Today in Crisis on Infinite Reboots superhero costumes redesign madness: DC released the covers for Action Comics #1 and Superman #1. If you thought they left Superman’s iconic outfit alone, well, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
So Action Comics Superman wears jeans, work boots, a fucking Superman t-shirt from Hot Topic and a half-cape? Oh my sweet lord. That almost makes Superman Superman and his ’90s Jim Lee X-Men leg transplant almost sane. Almost.
Look. You can argue whether Superman is a wonderful character, too powerful to be interesting, an icon, a generic blank slate, whatever. But I don’t think anyone can argue that Superman’s outfit is the one thing you truly can’t change in comics. It is too iconic, too set in pop culture, too perfect, even, to change in the tiniest degree. There’s not a lot you can’t do in comics. You can bring back Bucky. You can alter Batman’s outfit, arguably the other most recognizable costume in comics, to some degree, altering the bat-symbol, using a variety of blues, blacks and grays, messing with the cowl and the boots and what-not. But you cannot, cannot change Superman. You can’t even really fuck with the S-emblem, because it always looks wrong. And yet here DC is, putting Supes in not one but two stupid outfits.
Actually, three — because Justice League Superman has a fucking collar on his costume. That’s annoying, but at least it’s a small change — the shit above is horrible. But what the fuck is DC doing putting Superman in three different outfits? What purpose could that possibly serve? It’s worth noting that Superboy has two looks, too — the SuperMac from Always Sunny of Teen Titans, and the more robotic look of Superboy #1 — which almost makes me think DC has some kind of a plan behind making their superheroes look different in different titles, except this whole goddamned reboot is supposed to be making it easier for folks to get into DC comics, and having what for all the world looks like three different Supermen running around at the same time would be counter-intuitive to that.
Two last things: 1) I’m hearing a lot of fans saying this is some kind of “House of M”-type “alternate reality” event for DC, and everything will go back to normal after a certain timeframe. I don’t think so. First of all, DC isn’t saying that, only fans. Second, DC isn’t calling this thing “an event” like Flashpoint or Identity Crisis or Countdown or anything. They’re just starting the fuck over. They may go back to how things were eventually, if sales drop or something, but I’m 100% all this Crisis on Infinite Reboots insanity is intended to be the new status quo. 2) Supergirl has a new outfit, too. It looks weird, but given how awful these two Supermans look, it’s extremely hard for me to muster any feelings about Supergirl whatsoever.