Movie Superheroes Wear Black

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"People may buy that our character has radioactive powers or is from another planet, but a colorful spandex costume?! Are you crazy?! No audience will accept that! Nope, it's one color, head-to-toe leather for our hero!"
Strong Bad, "Comic Book Movie"

Whenever a character is well defined by wearing bright and colorful clothing, there is an increasing likelihood of a more modernized redesign that puts them into darker, if not outright black outfit. Also very popular is to give them a leather jacket or similar heavily texturized clothing. This isn't necessarily to make the characters Darker and Edgier, but because colorful costumes don't always translate well into seeming like practical combat outfits. As the name suggests, this is very common with the movie adaptation of a superhero comic book, or live action material in general.

Usual justification is to make the suit actually practical or add a sense of realism, since spandex isn't known for stopping bullets (and the look of superhero costumes originated in circuses and other performance art). Black also looks very good on camera (compare Little Black Dress on that) and certain colors are either difficult to maintain consistency under different lighting or would actually make the use of certain Chroma Key effects more complicated. At other times they retain some degree of the original colors but offset it by being darker shades or pairing it with black pants or jacket. Sometimes there is outright tactical redesigns that emulate the original look but looks like armor or otherwise utilitarian rather than strictly a skin tight outfit. It's typically involved with a Pragmatic Adaptation as complete fidelity to the source material often leads towards absurdist imagery, which is fine for works like Kick-Ass or the '66 Batman but can hinder a more serious interpretation of the characters. But this doesn't always happen strictly in adaptations, ultimately it's about black or darker redesigns. Retools and remakes also use it quite often to fit with evolving audience expectations. Almost any brightly colored comic book character of any merit has a "black variant" sometime in their history.

For female characters, this can often lead to Adaptational Modesty.

The trope has older roots, but the Trope Codifier is the X-Men Film Series, where a very colorful group of comics characters used primarily black leather outfits, while non-X-Men characters usually wore common street attire. The reasoning given by the production is that the X-Men are a team and should have uniforms, and that since few characters were Nigh Invulnerable or had a Healing Factor the outfits should look somewhat protective. Subtle color highlights were used as a Mythology Gag to their original outfits, and a joke was made about the oddities of both the movie costumes (while they blended into the night they still stuck out in public) and if they would prefer going into a fight with yellow spandex.

Sister Trope to Spandex, Latex, or Leather.

Compare Civvie Spandex, Not Wearing Tights, Marquee Alter Ego, Dark Is Not Evil, Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames.

Contrast Evil Wears Black.

Examples:

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     Comic Books 

  • The Ultimates gives several of the characters altered costumes to make them resemble a more realistic, movie-style version of their classic selves. Most notable examples are:
    • Hawkeye goes from purple and blue suit with mask and loincloth, to a black and red sleeveless outfit that includes sunglasses
    • The Wasp goes from a variety of different outfits that are usually brightly coloured, to a black and yellow two piece leather number, which she alters repeatedly over the course of the sequels
    • Ant-Man/Giant-Man goes from a brightly coloured outifts that usually include red, black, yellow, or blue with a large helmet, to an orange/oxblood red outfit with a simple mask
    • Miles Morales, the second Ultimate Spider-Man, wears a black suit, but this has less to do with resembling a movie costume and more to do with distinguishing him from his predecessor.
  • DC's New 52 and Marvel's Marvel NOW! relaunch feature redesigns for most of the characters in both universes, usually along the lines of armored or leather suits designed to resemble film outfits (including Superman, whose outfit looks somewhat like segmented armor). Averted in some cases, such as Daredevil (who retains his usual red outfit due to the popularity of his ongoing series, which is intended to step away from Darker and Edgier territory), the X-Men (with exception of Cyclops' new Uncanny team, they all retain their usual outfits), Hawkeye (who already went through a redesign to be more film like), and a few other examples, usually ones whose outfits wouldn't need much altering to pass into films.
    • Notably, during the second wave of Marvel NOW!, Wolverine, who had kept his previous Astonishing era costume during the initial relaunch (largely because, unlike some examples, his suit at the time didn't need updating since it looked reasonable enough as it was), switched to a black and gold armoured suit designed by the Superior Spider-Man in order to compensate for him being Brought Down to Normal.
    • Speaking of such, Superior Spider-Man saw this trope played straight twice. First, he's introduced using a black-and-red suit with claws, defined lenses on the eyes, and a more menacing general appearance; as he was a darker figure, it helped to reflect that he wasn't as heroic or moral as Peter Parker. Later, as he descends further into his villainous tendencies, his suit was altered once more, now becoming almost entirely black, save for a creepy red spider-like chest symbol of sorts and his mask, along with spider leg-like mechanical appendages and generally looking more practical, though also more intimidating; as he was, at this point, an actual Villain Protagonist, this helped to make him look more like a villain, so that when Peter Parker returns, his return to the classic, heroic costume would stand out far more.
  • Jessica Jones, former Spider-Woman Jessica Drew and Luke Cage all wear plain clothes in the Marvel MAX Alias series. For action sequences, they tend to favor overcoats.
    Jessica Jones: Not wearing your costume?
    Jessica Drew: Made my ass look big.
    Jessica Jones: I hear you. Thank god for The Matrix huh?

