Comic book characters tend to have a very singular look: they’re all pretty freaking gorgeous. The women tend to have unattainable bodies that are even more anatomically incorrect than that of a Barbie’s, tiny pointy noses, delicate features and giant eyes. And the men are square-jawed and handsome with more impossible muscles that Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime bodybuilding years. In many ways, these books provide an escape for its readers who want to be transported to distant lands and read stories of beautiful people saving the day. To put it simple, they have everything going for them.
But not all comic book characters have to be pretty. Believe it or not, every once in a while, there’s a character that isn’t so perfect. They’re flawed like the rest of us and some of them grotesquely so. These are the few comic book characters you’re probably less jealous of. Sure, a lot of them have powers, but if they’re not doing so hot in the looks department all the powers in the world can’t get them a date, no matter what they may be able to do. Let’s take a look at 15 characters that look way hotter with their mask on (in no particular order).
The Merc with a Mouth is known for his fast-talking, twisted humor, and who often breaks the fourth wall. He dons a bright red and black suit, but underneath the costume he is truly grotesque. So what the heck happened to him?
Before getting his powers, he suffered from cancer. He was approached to join the Weapon X program, where he was promised that the would cure his cancer and he would obtain superpowers in the process. He was injected with a serum giving him a healing factor like Wolverine, but it failed to cure the cancer. Instead, his healing factor heals him at the same rate as the cancer eats away at his body. That’s why his face looks like (in his own words) “a testicle with teeth.”
When you first pick up Watchmen, Rorschach appears to be the most extreme, violent vigilant in the story, with a black and white view of justice. You only later find out that other characters are much more cold and calculating than him. When he removes his mask for the first time, readers are shocked by what they see. The man underneath, Walter Kovacs, is not what they expected.
Even his own mother called him “an ugly little bastard”. She’s clearly very abusive of him but the fact that she insults his looks doesn’t help his case. Doctor Long, who psychologically evaluates Kovacs after he is captured, also comments on how ugly and disturbing his patient looks. His eyes are unblinking and completely devout of emotion. He looks as thought he is completely detached from everything which makes it really unnerving and uncomfortable to look at him.
13. DARTH VADER
After Anakin Skywalker let Palpatine murder Mace Windu, solidifying his position on the dark side, he pledges himself to Palpatine after Palpatine promised he could help save Padme from certain death. Anakin then becomes his Sith apprentice, Darth Vader. After massacring everyone at the Jedi Temple, he goes to volcanic planet Mustafar where a long battle with Obi-Wan ensues. Obi-Wan defeats him, cutting off his legs and an arm in the process.
The mutilated Darth Vader is then irreparably burned and scarred by the lava before Palpatine rescues him and gives him the iconic Vader suit. His scarred and ghost-white face is only revealed at the end of Return of the Jedi and we think Luke would have probably been happier had he not seen his father’s messed up face.
Alright so let’s be clear that Catwoman is actually gorgeous without her mask on. That doesn’t mean she’s less attractive with it on. In fact, we would argue that she’s even better looking with the mask. The costume is all part of her allure and you can’t have the costume without the mask, so we’ll take it. Just think about it. Has there ever been a Catwoman in the history of comic books, television, film or mixed media that didn’t look amazing in her costume?
The shiny black, figure hugging latex, the heels, the mask, the whip — it’s all very kinky and it actually all works better when put together. Let’s put it this way, did your childhood fantasy involve Catwoman or Selena Kyle? We rest our case.
11. IRON MAN
Our gripe with Iron Man partially has to do with the stylistic choices they made in the films, which sometimes finds its way into the comics as well. To be more specific, we are referring to his beard. What is going on there? We get that he has a lot of money to waste but what is with that facial hair? Why are there ridiculous points in it and sharp angles? It looks just plain silly. Either grow a proper beard or shave it all off.
As for the comics, we never got the impression from most artistic interpretations of him that he was a particularly good looking guy, he looks average and he has a ton of cash. However, the suit is another story, which always looks slick and cool.
The true identity of V is never revealed in V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, and we never see his face which is always hidden behind a Guy Fawkes mask. This remains the case throughout the story because V is inseparable from the symbol he represents.
A number of the prisoners there were subject to experiments and they all died as a result of the horrible conditions of the experiments apart from the man in room five who gained super strength. V made his own napalm and mustard gas and exploded his way out of his cell. In the film, it is shown that V was severely burned in the explosion, and within the context of the comic book it would make perfect sense that he was disfigured during his escape from the camp.
Al Simmons was a CIA operative that specialized in black ops before he was murdered by Chapel in a huge fire and sent to hell for all of his wrong-doings. In hell, he meets a demon named Malebolgia who makes a deal with him: Al will be able to see his wife once again in exchange for his soul. Once again on Earth, Al found that he was turned into a demon hellspawn with greens eyes and rotting flesh much like the undead.
Now that he no longer has his human form, he looks much better with his black and white mask on which covers his disfigured face entirely. His unmasked face is really nasty looking and it is better when it remains hidden under that cool mask.
