Top Five NEW 52 Character Redesigns

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Let’s face it: it’s fun to bash New 52 redesigns. What’s with Captain Cold and Mr. Freeze baring their arms? What about Harley Quinn, who traded in her classic unitard for an ill-fitted corset? And I know it’s silly, but I sorely miss Superman’s red undies.

Part of the reason we enjoy comic books so much are the colorful costumes, no matter how ridiculous they may be. That’s why it’s infuriating to see DC tamper with ones we already loved. So I challenged myself recently to come up with a list of New 52 redesigns that actually work. Here’s what I got:

(Note: pre-Flashpoint looks are on the left, post-Flashpoint looks are on the right)

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5. Katana

Katana's had more reinventions than Lady Gaga

Katana’s had more reinventions than Lady Gaga

Katana’s had several costume changes over the years, so what’s one more, really? Do a Google Image search of the character and you’ll see many variations. Usually she wears red and gold tights, but when she appeared on the show Batman: The Brave and the Bold, she dressed as a schoolgirl, and in Beware The Batman, she wore all black. Her only constant seems to be that she has a kick-ass sword named the “Soultaker.” This new look is sleek and delightfully eerie.

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4. Red Hood

redhood

Only a rebel like Jason Todd would dare to wear pleated jeans

This is more than just a new look: it’s a mission statement. Jason Todd, the angsty middle child of the Robins, is returning to the Bat Family. Blue jeans are no longer good enough, so he’s traded them in for bat tights – an old costume of Dick Grayson’s as revealed in Red Hood and the Outlaws. He’s still ever the jerk, though, using guns in front of Batman.

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3. Poison Ivy

poisonivy

New 52 Poison Ivy tried being a hero for a while. Didn’t end well.

Given DC’s current treatment of its female characters, it’s almost alarming to see the famously sexualized Poison Ivy wearing a complete body suit. This sleek new look places greater emphasis on her role as a botanical warrior, but in no way diminishes her status as a femme fatale. Of course, I was still very happy to see her sport her old leafy number in the “Rot World” arc of Swamp Thing.

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2. The Entire Greek Pantheon

poseidon

New 52 Poseidon on the right, looking an awful lot like Grumpy Cat.

My second favorite rebooted design is actually from classical mythology. Let’s face it: in a world populated by superheroes, it’s tougher to look like an actual god. Take Poseidon, who normally looks like he could be Aquaman’s crazy uncle, Steve. Brian Azarello and Cliff Chiang, the power team behind Wonder Woman’s epic current run, have chosen to depict him as a bellowing majestic sea monster – no doubt a worthy adversary for any member of the Justice League. I could go on and describe every other Olympian represented, but that would be an article in itself.

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1. Ocean Master

oceanmaster

It’s not easy swimming in a cape.

My absolute favorite redesign belongs to Aquaman’s evil brother, Orm, aka the Ocean Master. There were a lot of good ideas in the old costume, but the execution is a little cheesy. This makeover is actually a cross between Orm’s old look and Aquaman’s current Atlantean suit of armor. Not only does this give Orm a regal new look, it helps create a shared culture between the two rival brothers. Sure,  the old costume looks a little easier to swim in, but Aquaman has never been about realism.

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About Author

Paul de Vries

Paul de Vries was raised by a pack of wild Dutch immigrants in pastoral Western Massachusetts. Having trouble connecting with the other kids in his neighborhood, he sought refuge in Greek Mythology. As he matured, superheroes started replacing gods and now he observes each new comic book day religiously. He currently lives in New York City where he performs stand up comedy.