    Luke Cage: I'm not about the tights and shit. Never was.
  • Very briefly after his return from the dead, Superman sported an all black spandex suit with a metallic S-shield, and a mullet. He went back to the trademark red and blue tights before the story's end, although the mullet remained for a couple of years. This led to some confusion (on both sides) when a time warp occurred during the events of Zero Hour! and various Batmen from the character's then-55-year history began showing up in Metropolis. The first Batman that Superman comes across is the one from the 1970s, and at first he doesn't realize this isn't the modern Batman.
    Seventies Batman: [looking at Superman's mullet] Not going "hippie" on us, are you?
    Superman: "Hippie"?!
    • Incidentally, there was an in-story explanation for the black suit: It was designed to help him absorb sunlight faster, as he was still recovering from the fight that seemingly killed him at the start of the arc.
  • Bucky Barnes, when he became the new Captain America, donned a modified suit that was largely black, with a shiny blue mask and chest piece, along with covering his ears. It was mentioned that the suit was designed In-Universe by The Wasp, as she had felt like Cap's suit needed an update. For the most part, the suit served to distinguish him from Steve Rogers' Captain America identity, but also helped reflect how Bucky wasn't quite a paragon like Steve was.

     Fan Works 

     Film - Animation 
  • Superman: Doomsday, being an adaptation of The Death of Superman arc, has Superman wearing the black suit from the comics, with the same explanation; that it absorbs solar power, and he's still recovering from his "death". Presumably, he switches back at the end.
  • Inverted for Big Hero 6. Honey Lemon wears a black bra and leggings in the comics, with a red leather jacket. The film gives her a more colorful pink number with a skirt over purple tights. GoGo has a yellow and purple costume in the comic, but the purple is changed to black for the film (though yellow is still the predominant color). The others wear their comic accurate costumes.

