Changing the costume of an established superhero can be tricky. The costume usually accounts for a large part of their identity, and improperly timed changes could result in fans losing interest. This is why creators and publishers who are not total dickholes try to avoid alternate costumes – but for every Silver Surfer who’s been wearing nothing but a surfboard for decades, there’s an Iron Man who is able to use several variations of his costume, sometimes within the same issue. The list below consists of alternate costumes that come to mind when I think of the phrase Alternate Costumes That Rocked:
Azrael’s Armored Batman
During the Knightfall story arc, when Bane put ol’ Brucie out of commission, reformed antihero and Batman-punching bag Jean Paul Valley (stripper name: Azrael) had to step in and fill the batboots for a while. But how does he beat someone who’s better than the dude who used to slap him around? Easy – upgrade the mother effin hardware.
The Azrael Batman (or azbats for short) had a few aces up his sleeve that made him a better match for Bane than his predecessor. First, IT’S A FREAKING ARMOR. The new suit protects him against damage better than Bruce’s poor combination of spandex and boy wonder meat shield. Second, the azbats suit has a few offensive capabilities that Batman didn’t have due to Bruce’s aversion to things that kill: flame throwers, sharp mini-batarangs, and goddamn claws. The armor makes Azrael the missing link between Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark.
Bucky Captain America
Bucky’s Captain America costume looks better than Steve Rogers’ for a couple of reasons. First, the costume features sharp edges and darker color tones, which makes it look more modern than the classic Captain America suit. It also manages to symbolize the amount of asses Cap kicks versus the amount of fucks he doesn’t give. Second and more importantly, he has a gun.
Spider-Man’s various costumes
Spider-Man is one of the few big-name superheroes who has gone through several radical costume changes throughout his career. And some of them are not purely cosmetic – you have the black symbiote costume, which doubled his powers and gave him the ability to jack cars, and the Captain Universe costume, which literally made him the most powerful hero in the Marvel Universe. There’s also the improvised costume made out of a Fantastic Four suit and a paperbag on his head.
I think my perception of Ultimate Thor’s costume is a bit tainted by how silly the classic Thor’s costume looked. I mean, compared to a clean-shaven, long haired blonde who has tiny wings on his helmet, a dude who looks like a proper Viking warrior looks infinitely more badass.
Kingdom Come Superman
There’s really nothing special out of Kingdom Come Superman’s costume, and there’s nothing radically different from the normal Kal El except for the gray hair and the older look – but one thing about the Kingdom Come Superman that I like is that the look is based on the rockingest mother effer out of all the rocking mother effers who had a chance to don the red cape: George Mother Effing Reeves.