17 Excellent Superhero Redesigns

We all know about bad superhero redesigns (especially now that I made a list of them) but sometimes our heroes get fashion upgrades too! A comic book artist will take a previously snore-worthy costume and give it a little pizazz. And poof! Fashion victim no more!

So let’s talk about some superhero redesigns that really, really worked. I'm sticking with redesigns featured in the comics, so no movies or tv shows. Be sure to mention your favorites that didn’t make the list in the comments!

  1. The Flash's Redesign

    It was a good decision for DC to abandon the duds of the original Flash, Jay Garrick, when they revitalized the Flash in the 1960’s with Barry Allen.

    You can see where the original Flash design (the guy on the right of the image) was coming from. The little helmet with wings is made to resemble famously fast Roman God Mercury. But there’s a reason ancient Roman fashion is far in the past- it just looks silly in modern times. Jay sort of looks like he’s wearing a pot on his head.

    Barry’s keeps the Mercury reference with the head wings but goes with more of lightning bolt theme over all, which is a lot cooler, especially when you have a character going so fast he can leave behind a red and gold blur. Barry’s costume has a more athletic feel overall- those boots also look slightly better for running.

    Of course, we still see Jay show up in modern comics- his costume has a kitschy charm. But there’s a reason we won’t ever see the Flash headlining a TV Show while wearing it.

  2. The Green Lantern's Redesign

    The design of the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, was a tremendous mess of clashing colors with a flared cape on top.

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    From JSA Classified

    In contrast, the new Green Lantern costume that was given to Hal Jordan when the Green Lantern was revived in the 1960’s was sleek and appealing. Green and black make a good color combo. The design is simple where the previous one was too complicated and thus, it’s persisited to this day with very little change. (Though, like Jay, we do see Alan from time to time). 

  3. Daredevil's redesign

    You’d think it’d be a no-brainer to dress a guy called “Daredevil” in a costume that actually looks like, y’know, a devil, but apparently it wasn’t.

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    From Daredevil

    The original Daredevil costume had the little horns and everything, but it was mostly yellow, rather than the devil’s traditional color. I’m not really sure why the artists thought a costume that looks like Satan got dunked in mustard and then put on a leotard for his aerobics class would work, but I’m glad they came to their senses and figured out that red was a must. 

  4. Iron Man's redesign

    The original Iron Man design had him going around in a bulky gray tin can.

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    From Tales of Suspense

    Fortunately, he was given more colorful, sleeker armor that helped his character stand out, and it later actually became pretty cool looking when some modern tweaks were added to make it look more mechanical. Of course, we tend to still see the old gray armor in Tony’s origin story, where it’s the first prototype for what would eventually become his snazzy suit. 

  5. Black Widow's redesign

    Black Widow’s original costume was a mess of fishnets under a bathing suit coupled with a masquerade style mask. And with the black hair, she didn’t stand out much either.

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    From Black Widow Costume History

    The classic catsuit redesign may be simple, but it works a lot better. You can tell she’s a spy by looking at her and the red hair and gold bits pop against the otherwise all black ensemble, grabbing our attention.  

  6. Catwoman's redesign

    Darwyn Cooke saved Catwoman from her string of horrible costumes. Giving Catwoman a catsuit should be obvious, but she was stuck in purple latex hell before Cooke came along. The goggles are a great touch that are reminiscent of a cat’s reflective eyes while giving her an extra tool to use.The whole thing is very fitting for the whole classy cat burglar vibe while being practical for a street-level hero.

    The only downside is how certain artist always keep the zipper down and have her boobs hanging out at all times, even though that’s clearly not how the costume is supposed to be worn and not how she wore it originally. What’s the point of having it zip to the neck is you’re gonna leave it unzipped?

  7. Blue Beetle's redesign

    Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle was silly in a fun way, but Jaime Reye’s blue and black power armor is both cool and distinctly alien. And unlike most costumes on this list, it’s alive! Jaime’s weird relationship with the alien scarab that gives him his armor is one of the highlights of the original Blue Beetle series. Jaime trying desperately to curb its murderous impulses and the slow understanding that grew between them was a lot of fun. 

  8. Robin's redesign

    The original green-panties-and-tunic Robin is a classic, but is extremely dated. It was a good idea to have Tim Drake ditch the pixie boots, get some green leggings instead and make the yellow cape black-and-yellow instead. It was still distinctly “Robin” while being more practical.

