Ah, the power suit. Whenever a classic character needs a redesign, out comes the power suit. Whenever a new character needs an outfit that establishes how cutting edge and tough they are, out comes the power suit. Whenever a character in a power suit needs a breath of fresh air, out comes the new and improved power suit. The concept of a suit of armor that improves a character’s abilities is practically as old as comics themselves, and comic-dom has seen more variations on the power suit than you can shake a transistor at.
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While characters such as Iron Man and the Jaime Reyes’ incarnation of the Blue Beetle have become synonymous with the power suit they sport, not every character to don a suit of armor manages to stick. In actuality, a lot of characters that end up squeezed into one of these suits ends up looking silly, stupid, or just plain ridiculous. It is this topic that brings us together, as CBR takes a comprehensive look at the most ridiculous power suits in comic book history. From the garish to the goofy, from the awful to the atrocious, you won’t find more ridiculous power suits in comics.
15. LEX LUTHOR’S WARSUIT
Lex Luthor may look like a walking thumb, but don’t be fooled; this Superman-hating billionaire is one of the smartest men in the DC Universe. Yet, even with one of the sharpest minds in the galaxy and nearly unlimited funds, Lex opts to parade around in a garish green-and-purple mess of a super suit. Look, we get it that it’s kind of an inverse of Superman’s color scheme, but come on, Lexy!
Debuting in 1983, Lex’s “Warsuit” has helped the bald billionaire go toe-to-toe with Superman and a litany of super powered individuals over the years. Powered by an unholy mixture of Apokolips technology, slivers of Kryptonite, and the Venom serum, the Warsuit allows Lex to punch way outside of his weight class, with the suit granting the criminal mastermind enhanced strength, heightened reflexes, and a litany of weapons. But despite all of this, Lex opted to slap on a paint scheme that screams “clown car” more than it does “super suit for a billionaire.” The Warsuit is no push over, but this chunky, garish mess definitely deserves a place on the list of the most ridiculous power suits in all of comic-dom.
In the go-go world of super villainy, it all boils down to branding. Whether it’s a scarred visage, a flashy costume, or an arsenal of insidious gadgets, a good supervillain needs something to help stand out from the rabble. Stilt-Man certainly stands out from the crowd, but probably not in the way he was hoping; no, this telescoping tool is only known due to just how ridiculous he is.
Engineer Wilbur Day used his skills with mechanics to construct the Stilt-Man armor, which allowed the crappy criminal to use extending legs to plunder buildings from the outside. Sure, this novel approach to thievery allowed Day to pull off some daring heists on very confused victims, but heroes such as Daredevil and Spider-Man quickly realized that one solid shove was all that was standing between Stilt-Man and the unforgiving ground. Despite his ridiculous gimmick, there have been no less than four Stilt-Men, with a Lady Stilt-Man being the most recent to join the legacy of lame. Stilt-Man’s famously ridiculous power suit cemented his place on our list.
13. IRON MAN 2020
When Tony’s futuristic cousin Arno Stark debuted as Iron Man 2020 in 1984, the year 2020 seemed so far away. It was envisioned as a futuristic hellscape lorded over by corporations, which engaged in corporate espionage through proxy agents who hire out their services to the highest bidder. So, in the end, the 1984 interpretation of 2020 isn’t terribly far off from life as it is now, but Marvel’s version of 2020 did get one thing wrong: Iron Man 2020’s totally ridiculous armor.
Iron Man’s classic red-and-gold suit has an iconic quality. Clearly, Arno Stark saw this and realized the suit was only missing one key element: Giant, totally unnecessary gears. Thus, Iron Man 2020’s suit was born; a spin on Tony Stark’s timeless duds, Arno’s suit had prominent gears on the shoulders, along with a seemingly entirely unnecessary belt. The time traveling Iron Man 2020 was no joke, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at his power suit.
12. THE PUNISHER’S EXO-ARMOR
Frank Castle has never been one for subtlety. In his decades-spanning one-man war against crime, The Punisher has always opted for the loud and the bombastic over the quiet and restrained. So, when the Punisher found himself at odds with the merciless mutant hating mercenary group The Reavers in The Punisher #34, a simple pistol and a grenade just wasn’t going to do the trick. No, The Punisher threw subtlety right out the window and opted for the most ridiculous solution possible.
As The Revers are composed entirely of augmented killers, The Punisher felt a touch outclassed with his standard semi-automatic weapons. Thus, Frank had Microchip hack a combat robot, which was re-purposed into a killer suit of armor. Adorned with not one but two skulls, the suit looked silly… yet also downright awesome. But this power suit is just so ridiculous that it deserves a spot on our list.
11. BATMAN (JAMES GORDON)
When longtime Batman ally James Gordon was drafted to assume the mantle of Batman after the Caped Crusader’s apparent death at the hands of The Joker, the no-nonsense police commissioner wasn’t interested in simply donning the Batman cowl. Gordon’s GCPD Batman duds were meant to differentiate the new Batman from the OG Batman, as well as give him a much needed boost that the original didn’t need. Unfortunately, Gordon’s take on the Batmantle had one very prominent difference: His Batman suit was really, really dumb looking.