     Film - Live Action 
  • The big-screen Batman is the Trope Maker. You'd think it'd be hard to make the dark knight any darker, but in the comics and shows, shades of gray and even blue-gray in addition to the gold belt and (sometimes) matching oval around the bat symbol make for a character with as many different colors as Superman - or more! This doesn't change in even the darkest comics eras. More than one film has thrown that out the window in favor of black-on-black-on-black, starting with the 1990 original, although the final two sequels went with dark blue and silver.
    • Catwoman routinely wears black rubber or leather in all of her film incarnations. That includes Halle Berry, too. Prior to the first Tim Burton Batman movie, and for a while afterwards, comic book Catwoman tended towards purple spandex or dresses.
    • Chris O'Donnell's Robin wears a suit not dissimilar from Bruce's, with a slightly modified bat emblem (actually the Nightwing emblem from the comics) on the front. His first costume was somewhat inspired by the Tim Drake Robin suit, and would ironically be, sans nipples, the New 52 design for the default Robin attire.
    • The Dark Knight Saga Batsuits are also black but take things a step further in that they don't even have a yellow circle around the bat-symbol.note 
  • DC Extended Universe
    • Man of Steel sees Superman in a darker rendition of his classic suit. In most shots, even some in the broadest daylight, it looks almost black, but compared to the invading Kryptonians in black armor he does stand out. The trademark red trunks are also removed and some detailing is added to make the suit seem more "alien", though this ties with the concurrent comics, where they've also been ditched. Also, during an induced hallucination/dream/whatever, Superman wears a black costume with a silver S and no cape.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for the first time has Batman wear the black-and-gray suit; as well as gray Powered Armor, both of which appear to be heavily influenced by the character's appearance in The Dark Knight Returns. Similarly; Wonder Woman's suit is still red and blue, and her red and white Thigh-High Boots have also been replaced with armored gold boots with red on the sides, but the colors are significantly more muted, and she appears only at night — you can be forgiven for truly believing she wore brown (behind-the-scenes shots show that is indeed red and blue, but Zack Snyder's usual sepia-tone color filters turn it brown onscreen.) Superman's suit was redesigned to be brighter than in MOS, but is still comparatively darker.
      • Someone once compared the red in Supermanís costume in broad daylight to the Jokerís lipstick in The Dark Knight at night. Supermanís actually darker!
    • Suicide Squad features an inversion with Harley Quinn. She is best known for her black and red harlequin costume, which is seen briefly but for most of the film she wears a tattered white t-shirt (saying "Daddy's Little Monster" on it) with sparkly blue hot pants, and uses bright pink and sky blue for her make-up and Girlish Pigtails.
    • Wonder Woman has her outfit be more of an ethereal blue and red, deliberately contrasting BVS as Diana is fresh faced and the armor brand new.
    • Justice League includes a number of examples. Batman's previous black-and-gray costume becomes more of a uniform black like prior Batman movies. Flash wears bright red armor with some yellow and the white Chest Insignia, but has a black undersuit. Cyborg has greater emphasis on his black and silver body and red lights. On the other hand, Superman's red and blue suit is brighter than it was in prior DCEU films. As for Wonder Woman, her red and blue have darkened to be more like Superman used to look in Man of Steel and BVS, but it's still closer to her customary look than her brown outfit from BVS). Additionally, a black and silver version of Superman's costume briefly shows up in a deleted scene, likely as a nod to the Death of Superman example mentioned below in the Superman Lives entry.
  • Death Note depicted L in a white long-sleeved shirt and jeans. The L in Death Note (2017) is given an all-black outfit, complete with a hood and scarf to hide his face from Death Note users. He begins wearing a red jacket later on, however, symbolizing his more aggressive investigation of Light.
  • Power Rangers
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie movie didn't tone down the heroes' colors, but gave them padded, techier-looking suits. Interestingly, later series like Ninja Storm, SPD and Operation Overdrive would outfit the heroes in black leather when they weren't in full multicolored Ranger form.
    • The 2017 Power Rangers movie retains the colors, but with darker shades. Also, the suits now look like advanced body armor instead of spandex.
  • The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk TV movie features Daredevil in a black costume; this was around the time Batman hit cinemas.
  • All the GI Joes in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra were put in black spy catsuits for the movie, rather than each having a distinct, unique, and colorful costume as they have in other adaptations.
  • Kevin Smith's and later Tim Burton's Superman Lives project from the nineties would've shown Supes in black and silver; early concepts, show it more of a bluish-silver because producer Jon Peters thought the blue-and-red suit was "too faggy". The comic book story on which it was based did have Superman wearing a black and silver outfit at the story's climax. It was the Nineties. Despite this, concept art and photos of alternate designs have since made their way onto the internet, including a few outfits that looked much closer to the classic blue and red tights, albeit with darker hues.
  • Superman Returns changed the suit color to a darker blue, with the red cape and trunks more of a burgundy. Supposedly, the bright red color would have interfered with the digital effects. Also, when we first see him in his space ship, he's got a silver uniform that looks black.
  • This is pretty obvious in the Watchmen movie, where Ozymandias' purple robes are replaced with a form fitting dark purple and gold body armor (that homaged/parodied the Batman nipple-suits). Silk Spectre and Nite Owl's costumes get a similar overhaul as well. However, The Comedian's outfit still has quite a bit of yellow in it.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Lampshaded in X-Men when Cyclops quips that Wolverine might prefer "yellow spandex" instead of his black leather. And while it isn't the first recorded instance of this, it's certainly the Trope Codifier and is generally what people immediately think of when this trope comes up. Notably, a short clip is on the first movie DVD in which Hugh Jackman runs around the set in a comic-accurate Wolverine costume, and absolutely nobody is taking it seriously. The leather suits turned out not be so good at moving around in, however; James Marsden has stated that the cast hated the tight leather suits and there is a blooper scene where he and Hugh Jackman can't scale a short concrete barrier because the suit refuses to move as much as they need to.
    • Averted in X-Men: First Class ó with justification, given it's a Origin Story. The X-Men wear kevlar-like yellow and blue suits reminiscent of the comics. The villains (aside from Emma Frost) do wear black, even if Shaw has a white tux at a certain point. Meanwhile, Magneto adopts his classic red and purple costume from the comics in the final scene, but this suit ended up not being used in future films because of the Narm reaction from audiences.
