Unusual and intricate costumes are a mainstay in superhero comics. Whether it’s a hero defending innocents or a villain doing harm to others, most of the time these characters are wearing these outfits during their activities. More importantly, though, is that the outfits help visually separate these primary characters from the normal folk. After all, it’s not as exciting to watch if a hero and his nemesis are just fighting each other wearing a plain shirt and pants…not in this genre, anyway.
With all the comic book shows that aired this year, there were a lot of interesting outfits being worn on our TV screens. Much like many of the costumes in comic book movies, these TV costumes weren’t exact translations of comic book attire (with a few notable exceptions), but they nonetheless kept the basic defining elements that make these characters identifiable. That’s one of the best things you can ask for with a comic book adaptation, and with that in mind, let’s take a look at the best comic book TV costumes that debuted during 2014!
Spoilers ahead for every DC and Marvel series that aired during 2014.
10. Reverse-FlashHe may be a blur every time viewers see him, but there’s no hiding that Reverse-Flash is wearing the same opposite-color-scheme in The Flash that Eobard Thawne and Hunter Zolomon do in the comics. Nowadays, many comic book adaptations tend to avoid using bright colors in costumes, but in the case of Barry Allen’s greatest nemesis, he makes yellow frightening! While the costume isn’t as bright as the illustrated version, it’s still a great recreation; and once we get a clear look at Flash’s twisted doppelgänger, the other mirrored features will hopefully be there as well, such as the backwards lightning bolt symbol.
9. DeathlokMike Peterson’s cybernetic upgrades made him a formidable threat to the main characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and along with those abilities came a neat costume to wear on the job. It’s toned down compared to what most incarnations of Deahtlok wore in the comics, but it was nevertheless refreshing to see a character wear something unique, as opposed to the suits and tactical gear that most of the characters are wearing. For a show that’s based off a comic book, it took awhile for them to actually give us a character that looked like they belonged in one.
8. Captain BoomerangWhen you have a character named Captain Boomerang, the only mandatory inclusions are the trademark projectile weapons. However, the Arrow creative team went the extra mile and gave Digger Harkness the same coat that he’s worn in the comics recently. It may not be the most effective thing to wear while killing A.R.G.U.S. agents or fighting vigilantes, but at least it ups his cool factor. While it’s commendable that they kept the coat for the show, it’s only the first step towards the Captain Boomerang ensemble. Maybe when he resurfaces, he’ll also wear the scarf and hat that his comic book incarnation wears.
7. MockingbirdOf all the characters from the comic books introduced during Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Bobbi Morse is unique in that she’s actually been an Avenger as well as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent throughout the years. While the TV version of Mockingbird won’t be joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes anytime soon (if at all), that’s still enough to warrant her getting a unique costume to wear while she’s out in the field, combining the practicality of a real-world tactical suit with elements of her comic book look. Although these tactical suits aren’t uncommon among S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, when Bobbi wears hers during missions, it makes her look more superhero than secret agent, and that’s a good thing.
6. ArsenalWith the Mirakuru out of his system at the end of Arrow Season 2, Roy picked up archery again so he could fight crime alongside Oliver Queen in Starling City. There was only one thing missing: his own vigilante outfit. That hoodie just wasn’t going to cut it out in the field. Like Oliver’s costume, Roy’s is nothing fancy, but they thankfully kept the red color scheme that his comic book incarnation has rocked for decades. He may not be as skilled as his mentor, but when dressed as Arsenal at night, Roy looks just as much as a hero as Oliver does.
5. The PenguinHe may not yet be the criminal overlord that comic book fans know him as, but the young Oswald Cobblepot already has his trademark look down. Even with the old-school fashion in Gotham’s anachronistic Gotham City, Penguin’s clothing is unusual; but then again, Oswald isn’t what we would call “normal,” is he? That black suit not only separates him visually from the rest of the cast, but it’s the most faithful character costume the show has. Combined with Robin Lord Taylor’s bird-like appearance and the character’s waddling walk, Oswald is doing a good job taking after his bird namesake.
4. John ConstantineWhat John Constantine wears in the Constantine TV series may not be a costume in the traditional sense, but it’s still one of the greatest translations of a character’s look from the comics. The tan trench coat, the loose tie, the white shirt contrasting with the black pants; it’s all that Hellblazer fans wanted. There’s no need to have his regular clothes be anything different than this simple ensemble. Combined with Matt Ryan’s uncanny resemblance to the dabbler of the dark arts, the Constantine we see on our TV screens looks like he jumped out directly from the pages of a comic book, and that’s the one of the highest compliments a show like this can receive.
3. DeathstrokeSlade Wilson was already formidable with the Mirakuru flowing through his body in Arrow Season 2, but when he donned the Deathstroke mask, he was downright scary! Whether it’s the one-eyed mask or the military gear he has strapped all over his body, this is a Slade Wilson that’s always prepared for battle, and as we saw on multiple occasions, he can usually cut down the competition with ease. Although he no longer has his special abilities, Slade is still a talented mercenary, and when Arrow eventually return him to the mix, we’ll see him back in the Deathstroke outfit ready to kick some ass!
2. Captain ColdTo any future comic book show, don’t be afraid to adapt a comic book character’s look just because it might look “ridiculous.” Case in point: Captain Cold. Sure, a guy wearing a hooded parka during a heist may look weird in real life, but since The Flash heavily embraces its comic book roots, they decided to go ahead and give Leonard Snart his trademark jacket and goggles. He may be wearing a darker shade of blue than the comic book version, but the end result works great for the show. And armed with that high-tech cold gun, his fashion ensemble is also handy for keeping himself warm. Let’s hope that the rest of the Rogues’ costumes are as faithful as their leaders'.
1. The FlashWhen The Flash was picked up, the show runners assured fans that unlike Bart Allen in Smallville, Barry Allen would wear an actual superhero costume on the show. Boy, did they deliver! Unlike Oliver Queen’s outfit on Arrow, Barry’s costume looks like they ripped it right from the comic books, albeit with some minor coloring adjustments. Everything from the mask to the yellow streaks lining the sides is fantastic. This is an extremely faithful take on the Scarlet Speedster’s outfit, and is of an even higher quality than many movie superhero costumes we’ve gotten. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine how the Ezra Miller Flash costume is going to top what Grant Gustin wears on a weekly basis. And going off the picture of Flash from that final scene from the pilot, his costume transition is going to get even closer to his comic book incarnation’s. It’s only going to get better in future seasons!