Thursday, December 5, 2013

Steel Armor History

When Superman saved the life of inventor John Henry Irons, John Henry repaid that act of heroism by forging his own Superman-themed armor when Superman "died" fighting Doomsday. Calling himself the Man of Steel, John Henry wore a silver armored body suit with a silver Superman S Shield and a red cape. With servo-motors augmenting his strength, rocket boots allowing him to fly, and wrist blaster and hammer weapons, the Man of Steel was able to carry on the tradition of Superman. When Superman returned, revealing that his death was actually a intense and deep coma, Man of Steel decided to simply call himself Steel and moved from Metropolis to Washington DC. He designed a new, more high-tech armor for himself, a black-and-gray battlesuit that was more powerful than the first armor to fight a new breed of hi-tech crime that happening in his home town. Although he kept the red cape, Steel decided to not wear the S shield, as he might have to do thing that Superman wouldn't approve of. The new Steel armor was not only more powerful than the Man of Steel armor, but could be teleported on and off John Henry's body through a dimension called the White Zone. However, when the White Zone infected his armor with a dimensional parasite, Steel scrapped it and designed a new armor. The new Steel armor was a lightweight gray-and -silver battlesuit made of more lightweight metals and enhanced with new inertial dampners that boosted kinetic impact. This time Steel designed his own S Shield to wear on his armor with the red cape to evoke his connection to Superman. He wore this armor until a dark god Darkseid forced Steel to wear his Entropy Aegis armor. The suit of navy-and-red metal wielded the power of entropy itself, but was eating Steel's soul. When Steel finally freed himself from the Entropy Aegis, he designed a newer, more streamlined version of his Man of Steel armor made of a super durable silver alloy to get back to his old self, this time with a red Superman S Shield and cape. After the events of new 52, Steel is an inventor who designed a powerful suit of gunmetal cybernetic armor to help Superman. The suit has no helmet like the past history versions, or a cape, but does have the hammer and a version of the S shield.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Raven Costume History

The half-demon sorceress Raven has been an iconic DC hero. Initially she appeared a shadowy witch, clad in a dark blue dress with a bird-like cloak pinned on with raven emblem medallions. When Raven freed herself from her demonic heritage she changed the color of her costume white. When her body was once again corrupted by demon magic, Raven destroyed her physical form, her soul surviving and becoming a being of golden energy. However her golden soul-form was captured and placed into a clone of her body by a cult. The clone was younger than the real Raven, and Raven now had to deal with being a teenager again. In her teen form she wore a black bodysuit with a gray bird emblem, a bird-like cowl pinned on by a ruby amulet, and a gold-and-ruby belt. Later Raven would use magic to turn herself back into her correct age, and would don a new version of her original costume, but this time the dress would be dark purple instead of blue, with a lavender bird emblem, a cowl pinned on by golden amulets, thigh-high boots, and added a gold bird symbol belt. In new 52 Raven is a servant of her demon father and wears a demonic gray-and-blue armor with a blue feathered cape and a cowl that covers her face with a mask of gray feathers.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Barbara Gordon's Batgirl costume history

Barbara Gordon may be the second Batgirl (or first if you don't count Bette Kane as Bat-Girl), and has had others take on the mantle after her, but she is the most well known Batgirl. And over the years, she has sported a few different costumes. Her original costume was a gray, blue, and yellow version of Batman's suit with a similar cowl. Later she slightly altered the costume to a black-and-yellow version with shorter gloves and no bat shapes on the boots, and she wore this version until she was shot by the Joker and permanently paralyzed from the waist down. When Bruce Wayne designed Internet 3.0 he designed a holographic cyber suit for Barbara that was similar to her Batgirl costume but was all black with yellow accents with a sleek domino mask. Later she upgraded her holographic costume to an black-and-yellow armored version with glowing yellow designs and a helmet that resembled her first Batgirl cowl. After the events of New 52, Barbara's first costume was a gray, blue, black, and yellow version of the Batman costume with a domino mask. As before, she was crippled by the Joker, but healed after 3 years of physical therapy, and became Batgirl again once she was recovered. This time her outfit was black and yellow body armor that supported her weakened spine, with a Batman cowl and a purple cape. During the events of Gothtopia, Barbara dons an armored white costume with a domino mask similar to her first New 52 costume.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Power Girl costume overview