    • Averted and played straight in The Wolverine. Harada (Silver Samurai in the comics) wears a practical black outfit for most of the movie, but Yashida dons a suit of silver Powered Armor in the finale.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • The Bad Future X-Men wear practical black body armor.
      • Young Magneto wears a costume that's a cross between his red outfit from the ending of First Class and the black suit Ian McKellen wore in the original trilogy. Its red is quite darkened.
    • Deadpool's title character averts this, as he wears an exact replica of the classic red and black spandex costume he has in the comics. He straight up lampshades this trope in both the actual movie and this test footage/trailer:
      Deadpool: "Oh, hello there. I bet you're wondering why the red suit? Well that's so bad guys can't see me bleed. Let's hope these guys brought their brown pants!"
      • Negasonic Teenage Warhead plays this straight and averts it. As a goth, her civilian gear consists of black leather, but she also wears a yellow X-Men uniform that looks like it came straight out of a comic book. It's probably the most comic-accurate X-Men uniform since the ones seen in X-Men: First Class.
      • Ajax and Angel Dust play this straight. Weasel even jokes about how they look like they're going to a midnight showing of Blade II.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse plays both sides. In some cases it averts it altogether, particularly in the case of Psylocke: Betsy's costume is practically a right-off-the-page recreation of the 90s Jim Lee Thongkini. Likewise, Jubilee gets to wear wear her classic bright yellow coat, jeans, big hoop earrings, and pink sunglasses, while Apocalypse is blue and draws inspiration from his classic look including tubes running along his head. Both averted and played straight with the X-Men themselves. They spend most of the film in black body armor similar to the uniforms from the original movies (actually flight suits they take from a military base), but the final scene shows them all in colorful costumes straight out of the comics. Nightcrawler even has his trademark red outfit.
    • Magneto's new costume gains a brighter red (still dark compared to what's seen in comics and cartoons, but a lot brighter than the near-brown seen in DOFP.) and also has silver accents.
    • Deadpool 2 zig-zags with this. In addition to the Deadpool and Negasonic Teenage Warhead examples already mentioned, new characters Domino and Bedlam wear black tactical outfits. However, Shatterstar sports his classic white costume from Rob Liefeld's X-Force, which is lovingly recreated in all its ridiculous 90s glory.
    • In X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the X-Men wear yellow and black uniforms that were heavily inspired by the outfits from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's New X-Men run.
  • Frank Miller's adaptation of The Spirit saw the titular hero swap his blue Coat, Hat, Mask from the comics for a black variation of the same ensemble. Then again, the entire world seemed to have made a swap of a black variation of their ensemble.
    • Miller is known to prefer the black and white reprints over the original color comics. Some think it adds an extra bit of noir to the more dramatic stories.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy
    • While Peter does wear his classic red-and-blue webs, the colors are a little darker and more muted than in the comics; likewise, the film emphasizes thick black webline patterns covering all across the red part of his suit and over his face where in the comics the lines were thinner. Averted with the Green Goblin, whose costume and suit is a full-body bright emerald green with a mask with yellow lenses; this is far brighter than his comics look, which has him dress in moss-green and dark purple with normal eyes. Notably, the muted nature of Spider-Man's costume gets offset in the fights with the Goblin, since the bright primary colors pop out during the action. (Alex Ross designed concept art of a black and red costume that eventually showed up as an alternate skin in video games and was redesigned into the Superior Spider-Man suit.)
    • Doctor Octopus' classic look consists of a green and yellow body suit with a white lab coat, laboratory goggles and four silver armatures that stick out of his body. In Spider-Man 2, he goes shirtless and wears a dark Badass Longcoat with a pair of chic sunglasses, while his arms are ugly dirt-covered metal appendages with Red sensor lights sticking out of them.
    • In Spider-Man 3, Harry Osborn as "the New Goblin" is primarily black, with only a few very dark green highlights. Peter's Symbiote Suit is a very dark gray version of his regular costume, instead of the pitch black suit with big bright white spider on the chest and back from the comics. The same suit transfers to Venom. (The weblines and spider emblem remain black, but theyíre shiny so itís still visible.) Averted with Flint Marko/Sandman, who wears the classic green pinstriped T-Shirt.
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Electro wears a black and blue outfit rather than his colorful green tights from the comics.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Averted from the get go in Iron Man - the Mk.3 armour has the classic red-on-gold colour scheme, which is remarked upon as being "ostentatious" by JARVIS. Most of his principal suits throughout the MCU have maintained this, though some have been red and silver, rather than gold.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger:
      • The HYDRA troops wear green and yellow uniforms in the comics, but had black body armor in the movie. And of course, Bucky wears military gear instead of the colorful red-and-blue uniform and Domino Mask he wore in the Golden Age comics. Notably, though, it's still colored blue rather than looking like traditional military colors, so it still looks, for the most part, like the Bucky costume.
      • Captain America's comic outfit (complete with the funny-looking wings on the sides of the head) is used as Steve's USO costume. When he's actually on the job, his outfit is still patriotically-themed but far less gaudy (his helmet being a modified soldier's helmet and his clothes being combat gear complete with various pouches and holster straps).
    • The Avengers (2012) movie is pretty faithful to the comics with the exception of Hawkeye, who wears a dark leather suit with no mask as opposed to his purple Super Hero costume, though this is basically Ultimate Hawkeye's costume anyway. 616 Hawkeye started wearing something like the movie costume shortly before the movie's premiere, although it's still pretty purple. Also, while Thor wears a battle suit, it's still much darker than his comic costume and has the appearance of leather in some places.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
      • Cap ditches his colorful costume from The Avengers (2012) in favor of a darker suit reminiscent of his Commander Rogers outfit from Secret Avengers. This eventually turns out to be subverted; the dark outfit was just for the nighttime stealth mission at the start of the movie and a later chase. For the climactic battle he steals a replica of his World War II outfit from a museum.
