As soon as a hero decides to step into the spandex, they're going to have folks watching them. Not every costume is a winner, but let's look at some of the better ones out there. Not everyone here is a superstar, but they all look awesome when they finally get into battle.
The only underwater hero who gets less respect than Aquaman, Stingray has a really cool suit. It's not just a costume, but an actual underwater breathing apparatus that also happens to shoot power beam from the hands when necessary.
It was discovered later in the "Armor Wars" storyline from Iron Man that Stingray's suit actually had some of Stark Technology's work in it. Iron Man went after Stingray and wiped his suit out, but Stingray eventually was able to get back into action.
He can also fly when not in the water. If you haven't seen his Bowen release bust, you should check it out. It's one of their better recent statues.
This one has form and functionality. I can't really understand why the guy would go with just one eye showing, but Floyd Lawson can pretty much do what he wants to. A pistol mounted to each wrist allows him to be a living weapon. Originally just a glorified cowboy suit when he first showed up in Batman, Deadshot's outfit has become one of the better ones. His popularity picked up during his run on "Suicide Squad" in the 80's, and he even had his own miniseries before becoming a member of the Secret Six.
The crowning moment of the "Villains United" miniseries has to be the Deadshot vs. Deathstroke battle. It showed the death wish he really has, and how dangerous that can make him.
Hawk & Dove
Hank and Don Hall were brothers given their powers by a strange voice. While it was indeed strange that two superheroes who were named after birds couldn't actually fly, their costumes were great.
Steve Ditko created their costumes, and you would later see similar looks on other characters Ditko touched. Hawk's "shredded cape" look was mimicked by Kraven the Hunter and The Creeper. Dove's more understated appearance resembled Ditko's work on Spider-Man and The Blue Beetle.
Both these heroes are dead and gone in the DC Universe now. They recently went through a reboot with two sisters carrying the roles now, and while the sisters have similar outfits, the originals are still the best.
Coming off as a cross between Batman and Robin, this outfit rocks. You can easily see the influences of the Dynamic Duo that brought this about, and even though it was little more than an afterthought in Alex Ross' Kingdom Come, it was one of the better upgrades done to one of the standard characters.
While Nightwing was a step into Dick Grayson's own direction, Red Robin looks like Jason Todd still fits in the Batcave somewhere.
It was close choosing between this one and the old Robin of Earth 2 costume, since they are very close, but we give Jason this one since he's still around and waiting to show us what the hero can do.
For such a popular hero, it's weird that this is the first mention he's gotten in this blog, but you have to give him points for a snappy suit. The yellow-and-blue is cool, but it was the years he wore the old orange-and-brown that I'm talking about. These were the years he was tough, and these were the years he started moving in his own direction.
Unfortunately, over-saturation has made his popularity wane a little. At one time he was either a regular or guest-shot in every title in the Marvel catalog. Still, this was the suit he wore when he went for the rematch with Wendigo, and the lack of whiskers or stripes makes this one a keeper.
Here's one hero who's been through a lot. He led Alpha Flight, then got killed. His wife took over the suit and the role for a while. Years later he returned as a cyborg, and later came back as a teenager. Finally, he came back as an adult and ended up getting killed again (with the rest of Alpha Flight) by The Collective. James Hudson is no longer with us, but the man who killed him has picked up the suit and is wearing it again.
The red-and-white design captures perfectly the Canadian feel for their own version of Captain America. Add to that the fact he can fly, shoot power bolts, and has his own force field protecting him, and you've got the makings of a great hero.
When your success hinges on your ability to scare the dickens out of your enemy, you've got a have a costume that'll freak them out. Batman has done well in that area.
Concentrating on an animal most folks cringe from anyway, Batman's costumes have kept well to the theme of the "Dark Knight". Though the splash of yellow on his chest was an odd choice for years (especially for a guy who liked to stay in the shadows), his suit has stayed fairly consistent otherwise. It allows him to move quickly, and the cape throws off the guys who are trying to shoot at him because they can't get a good look at where he really is.
As much as I love the movies, none of them has ever really captured the true essence of what makes Batman's costume so cool. It's just simple cloth covering the warrior underneath. If the comic book Batman had tried fighting in the cumbersome armor they insist on throwing every movie version into, he'd have been dead years ago.
If you really want to see a cool version of what might have been, head over to the website of popular Batman artist Neal Adams to see what he'd do to update Batman's look today (scroll to almost the bottom of the page).
Our final entry is the killing machine Slade Wilson. Again, I have to wonder about the orange choices for an assassin, but you can't argue with success. First appearing in the "New Teen Titans" series as a secondary villain, Slade soon became a major player in the series before moving on to appear in several other titles (and eventually, his own).
A master with many types of weapons, Deathstroke is feared in the DC Universe by heroes and villains alike. This is another suit that allows functionality in freedom of movement and a place to stash all kinds of nifty devices.
With hundreds of characters out there, this obviously isn't an exhaustive list. We'll check out some others in a few weeks, but these are the ones that have always seemed great. Is there a costume you like that I missed? Let me know and it might make it to the second list later this year.
Join us Monday for the greatest smackdowns in comic book history! You'll see a few faces from this very list...