If clothes make the person, then weird superhero costumes make for strange story arcs.
If you see a red letter S on a yellow background, chances are you’ll think of Superman. If you see a black batsymbol on a yellow background then you’ll probably think of Batman. If you see a suit of power armour that’s red and yellow, you’ll probably think of Iron man.
There are, however, costumes that superheroes have worn that are either different, strange, or outright bizarre.
First, check the date this article was published: Notice how it’s not April 1st?
Yes, that’s right – this was a real thing that happened in the Superman comics.
If you care about spoilers for the decades-old Death of Superman storyline, check out this article (it’s the first of a two-parter) in which I politely spoil it by summarizing the whole thing.
From here on out, I’m going to assume that you’ve read that article, already know the story, or don’t care about spoilers.
You’ve been warned! By me. Just now.
To cut a long story VERY short, Superman lost his solar powers for a while during the ‘90s. If you didn’t know, Superman is basically a man-shaped solar battery, meaning his powers come from the sun. He started developing other powers, powers based on energy manipulation, similar to Captain Marvel (The Marvel one, not the DC one).
In order to control his new powers, Superman took to wearing a blue-and-white powersuit.
Eventually Cyborg Superman (fyi that’s the spoiler part) and some other third-rate villain manages to outsmart Superman. This results in him splitting into two different individual Supermen, even though Supermans should be the correct plural.
Both of these Supermen had different personalities. Superman Blue was more thoughtful, and preferred to use his mind to solve problems (similar to the original version of Superman). Superman Red was more interest in action, more of a ‘laser-eye someone first then ask questions later’ kind of guy.
Obviously – and thankfully – he eventually returned to normal. His explanation for returning to normal? His electromagnetic energy dispersed.
Comics are so weird.
Batman of Zur-En-Arrh
Again, I refer you to the date this article was published: Still not April 1st.
I mention it again because you might think I’m making this next one up. I’m not.
Once, Batman found himself on another planet, where a mad scientist made himself a Batman costume and started Batmanning around the place like nobodys business. The suit was the one you see up there, and the planet – wait for this, you won’t see it coming – was named Zur-En-Arrh.
Naturally, though, DC can’t keep their stories straight even though that’s like, their one job, so now the suit has a different origin.
When Bruce became Batman, he decided that he needed to be Batman on a basic primal level, so that even if his Bruce Wayne persona was somehow removed, there’d still be a Batman.
So, when Bruce Wayne is psychologically broken, he becomes the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.
It could be argued that the need to dress up like the world’s most violent furry shows he’s already psychologically broken.
The violence part, I mean – not the furry part. Furries have never had a negative impact on my life.
Delusional thugs who use their wealth to avoid the consequences of their actions? Not so much.
Mod Wonder Woman
It’s hard to explain what the mod era was like, mainly because it’s well before my time – I’m an ‘80s kid and the Mod movement was in the ‘60s to the ’70s. They were like hippies, but stylish (and bathed). They were a lot like the punk movements of the time, but they weren’t interested in chaos – they were anti-authoritarian, but they didn’t dress like rejects from a Tim Burton film.
Probably the best example of mod culture – and even this is going back a while – is the Austin Powers film series. Basically, if you’re thinking about ’60 or ’70s culture in general, you’re probably thinking about Mod culture whether you mean to or not.
There was also a lot of Feminism happening in the Mod culture, so it’s quite apt that Wonder Woman took on a Mod aesthetic when she gave up her superpowers. During this time, she acted more like a ninja than she did a superhero.
While the outfit above isn’t the only one she wore during this time, it shows her supreme confidence in her still-superhuman abilities (remember, she was raised as a highly-trained warrior): There’s no body armour on any of the outfits at all.
Extreme ‘90s Wonder Woman