      • The Falcon wears a black and gray outfit similar to his Ultimate look, rather than his classic red and white costume (which Anthony Mackie, who played Sam Wilson in the film, was actually disappointed by. In a rare change, he was looking forward to wearing the red and white spandex). The Winter Soldier himself has a more practical face mask and goggles rather than his Domino Mask from the comics.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Ronan's robes have changed from green to black. When the team gets their matching suits, they are a dark red. Drax's skin is almost grey, rather than bright green.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Hawkeye once more doesn't wear his classic purple duds, but does wear a Badass Longcoat that greatly resembles his Ronin costume from the comics, and incorporates some details from his classic suit. It also comes with giving him more purple, despite being largely black. Similarly, both Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver ditch their costumes from the comics, and instead wear Civvie Spandex that evokes their usual costume aesthetics. However, Scarlet Witch dons a full superhero costume of red leather reminiscent of her Ultimate look at the end of film after joining the Avengers. Additionally, members of HYDRA appear at the beginning of the film, and they're once again all either clad in black uniforms or white winter camouflage gear, rather than green spandex. Averted with new character The Vision, who is red and green like his comic counterpart, even if the green is a much darker shade.
    • In Ant-Man, the titular suit is recolored mostly black with red highlights on the torso. This is even referenced in the film proper when Scott at first thinks the costume is an old leather motorcycle suit. The helmet has also been redesigned to cover the entire face, and the cartoonish antennae are now reduced to a pair of small prongs protruding straight up from the sides of the helmet. When Hope's Wasp armor is unveiled at the end, it's shown to have black leggings but a lot of yellow and some red as well.
    • Captain America: Civil War is a mixed bag. Captain America once again dons a red, white and blue outfit similar to the one he wore in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but the white on the arms is removed. Falcon's outfit has been redesigned to include more red and silver, while Hawkeye now has a completely new costume that's mostly covered in dark purple. Scarlet Witch also has a red costume now, and Spider-Man, aside from a few thicker black stripes, looks exactly like his first design in the comics. This trope is surprisingly inverted with Black Panther, whose costume is given silver detailing that actually makes it look more colorful than what he usually wears in the comics.
    • Thanos plays with this trope as well, since he is the ultimate Big Bad of the whole MCU. While he does retain his blue and gold color scheme from the comics, it's much more muted and armored here, possibly because his blue and gold spandex costume would look too ridiculous in live action.
    • Averted with Doctor Strange's costume, which has the same blue, red, and gold colors as the comic book version.
    • Both averted and played straight in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Spider-Man himself once again looks straight out of a comic book, but the Vulture's wing suit has many black accents along with the green, and he wears a brown bomber jacket instead of a green bodysuit like he does in the comics. He also wears a black helmet, which he didn't have in the comics.
    • In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor trades in his trademark metallic-tinged outfit from the previous movies for a comparatively unadorned battle outfit. However, he does still keep his red cape, and the costume gets some more color added to it once he's forced into a gladiator match on Sakaar.
    • In Black Panther (2018), T'Challa has a new costume that ditches much of the silver detailing...except, as noted above, this makes it look more like his standard comics outfit.
    • Avengers: Infinity War has Thor sporting an entirely black outfit, abandoning the red Badass Cape and metallic colors that were characteristics of his previous costumes. Eventually averted, as he later dons his traditional metallic outfit and red cape after forging his new axe. Completely averted with Black Widow, who has ditched her traditional black Spy Catsuit from the previous movies for a military-style outfit with a green tactical vest.
    • Averted for the title character in Captain Marvel, who wears a blue, red and gold costume straight from the comics. Though, like many examples on this page, the colors are more muted here.
  • In Kamen Rider: The First and Kamen Rider: The Next, the original three Riders' costumes go from cloth to leather, and use more subdued colors overall; compare the original 1973 version of Kamen Rider V3 to "Hopper Version 3" from 2006. The same happens over the course of the two movies, as Hongo and Ichimonji's suits faded in the two-year interim, becoming much darker (with Hongo's suit outright changing from dark blue to dark green.
  • The Judge Dredd comic strip had the character in a fairly bright blue bodyglove accessorized with oversized yellow shoulder decorations and badge, along with lurid green boots, knee and elbow pads, gloves and utility belt (complete with a red, white and blue American Eagle buckle). Both movies keep the basic outfit (in a rather darker blue or black) but the accouterments are in silver metal or black leather.
  • The costumes in Fantastic Four (2015) are not unlike the black bodysuits from the original X-Men movies. This proved to be a huge mistake; the movie had the misfortune of coming out in an era where colorful superhero outfits were now much more common in movies, which just gave the detractors even more ammo.
  • The Meteor Man features its hero wearing a black, grey and green suit (made by his mother).
  • Justified with Ghost Rider and Blade, both of whom were wearing black leather in the comics around the time the movies came out. Though, Blade's original costume was a hideous red and green ensemble, and Johnny Blaze's biker jacket was arguably blue.
  • The 90s live-action Cat's Eye movie had the sisters wearing black latex bodysuits (influenced by Catwoman from Batman Returns) rather than their colorful leotards from the anime.
  • The colors on the live-action Science Ninja Team Gatchaman costumes are pretty faithful, if a bit more muted than they were in the anime. However, Jun the Swan's costume is changed from white and pink to black and violet, while Joe the Condor's goes from burgundy and blue to black and deep blue.
  • RoboCop (2014) plays with the trope, the title cyborg has a default body that is close to the original blue-ish silver look but he is given a black redesign as a PR tool to make him look cooler to the public. When they beat the Corrupt Corporate Executive who insisted on that black design, he chooses the classic appearance at the end of the film.
  • None of the characters wear their video game outfits in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Big Bad M. Bison even wears a black business suit instead of his red costume and cape from the games. Contrast this with the costumes in the previous movie, which were about as colorful and accurate as the designers could get away with.
  • The Live-Action Adaptation of Speed Racer had Racer X wear a black leather suit in lieu of the white and red one he wore in the anime; in a move highly similar to the X-Men movies. On the plus side, now he matches his mask.

