Marvel Comics’ supervillains changing their costumes and gimmicks is both exciting and necessary. It’s always great to see how an artist would reimagine a classic Marvel supervillain for the modern age. In some special cases, a formerly heroic character is given a villainous redesign as part of a plot twist or a new event.
That being said, not all Marvel villains are lucky enough to get a great redesign. Some Marvel villains’ new costumes are unintentionally hilarious, while others contradict their original characterization and motives. More often than not, these bad designs were born from well-intentioned but misguided attempts to improve certain villains.
10/10 Paste-Pot Pete’s Upgrades Kept Getting More Laughable
Paste-Pot Pete was one of Marvel Comics’ very first supervillains. Since he debuted in 1962, Paste-Pot Pete’s goofy attire and gimmick are understandable and even nostalgic. However, Marvel Comics constantly tried to reinvent Paste-Pot Pete into a legitimate threat. This led to an array of worsening costumes.
Paste-Pot Pete traded his jumpsuit for tactical gear while keeping his adhesive weapons. He also renamed himself “Trapster.” Trapster was more intimidating, but he was indistinguishable from other hired guns and D-list villains. Paste-Pot Pete was silly, but he was more fun and memorable than his edgy self.
9/10 Kangaroo II Turned His Legacy Into A Punchline
The first Kangaroo (Frank Oliver) was a classic strongman who just so happened to base his fighting style and gimmick on his namesake marsupial. After Oliver died, Brian Hibbs took up the “Kangaroo” name. Hibbs idolized Oliver and emulated him, but he later traded his idol’s old-school look for hilariously bad power armor.
After losing to Spider-Man in a matter of seconds, Hibbs bought kangaroo-styled power armor from a catalog to get the upper hand. The power armor didn’t help Hibbs, and he quickly became a recurring joke. The original Kangaroo was the product of a bygone trend, but he wasn’t a joke the way his successor was.
8/10 Ultimate Shocker Lacked His Original Novelty
Ultimate Marvel’s goal was to ground and modernize Marvel Comics’ heightened universe. This led to many bad design changes that conflated dour costumes for realism. Shocker was one of the worst affected. Instead of a campy but memorable jumpsuit, the Ultimate Shocker looked like a rock band reject.
Ultimate Shocker’s redesign embodied the tiresome trend of the 2000s, where inherently fanciful characters had their artifice removed under the pretense that a lack of imagination was “realistic.” For what it’s worth, Ultimate Shocker’s lackluster look and status as a joke were important parts of his characterization.
7/10 Ultimate Mysterio Looked Too Much Like Ghost Rider
Mysterio is one of the most recognizable supervillains in comic book history. But in Ultimate Marvel, Mysterio looked like a Ghost Rider knock-off. Originally, Mysterio wore a glass dome over a classic supervillain suit. In Earth-1610, Mysterio wore unremarkable black gear and replaced his dome with a head encased in blue fire.
Both Mysterios had the same powers and abilities, although Ultimate Mysterio used brute force more than his illusions and schemes. As a result, Ultimate Mysterio was both edgier and less thoughtful than the original. Ultimate Mysterio was eventually retconned into an android created by the Earth-616 Mysterio.
6/10 MAX Bullseye Was A Generic Serial Killer
One of the best and worst things about Punisher’s MAX run was how realistic it was. This creative decision worked for an ex-soldier like Frank Castle, but it didn’t really work for a costumed villain like Bullseye. In the MAX continuity, Bullseye looked just like any of the other criminals that the Punisher killed.
The only thing MAX Bullseye kept from his mainstream appearances was his logo, which was tattooed on his forehead. MAX Bullseye compensated for his boring design by being an uncontrollable monster. As seen in Daredevil’s latest run, there is a way to modernize Bullseye without removing his costume’s personality.
5/10 Ultimate Green Goblin Was A Literal, Boring Monster
Norman Osborn was always a monster, but his time in Ultimate Marvel took this literally. After injecting the experimental OZ serum into himself in the hopes of getting superpowers, Norman transformed into a giant monstrous goblin. This Goblin had real powers as well, meaning he didn’t need a glider and pumpkin bombs.
The problem with Ultimate Green Goblin was that he looked more like a Hulk villain than Spider-Man’s nemesis. What made the classic Green Goblin terrifying was that, despite his costume and powers, he was just an ordinary but truly evil person. Ultimate Green Goblin ditched this symbolism for a generic brute.
4/10 Ultimate Galactus’ Second Form Just Retreaded Old Ground
One of the most interesting things that Ultimate Marvel did was reimagine Galactus into Gah Lak Tus. If Galactus was a giant god who devoured planets, Gah Lak Tus was a sentient army of machines that consumed all life they came across. Unfortunately, Ultimate Marvel didn’t fully commit to Gah Lak Tus.
After failing to eat Earth, Gah Lak Tus crossed paths with the classic Galactus. The two merged to create a new Galactus, who was just the original Galactus with a darker color scheme. Galactus and Gah Lak Tus becoming one new cosmic supervillain was clever, but their fusion’s design was incredibly lazy.
3/10 Magneto Ditched Everything That Made Him Iconic When He Became A Hero
In the late ’80s, Magneto temporarily renounced his villainy and reinvented himself as a hero. To commemorate his change in morals and his new position as the headmaster of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Magneto wore a new costume. The problem was that Magneto’s heroic look made him look like a disposable superhero.
As a villain, Magneto was instantly recognizable and imposing. As a hero, Magneto looked too much like an older Adam Warlock or Sentry. Magneto’s new look was as temporary as his heroic turn. By 1991, Magneto returned to his villainous ways and donned his classic costume once again.
In the ’90s, Marvel Comics tried to revamp Magneto for a younger and edgier audience. Their solution was to kill Magneto and have his teenage clone, Joseph, take his mantle. Unsurprisingly, Joseph was rejected almost immediately by readers. Joseph was then retconned into an entirely separate character from Magneto.
Joseph looked and acted more like one of the X-Men’s spunky teen mutants than a younger Erik Lehnsherr. Readers also couldn’t accept that Joseph replaced Magneto. It’s worth noting that Joseph was only really accepted when he came back as an unrepenting villain who Magneto and the X-Men had to kill.
1/10 Malice, The Mistress Of Hate Was More Uncomfortable Than Intended
One of the worst trends of older comics was how a superhero would announce their turn to villainy by donning a new suggestive costume. This is exactly what happened to Invisible Woman. After Psycho-Man tapped into Invisible Woman’s darkest impulses, she became Malice, the Mistress of Hate.
Malice followed the trend set by Jean Grey’s transformation into Phoenix, but she lacked her inspiration’s nuance and purpose. Malice’s outfit was literally just a dominatrix’s attire. It’s also hard not to see Malice as the vilification of alternate lifestyles when contrasted with Invisible Woman’s heroic conservative style.
NEXT: 10 Most Popular Supervillain Designs In Marvel Comics