When reading comics, audiences naturally accept that Batman‘s skintight suit is actually a special type of armor that exists only in the DC universe. Much like how the Fantastic Four and so many of the heroes in the Marvel universe wear unstable molecules, it is understood that many of DC’s heroes wear some kind of heavy armor that is very light and easy to wash. It’s comic book magic.
Sometimes there will be heroes who wear thicker armor. That style of armor is usually important to the character in some way; for example, Steel and Iron Man build their own armors. Then there are heroes who, for whatever reason, wear armor that not only makes no sense but seems completely useless. These are the 10 most useless suits of armor in DC…
10 Booster Gold
Booster Gold‘s usual costume is one of the slickest in comics. The gold and blue coloring instantly help him stand out in a crowd of heroes, and it has a great futuristic feel to it, which is fitting since his suit comes from the future.
But there was a period in the comics where Booster’s usual super suit was destroyed and he was forced to wear something…clunky. After the Justice League was taken apart by Doomsday during the Death of Superman, Booster was forced to wear this horrible looking armor to keep playing superhero. Thankfully, it didn’t last too long.
When Batman’s back was broken by Bane, readers were shocked that Azrael and not Nightwing was chosen to take up the mantle of the Dark Knight. Then readers were horrified as Azrael kept making changes to the costume until he had created this monstrosity of an armored suit.
The Azbat armor is a perfect encapsulation of what the mid to late 1990s was like for comics. Weird pouches everywhere, sharp blades in rather poorly positioned spots, and not a single piece of the suit looks comfortable or easy to put on. What would happen when the Bat-signal went off? Would Azrael call Commissioner Gordon and let him know that he would be there in no less than an hour?
8 Red Rocket Brigade
With the United States having a plethora of superpowered beings, the Soviet Union felt the need to have some kind of military response just to be safe. That is where the Rocket Red Brigade came in.
This army of armored men was more than capable of handling the more common threats that may come up, but whenever Guy Gardner, arguably the most annoying of all the Green Lanterns, felt like crossing into Russia’s borders and causing an international incident, everyone got to see how useless the Rocket Red armor really was.
For their now-classic miniseries Kingdom Come, Mark Waid and Alex Ross created Magog to represent everything they thought was wrong with the comics of the 1990s. He had cool scars, a crazy helmet, and some rather questionable armor. In the end, Ross came to love the design he created for the character, but there is no denying that Magog’s armor is pretty useless.
Having just half your chest and one arm covered while wearing what appears to be cargo pants covered in pouches isn’t going to stop a bullet from going right through your stomach. Plus, it seems like dressing like that would be bad for colder climates. You’re going to get very chilly, and suddenly you’re asking your friends if you can borrow their capes to keep warm.
6 Catwoman Armor
The entire concept of Catwoman is that she is a cat burglar who took the whole “cat” thing literally. She is a thief who moves quickly and quietly, never being seen as she robs a museum or the home of some stuffed shirt billionaire.
You know, like a cat. So, naturally, DC comics gave her a big clunky suit of armor in 1997. Built by some guy named Clutterbuck, the armor has everything you wouldn’t want, including giant claws that ensure Catwoman can’t pick anything up and a sculpted belly button for some reason.
The 1990s were a really rough decade for costumes and character concepts as everyone tried to copy the success of the Image artists. Looking to make the Golden Age character Doctor Fate edgier, DC changed his name to Fate and had the character melt his iconic helmet and turn it into magical daggers.
As if that wasn’t enough of a bad idea, the character also grew a mullet, got an ankh tattoo over his eye, and traded his great looking costume for a red onesie. He did take the time to put armor over his right shoulder for some reason. What good that one piece of armor would do is anyone’s guess.
For a character that had one storyline, Savitar stands out as one of the best villains the Flash has ever faced. Able to give and take speed from others, and being as fast as the Flash, Savitar and his army of Speed Ninjas were a serious threat to the Flash family. Without spoiling anything significant about Dead Heat, the Flashes were never the same after Savitar came around.
While Savitar was a great character, he too suffered from a case of 1990s design, including the useless armor. His entire chest is exposed, but the guy took the time to armor up his forearms and face. To be fair to Savitar, it isn’t like every Flash costume is a home run.
3 Dark Knight Armor
Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is one of the greatest comic stories ever told. Featuring an old Batman as he comes out of retirement when his city needs him the most, Miller showed the world a version of the Caped Crusader that was never seen before, including some very cool looking armor that was designed to help Batman fight Superman.
Then, as Batman and Superman finally come together to duke it out in the finale of the series, Superman just rips the armor right off of Batman. For the Man of Steel, all that metal is little more than tissue paper, even after getting an exploding Kryptonite arrow to the face. That armor did nothing.
Since Kingdom Come takes place in the future of the DC universe, maybe Magog got his armor concept from Aquaman. After getting his hand eaten by some piranha, the King of Atlantis decided to ditch his classic orange scale armor shirt and replace it with something that let him show off his abs.
This was all an attempt by DC to make Aquaman “cool” but all it did was make him look like a guy who was trying way too hard to be cool. As with all the costume changes from the 1990s, this one didn’t stick around for too long.
After the destruction of Coast City, Hal Jordan, arguably the greatest Green Lantern of them all, went mad. His madness drove him to kill every other Green Lantern he came across and take their power rings for himself. When he finally reached the planet Oa, home of the Guardians and headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan powered up all the rings he had and became Parallax.
The Green Lantern rings let the wearer create any construct they can imagine; therefore, for whatever reason, Hal Jordan imagined some big armor with even bigger shoulder pads. Why a guy who is wearing a suit made of light would want to look like he’s wearing clunky armor is anyone’s guess.
While DC's heroes and villains have put on some awesome suits of armor over the years, not all of the outfits have been great or even useful.