?By Teague Bohlen and Kevin Mahadeo
Let’s be completely honest here: comic characters usually never make the best decisions when it comes to their superhero costumes. Sometimes, it’s simple color clashing. Other times, the character adopts a rather ridiculous gimmick and ends up running way too far with it (see recent Caveman Batman for taking motifs to a level of completely fucking nuts). Then there are complete fashion travesties. And we get it: times change and fashions change. It’s why the X-Men wore bell-bottoms for a while or why Superman sported a mullet during the ’90s. But every now and then, a comic character includes in their getup something that makes no goddamn sense.
We’re not talking about a guy running around in a banana hammock — and nothing else — for no apparent reason other than some loose connection to water. We’re not talking about a character that simply looks ridiculous. No, the people on this list apparently decided one day to completely forgo practicality and don a costume that defies logic, impedes the wearer in some way or makes no sense whatsoever… or a frightening combination of all three.
[Ed’s note: I didn’t write this, Teague and Kevin did. I just can’t list two authors on an article yet. So don’t blame/praise me, it’s their damn fault. –Rob]
16) Wonder Man’s Safari Jacket
?Simon Williams seems like a nice enough guy — although he’s a guy with terrible taste in clothes. His early costume, back when he was a barely reformed bad guy, was a pretty awful combination of red and green and the letter “W,” but this was the early silver age, and so allowances were made. Not so for Simon’s more characteristic togs from the majority of his Avengers years: the red safari jacket era. Besides restricting movement, trying to fight in that thing must be like trying to fight in a winter coat; you’d keel over from heat exhaustion and Ultron would eat your face. Besides, not even people on safari wear safari jackets.
?Oh my god, the pouches. Look, there’s no fucking way Cable remembers what’s in all of these pouches, and that’s a liability (admittedly, Cable could have a secondary pouch-memorization mutant ability, but until Marvel says it out loud, we’re assuming he doesn’t). Surely there’s been a few times when he’s tried to find more ammo for one of his ridiculous guns and he’s pulled out his car keys instead of bullets. There’s a reason why Batman has a utility belt, Cable.
?Ignoring the fact that Vibe is a complete Hispanic caricature named Paco Ramone, his street gang was called El Lobos, and he used to sell tamales for a dollar outside the Hall of Justice (okay, we made up that last part, but seriously). He is wearing parachute pants — better for his breakdancing hobby, we suppose — and a red bandana around his neck. Superheroes wear tights because it allows them unrestricted movement; parachute pants do not. And they only way Vibe could be carrying more of his own choking hazard is if he wore a chained sign around his neck which read “SUPERVILLAINS PULL HERE.”
?Spider-Man. Black Panther. Iron Man. All superheroes whose outfit completely covers their body. Note that none of them are cursed cursed with the ability to drain with a mere skin-on-skin contact, unlike Rogue, who carelessly runs around with her deadly noggin completely exposed. Hell, even an all-but-the-jaw mask like Batman and the Flash would be better. She’s supposed to be a hero, but heroes don’t steal your memory of 9th grade history if you accidentally graze her cheek while reaching for a hand-strap on the subway.
?Most superheroes wear spandex, which is fine. It’s also fine to go against that, and have them wearing something a little more realistic. But to dress them in something that would look garish at a Renaissance Faire? Yeah, that’s Jericho.
There’s nothing in his backstory that makes him dress like the lovechild of Prince Adam from He-Man and Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead, he just… does, and his blond muttonchops only exacerbate the problem. His outfit is so hideous it has to be a constant distraction to teams, which could be deadly during a battle.
11) Dazzler’s Roller Skates
?The disco era was not kind to anyone, it’s true. But seriously, for superheroing, the silver jumpsuit with the neck plunging down to your belly button should have stayed in the closet, along with your official Studio 54 coke spoon necklace (no wait, that’s a disco ball, even worse). But the real problem is the roller skates, of course. All any supervillain would have to do to defeat Dazzler is to commit their crimes on shag carpets.
?It’s a man wearing Dazzler’s outfit, except without the leggings. This is the very definition of impracticality.
?There’s a reason that college mascots and theme park employees do not run around saving the day. That reason is a huge forty-pound fake head. Not only does it make it hard to see when it’s on right, it’s terrifically easy for a bad guy to simply turn it around, rendering you effectively blind. So this, too, is incredibly stupid. Yes, even if it has an electrically charged mane. Actually, especially if it has an electrically charged mane.
?Listen, we love you Cyclone. Your adorable personality and youthful exuberance really brings a smile to our otherwise constantly scowling face every time you grace the page. We even understand that as a theater geek you drew your influence from the play “Wicked” and want to show the world your own unique style, but, seriously — if you have wind powers, wearing a skirt is a horrible idea. And frankly, we’re not at all certain you’re even wearing underwear.