Every DC superhero has been known to change up their costumes from time to time, but few have had as many different looks as Superman's cousin from Earth-2, Power Girl.
Power Girl was Kara Zor-L, the cousin of Kal-L (the Superman of Earth-2) and her costume was a reflection of her desire to be seen as more than just the cousin of Superman. She chose a white body suit with a low-cut neckline, blue gloves and boots, a red cape attached by golden medals, and no symbol. She had been given a P-version of Superman's S-Shield but refused to wear it. After she escaped the apparent destruction of Earth-2 and arrived on our Earth,  she would modify the suit slightly, attaching the cape by one medal instead of two, and she enclosed her plunging neckline to create a hole (which she said was waiting to be filled with a symbol of her own choosing). When she joined the Justice league of Europe, Power Girl adopted a blue-and-white costume and added several accessories, such as a headband and shoulder armor. After joining the Justice League of America, she  created a more streamlined version her suit, removing the cape and shoulder armor, and chose a darker shade of blue with red-accents. Tired of being confused with her counterpart on this Earth, Kara Zor-El (Supergirl), Power Girl chose a simple gold-and-white bodysuit with no chest-hole or cape, and a golden jewel pendant. When on a mission for the former Batgirl, Oracle, Power Girl altered her gold costume to show her legs, and added a red sash belt and matching headband. Power Girl eventually went back to a slightly more modified version of  her second costume, just making the hole square, switching the medal into shoulder armor, and adding more stylized boots. After the events of new 52, previews showed Power Girl in white costume with golden boots and a red cape attached by a Superman-like P-Shield. However, despite the previewed costume, Power Girl made her new 52 debut in a white bodysuit with blue-trim, a stylized red-and-yellow P emblem over the left side of her chest that extended into a cape, and gold bracelets. After fans panned the costume, Power Girl switched to a futuristic version of her second pre-New 52 costume.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Comparing the DC Universe with the New 52 part 2: Former Robins and other Batman-sidekicks

