There’s always been something special about a costume change. The impending reveal of a shake-up to a fan-favorite character is rarely ever met with universal praise, though publishers will usually hype up the unveiling as if it was a whole new event in and of itself. There are always positive cases. When characters like Sam Wilson and Jane Foster took on the mantles of Captain America and Thor, respectively, many fans took to their new costumes with wonder and embrace. Even characters like Batman and Superman take up a new cosmetic item or two every years, but fans are generally OK with the changes being made. Well, more than a handful of people had some trouble with losing Superman’s red trunks (fortunately, they’re coming back).
But the X-Men are no stranger to any controversy. Xavier’s best and brightest have seen some of the wildest and least subtle costume changes over the years in the pages of X-Men comics. Sure, plenty of this happened in the ‘90s when anyone and everyone was getting an edgy new suit, but you’d be surprised to see how wild it still gets. Here are eight X-Men costume changes that ticked off fans, and seven that pretty much everyone loves.
15 ANGERED - CYCLOPS
If the events that led to this costume change weren’t enough to anger comic book fans, then this edgy take on classic X-Men member Cyclops’ suit was sure to tick them off. Following the events of "Avengers vs. X-Men", Cyclops took on a two-toned red suit that felt more like something we’d see on a revamped Havok or Banshee. This new suit had fans really feeling the newfound evil of Cyclops, and that just didn’t sit right.
Instead of a bar-like visor for Cyclops’ optic blasts, this new suit sports an X-shaped visor, one that actually changed the shape of his powers. Coupled with his goal to build what was essentially a new brotherhood of evil mutants, Cyclops and his new suit were not sitting pretty, and fans debated the costume until Cyclops’ demise.
14 LOVED - WOLVERINE
Wolverine has had more than a handful of popular costume changes over the years, including Ultimate Wolverine, X-Force Wolverine and even his get up during "Old Man Logan". But no Wolverine costume has come close to the fierceness and perfection of John Byrne’s take on the classic costume, the famous “brown suit.”
Introduced toward the end of Byrne’s stint on Uncanny X-Men, he traded in Wolverine’s original blue and yellow suit for something a bit more simple, and darker. Of course, it helped that Wolverine had many of his formative adventures while sporting this suit. As the original Logan makes his way back to the Marvel Universe, we’re eager to see which look he’ll end up sporting. Here’s hoping it’s this one.
13 ANGERED - GAMBIT
The business-sponsored team from X-Factor really took a toll on fan-favorite character Gambit, and the character dropped his iconic trench coat and pink/purple look for a pretty odd brown and yellow and gray look. And while the series itself was a pretty fantastic examination of the characters involved, it really just made us miss classic Gambit.
And while more recent takes on the character have returned him to the costumes of old, we can’t help but get stuck on the fact that Gambit had these weird sunglasses as well, something that looked more usual in a video game series like Deus Ex than a volume of X-Men comics. Now, if only we could ever get that live-action Gambit film off the ground. Let’s just hope they don’t go with that corporate-sponsored costume set.
12 LOVED - STORM
Storm has undergone plenty of costume changes in her career as a member of the X-Men, ranging from terrible and offensive to pretty amazing. But none are quite as iconic as her mohawk look, something adaptations of the character retain to this day, whether it’s in film or in comics. Her appearance in the film X-Men: Apocalypse seems to have taken inspiration from this design, even.
And it was a shocking look for fans at first, as Storm is usually associated with the appearances of characters like Thor or Wonder Woman, prominent warriors with otherworldly abilities. But this look for Storm allowed her character to develop even further, and while her modern looks are a far cry from this, it inspired a relatability from readers that carries on even in Storm’s most recent appearances.
11 ANGERED - CABLE
To say Cable’s costume change in the '90s was overdoing it would be an understatement. While the character has always been known for being a suped-up hero from the future, the wildness of this costume goes way beyond the constraints of being suped-up, journeying full force into whacky and distracting.
Aside from his signature metal arm and glowing eye, this take on Cable also had him strapped to the brim with guns of all sorts and sizes. He’s got one gun arm locked and loaded with ammo, rocket launchers, missile launchers and machine guns on his back, and a comically large amount of belts and bracers. On top of that, we’re not even sure what thing on his face is. A communicator? Another gun? The world may never know.
10 LOVED - ROGUE
While Rogue has undergone plenty of costume changes over the years, some good and some terrible, her latest incarnation comes from the pages of Uncanny Avengers, where she and the Avengers Unity Squad work to clean up relations between the Inhumans, mutants and humans of the world. But Rogue also comes into her own in this series, sporting a costume that both represents her standoffishness because of her abilities and her willingness to lead.
The costume is essentially two parts: a hoodie/dress combo cloaked in green and white and green and white pants. She also sports white gloves and continues with her iconic brown/white hair color. Rogue’s actions in these companion series elevated her from X-Men member to Avengers leader, and we are absolutely here for it.
9 ANGERED - MAGNETO
While the most recent costume change for Magneto was actually fairly successful, what with its silver color scheme and sweet new helmet, the character had a rough go of it originally. During a story arc which saw Magneto taking on more of a heroic stance, the legacy villain traded in his menacing costume and helmet for a purple suit with long purple gloves and an enormous light purple “M” emblazoned on his chest.
