Super Styling: A Detailed Look At Superman’s New Costume
A line-wide relaunch provides a great opportunity for a publisher to take a look at the visuals of their books, specifically costumes and decide what needs tweaking, changing and updating. We’ve already seen new looks for Batman, Deathstroke and Birds of Prey but today artist Tom Derenick posted on his Facebook page a detailed design sheet for the new look Superman post-Rebirth and in true ComicsAlliance tradition, we’re going to pick apart and analyze it see what works and what doesn’t.
It’s important to note to start that this isn’t the Superman currently appearing in Justice League, Action Comics and of course Superman. This is the Superman appearing in Superman: Lois and Clark by Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks, who is the Superman from the pre-Flashpoint incarnation of the DC Universe.
Following Convergence, it was revealed that Superman, Lois and their son Jonathan had been living in the current DC Universe since before the arrival of its own Superman. This Superman is currently rocking a distinctive black and silver look, similar to his resurrection attire after he came back from being killed by Doomsday in the '90s. The new black and silver costume is a sleeker turtleneck version as this Superman needs to fight evil covertly and tactically. A "tactleneck" if you will.
While we don’t know what makes Superman shed the black-and-silver and take on the mantle of the Superman of Metropolis, we do have Tom Derenick’s design sheet based off of Jim Lee’s new costume design, and there are couple of interesting parts that are worth mentioning.
The first thing I want to talk about is the Superman shield, which is as John Byrne as you can get. There have been a lot of different interpretations of the shield recently, from Man of Steel’s overly curvy design to The New 52’s jagged S, but everything about this shield on the new costume says “timeless” to me.
The cape also seems like a classic return to form, you could imagine this flapping at the end of the Lois & Clark credits back in the '90s, and it seems slightly longer than the Post-Flashpoint cape which also had a black S-Shield, unlike the new yellow one.
It’s also worth pointing out that it is not armor like the previous Superman wore and it has a flat neckline as opposed to those Jim Lee high-collars that dominated The New 52. There is one small holdover from The New 52, being the pointed ends of the sleeve over the back of his hand. It’s a small detail, but I’m not a fan of it and it does remind of that armored costume a bit too much.
I’ve accepted that the red trunks are gone, which was a hard point to come to. I’ve said before that it feels like a compromise, and I’m willing to give DC this because I know, like Aquaman’s entire existence, they’re worried about the jokes people make and overcompensate to make sure people think their characters are super cool. If I can get good stories like Greg Pak & Aaron Kuder on Action Comics or Gene Luen Yang & Howard Porter on Superman, I’m willing to give them the trunks.
I’m also not a fan of the belt at all, which is too thin and absent to be worthwhile at all. To my eye it reminds me of the belt Henry Cavill’s Superman has which has a centerpiece but doesn’t quite meet in the middle. The new costume is better because at least it has a little bit of color, but it’s so thin with too much space and it makes the entire costume look like pajamas.
Lastly, and perhaps the biggest misstep of the costume, are the boots which immediately beg the question: Are Superman’s boots the same color as his costume, or is his new costume a giant onesie? I mentioned before that the thin belt makes it look pajamas, but Superman needs to start eating his Booty-Os because this costume has some built in booties. The two red stripes suggest that they might be separate boots, but it doesn’t matter if they are or they aren’t, it matters what they look like, and it looks like Superman gets into his costume feet first.
It’s still a few months to see how the new costume will look in motion when drawn by artists like Patrick Gleason, Patrick Zircher and Francis Manapul. As of now, it’s a mixed bag but overall an improvement on the armored look of The New 52.
And hey, it could be worse…