When it comes to turning comics into television series, the show creators are under a large amount of pressure due to comic book fans’ high expectations. This is especially the case for the characters’ costumes since comic books rely so heavily on illustrations. If a viewer can’t distinguish who a hero or villain is at first glance, the showrunners will hear about it. So, here are some hero and villain costumes from DC characters in television that missed the mark.
Worst: Wild Dog – Arrow
In Season 5 five of Netflix’s series Arrow, Rene Ramirez’s persona as Wild Dog was satisfying to many of the viewers in its accuracy to the comics. However, by the following season, the costume had changed, and although it was considered an upgrade, it strayed away from Wild Dog’s classic image.
What made Wild Dog appealing in the first place was his hockey mask and jersey, with the new design barely incorporating any of these elements.
Worst: Blue Beetle – Smallville
Before Clark Kent ever actually becomes Superman in the Smallville series, several well-known DC characters are included. In fact, two were in the last episode directed by Tom Welling, which introduced Booster Gold and Blue Beetle.
Although the Blue Beetle may have looked relatively accurate regarding its costume, where it fell short was in its quality. Overall, the Blue Beetle looked like it walked out of a low-budget movie, making it difficult for the audience to find believable.
Worst: Wonder Woman – Wonder Woman NBC Pilot
Back in 2011, NBC released a pilot episode for a Wonder Woman series that was (fortunately) never picked up. A good sign that things might not be working out was the fan’s reactions to the first official publicity still photo was released to the public, showing Adrianne Palicki in the Wonder Woman costume.
The suit looked like it was made out of cheap plastic, with Kyle Buchanan of New York commenting that it “looked less like a superhero outfit and more like a Project Runway challenge gone awry.”
Best: Supergirl – Supergirl
If the showrunners of Supergirl managed to mess up this costume, there really wouldn’t have been any excuses. Supergirl’s outfit is pretty straightforward as it’s basically the same as Superman’s, except in female form.
All in all, the simplicity of the costume is what really accomplishes the look, clearly taking inspiration from the comics and any other renditions of the character that might have been done in the past. Plus, the costume just looks great on Melissa Benoist.
Best: Firestorm – Arrow
Considering Firestorm’s abilities, putting the character in a live-action series could have proved to be a horrible idea with all of the visual effects that would be needed.
Incredibly, the designers behind Firestorm’s costume in Legends of Tomorrow managed to pull it with style. Unfortunately, this also made the designers on The Flash look pretty bad because the Legends of Tomorrow depiction of the character blew theirs out of the water.
Best: Hawkgirl And Hawkman – Legends Of Tomorrow
Unfortunately, the superhero’s Hawkgirl and Hawkman had a less than impressive appearance on Smallville years ago. However, when they were introduced in Legends of Tomorrow as part of the Waverider crew, they made a much bigger splash.
Not only are their costumes practical, but they look awesome and remain mostly true to the original comic book characters. It could have been too easy for these costumes to have been over the top and outdone, but luckily, the designers stayed on the safe side.
Best: Rip Hunter – Legends Of Tomorrow
Although Rip Hunter had a relatively small role in the comics, he made a great addition to Legends of Tomorrow, especially after the show introduced time travel. Hunter is a time traveler and definitely looks the part.
With his brown trench coat, Hunter looks formidable and ready to take on anything that might be in his way. His outfit also helps to keep the character looking fun, even though some may argue that the bad boy trench coat-look has been overused in the past.
Best: The Flash – The Flash
For the first numerous seasons of The Flash, Barry Allen’s costume had an unmissable chinstrap that just didn’t look right and was always distracting. When the showrunners began to hear grief about the costume design, they quickly came up with a solution.
After Barry’s suit is destroyed in the Season 4 finale, in Season 5, he manages to get a new suit that’s from the future that doesn’t have a chinstrap. Countless fans were more than thankful for the adjustment. It only took them five seasons!
Worst: Cicada – The Flash
In The Flash, Orlin Dwyer, also known as Cicada, is a Metahuman and the Cult of Cicada founder and leader. His goal is to destroy all of the other metahumans because he blames them for all of his problems and his family’s death.
Unfortunately, this big bad is the character Cicada in name only and looks nothing like the comics’ character. It almost seems like the designers were too lazy to follow the template essentially handed to them and went with whatever was easiest.
Best: 7th Kavalry – Watchmen
While the 7th Kavalry from Watchmen doesn’t exactly have very complex costumes, never doubt television’s ability to mess it up. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case for HBO’s adaptation of Watchmen.
