Ok, maybe I take back what I just said about Supergirl's costume being the most offensive thing I've seen on a mainstream female superhero, because Red Hood and the Outlaws co-star Starfire's New 52 Costume is certainly pushing the idea of what can even be called "clothing" on a female heroine. Certainly, the original Starfire costume was anything but prudish, and her breasts were pretty well exposed in that giant metal bra thing she used to wear, that looked kind of like something that a barbarian chick would wear airbrushed on the side of one of those vans from the seventies. But the New 52 costume is...I don't even know where to start.
First off, she has some kind of purple armor thingy protecting her (apparently) very vulnerable shoulder and neck area, and then below, nothing at all but some big purple pasties covering her nipples. I'm guessing it's kind of a metal bra thing, but it kind of seems to defy the laws of physics. There comes a point where you wonder why she bothers wearing a costume at all. It is all the elements of bad '90s Image Comics designs rolled into one costume, and poor Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran had to pay the price.
The original Harley Quinn look, designed by Bruce Timm for the classic Batman: The Animated Series, is beautiful simplicity itself. But if the designers of the New 52 hate anything, it's simplicity. The original Harley Quinn costume, which evoked a classic Italian Harlequin, hence the name, has been replaced with some kind of amalgam of Suicide Girls and something from one of Todd McFarlane's Twisted Toys line. Or maybe even something from a Rob Zombie movie.
Not all elements of the new Harley look are bad, mind you - I like how her hair is now parted into two big pony-tails that evoke the tassles that used to be part of her classic costume. But even though Harley has always been a sexy character, she never was one to show a lot of skin. She found other (crazy) ways to be sexy. But now, much like almost every female in the New 52, she is showing more skin and more cleavage. It's all a little gratuitous if you ask me, and I really think Harley was one of those "if it ain't broke, why fix it" characters.
3. TIE: Black Canary and Poison Ivy
Two members of the Birds of Prey book make for a tie entry, both having had way better looking costumes before. Black Canary traded in her simple black motorcycle jacket and fishnets for this overly designed blue number. And poor Poison Ivy; the mother nature costume made of leaves might have been a little cheesy, but it was ten times better than the one piece she's stuck with now, that's half black and half green and all ugly. Hopefully at some point in the not too distant future, these two ladies pull a Power Girl and go back to their classic looks, or something close to it.
The recently revealed New 52 version of intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo is the latest character to get the new universe reboot treatment, and although the character has yet to debut officially, comics news sites went crazy this past week when pics of the new and "improved" Lobo hit.
For those unfamiliar, in the old DC Universe, Lobo was an albino bounty hunter who was essentially a Hell's Angel, but who rode a big old space bike instead of a chopper. A version of the old school Lobo already has appeared in the New 52, but we are told that version was really an impostor, and this new one is the real deal. In the old DCU, Lobo was big, he was mean, and he was ugly, and that's how his fans liked him. And now he looks to be made into something of a pretty boy for the New 52. I'm sure that will go over well; I can already hear all the cries of "Lobo looks gay now!" but I should remind everyone that the old Lobo looked a lot like a Tom of Finland drawing, so he wasn't all that hetero lookin' either before.
Although the design of this new Lobo is pretty sweet in and of itself, it's so far removed from what came before as to really be another character entirely. You can't help but wonder what DC is thinking with this one, but they're already in damage-control mode, with writer Marguerite Bennett now swearing he won't actually look like that when the issue comes out.
You might be asking yourself why Superman made the top of the list, or even the list at all. There are certainly worse costume redesigns as part of the New 52 initiative. But Superman is number one because it represents everything wrong with the whole New 52 thing in a nutshell, to take something beautiful, simple and iconic and muddy it up with tons of extra details no one was asking for. First off, I will admit there were some long needed and necessary changes made to Superman's costume as part of the redesign, and I welcome them. I'm completely ok with Superman losing the red trunks; I've felt that was a long time coming. Having a red belt in its place was also good, as it gave the dash or red to break up all the blue, something the Man of Steel movie costume failed to do.
But then, there's all the damn piping everywhere, giving the suit the appearance of armor. Armor, on possibly the one super hero who needs armor the least. Of almost all the superhero characters out there, Superman needs to have a costume that is easy not only for every comic book artist to draw, but more importantly, every young kid who loves the character to sketch in their notebook during class, and not worrying about whether or not they got too many of the lines in Superman's costume right. .
Much like Supergirl, the Superman of Earth-2 was also given a new costume, by Jim Lee,and in this instance, he really did a bang up job on the redesign, evoking the classic costume while still updating it all at once. The belt evokes the old red trunks (without being as silly) and there's not a trace of all that piping to be seen. Also gone is the collar, which feels very un-Superman to me, as high collars like the one he sports now make me think of a military general. Hopefully at some point DC tweaks Superman's costume yet again, and they could do worse than to use Jim Lee's design from Earth-2.
Dishonorable Mention: He-Man
Though he's not technically part of the New 52, that same urge to "fix" what wasn't broken and make it all kinds of wrong has also infected DC's take on Prince Adam's alter-ego. He-Man's look was always fairly classic stuff - he was basically a blonde Conan, and as the most powerful man in the universe with an indestructible sword, he didn't need a whole lot of extra augmentation. So after a decent, reasonably faithful start, DC of course decided that what would make He-Man better is an armor that looks like it's on loan from Eternia's answer to Tony Stark, who, for the sake of argument, we'll call Drinkor. Meanwhile, they gave Teela even less clothes, presumably because somebody somewhere at DC was once called gay for liking He-Man, and is now overcompensating.
And if you think that's bad, you don't even want to see what they've done to Skeletor...
Previously by Eric Diaz: