Superman is well known for his iconic costume and many other superheroes have been influenced by his costume. We have all worn a cape on our back and pretended to be Superman but then there’s also the red underwear over the pants. Superman’s costume has mostly remained the same over the years except for some tweaks here and there. And then came the three-issue miniseries Superman: The Dark Side from 1998. Here, he is the son of Darkseid and receives a full set of demonic armor. This might be the coolest costume he has ever donned.
Superman: The Dark Side was written by John Francis Moore with artwork by Kieron Dwyer. This was an Elseworlds title that explored the idea of Darkseid raising up Superman. It goes like this that Kal-El’s rocket, which is on the way to Earth, is teleported to Apokalips instead by Metron of New Genesis just as it had entered Earth’s atmosphere. Darkseid takes possession of the infant and raises him as his own secret weapon and provides him one of the most badass costumes of all time. Since Apokalips doesn’t have a sun Superman doesn’t have any powers. Instead of the cape and the tights, the Man of Steel now wears a battle armor of red and black with a helmet and a sword. Even the “S” logo on his chest appears to be very daunting (like a thunderbolt strike).
Superman keeps serving his adopted father until he is transported to Earth. Upon reaching there he becomes aware of his true nature and upon this realization, he goes against Darkseid with an army. By the end of the story, he ends up donning a costume much similar to the original costume worn by him. The armor given to him by Darkseid is the most disturbing version of the costume. Even the “S” logo on the costume is like the symbol of the SS, the stormtroopers of Nazi Germany, which might be the most disturbing sign of Superman’s corruption.
This is probably the coolest Superman outfit. But here’s a look at five other times the Man of Steel’s costume made a massive impact :
The Black and Silver Regeneration Suit
After being killed by the monster Doomsday while defending Metropolis, Superman was absent from the comic book world for a year. Many wondered if he would ever return. During this period various other Supermen characters came up to continue his legacy. Finally, Superman was brought back with a black and silver regeneration suit. This suit might seem a bit passe considering the number of costumes we have grown accustomed to. Back then it was a groundbreaking achievement in terms of changes done to a costume.
Considered by many as one of the most famous Elseworlds Superman stories. Created by the minds of Mark Millar and Dave Johnson, this version explores the idea of Kal-El’s rocket landing in the Soviet Era Ukraine instead of Smallville. Here Superman is reduced to a promotional tool until he himself realizes the side of history he has partaken in. The costume goes through various renditions throughout the comic book. The one that was most revered by the fans included the “S” logo being replaced by a Soviet hammer and sickle logo.
League of Justice
This world explores the Arthurian version of the superheroes which actually kinda makes sense. Another Elseworlds tale, League of Justice is the reimagining of the heroes in a medieval motif, without losing their iconography and grandeur. Superman also keeps a thick beard in this one. The logo on his chest is replaced by a logo made of a serpentine S crest. Even though the Elseworld stories have had both high and low points, they have always been able to provide us with interesting renditions of the much-beloved costumes.
This was a fundamental part of Superman’s character. The struggle for discovering one’s identity while belonging from some other planet. He tries to identify his Krypton side in this storyline. Here, he is seen giving away his colorful costume and stick to a more militaristic black and gray garb. This was a means of bridging the gap between the two worlds he has been a part of.
The New 52 has seen many highs and lows amongst the fans in the comic book community. In one of these storylines, under Greg Pak’s run on Action Comics we got to see a weaker version of Superman. Here Superman discovers energy reserves depleted. He gives up his costume and reduces to a more casual version wearing jeans and a t-shirt with the red symbol on his chest.