Instantly recognizable, looking at the 7th Kavalry, viewers can’t help but feel slightly uncomfortable and threatened by these masked antagonists, which sport Rorschach inkblots on their faces. Certainly, nobody would want to run into this group of masked individuals while walking down the street.
Worst: Spartan – Arrow
There’s no denying that John Diggle’s Spartan costume in later seasons of the show was something to marvel at; that wasn’t the case for the costume back in Season 4. During that part of the series, the most important aspect of the costume was off, and that was the helmet.
Ironically, that year at San Diego Comic-Con, the concept art for the season made the costume look very sleek. So, fans were disappointed at the final result when they saw it on TV.
Worst: Doctor Light – Titans
A classic Teen Titans villain is Arthur Light, better known as Doctor Light, who finally made their way onto the television set. Yet, while Doctor Light is more than an impressive villain, the costume, not so much.
While the comic book character has a cape and a full body suit, the television version has Doctor Light wearing a simple chest piece of armor and a helmet. If anything, he looked more like a Roman soldier than he did Doctor Light.
Best: Deathstroke The Terminator – Arrow
In many fan’s opinions, Deathstroke the Terminator is one of the most menacing villains in the DC Universe. The character was introduced early on in the live-action series Arrow and did not disappoint the fans.
Costume designer George Perez put a lot of thought and effort into the villain’s costume design, and it shows. While there wasn’t anything particularly shocking about the character’s appearance, the way it stayed true to the original comic and remained formidable is what made it such a success.
Worst: Bane – Gotham
Before Bruce Wayne even became Batman, he ended up confronting Bane in the final season of Gotham. Nevertheless, to many viewers’ surprise, this wasn’t the same Bane that was featured in the comic books. Instead, it was the original character’s father, Eduardo Dorrance, who becomes Bane after an experiment.
When it comes to the costume, it appears that it took inspiration from the one worn by Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises. However, it didn’t look nearly as cool, which made it ultimately underwhelming.
Worst: Silver Banshee – Smallville
When the villain the Silver Banshee appeared on Smallville in Season 9, it cemented itself as one of the strangest costume designs in the entirety of the show’s history.
Although the character is supposed to look weird because of its backstory, the showrunners of Smallville really took things over the top. All in all, it looks cheap and kind of thrown together, so it was helpful that the character was only on the show for so long. Maybe that’s the reason why.
Best: Green Arrow – Arrow
Although Green Arrow’s costume may not be hard to copy from the original comics, fans were happy when Arrow did, especially after the disaster that Justin Hartley had to wear on Smallville.
Of course, the costume was slightly altered as the series progressed, yet instead of doing too much with it, the costume always seemed to get better. Green Arrow’s costume is so impressive that most of the costume’s work will have already been done if the character were to get its own movie.
Worst: The Atom – Legends Of Tomorrow
The Atom can be seen in the show Legends of Tomorrow, although only true fans might be able to tell that it’s him without hearing the name. The show got rid of the superhero’s classic blue and red spandex and dressed the character in a highly reminiscent version of the suit worn by Iron Man.
While the suit’s robotic aspects might be passable to some viewers, die-hard fans have proven to be harder to fool with the whole getup.
Worst: Martian Manhunter – Supergirl
The introduction of Martian Manhunter was significant in the first season of Supergirl because it shows the series’ ability to bring in a character from DC lore. While well-read audiences were thrilled with his appearance, the costume could have used some work.
Although Martian Manhunter looks very similar to how he does in the comics, the overall costume looks like it was trying too hard with not enough funding for it. Besides, the vibrant colors the character has worked better as illustrations than on live-action television.
White Canary – Arrow
White Canary is an all-around awesome character not only because Caity Lotz portrays her but because the costume is on-point too. Her tight costume allows viewers to see all of her fighting moves while also being a jacket.
The costume is essentially made up of a white jacket, gloves, and leather pants and is so cool that we wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to copy it outside of the DC Universe. This would make a killer Halloween costume.
Best: Killer Frost – The Flash
Killer Frost first made her appearance as a villain in the third season of The Flash with her blue hair, lips, and white makeup, all topped off with a sleek leather outfit.
Although audiences were very pleased with this makeover for Caitlin Snow, the character proved to be so successful that Killer Frost is going to be a major character in the comic book run of Suicide Squad. This has people hoping that she’ll have a similar appearance as she does on The Flash.