?Stryfe apparently lost some brain cells during the cloning process because that metal armor of his, complete with pointless spikes, even more pointless face blades and an apparently totally necessary cape, spits in the face of all things practical. What purpose do the spikes serve? Located solely on his shoulder and thighs, they provide no offensive capabilities — unless he tackles everyone shoulder first or, well, we’re not sure how he’d get someone close enough to his thighs, and frankly, we don’t want to know. And lord knows how often that cape must get caught up on those spikes, especially while spinning about during battles. Heck, if the X-Men waited long enough they’d win the fight by default after he ends up wrapped in a cape cocoon crying about his own idiocy.
6) Catwoman’s Tail
?Throughout her nigh seven-decade long comic career, Selina Kyle switched things up regularly with constant costume changes. While she practically always looks drop dead gorgeous no matter what she wears — except for when she wore a giant cat’s head as a mask and freaked us the fuck out — every now and then Catwoman decides to embrace her inner furry and throws a cat’s tail onto her costume. This cute little addition sort of fit in earlier in her career, back when she acted more like the scheming, mastermind sort. However, the ’90s fully established Selina as building hopping, ass-kicking femme fatale. Besides being a serious disadvantage during a fight (yoink! Got your tail!), did it never occur to her that she could easily trip on that thing right before a jump and, you know, fall to her death.
5) Jay Garrick’s Hat
?Jay Garrick’s hat makes his costume look undeniably awesome. However, Mr. Garrick makes the sound barrier his bitch every time he goes out for a jog. A thin aura generally protects the super speedster’s skintight costume from disintegrating under friction, which saves him the embarrassment of accidentally showing off his junk. But that shield of shame doesn’t extend to headgear like the one the Golden Age Flash wears. Even if it stayed on at first, one stray gust of wind could catch that thing, launching it off his head at 300 miles per hour. God forbid you’re in the way when that happens. “What happened to Bob?” “Well, the Flash’s hat flew off and freaking decapitated him.”
?Fittingly, the poster child for the emo scene looks just as ridiculous as the people who dress accordingly with the emo scene. Robbie Baldwin’s Penance suit features 612 internal spikes, which constantly slice him open in order for him to activate his powers. But before we even get to the ludicrous nature of that little bit of nonsense, take a look at that mask. Penance wears a completely solid metal faceplate –no eyeholes. How does he see? What keeps him from walking into the nearest wall or allows him to aim when he uses his highly explosive powers? And those spikes constantly puncturing his flesh — what keeps him from bleeding to death? While it’s technically possible he strategically placed those spikes where they wouldn’t puncture any vital organs, what ensures the suit not shifting during an intense fight and one of those spikes nicking an artery? He should just stay home and cut himself like the rest of the emo kids.
3) Red Sonja
?In comics, female characters tend to gravitate toward the overly sexy as opposed to the practical when it comes to their costumes — sometimes going so far as to reach the point of complete absurdity. With that, I give you Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a sword and the world’s most bugfuck ridiculous set of armor: a chain-mail bikini. Obviously, armoring only your bikini suit area is akin to washing only the passenger side rear window of your car — why even bother? Furthermore, chain mail pinches. Bikinis cover the most sensitive areas on a human body, the nipples and gentials. If you actually walked around wearing nothing but a chainmail bikini, you would be in more pain than Penance after three steps.
?Jesus Christ, look at him. If you can’t tell what’s impractical about this costume, you’re either not a guy or don’t live in a place we like to call reality. This bazonkers costume traces back to Codpiece’s even more bazonkers origin story; basically, when this dude was in high school he asked out a girl who rejected him on the grounds that he wasn’t “big enough.” Now, she meant his height, but he took it as a blow to his manhood, which drove him crazy because there was no way for her to know that he was a few quarters short of a dollar. This self-conscious attitude continued to haunt him his entire life, to the point where his doctor suggested he get counseling and he took offense to getting his head “shrunk.” Instead of investing in an expensive car, he decided to hell with subtlety and went straight for blatant overcompensation. He turned to villainy, created a super-suit complete with a huge gun… and attached said gun to his groin. There is one vulnerable spot on a dude, and this genius didn’t just paint a giant fucking target right on it, he forced all superheroes to attack his junk. Not surprisingly, this all ended in the exact way you’d think: a superhero used their dissolving powers on the weapon and melted his dick off. Seriously, this shit is for real. Google it, then go cry and rock yourself to sleep.
1) Supergirl’s Underpants
?We’re happy to report that Supergirl currently wearing biker shorts under her skirt in current DC continuity. Unfortunately, from her return in Superman/Batman until Sterling Gates recently took over the series, Supergirl wore the world’s shortest skirt, no bike shorts and thus has essentially been a flying panty shot. If Supergirl was a sexy villainess, it would at least be understandable, but Supergirl is 16-years-old and ostensibly a hero, and heroes don’t make other people inadvertently break child pornography laws and inspire thoughts of statutory rape wherever they go. It doesn’t matter that some artists tend to over-sexualize superheroines and thus feel free to draw her with the figure of a much older female. The “she didn’t look 16″ argument doesn’t hold up in court and it certainly doesn’t hold up here.