In the previous post I explored the changes that happened when the new 52 reboot affected the history of the Robin legacy. Lets look at what changed when Robins became new heroes in the DC and new 52 continuities, and check in on the other Batman sidekicks.
When Dick Grayson began to have trouble fulfilling his duties as Robin due to his college studies and his leadership role in the Teen Titans, Batman dismissed him as a sidekick. However Dick stayed firm in his resolve to be a hero. If Batman didn't need a Robin, Dick would fly solo. But after nearly ten years being Robin, Dick needed a more grown-up identity and costume. Using an old blue trapeze act costume his father had once wore and adding yellow to the costume as a throwback to his yellow cape as Robin, Dick Grayson became Nightwing. In the new 52 history, Dick quit being Robin after only a year of being Batman's sidekick, and crafted a blue-and-gold body armor to fight crime in as Nightwing.
In previous DC history, Nightwing felt that his blue-and-yellow costume still reflected his role as Robin, and was too brightly colored for a nocturnal vigilante. He designed a solid black bodysuit adorned with a blue bird emblem (as a throwback to his Robin days the shade of blue he chose was robin's egg), and left his home in Gotham city to become the official hero of a neighboring city called Bludhaven. In new 52, Nightwing chose a new darker costume as well, black body armor with a red (as a nod to his Robin costume) bird symbol that had aspects of the Batman symbol, and he left Gotham to become a solo hero in Chicago.
After his death at the hands of the Joker, a cosmic event brought former Robin Jason Todd back to life. When he learned that Batman didn't avenge his death and kill the Joker, Jason went over the edge. Choosing one of the Joker's original alias, Jason became the Red Hood and began a bloody rampage in Gotham city, killing criminal he felt deserved to die. Red Hood also targeted Tim Drake for replacing him as Robin, and Dick Grayson to prove the he was always the better Robin. After a confrontation with his mentor Batman, Red Hood formed an uneasy alliance with the Bat-family, and even tried to be a hero forging an identity as Red Robin. However he relapsed back into his violent tendencies and became the Red Hood again. Originally Red Hood just wore civilian attire with a red helmet hiding his face, but later he felt that he should to become the lethal hero he felt Gotham needed and desired to replace Batman, so he designed a black and white costume adorned with a red skull as his symbol. He went on a crusade violently killing criminals and posted his exploits on Youtube to garner fans to support his new "heroic" lifestyle, until he was finally stopped and sent to prison. In new 52 history, Jason was killed by the Joker, but brought back to life by a coven of witches called the Caste. They trained him to become their warrior, and gave him a sense of purpose. He later returned to Gotham as the Red Hood, wearing a black body-armor with a red bat symbol and a red helmet/mask. Unlike in the previous history, Red Hood wasn't as angry at the Batman and his sidekicks, and occasionally worked with his fellow former Robins Dick Grayson and Tim Drake instead of attacking them. He even formed his own vigilante team called the Outlaws.
When the third Robin Tim Drake found that he had been replaced as Robin by Damian Wayne, he decided to adopt and modify Jason Todd's former costume and identity of Red Robin. Like Dick Grayson did as Nightwing, Tim used his Red Robin persona to become his own hero and not a sidekick, and in fact in suit design and behaviors Red Robin began to be more like Batman than Robin. In the new 52 history, Tim Drake was never Robin, and instead began his career as Red Robin. When he quit being Batman's sidekick, Tim (with the help of a a very gifted inventor) created a new Red Robin costume that had a hi-tech metallic cape that could shift into a glider-wings to give him the power of flight. Unlike previous history, Tim's new Red Robin costume still had resembled a Robin costume and did not resemble Batman. Red Robin began a solo crusade to protect kids that had metahuman abilities and formed the Teen Titans.
In previous history, Red Robin had briefly worn a new costume that strongly resembled Nightwing before reverting back to his classic Red Robin costume. In new 52, a darker more streamlined Red Robin costume that resembled the previous history 2nd Red Robin costume was designed for Tim Drake but has yet to be worn

Barbara Gordon designed her own gray,blue, and yellow version of Batman's costume to wear to a Halloween party, but when it party was attacked by a costumed villain she charged into action as Batgirl. Barbara's accidental foray into the life of a costumed crimefighter left her wanting more, and she began to slip out every night in her costume to prowl the city. Batman tried to stop her at first, but her determination won him over and he trained Batgirl part of his team. In the new 52 history, Barbara was visiting her father at the police station where the Gotham City police had made a mock up of Batman's body armor to try and figure out how Batman's tech worked. When the station was attacked by a serial killer, Barbara put on the make-shift Batman armor to defeat the killer. Batman had arrived on the scene just in time see her take down the criminal and was impressed by her actions. Unlike previous history Batman encouraged her vigilante persona of Batgirl. Barbara was then given a costume that combined elements of Batman's costume and Robin's costume and she began her crime-fighting career.
In previous DC history, after years of being Batgirl, Barbara Gordon was shot in the back by Joker and was permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Being confined to a wheelchair didn't stop the former Batgirl form fighting crime. She soon became the world's foremost computer hacker, the Oracle, and help Batman with information and even organized her own team of field operatives that she called the Birds of Prey. Oracle even designed a virtual reality armor inspired by her Batgirl costume that allowed her to physically move in the new 3-D cyberspace called Internet 3.0 and fight computer viruses and internet crime in the holographic world. In the new 52, Joker's bullet only injured her back, and didn't cause permanent damage. After 3 years of physical therapy, Barbara designed a body-armor that gave her weakened spine extra support and became Batgirl again. She never became Oracle as in previous history.
Helena Bertinelli was only a child when a mafia hit killed her parents. The trauma of her family's death drove her to want to hunt down every member of the mob and make them pay. Inspired by the Batman and taking advantage of her natural archery skills, Helena became the arrow-shooting Huntress. In new 52 history, Helena Bertinelli was an alias used by former Robin Helena Wayne (the daughter of Batman and Catwoman from a parallel dimension) when she wasn't in her new costume as the Huntress. Her Huntress costume had elements of bother her parents respective costumes.