Slade Wilson is a mercenary and supervillain who has battled a slew of DC heroes. He wears either a mask that is split down the middle: half orange and half black (the black half representing his missing eye) or he doesn’t wear a mask but covers his missing eye with an eyepatch. So how did he lose the eye?
It turns out his wife shot him in the eye when she attempted to kill him after he endangered their son Joseph who was taken hostage by the Jackal. Slade refused to give up the information the Jackal sought because his code of honor wouldn’t allow it. In retaliation, one of his men slit his son’s throat. It didn’t kill him, but he became mute as his vocal cords were entirely cut. Slade isn’t a bad looking guy but we prefer the mask, which helps us avoid that eye.
7. MADAME MASQUE
The character made an appearance of Agent Carter and was played by Wynn Everett. In the comics, she started out as a villain/love interest for Tony Stark. Leader of the Maggia, an East Coast crime family in the United States, Giulietta Nefaria hides her disfigured face behind a golden mask and names herself Madame Masque. Before that, she grew up as a beautiful socialite.
While escaping a raid on Stark Industries, her plane crashes and she is horribly injured, making her face completely unrecognizable. At that point, she started wearing her gold mask and changed her name. Although her face was later healed, she continued to wear the mask in the comics. So technically, she looks probably great without her mask now, but she certainly didn’t before.
Scott Summers has a devilishly handsome jaw, but you know how they say the eyes are the window to the soul? Well if that’s the case, we’ve got a huge problem here because his window shoots an optic blast that would probably kill you. Eyes are a huge part of what makes you physically attracted to someone. They are the biggest conduit of emotion and eye contact is what connects you to another person because they are extremely expressive.
Unfortunately for Cyclops, no one wants to see his eyes because that means trouble and the possible end of one’s life. He’s hotter with his mask on because it means you won’t get hurt when he looks at you. Keep your mask on, Scott, for everyones sake.
5. NITE OWL
Have you ever met someone for the first time while they are wearing sunglasses and then when they take them off you’re a little thrown off at how they look without them on? Their eyes don’t look like what you’d expect. That’s our sentiment towards Nite Owl from Watchmen.
Without his mask on, Daniel Dreiberg is an overweight 40-year old man with impotency issues. On top of that, he looks like a complete dork. But when he puts his costume on, he’s Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ version of Batman. Sure he’s still overweight and dorky under the suit but he definitely looks a lot better. On top of that, his erectile dysfunction is cured when he fights crime because it is the only time that he truly feels alive.
It is no secret that Peter Parker is a huge geek — it’s actually a huge part about what makes him so relatable. He’s awkward in school, he gets bullied and he can’t talk to girls. His charm comes from the fact that he is not like other superheroes. He’s just a high school kid with regular high school problems, like we all are or were.
We’re not saying he’s a bad looking guy, but the mask definitely gave him a lot more confidence which in itself is attractive. You have to have a lot of confidence to fight supervillains, risking death and saving people from burning buildings. This is a confidence that is entirely lacking from his alter ego. We feel for Peter, but he’s hotter as Spider-Man.
3. BLACK FLASH
Even though we’ve never seen the Black Flash’s full face, it is safe to say that whatever is hiding under there is hideous and he looks better with the mask on. His face, which looks like a decomposing person has rotting flesh, big white eyes and exposed teeth. He looks like a zombie that would be perfectly at home in an issue of The Walking Dead.
Many have mistaken the Black Flash as death incarnate for speedsters, but this is not the case. Although he is present any time a speedster is about to meet his end, he is merely an observer who guides dying speedsters back into the Speed Force. He is not death itself but he’s certainly just as ugly as the grim reaper.
2. DOCTOR DOOM
Doctor Doom has an extremely arrogant personality. In his origin story, he meets his roommate, Reed Richards, after getting a scholarship to State University. When Richards points out errors in one of Doom’s experiments, he dismisses the possibility that he could have made a mistake and could not stand the idea that his intellect was challenged by Richards. Of course, the experiment went horribly wrong, leaving Doom disfigured and shamed.
Doom’s face remains hidden for the most part in the comics, however many artists have depicted the gruesome, disfigured face underneath on occasion. Interestingly, Jack Kirby once drew Victor von Doom’s face with only a small scar on his cheek. His reasoning was that Doom is a perfectionist and extremely vain. He couldn’t stand the idea of have an imperfect face, even if it was slight, so he hid his face from himself.
People are so used to the handsome devil that is Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine for the past 17 years that they often forget that he isn’t tall and good looking in the comics. Instead, he’s a hairy, ugly little ball of muscle with a constant scowl on his face. His hair and beard are extremely long and unkept which makes him really look like an animal (and he probably smells like one too), and those mutton chops went out of style decades ago.
Although he doesn’t wear his mask all the time in the comics, it would probably be a good idea that he does. He can’t get away with going about mask-free like Jackman. Maybe his odds with Jean Grey would’ve been better with the mask on.
Are there any other heroes you wish would keep their mask on? Let us know in the comments!
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