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Jacketed Justice: Nine Heroes Who Suddenly Bundled Up in the '90s

Jacketed Justice: Nine Heroes Who Suddenly Bundled Up in...

By Joshua Lapin-Bertone Thursday, November 10th, 2022

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The ’90s, a time for dial-up internet, holographic comic covers, the Macarena, and jackets on superheroes. Yeah, we can’t really explain it, but for some reason lots of superheroes tried adding jackets to their costumes to close out the twentieth century. It was a ’90s thing for certain, which was a time for outlandish superhero costumes in general. But jackets were their own unique, not-fully-explainable thing. To be fair, some of the heroes who decided to add some layers to their look were able to pull it off. Some of them…well, let’s just a say that a few of these suits are probably best left in whatever drawer holds your old pogs, color-changing t-shirts and Beanie Babies. From the good, to the bad, to the outright embarrassing, here are nine superheroes who tried to juice things up with a jacket.


Wonder Woman

As Seen In: 1994’s Wonder Woman #93-100

Diana is a fashion icon who can make any look work—except for this. Hippolyta had fired Diana as Wonder Woman, replacing her with Artemis, so Diana responded by dressing like a biker, complete with a bizarre push-up bra and a Wonder Woman-inspired leather jacket. We appreciate the effort, Diana, but black is Batman’s color.

Verdict: Put that back in the closet, then barricade that closet door shut.


The Ray

As Seen In: The 1994 Ray series and subsequent appearances.

Ray Terrill’s jacket shouldn’t make sense. He’s a glowing piece of sunlight, therefore he shouldn’t get cold, but I suppose that wasn’t going to get in the way of a good bit of accessorizing. The fact that his body is made of living light really allows the jacket to stand out, especially since his other clothing is pretty obscured. Overall, it doesn’t make sense…but is does look cool. Perhaps that’s why the Ray’s jacket continues to be used in the modern era.

Verdict: The Ray’s jacket is was the fire emoji was created for.


Terra II

As Seen In: The 1992 Team Titans series and many other appearances.

Hey everyone, remember Terra from “The Judas Contract?” Well she’s back, and now she has a bomber jacket. Terra II was never sure if she was a reincarnated version of Tara Markov or an amnesiac doppelganger from an alternate timeline. Since it was the ’90s she coped with this identity crisis by wearing a jacket.

Verdict: While it might not have been the flashiest look, it was a good way to tell her apart from the original Terra. And it’s the perfect look for DC Bombshells, if that line of comics and collectibles ever returns.


Supergirl

As Seen In: 1996’s Supergirl #4

Gorilla Grodd brainwashed Supergirl into turning evil, which also clearly meant she had to wear a leather jacket. After all that’s what Sandy in Grease wore when she got in touch with her bad side at the end, right? As soon as Grodd’s spell was broken Linda ditched the jacket, which is a shame because we never got to see her duet with John Travolta before she did.

Verdict: We go togeeether like rama-lama-lama— Wait a minute, no. Nothing about this goes together. Not Supergirl and the jacket, not the creepy armless doll on the floor and definitely not Gorilla Grodd sitting on his throne like a far-furrier Black Adam. Besides, jackets were already Superboy’s thing.


Guy Gardner

As Seen In: Guy Gardner: Reborn, Guy Gardner: Warrior and subsequent ’90s comics.

Even Guy Gardner wasn’t immune to the ’90s jacket craze. His iconic Green Lantern uniform was already a vest, but clearly in the ’90s going sleeveless just wouldn’t do. After revamping himself with a yellow power ring, the vest became a jacket. In brightest day, in blackest night, no hero shall escape this ’90s-era costume fad.

Verdict: This look works well for Guy, although to be fair, it’s just his old look with different colors and more sleeves.


Rocket

As Seen In: 1993’s Icon #1 and beyond.

Attitude is the key to making a jacket work as part of a superhero ensemble and Raquel Ervin has that in spades. The color and size of her jacket have varied over the years, but the look remains timeless.

The Verdict: A ’90s fashion icon, and probably why half these heroes decided to try this look in the first place.


Nightwing

As Seen In: The New Titans #14

What on Earth was Dick thinking? This thing was hideous, and his five o’clock shadow and unkempt look didn’t help things at all. The fact that the jacket has the same pattern as the costume makes it look even more bizarre. Now, to be fair, Dick was going through some stuff at the time. He and Starfire were breaking up, the Titans had fired him as leader and Bruce Wayne had chosen someone else to inherit the Batman mantle. The jacket represented his rock bottom.

Verdict: Dick is a millionaire now, which means he has more than enough money to ensure that all existing evidence that he ever wore this suit is destroyed.


Starman

As Seen In: The 1994 Starman series.

Jack Knight was a different kind of superhero, representing the post-Nirvana attitude of Gen X. Instead of a uniform, he fought crime in clothes he was comfortable in, which usually included a jacket. And he looked good doing it. Just call him Jacket Knight.

The Verdict: Jack Knight makes this ensemble look extremely cool, in part because he’s not trying to look cool. The result is easily one of the most dynamic superhero designs of the ’90s.


Superboy

As Seen In: The Adventures of Superman #500 and the dozens of books that followed.

This look shouldn’t work, but it does. The black leather jacket doesn’t exactly match the red and blue costume it covers, but something about this ensemble is just kismet. Maybe it’s because Superboy is himself a mix of two things that shouldn’t go together—Superman and Lex Luthor. Whatever the reason, Conner Kent is the definitive jacketed superhero with a costume that serves as the perfect snapshot of ’90s-era excess. And much like that decade in comics, it’s a little ridiculous, but undeniably a lot of fun.

The Verdict: Sheer 1990s perfection. I’m sincerely surprised we haven’t ever gotten a line of Conner Kent-inspired designer jackets.
 

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.