Let’s be honest, superhero costumes can be terrible. Spandex, capes, and underwear on the outside treads the thin line between kitschy and kooky. Of all the capes out there, sometimes it seems like women get the bum rap; from perma-wedgies to cut outs that expose the most tender of areas (Huntress’ infamous belly-window) – the superladies out there have a lot of bad looks to deal with. Here are the top five worst:[divider]
This costume, affectionately dubbed the “head lobster” look, makes no sense. A deviation from her from both of her prior costumes–the classic, stage magician look and a forgotten black-and-red (bizarrely genie-inspired) getup–this look from the 70s had way too much going on. From the oversized sleeves, to the cape clasped underneath a collared shirt, to, yes, something that look quite a bit like a crustacean on her head, each element is in conflict with the others.
To top it off, Zatanna donned some big earrings emblazoned with “Z”s. Just in case you forgot who she was.[divider]
The new She-Hulk series is one of those rare books that’s a fun look at a superheroine when she’s not off saving the world. That said, the new design for Shulky is not good. The classic purple-and-white leotard implied Hulk (purple clothes paired with green skin), while embracing the feminine assets that Jen loves to flaunt in her Hulk form. The new design turns her entire look into a logo, with an “S” on her chest, and an “H” hugging her hips. There are good elements here, like the wrestling boots and the stylized gloves, but overall, the costume is uninspired, and doesn’t embrace the fourth-wall breaking Shulky we’ve all come to know and love.[divider]
3. Power Girl
I’m not going to say George Perez was the best costume designer for superheroines (he made his fair share of duds, like Donna Troy’s look in The New Teen Titans: Games), but Perez made a lot of intriguing and sharp designs in his time. This is not one of them. This costume is actually the second iteration of a more covered up look for Power Girl, but after fan outcry at the unflattering design (and the Farrah Fawcett hair), Perez was told to redesign (and redraw) PG’s costume.What came about was something that looked like a tracksuit, with a logo that emphasized her chest more than her boob window ever did.
The official DC mandate for Power Girl’s initial New 52 look was that it had to be sleeveless, have pants, and no boob window. Eventually, the mandate was rescinded and Peej returned to an iteration of her classic costume, but not after fans had to suffer through this look (and it’s constant, very conveniently placed, ripping) for about 12 issues.[divider]
2. Emma Frost/Magik
The recent Uncanny X-Men title features the redesigns of two very different character who now look almost identical. While Magik’s look isn’t great, it’s Emma Frost who is the true victim. Since Emma joined the X-Men, she’s been a character who is all about dissent. When all the other X-Men wore yellow and black uniforms, she wore white corsets, capes, and leather pants. This costume conflicts with her attitude and makes her look too much like she’s “part of the team.” While I like Chris Bachalo’s work (his Gen X Emma Frost is basically the defining Emma, in my opinion), these designs fall very flat for both characters[divider]
1. Harley Quinn
Back when the New 52 was just being announced, it seemed like every superheroine was wearing pants. Then, the cover of Suicide Squad#1 was revealed, which featured a very different Harley Quinn. Instead of a harlequin inspired jumpsuit, Harley’s costume was an ill-fitting corset and a pair of short-shorts. While this design is more in line with Harley’s Arkham Asylum iterations, it doesn’t pack the punny punch of her original look. While the Amanda Conner/Jimmy Palmiotti solo series has made moves to improve the costume, it still lacks what makes Harley Quinn charming. These outfits may be “edgy,” but most fans seem to agree that the Bruce Timm bodysuit is the best.