Stephanie Brown was the daughter of a wannabe super-villain called the Cluemaster. Creating a costume for herself to hide her identity, she set out to spoil his plans and stop him from committing crime. Stephanie realized she had a knack for crime-fighting and continued using her costume as the Spoiler. Her exploits led her to become friends with Tim Drake in his Robin persona. He helped to train her and improve on her skills. This later resulted in the two heroes falling in love with each other. Spoiler's talents made her valuable enough that when Tim Drake briefly stopped being Robin, Batman allowed her to replace him as Robin in the interim. When Tim reclaimed his Role as Robin, Stephanie resumed her role as Spoiler. Later Barbara Gordon helped train Spoiler to become the new Batgirl. In new 52 history, Stephanie appears as Spoiler, claiming to have info on a gang war. Her costume incorporates aspects from her original Spoiler costume, along with her pre-52 Batgirl costume.

Cassandra Cain was the daughter of two of Batman's most formidable foes, Cain and Lady Shiva. Raised to be an assassin, young Cassandra was never spoken to, forcing her to learn to read body language as  her only means of communication. Her body reading talents were so precise she could anticipate how a person would move before they did. As a small child she was force to kill a man and the horror made her run away. Years later she would find a home with former Batgirl Barbara Gordon. Cassandra eventually took on her mentor's identity as Batgirl. Slowly learning to speak and read, Cassandra eventually became Batman's trusted partner and she assumed a new identity as Black Bat (modifying her full face cowl into a sleek domino mask). In new 52 timeline, Cassandra is Black Bat, a trusted agent of a future Barbara Gordon.

Bette Kane was the niece of Kathy Kane aka Batwoman. Upon discovering her aunt's secret identity, Bette decided to join her as Bat-Girl. Taking inspiration from her idol, Dick Grayson's Robin, she designed a red and green costume. In new 52, Bette was the cousin of Kate Kane, the New 52 Batwoman, and began her career inspired by Dick Grayson as Nightwing and became Flamebird. Her Flamebird costume maintained the Bat-Girl red-and-green color scheme, with the addition of yellow flame designs.
When it was apparent that nobody took her seriously, Bette Kane decided to devote herself to becoming a serious hero. Patterning herself after Nightwing, Bette became Flamebird using a crimson-and-gold costume with flame designs and built in light-and-electricity based weaponry. In the new 52 universe, Bette revealed her Flamebird persona to her cousin Batwoman and asked to be trained to be a legitmate hero. With Batwoman's training, Flamebird donned black-and-bronze armor with flame-throwers and a jet-pack and assumed the new codename Hawkfire.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Comparing the DC Universe with the New 52: The Robin saga