As the aging Gordon wasn’t a martial arts master, the Commissioner opted to don a more protective mech suit in Batman #41. With shoulder-mounted rocket launchers and massive metallic arms, the Bat-Mech certainly had an imposing look. But the suit had prominent antennas, meant to evoke the look of a bat, but ended up looking closer to a bunny. Sure, the comics addressed Batman’s new rabbit ears, but they took Batman from grizzled vigilante of the night to adorable woodland creature. Thankfully, this ridiculous power armor hippity hopped back into the storage closet when Bruce Wayne returned to his Batman duties.
Take a man that is 99% head, give him a ludicrous acronym name, and stick him in a floating high chair, and you’ve got MODOK. This Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing has been popping up to pester the heroes of the Marvel Universe since 1967, having come close to conquering the planet multiple times. Considered one of the smartest minds in the Marvel Universe, MODOK is a whole lot of dangerous with a whole lot of head. And boy is his power suit a whole lot of ridiculous.
MODOK’s suit is so silly looking that it almost transcends mockery; after all, what can be said about this power suit that isn’t readily apparent from just looking at it? Cradling MODOK’s massive cranium in a garish yellow and purple cocoon of metal; an armor which allows the stubby-limbed villain to go toe-to-head with the likes of Iron Man and Alpha Flight. Sure, MODOK might look silly in his flying baby seat, but his power armor definitely puts him a-HEAD of the game.
9. IRON MAN’S CAMELOT ARMOR
Tony Stark is no stranger to an outfit change. Over his decades spanning career as Iron Man, Stark has had dozens of variations on the Iron Man armor. Sure, plenty of these suits have been undeniably awesome (looking at you, Hulkbuster armor), but there have been plenty of ridiculous, silly, and just downright dumb suits over the years. Hell, Stark once painted his armor black and dubbed it “Stealth Armor,” so the man knows dumb armor. But they don’t get more ridiculous than Iron Man’s Excalibur-tinged Camelot armor.
When Tony and Dr. Doom were zapped back in time to the mythical land of Camelot, the arch-enemies found themselves fighting for possession of the mystical Excalibur blade. Doom ended up with the sword, while Stark got stuck with the scabbard. Not to be deterred from clearly getting the less cool part of the sword, Tony fused the scabbard with his armor, granting himself a magical Iron Man suit. Oh yeah, and this suit had a prominent ponytail for reasons that are never explained. Because clearly what the Iron Man armor was missing was a ponytail. The less said about this power suit the better.
8. CATWOMAN’S ARMOR
When designing a costume, it is important to give tit elements that help the outfit to stand out. To Catwoman’s credit, the armor she wore for a brief time in 1997 definitely had traits that helped it to stand out; after all, you’d be hard-pressed to find another power suit with sculpted-in boob windows and a bellybutton.
When Selina Kyle was ambushed by a villain calling herself Cyber-Cat, she realized that her regular bodysuit wouldn’t be enough to beat this new threat. Thus, Kyle enlisted the inventor Clutterbuck to construct a suit of power armor that would give her a leg up in the inevitable rematch. The perverted Clutterbuck took this opportunity to assemble a body-hugging set of armor that included robo-stripper boots, mesh boob windows, and a belly button. Kyle was not a fan of the suit and would ditch the armor after besting Cyber-Cat, but the shame of this ridiculous power armor shall last forever.
7. ARMORED SPIDER-MAN
Spider-Man has one of the most iconic costumes in all of comicdom. Those iconic red-and-blue duds are eye catching, distinct, and, most of all, totally awesome. The same cannot be said of the webslingers ridiculous Spider-Armor MK1. No, Spidey’s one-off power suit is pretty much opposite of his regular outfit; this mess of a suit is eye rolling, bland, and, most of all, totally ridiculous.
When Spider-Man found himself contesting with bad guys that used guns in Web Of Spider-Man #100, Peter Parker had the brilliant plan to suit up in an armor constructed out of bulletproof metal. This being the early ’90s, the ensuing suit wasn’t sleek and subtle; rather, it was clunky, bulky, and very, very ugly. Looking like he glued a bunch of solar panels to his suit, this Spidey suit was mercifully destroyed in the subsequent battle when splashed with acid. Spider-Man has had some terrible costumes over the years, but the Spider-Armor MK1 definitely takes the cake as the ugliest.
6. HEROES REBORN IRON MAN
Back when the name “Rob Liefeld” was a license to print money, Marvel thought it wise to give Liefeld control over some of its most popular characters, leading to Liefeld and fellow red hot creator Jim Lee crafting the Onslaught event. This controversial event seemingly killed the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, only for it to be later revealed that both teams had been shunted to a pocket universe created by Franklin Richards, son of Reed Richards. It was dumb. When the heroes returned in the appropriately named Heroes Reborn, many of the characters sported new looks created by Liefeld.
While these new costumes varied from “kind of silly” to “insultingly dumb,” it was poor Iron Man that got the short end of the stick. Dubbed the “Prometheum Armor,” Stark’s suit featured giant shoulder boosters, an honest-to-goodness codpiece, and abs. Yes, the armor had a six pack designed into it, ensuring that Tony was always flaunting his beach body while fighting the forces of evil.
