But some female heroes haven’t been so lucky as to get more practical makeovers. Take for example Elizabeth Olsen's cleavage-baring Avengers: Infinity War look, which Olsen says isn't exactly her personal cup of tea for a character wading into battle with Mad Titans. Even she'll admit it's a step up from Wanda's comic book look, but in her words costumes like hers aren't "representing the average woman."
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Here, we will take a look at the very best of the best when it comes to superhero design. Do note that we are working with at least one major caveat, that the superheroes in question have iconic costumes. It does not do you much good to have a really cool costume if no one knows who you are. As a result, we are heavily weighing in the cultural impact of the costume design when we rank them. Where does a costume stand, historically, within the medium itself? That is one of the most important questions that we address when we start our ranking of the best superhero costumes of all-time.
Silly as it may seem, the 1960's Batman TV show had a lot going for it in the costume department. While Adam West's Batman was less a dark knight than a kind of schlubby guy in tights, Burt Ward's Robin was almost a direct translation of the Boy Wonder's classic look, pixie boots and all. Additionally, Yvonne Craig's flashy, sexy Batgirl defined the character's look in a way that is still felt in modern takes on the costume, where it's common place to inject some purple into Batgirl's palette.
Harley is one of the most entertaining villains Batman has to fight occasionally, second only to the Joker. She is the Joker's lover and partner in crime, although their relationship is weird on so many levels. Harley used to be a normal psychiatric intern in Arkham Asylum, where she met the Joker and then turned into the crazy person she is today.
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It’s a good thing Wonder Woman is here to watch the little ones, because we’re not sure The Riddler is going to best the best guardian over the young superheroes in training. Batman, Robin , and Catwoman can team up to hit the neighborhood in search of the best treats, but while The Riddler is busy trying to vex the neighbors with tricks and riddles, Wonder Woman can provide a watchful eye over her superheroes in training. When it comes to taking the yearly photo of the group, just let each member bust out their signature moves. Batman and Robin can look like stoic Gotham City residents, even while Catwoman throws her claws up in anticipation of a brand new heist. The Riddler is sure to be laughing, but as for Wonder Woman? Well, she’s the one that holds the group together. (Be it with her motherly instincts or just by keeping the Golden Lasso of Truth handy!)
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That said, like some other cliches, the sashes kept being used because they really do work. When Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum took over X-Men, one of their goals was to revamp Marvel Girl, Jean Grey, and make her a bigger character. One of the ways they were going to do this was to give her a new costume and a new codename to replace the outdated "Marvel Girl" one. Cockrum went through a wide variety of looks for Jean before coming up with this excellent costume that also worked well when John Byrne changed the color scheme to make her Dark Phoenix. Cockrum's design for Ms. Marvel deserves a note here. It didn't make the list as it was a bit too skimpy of a costume, but otherwise, it was a great look (and of course, it also had a sash).
Over the years, though, in an attempt to lighten the character up, the black of Batman's costume became bluer and bluer and during the 1960s, DC even added a yellow oval behind Batman's bat symbol on his chest. In the 21st Century, however, artists have re-embraced that classic design and gone in the direction that Jim Lee took the costume during "Hush," which is to make it dark and have the chest symbol return to just a black one without the yellow oval, which brought a little too much lightness to the design. Frank Miller famously was initially stuck with the yellow oval look in Dark Knight Returns, but then had Batman shot in the chest. When he fixed the costume, the yellow oval was gone for the rest of the series!