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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, Strong Bad Email "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 (1966) 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.

This trope was especially common from about 2000-2010 due to the X-Men franchise, but became more relaxed due to Marvel Cinematic Universe seeking to better capture the colors of a comic book. Other aspects of the trope such as armored designs, utility add-ons and textured layering persisted, trying to replicate a particular style while not looking like a screen-printed bodysuit.

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, Superhero Team Uniform.

Contrast Evil Wears Black.


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    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man: The Black Suit, better known as the Venom symbiote, might as well be the Ur-Example when it comes to comics as it was a drastic change from Spidey's usual Primary-Color Champion look when he first appeared in Secret Wars (1984) and even after he ditched it upon learning it was alive, Black Cat got him a cloth one anyway because the look was so popular. Notably Darker and Edgier story arcs such as Kraven's Last Hunt or Back in Black feature Spidey in the black suit.
  • The Avengers (Jason Aaron) overall has Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in much darker and muted outfits and colouring than usual (the only exception being Iron Man). She-Hulk rather than her usual white and purple leotard gains a purple and black outfit, Thor, Cap and Carol have much darker shades of blue in their outfits and the same run debuts Namor in his black scaled armour. Not to mention that the already dark dressed Black Panther, Black Widow, Blade and Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider feature prominently on the team.
    • Speaking of Jason Aaron, his run on Thor greatly popularised the darker look for the God of Thunder which had been instigated by J. Michael Straczynski‘s 2007 run which took the blue and yellow out of Thor’s outfit and replaced it with black and silver with only the red of his cape remaining. Aaron’s run went even further with Thor’s outfit being mostly black besides his helmet and armoured thighs.
  • Midnight Sons are notably one of the big Marvel heroes teams whose outfits aren’t particularly colourful at all to empathise their Anti-Hero Dark Is Not Evil nature. The only exception was Doctor Strange who dressed in his usual primary colors, although modern runs have the doc dress darkly to match the rest of the team. Another exception would be Moon Knight who wears white but his gritty ultra violence as The Cowl makes up for it.
  • X-Men
    • New X-Men, the series relaunch that came after the first X-Men movie, changed the team's uniforms to better resemble the film, giving every member a black jumpsuit with a yellow "X" on the chest. The first collection volume even advertises itself as having gotten rid of the "gaudy spandex costumes' in favor of "slick, black leather and an attitude to match." It should be noted that despite being inspired by the film uniforms these costumes are still more colourful and expressive than the film ones.
    • X-Factor (specifically its second team “The New Crew”) are a classic example of this having a dark colour scheme. This only got more pronounced in later modern more Darker and Edgier incarnations of the team, see the 2006 series.
    • The modern X-Force comics (the ones where Domino and X-23 are key members) invoke this even harder than X Factor with everyone on the team being darky dressed just in case their Anti-Hero Good Is Not Nice status wasn’t not overt enough. Ironically when they first debuted in the 90s, they were actually more colourful despite being as edgy as all hell.
    • X Treme X Men 2001 having come out a year after the Fox film has the team in black or characters who already wear black like Selene (the only exceptions are Rogue who has a red bodysuit and Beast remained as blue as ever).
    • In X-Men (2019) Professor X now wears a black bodysuit and the Cerebro helmet making look like a bit like the Maker (Mr Fantastic’s Evil Twin from Ultimate Marvel) or alternatively “a crap astronaut” according to his son David. This likely symbolic of Charles’s now more Ambiguously Evil nature as the leader of Krakoa and complete willingness to make sure his race prospers even if it means intimidating humanity. Besides Charles, a lot if the X-Men wear more darker colours in this era. Averted for the Hellfire Gala where everyone dresses more colourfully and fabulously.
  • 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.
    • Much like the New X-Men, the X-Men of Ultimate X-Men were designed as wearing black leather akin to the team in the X-Men Film Series.
  • 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.
    • Iron Man in Marvel NOW! notably wore the Mark 42 suit which is black and gold rather than the usual bright red and gold (ironically it was the suit Tony wore when he was being The Atoner, his white Superior Iron Man suit on the other have was when he was being Light Is Not Good).
    • Notably, during the second wave of Marvel NOW!, Wolverine, who had kept his previous Astonishing X-Men 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.
  • Thunderbolts especially in later comics invoke this much like the Midnight Sons, with their colour scheme being mostly dark and red (the fact that Punisher, Elektra and Deadpool are part of the teams helps). The only frequent exception is Songbird whom wears brighter colours, perhaps reflecting her Token Good Teammate status (though she was meaner earlier on).
  • 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 dark 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.
  • The Defenders (2017) being a spiritual sequel to Alias and taking a couple of ques from the Marvel Netflix shows, has Daredevil and Iron Fist in darker outfits (red and black and yellow and black respectively) while Jessica and Luke have civilian attire, at most Luke wears a yellow jumper.
  • Superman:
    • The Death of Superman: 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: Crisis in Time! 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"?!
    • Superman's Rebirth costume is a really dark almost bordering on black blue, with only his cape, S shield, red line on the boots and silver armbands providing any contrast. Justified as it's visually based on Superman's first and second (as well as current) DCEU costumes.
    • During one of her stints as a Justice League of America member, Supergirl wore a black version of her blue-and-red costume. And at some points during The Killers of Krypton, she replaces her blue threads with a black stealth suit.
    • Cosmic Boy from the Legion of Super-Heroes. In his only live action adaptation to date he trades in his often colorful and pink costumes for a black quilted one.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • In The '90s Diana (in)famously had her usual primary coloured outfit traded out for a black number though it didn’t last very long.
    • The aforementioned New 52 made Wondy’s costume much darker with the blue of her undies and boots being pretty much black at times and she frequently wore outfits that included dark pants as well. The red remained though.
    • Averted with her DC Rebirth costume which is much brighter and based on her DCEU outfit.
  • 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 
  • In Thieves Can Be Heroes!, Izuku's phantom thief gear is a black and red version of his second hero outfit in his home series with the addition of a Badass Longcoat and a Cool Mask to replace the cowl he rarely uses in canon.
  • Inverted in Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!. Fumikage Tokoyami is a darkness-themed hero in the original My Hero Academia, dressing almost entirely in black with a dark cloak on top. In the fic, Tokoyami instead relies on a fifth-dimensional genie. He wears an open white vest, baggy pants, a silver ring, and an oil lamp-shaped belt buckle as his hero costume.
  • In Captain Marvel: Phalanx, Carol Danvers' undercover suit is black, burgundy, and copper. Justified in that her standard colour scheme is rather recognizable, and it serves as a Shout-Out to her Ms. Marvel suit.
  • Hidden Deep Within: Jim’s changeling form is apparently made of obsidian - a black, naturally occurring volcanic glass.
  • A Prize for Three Empires: On two separate occasions, Carol Danvers replaces her primary-color costume with a black leotard.