     Literature 
  • This is discussed in the novel New Avengers: Breakout, which is partially inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, and Spider-Woman all wear colorful outfits, while Black Widow, Luke Cage, and Hawkeye all either wear black leather or S.H.I.E.L.D. gear. When Black Widow sings the praises of black Spy Catsuits and wonders aloud why superheroes even bother with colorful costumes that make stealth impossible, Iron Man retorts by saying that the colors help with "branding"; the heroes want the bad guys to know exactly who is coming to kick their asses.

     Live Action TV 
  • Smallville:
    • Superman wears a black Badass Longcoat for a year or so, along with black pants & shirt with silver logo. He switches to a red jacket with blue shirt the next season (also the last season), as a way of showing Clark is both getting closer to becoming Superman, and also to show he's moving past the anger that prompted him to briefly abandon his identity of Clark Kent that lead to the black coat in the first place.
    • Green Arrow wears a jade-colored vinyl hoodie and sunglasses instead of the usual tunic. It goes without saying that he wields a military-grade composite bow.
  • Arrowverse
    • Arrow
      • Green Arrow himself wears a very dark green suit that could be mistaken for black at times. The arrows he uses have more of a bright jade green coloring for the tips and quivers. In Season Four, he gains a new suit that's closer to the comics, lacking sleeves, but come Season Five, it's gained black sleeves.
      • The show plays with this concerning Deathstroke. When he first appears, his trademark blue and orange costume has been changed to black body armor, though his mask remains half-orange. However, it turns out that this isn't Deathstroke, but rather his former partner, Billy Wintergreen. The real Deathstroke, Slade Wilson, at first wears gray and black fatigues, but when he becomes Deathstroke later, he switches to a black suit with dark blue armor, orange markings, and a more metallic mask, similar to his costume from the comics.
      • Deadshot typically wears a black sneaking suit instead of the red and silver in the comics.
      • Huntress also wears a black catsuit rather than her purple and white costume from the comic books. The purple does show up in her second outfit, however, and she is shown asking for it specifically when Oliver designs it.
      • Count Vertigo wears a black Badass Longcoat over dark civilian clothes, in contrast to the green-and-black suit worn by his comic counterpart. However, the show does provide a Mythology Gag by coloring his Vertigo pills green and black.
      • The several versions of Black Canary wear black leather, just like in the comics, but they notably wear more, going for leather pants instead of fishnet stockings.
      • Cupid wears a black catsuit instead of green like in the comics, where she invokes herself as a Distaff Counterpart to Green Arrow. However, she's sometimes seen wearing a dark green shirt.
      • Thea Queen's prototype costume is a black and purple version of her counterpart Mia Dearden's red and yellow. Her proper costume is a muted red and black which was given to her by her lover and predecessor Roy Harper.
      • Ray Palmer / The Atom wears dark red and blue Powered Armor instead of the bright red and blue suit from the comics.
      • Wild Dog's outfit when he debuts in Season Five is...basically identical to the comics version. The blue of his shirt is slightly darker, but that's it. He plays this trope straight come Season Six, ditching the familiar outfit in favor of an armored black leather suit with large red chest-straps, some blue on the sides, and a dark gray mask instead of white.
      • Mr. Terrific's first outfit has no white stripes, being basically black leather with some red lettering. Later in Season Five, though, he upgrades it to have some white stripes, moving it closer to the comics version.
      • Prometheus trades in his white cape and yellow, purple, and black armor for a black copy of Green Arrow's suit. However, in the season finale, he does wear dark yellow armor under his black leather jacket, perhaps as a subtle nod to the comics suit.
    • The Flash (2014)
      • The Flash's suit is more of a burgundy with dull gold lightning bolt highlights instead of the bright red and yellow from the comics. A glimpse into seeing the future Flash has Cisco comment on some color changes, such as a brighter red suit and white around the insignia; the latter gets included in the Season Two suit. The trope is fully averted when the actual future suit in all its bright red and gold glory is revealed toward the end of Season Three, then starts getting used in Season Four; its only change from the comics is not having fully golden boots.
      • The Reverse Flash's suit is still yellow in the top half, but the bottom fades into black.
      • Firestorm wears all-black Civvie Spandex instead of his red and yellow from the comics. An outfit using the comics color scheme is worn by the second Firestorm during Legends of Tomorrow, however.
      • Similarly, the metahumans in the show have primarily worn casual clothes or black tactical gear. Though some villains — Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and Pied Piper — have at least worn costumes of sorts, they have been Civvie Spandex that resemble their comic book attire, with the latter switching from green and black to just black.
      • Played straight with Lisa Snart aka Golden Glider. As her supervillain moniker suggests, she wears a white outfit with heavily golden accents in the comics. In the show, she wears an all-black outfit.
      • Played completely straight with Zoom, the Big Bad of Season Two. However, this likely has less to do with thinking his comic outfit looks too silly and more to do with wanting to differentiate him from the Reverse-Flash, who, like the comics version of Zoom, wears a yellow costume. Also, in his disguise as "Jay Garrick", Zoom wears a dark maroon soldier's jacket with merely a golden outline of the big lightning bolt, dark blue pants, dark brown boots with no golden wings or even buttons, and dark brown gloves. By contrast, the real Jay's suit is much closer to the source, retaining the bright red, blue, and gold color scheme and not having any gloves, and he even takes the iconic winged helmet from Hunter Zolomon as a keepsake.
      • The Rival wore a copy of Jay Garrick's costume in the comics, albeit with darker shades and paired with a black face mask. Because that suit had already been used by Zoom in Season Two, the show's Rival wears a black full-body suit with dark orange lines and an orange lightning bolt, along with a horned, almost demonic mask.
      • Inverted with the Future Flash, who wore a black suit that leaked blue energy in the New 52 comics. The Future Flash of the show wears a red-and-gold suit that looks much brighter than Barry's suit from Seasons One through Tree. However, his role as an evil version of Barry is taken by a time remnant of himself, who stays true to the dark color scheme.
      • Savitar wears a dark silver suit of armor with blue Tron Lines over a black jacket, shirt, and set of trousers, instead of bits of red and gold armor. Given that he turns out to be the evil version of Future Flash, this is likely a reference to the character's black-and-blue color scheme.
