We could argue all day about which hero is more powerful, who has the best stories, who is the most interesting, or who would win in a fight; but the costumes are what make the characters. Even further from the traditional costumes are those alternatives, sometimes the heroes only wear them for an issue and sometimes they become what they wear all the time and some of them are better than others. These are our picks for the best alternate costumes from Marvel Comics.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Black Panther – Urban Jungle version
Debut issue: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513
In the aftermath of Daredevil’s departure from Hell’s Kitchen, a new hero needs to prowl the streets and T’Challa was up to the task. Instead of sporting his slick, traditional costume, he donned the Urban Jungle variant featuring a more armor-like vest on his torso and more golden accented parts, including claws and knee pads.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Daredevil – Shadowland version
Debut issue: Shadowland #1
Daredevil has only had a few different versions of his costumes, but what makes the Shadowland version the best of them is how its slight changes effect the entire thing. After taking control of the legendary ninja clan The Hand (and secretly becoming possessed by a demon), Matt changed up the hue of his costume to black with a red emblem and more…ahem… devil-like horns.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Deadpool – Uncanny X-Force version
Debut issue: Uncanny X-Force #1 (2010)
Though he’d been a member of X-Force for decades before, Rick Remender’s reboot of the team saw them as a black-ops X-Men group with coordinated outfits. Deadpool’s replaced his traditionally red outfit with the same style but a dark grey.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Doctor Strange – Defenders version
Debut issue: Defenders #1 (2011)
Ditching the traditional cape and collar, Doctor Strange’s Defenders costume is a streamlined black and red outfit with more of a Neo in The Matrix Reloaded vibe than the Ditko version of the character.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Gamora – Space armor
Debut issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 (2013)
Gamora has had a number of different costumes since her first appearance many decades ago, but most of them don’t leave much for the imagination. Her flashy new costume when the Guardians rebooted in the Marvel NOW! publishing line was a slick set of space armor that is not only a great alternate costume but probably her best costume period.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Groot – Actual clothed version
Debut issue: Annihilation: Conquest – Starlord #1
You may only know Groot as the giant walked tree, but did you know he’s actually been naked this entire time? When the character was plucked from obscurity and put back into the Marvel cosmic in a big way, the character briefly wore a costume similar to Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Iron Man – Hulkbuster
Debut issue: Iron Man #304
Tony Stark has a number of different versions of his famous armor (which you can see even more of by clicking here), but perhaps the best out of all of them is The Hulkbuster, designed specifically for taking on the big-green hero in a fight. It’s seen action too, enough that it has gone through multiple versions.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Moon Knight – Mr. Knight version
Debut issue: Moon Knight #1 (2014)
The key difference between Moon Knight and other superheroes is that he’s a character with a mental illness, he has multiple personalities. Over the course of years, those personalities have taken different forms and in the 2014 series, his psyche even split his super hero identity into two sides, Moon Knight for much of the fighting and Mr. Knight for the detective work. Instead of his cloak and hood, this version of his costume was simply an all-white suit, with gloves and a white mask featuring his signature emblem.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Psylocke – X-Force version
Debut issue: Uncanny X-Force #15
Much like Gamora, Psylocke’s costumes have a reputation for not covering much and her X-Force outfit during the Dark Angel saga shows how the character’s attitude and style can be shown off even more with a fuller outfit.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: The Punisher – Snow camo
Debut issue: Punisher #6 (2011)
Though Frank Castle’s “costume” is different almost every time you see him, it is mostly the same, all black with a skull on the front and varying degrees of armor, jackets, or cut off shirts. In Greg Rucka’s run of the character, however, Frank found himself trudging through the snow and wearing an inverted color scheme of his famous costume.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Storm – Mohawk version
Debut issue: Uncanny X-Men #173 (1983)
Many of the X-Men have costumes that are iconic and are identifiable to the core of the character themselves and Storm is no different, but when the character got a makeover in the ’80s, it redifined her attitude and her place on the team (and might usurp her traditional costume as the best of her outfits).
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: She-Hulk – FF Version
Debut issue: FF #2
You may have noticed a trend with female superheroes costumes, and the best versions of them are often the alternate ones and that includes She-Hulk. Instead of a one-piece bathing suit Jen gets a full-body suit with the color scheme of the new FF accentuating her green akin.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Spider-Man – Iron Spider
Debut issue: Amazing Spider-Man #529 (2006)
Spider-Man, like Iron Man, has a lot of different costumes to pick from (which you can see most of by clicking here) but the Iron Spider armor (unlike fan-favorite “black suit”) wasn only briefly used and wasn’t a prime staple of the character’s identity. The costume itself has all the perks of a traditional Spider-Man suit but also extended golden legs not unlike villain Doctor Octopus.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: Venom – Agent Venom
Debut issue: Secret Avengers #23
Though technically a different host, it’s the same character, and the Venom symbiote has looked a little different across his decades in comics. This version is what former Peter Parker-bully turned Spider-Man-fan wore when equipped with the symbiote as a paramilitary trooper.
Best Alternate Costumes in Marvel Comics: X-23 – All-New Wolverine
Debut issue: All-New Wolverine #1
Laura Kinney has had a long and difficult life and her primary costume has been pretty much the same for the past 12 years, but after making her debut as the new Wolverine her new duds are…ahem…sharp, and prove that someone else can carry that same style as the Ol’ Canucklehead,