With the history of the DC Universe getting wiped clean and rebooted, things were bound to change. Some characters changed in minor ways, and some were greatly altered. One of the the greatest changes was the history of Batman's sidekick Robin.
In the original history, Dick Grayson was an 8-year old circus acrobat who first became Robin after his parents were killed and he was adopted by Batman. Patterning his costume after the red-and-green costume he wore in the circus, and using his mother's nickname for him as a codename, Robin took flight in the well-known shorts and pixie boots along side his mentor Batman, until he outgrew the role and left Batman's shadow as Nightwing. In the new 52 Dick was a teenaged parkour runner and the son of trapeze artists. In addition to Dick already being in his teens, another change to the history was that the family circus costumes were blue with a bird design, not red-and-green. Dick's parents were killed and he was sent to an orphanage (not adopted by Batman as in previous history) where he did computer searches on Batman and Bruce Wayne and deduced that Bruce was Batman. Wanting to become a hero to avenge his parents he tracked down Batman and was reluctantly made Bruce's sidekick. He took scraps of old Batman armor to make his costume (no pixie boots or shorts), and chose the name Robin in honor of the robin bracelet he had given his mother before she died. Where Dick was Robin for nearly 10 years before becoming Nightwing, in the new history Dick assumed his role as Nightwing only a year or two after being Robin.
When Dick became Nightwing, a young thug was selected to be the new Robin for Batman when he tried to steal the hubcaps off the Batmobile. Brash and cocky, Jason was a much different Robin than Dick, and he often was at odds with Batman over his anger and violent tendencies. He was seemingly killed by Joker only to be resurrected by a time-shift and became the Red Hood. In the new 52 history, Jason had a similar back story of being a streetwise orphan with criminal tendencies and a bad attitude that was taken in by Batman after a run-in with the Dark Knight as a replacement Robin. Jason was not given Dick's costume as he was in previous history, but was given his own armored costume when he became Robin. Not long after he was killed by the Joker but brought back to life by a coven of witches called the  Caste and became Red Hood.
The biggest change occurred to the third Robin, Tim Drake. In previous history, Tim was a child prodigy who idolized Batman and used his detective skills to uncover Batman's identity as Bruce Wayne. Seeing that Batman was out of balance after the death of his Robin, Jason Todd, Tim took it upon himself to become the new Robin. He earned Batmans' respect and designed an armored Robin costume for himself, finding the costumes worn by Dick and Jason too impractical for his tastes. Later, when Batman learned he had a son named Damian and made him Robin, Tim created anew identity for himself as Red Robin. In new 52 continuity, Tim's last name was not Drake, and he was a gymnast and a  genius who devoted his time to pushing himself to new challenges. Attempting to discover the identity of Batman, he was unknowingly being watched by Batman as a potential Robin after the death of Jason Todd. When Tim computer hacked the bank accounts of a criminal, he put his family in danger and they were placed in witness relocation. Tim's parents asked Batman to take him in, and Batman gave the boy the identity of Tim Drake. Tim was made Batman's sidekick but Tim felt he shouldn't be Robin and did not want to replace the memory of Jason Todd. Instead he designed an armored costume (similar to his second Robin costume in the previous history) and jumped straight to being Red Robin.

Little to no change happened to the fourth Robin Damian Wayne. In both previous and new 52 history he was the son of Batman and the villianess Talia, who was reunited with his father and made Robin. Being the child of a known villain made Damian a sociopath who cared little for others and he believed he was the only son of Batman and the only true Robin. When Batman was thought to be dead was he taken in and trained by Dick Grayson who was posing as Batman until Bruce's return. Damian was friendly with Dick but harbored deep resentments towards Tim Drake. The only changes were in previous history Damian had the original Dick Grayson Robin costume and a yellow cloak over a dark green-light-green bodysuit, but in new 52 he wears a red vest over a black suit with green gloves and boots and a black-and-yellow cape.
In previous history, young vigilante Stephanie Brown was made the first female Robin when Tim Drake briefly quit being a hero, and when he returned she became the new Batgirl. In new 52 history, Helana Wayne was the daughter of a parallel universe's Batman and Catwoman as well as the first female Robin before she was transported into the new 52 timeline and became Huntress.

In a dark dystopian future, Carrie Kelley became the Robin for a much older, darker Batman, and wore Dick Grayson's original Robin costume. In the new 52, Carrie Kelley was a friend of Damian Wayne, teaching the young hero how to act like a normal child. When he disappeared, Carrie went to Bruce Wayne for answers and became part of the Bat-family. Carrie wore modified version of the original Robin costume.