    Later the costume changed even more drastically, going full red-and-black (based on the later Batman:The Animated Series Tim Drake Robin costume). It was a nice design, but the nostalgia in me missed the green and I felt the short sleeves should have been kept for a youthful look.

    Damian Wayne’s Robin costume bought back the green while completely changing up the design for something totally unique- the lace-up boots were a nice touch especially. 

  9. Hawkeye's redesign

    Poor Hawkeye suffered from a string of terrible costumes, but he seems to have finally hit on something recently- the black and purple t-shirt with sunglasses look is very simple, but it makes for great silhouette covers and fits the run-down hero of humble roots very well. 

  10. Batwoman's redesign

    Batwoman’s 1950’s gear was a red and yellow mess:

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    But her modern costume is really cool. The red against black pops especially well when paired with red hair and what’s especially neat is how it's actually hair extensions attached to the mask- her actual hair is short, so no villain’s gonna ever recognize her by it. The look was made even cooler when her character design changed to include chalk white skin- she looks positively vampirish, which fit the whole theme very nicely. 

  11. The NEW New 52 Starfire

    After fan displeasure was expressed about New 52 Starfire’s boob pasties and thong ensemble, DC Comics finally took the hint and gave Starfire a costume that manages to be cute and “sexy” without being completely ridiculous beyond comprehension. It’s clearly based off her outfit in the Teen Titans cartoon series and as someone who got into comics through that series, I think this a good move to attract fans. 

  12. Nightwing's redesign

    The sleek, cool Nightwing design is especially great when you look at the monstrosity that preceded it:

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    From Comic Book Resources

    Ugh. Meanwhile, the third Nightwing costume is brilliant in its simplicity. You have to love the finger stripes and the fact he keeps his tools in wrist cannisters rather than a belt seperates him from the rest of the Batfamily in a nice way. 

  13. Spider-Gwen

    Spider-Gwen’s costume is based off Spider-Man’s, so I’m going to include her. There’s something about the design that’s incredibly appealing- the simplicity of the black and white contrast offset by the spare use of the purple webbing just really works. The webbing on the inside of the hood is especially cool looking. It’s a very vibrant, modern costume and manages to be unique from the Spider-Man costume while riffing on it.

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    From Spider-Gwen

    This is a costume that looks like it would actually be fun for a teenage girl to wear.

  14. Batgirl's redesign

    The original Batgirl design wasn’t bad by any means, but there’s something about the Batgirl of Burnside redesign that got fans excited. It just screamed “fun”. Rather than the usual unrealistically clingy spandex, she’s wearing a leather jacket . The snap on cape and gloves are a unique touch, as are the boots. It looks like a costume someone could actually conceivably wear, which is a rarity for superhero comics (especially for female superheroes).

    As a side-note, I always like Cassandra Cain’s Batgirl costume too, though for totally different reasons- it actually looks scary.

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  15. Aqualad turns Tempest

    Aqualad, much like his mentor, is a much maligned character, but I always thought his Tempest costume was super cool looking. The way the black spirals out among the background of red looks neat. Sadly, we haven’t seen this costume around so much lately. 

  16. Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel's Redesigns

    Carol Danvers (left) made the transition from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel, while Kamala Khan (right) took over the Ms. Marvel post. Both of their new costumes are winners. Captain Marvel's was clearly designed with her eventual cinematic debut in mind- it's colorful, practical, sleek and translates very well to a real world costume.

    Kamala's is a bright, cute look that reflects both her age and her heritage. It is very similar to actual athletic wear designed for Muslim women- you can see an example here. All in all, a cleverly designed costume, and the scarf is an adorable touch.

  17. The Huntress redesigns

    Huntress is a dark and tortured woman who grew up in a Mafioso family, only to have her parents taken from her. She’s angry and she’s not afraid to get lethal crimefighting in Gotham, much to Batman’s displeasure. That general deal doesn’t scream “pink/bright purple leotard” yet that’s exactly what she was running around in at first.

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    From Black Canary

    Eventually that was changed to a dark costume that visually indicated her character type much more nicely. …And then that was changed to a belly-baring leotard (after she got shot in the stomach no less). Eventually, we got back to a more street-level fighter aesthetic with Nicola Scott’s bodysuit redesign. And the DC rebirth redesign for the new version of Huntress looks pretty snazzy too- I love me a good hooded coat. It adds mystery.

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