      • The comic version of Clifford DeVoe/Thinker usually wore normal clothes. The show's take on DeVoe has a black leather suit for whenever he gets into his life-sustaining Cool Chair.
      • Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, wears a maroon suit with a couple of white stripes instead of either bright red and black or deep purple.
    • Legends of Tomorrow
    • Supergirl
      • Averted with Supergirl herself, as her suit's only change from the source is only having gold outlines in and around the red S-shield instead of solid gold inside; it otherwise retains the classic color scheme. Superman's suit lacks the red trunks, has a red and gold belt, and adds gold clasps to his cape, but is otherwise true to the source.
      • J'onn J'onzz's costume is an almost Batman-esque black suit with armor plates instead of the Martian Manhunter's traditional blue shorts and red belt, which would look ridiculous in live action. It does, however, have a bright red X-like pattern on the chest, referencing the crossed red chest-straps of the original costume, and it retains the blue cape.
      • The members of the Legion of Super-Heroes in Season Three wear similar dark costumes (no capes), with occasional accents to differentiate one from the other. Mon-El's suit is all black. Saturn Girl's is mostly black with maroon on the sides. Brainiac 5's is black and dark blue with a belt that has Brainiac's signature triple-dot. (The triple-dot's also on a shirt that's usually covered by the suit's jacket.) All colors are so dark that it's only for brief moments in the most direct light that you can tell they're not just wearing solid black. This is averted straight to hell with Mon-El's old suit, which Winn fixes up for him in the second half of the season; it retains the bright red, blue, and gold color scheme and overall design from the comics, including the blue cape.
      • Reign wears black, just like in the comics. However, she wears a lot more than in the comics, partly to hide her identity (she looks human here). She still wears the same black pants, but her black bra has been replaced by a top that covers everything from the belt up to her neck (i.e. no Bare Your Midriff or cleavage). She also features her symbol in the same way Supergirl does. Finally, she has a black cape and a metallic mask.
  • The short-lived Birds of Prey TV series had Huntress wearing a black leather trenchcoat rather than an actual costume and mask.
  • Played with heavily in The Gerosha Chronicles:
    • The series Blood Over Water inverts this. The videos have Sleet Mountain employees wearing some awfully civilian-like clothes. They are given more-standardized business-casual uniforms for the Cataclysmic Gerosha book adaptations, consisting of black tops and khaki pants with black shoes. Keep in mind...Sleet Mountain workers are the villains.
    • Ciem in Cataclysmic Horizons keeps the orange outfit, though orange hues are dimmed a bit from previous adaptations and the accent colors are given a little more emphasis.
    • Emeraldon's suit between adaptations goes from a near-all-green traditional Flying Brick suit to a tougher material that is black - with a sort of green "Matrix" pattern accenting it.
    • The Earwig is justified in this, as her outfit has always been black with red trims.
    • Mukade averts this, keeping her Japanese flag red-on-white scheme. (Even though she's moved to Toklisana from Japan, and has never been a Captain Patriotic.)
    • Jackrabbit normally hops around in civilian form. But his Cataclysmic Gerosha form has been shown to occasionally wear a black hat and sunglasses on more-dangerous missions.
  • The 60's Batman series had Catwoman in a black leather catsuit. In the comics at the time (and indeed for decades afterwards), the character usually favored purple outfits. It wasn't until the 21st century that she adopted black as her primary color scheme in the comics.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe (again):
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
      • Mike Peterson, the only vaguely "superhero-ish" character from Season One , wears a black SHIELD-issued bodysuit before switching it.
      • Blackout's "costume" is basically a black shirt with a black duster.
      • Most of the superpowered characters in general either tend to wear dark S.H.I.E.L.D. bodysuits like the rest of the cast, or just don't have any costumes whatsoever.
      • Mockingbird wears a fairly accurate recreation of her New Avengers outfit, but with the white portions of the suit changed to a darker gray.
      • When Skye/Daisy becomes Quake, she begins wearing a black uniform with yellow piping and a pair of metal gauntlets. To be fair, the outfit is overall consistent with her look in the comics, where she tends to mostly wear S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms.
      • Graviton sports a blue outfit with silver and red ornamentation, which actually does look pretty close to his costume from the comics. However, he also wears a black duster over it.
    • Daredevil:
      • In the first season, the title character wears various black outfits, usually including civilian clothing and a black hood. This is based on a black outfit designed by John Romita Jr during his and Frank Miller's influential Daredevil run. He's frequently referred to as "the man in black". At the end of the season, he gains his trademark red suit and name, though his suit has noticeably more black in it than his comics version.
      • Wilson Fisk is fond of wearing black suits rather than white like he does in the comics; however, as the series progresses, his tendency to avert this trope becomes more prominent, with his final shot of the season showing him in all white.
      • Elektra's costumes are also primarily a mix of black and red, rather than being completely red like in the comics.
    • In Jessica Jones (2015), Trish gets Jessica a suit that looks like Jewel's from the comic (Jessica being Jewel for a short time) because of its colors. Jessica refuses it, and instead primarily wears black shirts and black paints under a black leather jacket. On the other side of the spectrum, Kilgrave (the Purple Man in the comics) has a wardrobe primarily made of purple clothing, likely as a stand-in for the fact he doesn't have actual purple skin.
    • Luke Cage (2016) generally uses the Not Wearing Tights trope for most of the characters, but Willis "Diamondback" Stryker zig-zags this. He's introduced wearing dark combat gear, but in the Season One finale, he dons a green and yellow suit of Powered Armor that looks extremely similar to his snake-themed costume from the comics.
      • Cage himself appears in his original comics costume briefly, after escaping from prison and having to resort to Clothesline Stealing, while still wearing his arm and head braces from the experiment that gave him his super strength. His reaction upon seeing himself in a mirror? "You look like a damn fool!"
  • Tokumei Sentai Go Busters was the first Super Sentai series to feature the heroes in leather outfits instead of the traditional spandex, though the costumes do still contain a lot of color in addition to the black. Allegedly, this was done to appeal to American audiences when the show was inevitably adapted into a Power Rangers installment, though in a twist of Irony, it turns out that Go-Busters was passed over, due to low toy sales in Japan.

