Note: Comic fans have been blasted with volley after volley of revamped characters and titles coming out from DC over the past few weeks. After taking a bit to catch our breath, the P:R team is here to give their own take of the costume redesigns coming from Jim Lee, Cully Hamner and the DC artists. There’s so much to go over we’re doing it in three parts — stay tuned for Part 2 on Wednesday and Part 3 on Friday. – Chris A.
Vito: I don’t wholesale hate it. I’ve grown to accept, if not like, Wonder Woman’s current look. Batman will always look like Batman if he has that cowl and cape and a bat symbol of some sort on his chest. GL, Aquaman and Flash all look recognizable. What I don’t like: Cyborg looks too bulky. I have this character that is essentially a geomorph and he uses plates of stone/rock as armor, much the way that Cyborg has metal and technology as his armor. My biggest hurdle was, “How do I make him look like he won’t fall over?” We fixed and tweeked it, and my character looks fine now, but Cyborg is still too top heavy. He wouldn’t be running, as he is in this image; he’d faceplant.
And Superman…I’m just. I’ll say that I love the traditional classic Superman costume and leave it at that.
Jon: I never understand why so many designers always seem to want to make Superman’s costume look more formal. The way it looks traditionally – the exposed neck, the t-shirt cut on his shirt and the shirt-sleeve cuffs – are important to the character, because they visually acknowledge Superman’s connection with the common man.
The high collar, sleeker body and cuff-highlights admittedly make Superman look more authoritative, like a police officer or a military figure – really, it’s not a bad design in general, but just not for what Superman is supposed to represent. If you acknowledge that there’s a persistent societal conflict between the powers-that-be and the hoi polloi, then the look of Superman’s costume here puts him firmly on the side of The Man, which is not where he’s supposed to be…
Jess: With the exception of Wonder Woman and Cyborg (and I totally agree with you on the latter, Vito), these redesigns mainly seem to consist of taking the classic costumes and making them busier. But strong, clean lines are what made those costumes classic and those characters iconic. These redesigns are just confusing.
Wonder Woman here is actively infuriating to me, and just goes to show how pants or lack of pants isn’t the problem for her. Her choker is clearly supposed to evoke the collar of all the male heroes, but it just begs the question of why she doesn’t get a collar, and a proper shirt, instead of breasts that have such little support from her clothes I’m getting sympathy pains looking at her. If she’s supposed to match the guys, give her the same amount of coverage. If she’s not, let her look like she’s looked for three quarters of a century.
Joel: There’s a story-reason why everyone has the same collar, right? There has to be. Otherwise, it seems to point to a lack of… consideration which would be odd for such valuable properties. I agree with the general consensus that most of these are pretty much the same old thing, only busier, with Flash and Cyborg suffering the worst.
As part of an evolution, Wonder Woman’s costume is a positive step. It’s shares the the same urge towards the contemporary as the previous attempt at a redesign, but is more streamlined. But there’s too many metal accouterments, and they are too pointy. This is something I’ve seen on a lot of Project:Rooftop submissions, lately: putting big, pointing ornaments made out of shiny, rigid metal on parts of peoples bodies that need to flex and move. And I don’t get the appeal. Do lots of comics artists own stock in the company that makes those little round band-aids?
Chris: I can’t un-see the unified collars now that it’s been brought up here. I assume this is all Jim Lee at work here redesigning the costumes. Wonder Woman stands out as the best of the bunch here, but the others seem like an overcomplication of the classic designs. I wonder how long it takes before these revisions fall by the wayside as the designs go into usage across the line.
Jess: Is it just me or does Booster look like he really, really liked Tron and adjusted his costume accordingly? I’ve always thought that Booster’s costume, both with the collar and without, was perfect for his flashy personality while still being really simple and clean. This seems too busy to me, though I suppose it works for the more serious direction they’re trying to take the character in. That mask is gonna lead to some wicked tan lines, though.
Vixen’s another one where I thought her costume worked really well, so I’m wary about changes, though it’s hard to see the full costume here. I actually like Ice’s new costume a lot, but that redesign is from Generation Lost and not the reboot (and could stand to lose the fur belt). And I love, love, love that when given the option, DC redesigned old stalwarts like Superman and the Flash, then apparently looked at Guy Gardner’s baffling turtleneck/vest/moonboots ensemble and went, “Perfect. Don’t change a thing.”
Vito: I’m not sure why they changed Booster’s current costume (basically, the same without the disco collar). It’s certainly not the oddest of choices in the redesigns, just slightly unnecessary.
Joel: Re: Booster: It’s busier, but most of it looks like it could work. I’m perplexed by the open forehead, though. I have a feeling that’s going to screw up a lot of artists’ attempts to get Booster to emote. And is he wearing a skin-tight suit with sleeve cuffs? That looks okay in this pose, but I’m skeptical about how it will play out in a standing pose.
Rocket Red looks like he might have made pretty decent upgrade, though. Wish I could see the gloves and boots.
Jon: None of these are particularly offensive or impressive, although Booster’s gauntlet might get unwieldy rather quickly. I always thought the point of the Rocket Red armor was that it looked clunky and retro, but the new streamlined look is pretty nice. I wish everyone had their heads raised, though, so we could see if they’ve got those collars…
Vito: While I don’t hate it (it certainly falls in line with who and what Hawkman is), he reminds me too much of the Teen Titan, Golden Eagle (Charlie Parker).
Jon: I can’t even make heads or tails of this thing. I can’t parse how that shoulder thing works at all, or what’s going on with the knee – I’d need to see this one more straightforward.
Joel: I can’t see enough of this to really say anything about it other than to voice a bit of skepticism all the spikeyness.