5. J. JONAH JAMESON’S IRON MAN ARMOR
There are certain facial hair styles that have just been ruined over the years. The curled mustache has been ruined by old timey boxers and hipsters, while the pencil thin mustache has been ruined thanks to perverts. And that’s to say nothing of the toothbrush mustache. Outside of nearly driving the world into ruin, Adolf Hitler managed to single-handedly remove the toothbrush from the pool of acceptable facial hair. Unfortunately, J. Jonah Jameson did not get this memo, and it led to one of the most unfortunate Iron Man suits of all time.
In the panels of the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip, the curmudgeonly Daily Bugle editor-in-chief got his hands on an Iron Man suit, which he promptly decided to use to humiliate Spider-Man. Ever the egoist, Jameson isn’t satisfied having the Iron Man helmet hide his face, so he has his mug beamed onto the the faceplate, mustache and all. Unfortunately, this just makes the suit look like Robot Hitler. Sure, Tony Stark has designed some terrible costumes, but Jameson’s completely ridiculous Fuhrer mustache adorned number takes the cake.
4. POWER ARMOR CAPTAIN AMERICA
Steve Rogers has been fighting for truth, justice, and the American way as Captain America since he first debuted in 1941. Over his career, he’s only changed costumes a handful of times. After all, Cap’s iconic red, white, and blue outfit is synonymous with the character. But that doesn’t mean Marvel hasn’t tried to roll out new costumes for the Star-Spangled Avenger. Some of these costumes have worked, while others definitely haven’t. It’s the latter that brings us here; we’re talking, of course, about Captain America’s ill-advised Power Armor phase.
In the train wreck of a decade that was the ’90s, Rogers found that the super soldier serum was beginning to paralyze him. To ensure that he could still punch criminals in the face without worrying about his limbs atrophying, Rogers donned a power suit in Captain America #438 that allowed him to continue fighting the good fight. Unfortunately, this being the ’90s, the armor was rife with weird, unnecessary plates and jutting edges, along with a stylized pair of fold-over boots. This eyesore of suit eventually disappeared, but the internet never forgets, Cap.
3. BATMAN (JEAN-PAUL VALLEY)
Batman’s costume is iconic; from the legendary cowl to the imposing cape, Batman’s outfit is downright perfect. But when Bruce Wayne found himself out of commission with a nasty case of a “spine broken in like a million places thanks to Banes’ knee,” part-time vigilante and full-time boring guy Jean-Paul Valley found himself tasked with assuming the Batmantle. Seeing this perfect, totally iconic costume, Valley turned up his nose and opted for a new and improved power suit so ugly, so totally ridiculous, that it has become synonymous with terrible costume redesigns.
This new and not-so-improved power suit featured pouches a-plenty, random shin spikes, power gauntlets, claws, and a collar that made Valley look like he was recovering from a neck injury. Add to this mess a descent into madness that caused Valley to hallucinate and become increasingly violent, and you have one bad Batman, and one totally ridiculous power suit.
2. POWER ARMOR BOOSTER GOLD
When janitor Michael Jan Carter longed for a life of superheroics and fame, he snatched a power suit from the museum he worked at and traveled to the past to fight crime. Since first debuting in Booster Gold #1 in 1986, Booster has stuck with the same gold and blue bodysuit he stole that started his career as a superhero. But for a brief, ill-advised period in the ’90s, Booster Gold swapped out his classic duds for a ridiculous power suit.
While serving as a member of the groan-inducingly named team Extreme Justice, Booster is gifted a new suit of armor by his best friend and certified genius inventor Ted Kord, aka the Blue Beetle. But considering Kord and Booster’s love of pranks, one has to think this bulky mess of a power suit was just one long-term prank. From the bug eyed helmet to the ridiculous shoulder pads to the halter top-esque torso piece, this power suit is unfortunate from top to bottom. Booster would return to his iconic costume, but thankfully this suit lives on for our mockery.
1. NFL SUPERPRO
There are bad ideas, and then there is NFL SuperPro. Arising from a collaboration between Marvel and the National Football League, SuperPro was dreamed up to be a superhero that could punch villains on Saturday and toss around the pigskin on Sunday. Marvel and the NFL believed that SuperPro was going to be a big hit for both companies. However, it just served to give the world the most ridiculous power suit of all time.
In what might be the single silliest origin story ever, sports reporter Phil Grayfield is tasked to interview a scientists who just so happens to be an avid football fan. This scientist designs a one-of-a-kind suit of armor modeled after a football uniform, which Grayfield tries on. Cue a sudden attack by a group of football-obsessed thieves, who knock over a vial of experimental chemicals, dousing Grayfield and bonding him with the suit. With his newfound power suit, Grayfield opts to fight crime as the NFL SuperPro. A ridiculous character with a ridiculous power suit, NFL SuperPro was the only choice for our top spot.
Which other power suits in comics do you find utterly ridiculous? Let us know in the comments!
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