Fans mostly took it as a sign that Magneto really isn’t that great as a good guy, and the character eventually returned to his classic look. Speaking Magneto being a good guy, we can only imagine his current heroic stint is close to an end. Our advice? Keep the white suit around for a while.
8 LOVED - DEADPOOL
Of all of the X-Force members to receive costume changes, none may be quite as iconic as Deadpool’s. The merc with a mouth traded in his black and red suit for one that was black and white and sort of gray, matching with the theme of black ops missions for the latest X-Force squad.
And fans took the redesign and ran with it. Sure, Deadpool’s red and black suit may be all over the place now, what with a successful film and plenty of comic book appearances, but don’t be surprised to see this alternate scheme to show up soon. After all, almost every piece of merchandise with Deadpool’s main suit seems to have a black and white X-Force variant. What else can you really say that for?
7 ANGERED - JUBILEE
While this entry is partly about Jubilee’s actually costume change, the controversy surrounding her comes mostly from the fact that she was turned into a vampire. Her rounded yellow jacket and black shirt became a much darker color after she was bitten by Dracula’s son. Honestly, we’re a bit surprised this one hasn’t been retroactively changed yet.
Her early appearances after becoming a vampire were actually quite scary, and her hair went from being propped up and edgy to being down and more scene-like, not to mention her incredibly intimidating fangs. Still, her teammates in the X-Men continue to work on a cure for her to this day. Fortunately, we’re at least getting to see more Jubilee in the pages of the latest Generation X series, where she leads a group of misfit mutants.
6 LOVED - MAGIK
Magik’s early appearances in books like The New Mutants have her sporting more of a classic, yellow X-Men costume. But in more recent years, Magik has embraced her use of the Soulsword and her demonic undertones to become a black-clad warrior and powerful wielder of magic. And while most fans love the change, there are still issues fans have with it.
Mainly, fans aren’t big on the over-sexualization of the costume, which attempts to balance its battle armor-like appearance with plenty of open parts. But Magik’s costume continues to change over time, and while we’re unlikely to see her costume in this year’s The New Mutants live action film, we could see the comic suit go through a few more changes in the coming months.
5 ANGERED - HAVOK
From the jump, Alexander Summers’ costume was pretty perfect. In many ways, it captured the simplicity and power of his abilities, with the circles on his chest allowing him to amplify his blasts. The headpiece also wasn’t super intrusive or weird. Then, a decade known as the '90s happened.
Havok’s black and white outfit got a dose of denim and leather as the character changed from formidable foe to pretty boy with a weird chin piece that makes him look more like Gambit than the brother of Cyclops. He sports a big padded jacket and a set of golden locks. Recently, Havok is looking a little more like his original design, and we couldn’t be happier. We imagine that fans of the character are feeling the same way.
4 LOVED - X-23
Of all of the things to come out of Marvel’s more recent publishing initiatives, All-New Wolverine might be the best of them. For so long, Laura Kinney, X-23, sported the same costume, but when the original Logan died and she took on the mantle of Wolverine, she sported the iconic blue and yellow costume.
Even better, recent issues of All-New Wolverine have her sporting something akin to Logan’s old black ops X-Force uniform, making her stint as Wolverine that much better. She’s the perfect successor to Logan, and her experiences and skills allow her to surpass him in many ways. With Logan set to make a return, we hope Laura gets to stay as Wolverine. Plus, Honey Badger and Jonathan the actual wolverine make great sidekicks.
3 ANGERED - KITTY PRYDE
For many, Kitty Pryde is the shining star of the X-Men lineup. For years, her hopefulness and incredible power have been the highlight of many of the team’s adventures. Her skills are unmatched, and her pet dragon is as weird as it is awesome. But Kitty Pryde once drew intense controversy for her costume change from X-Men keystone to leather-clad one-X-Men army. While the costume started out as a gag, it quickly moved into offensive territory for fans that felt Kitty was being over-sexualized.
When you consider how iconic her other costumes are, it becomes clear why this one was a clear swing and a miss. OK, so there was also that time she wielded the Soulsword. Yeah, that costume wasn’t a big hit either. On the bright side, her current appearances have returned her to the iconic X-Men costume.
2 LOVED - ANGEL
In terms of legitimate character changes, nobody has really gone through what Warren Worthington III has. No, we’re not talking about his younger self getting cosmically-enhanced wings a few years back during "The Black Vortex" event. No, we’re talking about Angel’s transformation into Archangel.
Turned and distorted by Apocalypse himself, Angel gave into the evil mutant’s proposition and came away with not a lot more than what he asked for: his wings back. He served as Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death, and he did get his wings back, but now there were as sharp as blades and his skin a pale blue. But let’s be honest, fans loved the new suit because of how darn cool it looks, something only enhanced by his appearances in books like X-Factor and X-Force.
1 ANGERED - BEAST
OK, so while this entry is less of a costume change and more of a form change, it still seems to fit the bill. Beast is no stranger to looking a little bit different depending on where we see him in the comics. At any given time, he ranges from a young guy with ape-like abilities to a blue-furred borderline animal. But no change has been as divisive as Beast’s “cat” form.
Introduced in the pages of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, cat-like Beast trades a fierce, Wolverine-esque appearance for a big pouty, blue cat face. He retains his intelligence, enhanced strength and what have you, but it’s all encased by a large cat. His costume in this form has ranged from just wearing pants to a full suit and jacket, but none distract from the oddness of this Beast.