the line of good and evil. On Earth-13729, he seems to have made his choice in the future.
Deadpool is working with a future team of the X-Men, and has an entirely new design to boot. No longer is he wearing his red and black mask. In its place is a hood and sunglasses. He looks more like a modern interpretation of a ronin rather than a mercenary. What's sad about Future Deadpool is that he hated every minute of living in the future, as he had seen too many funerals to even crack a good joke.
If you thought that Scarlet Witch was powerful, then you need to meet her son, Wiccan. This young Warlock was a prominent member of the Young Avengers, teaming up with other new heroes like Speed and Hulkling. Much like his mother, though, Wiccan would be destined for great and terrible things in the future of the Marvel Universe.
Several comics have depicted him as the omnipotent being known only as the Demiurge. Bearing a new cape and cloak costume that makes him look like a dark wizard, there's a lot more menace to his future version. His Young Avengers costume isn't bad, but it doesn't command your attention like the Demiurge robe does. By the way, there's no guarantee he turns out to be a hero either.
8 MASSIVE OAK GROOT
Nobody knew or cared who Groot was until Guardians of the Galaxy came out in 2014. Since then, this tree that only talks three words has been one of the fundamental members of the Guardians in the comics. That said, there's so much that we don't know about Groot. What is he destined to become in the future? What will he grow into?
Eventually, Marvel gave us the answer to what future Groot would look like. Instead of being some monstrous creation, Groot turns into a massive oak tree. His older form is nonexistent, and he provides excellent shade in the hot sun. However, he could still hold a good conversation, as the words "I am Groot" are still capable of coming from him. Bet we won't see that in the MCU anytime soon.
7 THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS BATMAN
When the government gets involved with superheroes, it never works out for the best. In the DC Universe, the Justice League and the rest of the metahumans were forced to retire or register with the government. Most of them hung up their capes, including Bruce Wayne. However, crime took notice and, after years, came back with a vengeance.
This motivated Bruce to put the cape and cowl back on in The Dark Knight Returns. However, he was given a much different design this time around. Frank Miller took inspiration from other classic Batman costumes, but gave it a new logo, a different color scheme, and a much broader build. This version of Batman is stoic, brutal, and unrestrained, and his suit reflects that. It has quickly become one of the most iconic batsuits of all time.
6 OLD MAN HAWKEYE
The story of Old Man Logan is full of so many interesting twists and turns that it's a page-turner from the very start. After Logan goes on a journey to avenge his family, he meets up with the future version of Hawkeye (appropriately dubbed "Old Man Hawkeye"). What's different about the archer in the future? For starters, he has white hair and is sporting a ponytail. Oh, and he's completely blind.
When compared to his purple costume, Old Man Hawkeye is a welcome breath of fresh air. Not only that, but the concept of a blind archer who can still hit his mark is more than interesting enough to hold its own comic series. Sporting some circular black glasses and a longsword, there are few designs that hit the emotional notes of Old Man Hawkeye.
5 DARK KNIGHTS METAL
If you were wondering how DC was going to top themselves after big storylines like "Darkseid War", "Final Crisis", and "Batman: Endgame", did a Justice League story centering around twisted versions of Batman ever cross your mind? Us neither. However, what we got was the frightening tale known as Dark Knights: Metal.
In it, Batman is targeted by a being known as Barbados, who exists in a multiverse beneath the DC multiverse. Once Batman is tricked, he is taken out of his own reality and replaced with a team of evil Batman called the Dark Knights. In a nutshell, they are dark forms of the Justice League but also Batman. There's the Red Death, the Murder Machine, the Batman Who Laughs, the Drowned, the Dawnbreaker, the Merciless, and the Devastator. They all have horrifying designs but are a creative alternate future for Bruce Wayne.
4 SUPERMAN PRIME
Tens of thousands of years after the legacy of the DC heroes, Kal-El still managed to survive. He did this by continuously absorbing the energy of the sun to, quite literally, become an extension of the massive star. After everyone he loved was placed into the grave, he left Earth and scoured every corner of space. Some even say that he managed to visit the realms of Heaven and Hell themselves.
He returned to the Earth several hundred centuries later, but much stronger than before. He was entirely gold and decided to build a new Fortress of Solitude in the center of the sun itself. This version of the Man of Steel remains a well-designed superhero that leaves an incredible memory to comic readers. We also feel bad for anyone who tried to best him in combat.
3 IRON MAN 2020
After the death of Tony Stark, somebody had to take over Stark Industries. In the year 2020, that man was Arno Stark. Despite having the name of the legendary Marvel hero, he didn't behave the same way. Instead, he used the Iron Man technology to serve his own purposes and get ahead in the corporate market rather than protect the innocent from ruthless villains. He even went head-to-head with the past version of Tony Stark.
Along with this new management of Stark Industries was also a new design for the Iron Man armor. No longer was it the clean and sleek look that Tony had started, but a more rigid and mechanical interpretation. Massive gears were situated at the suit's shoulders and the faceplate was designed to look significantly more menacing.
2 KING THOR
Thor: Ragnarok showed us how Thor would manage if Odin died and Asgard were left without a leader. Thankfully, they didn't draw from the comics to fit that storyline. A similar event occurred in the pages where Odin died and Thor had to reluctantly take over the lordship of Asgard. However, the Odinforce increased his power and messed with his psyche so much that he was no longer the same. He didn't care about the needs of humans. He simply wanted to restore Asgard to his former glory.
Going along with his new outlook on life was a much more muscular build, longer facial hair, and a black eye patch. There's a lot to like with King Thor's design, as it combined both Thor's and Odin's appearances. While he did some awful things as the king, his new threads were an impressive sight to behold.
1 CYBORG SUPERGIRL
Years after the days of the Justice League, Supergirl decided to leave DC's finest and travel the cosmos. Falling in love with the radiant Captain Comet, she had a shot at a fairly normal life for a lost Kryptonian. Things changed when Cyborg Superman lured her into a trap, though, and turned her into a half-robot known only as Herald Two.
She and Cyborg Superman worked for Brainiac until they rebelled and tried to rebuild Krypton. While she was partially a robot, she was given metal accents on her costume and long knives and blades over her arms and hands. Couple that with one half of her face being metallic (complete with a robot eye), and you've got a design that's worth putting into the comics.