    Video Games 
  • In keeping with the game's grungier style and the protagonist's rougher origin and personality, DmC: Devil May Cry replaces Dante's long white hair and bright red longcoat with punkish shaven black and battered black leather with red lower sleeves, lining and collar, respectively. His old color-scheme returns super-saturated when he's in Devil Trigger form, and at the end of the game his hair has turned white.

    Web Original 
  • The DVD-only Strong Bad Email "comic book movie" refers to this as "Leatherquest 2000."
    "People may buy that our character has radioactive powers, or is from another planet, but a colorful spandex costume?! Are you crazy?! No audience will accept that! Nope, it's one color, head-to-toe leather for our hero!"

    Western Animation 
  • The Beware the Batman cartoon has taken a nod from the films and given Batman an armored black costume. Katana as well (though she has since adopted a black costume in the New 52 continuity. At the time the show began production however, she still had her old red and yellow color scheme).
  • Dick Grayson's Robin suit in Young Justice has all of the green parts colored black instead. This goes for Tim Drake as well, though he at least does have several red and black costumes in the comics.
  • Avengers, Assemble! has Hawkeye wearing his black leather outfit from the movie, rather than his traditional purple costume.
  • X-Men: Evolution had most of the cast in black or dark-blue uniforms. Justified though in that the X-Men usually go back and forth between dark uniforms and colorful costumes. Wolverine is notable for starting off in his classic orange costume and then transitioning to a black, maskless outfit in the later seasons. Magneto notably also sports a darker outfit. Instead of his traditional red and purple, he now has a mostly black outfit with red plates over the torso. Mystique starts off wearing her traditional white costume, before switching to a skimpier black one in Season 2.


Alternative Title(s): Darker And Edgier Costume

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MovieSuperHeroesWearBlack