    Films — 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).
  • A rare movie-to-movie example occurs in Incredibles 2, in which Elastigirl's new suit is black and grey, as opposed to her original suit's white and red color scheme (and her family suit's red, yellow, and black). She Lampshades this quickly:
    Helen Parr/Elastigirl: I'm not dark or angsty! I'm Elastigirl!
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children famously did this to the most of the cast of the 1997 game, being created in the early 2000s (during the same time as the X-Men films) where the black Hot Topic look was the height of fashion (though the In-Universe reasoning is that they are mourning Aerith). Cloud although not too colourful in the original game still had a denim/indigo coloured soldier outfit but in the movie he has an all black sleeveless robe. Tifa likewise wears a white crop top in the game which in the movie is replaced with black zip-up leather top along with black shorts and a black duster at her back that goes to her heels. Yuffie who wore green and white in the original game has instead a black vest and top here along with grey shorts. Averted with Barret and Cid, as the former is wearing white while the latter has a blue top. Even Vincent who could get away with just all black being as gothic as hell has his usual bright red cloak and headband. The villains Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo wear black leather too.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    • Played straight with the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, who wears black suits instead of the white ones he's more famous for.
    • Initially inverted with Miles Morales, who starts off with a red-and-blue store-bought costume as his Beta Outfit. He gets his personal black-and-red suit late in the film.
  • Casey Jones usually wears red, blue or white outfits along with a white hockey mask. In TMNT, he wears a red and white outfit and a white mask (which gets broken quite frequently, as he mentions at one point) for most of the movie like most versions, but in the climax, he puts on dark clothes, a dark sports gear armor and a black metallic variant of his classic hockey mask.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman (1989) 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 dark blue 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, and definitely every bit as visually interesting. 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 1989 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 (albeit with more muted colors), and would ironically be, sans nipples, the New 52 design for the default Robin attire.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy's 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 
    • In The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent/Two-Face wears a simple black suit instead of the garish, multicolored clothes (well, half of them anyway) he's usually known for. In fact, even his disfiguring is this: while the comics usually made the disfigured side of his face a sickly shade of unnatural skin colors and whitened his hair on that side, in the movie he just has that half charred, with the skin and hair burnt away.
    • Averted with the Joker apart from the Adaptational Ugliness — while his facepaint and hair dye are much cruder (one Mook compares it to war paint), he retains the usual vibrant purple-green suit he's known for, though with comparatively darker shades than usual.
  • The Batman (2022):
    • Batman's costume is still extremely dark, but the suit itself is actually primarily dark gray with blacks mixed in, allowing for a greater visual contrast with elements like the chest symbol.
    • Catwoman once again sports a black thief outfit.
    • The Riddler still wears a green outfit, but with greatly muted colors and an overall more utilitarian design meant to evoke a serial killer or terrorist rather than a flamboyant comic book supervillain.
  • 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 and the yellow field on the emblem looks grey, 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 were also ditched until DC Rebirth brought them back. 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 instead of purely black; 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.) Last but not least, Superman's suit was redesigned to be brighter than in Man of Steel.
    • Suicide Squad (2016) 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 (2017) averts this and 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 (2017) includes a number of examples. The 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, though he does take on an appearance closer to his usual look at the very end. On the other hand, Superman's red and blue suit is brighter than it was in any prior DCEU film. 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.
      • Superman wears his long-awaited black suit in Zack Snyder's Justice League after his return. Due to Executive Veto, Zack Snyder had to film Superman in his red and blue suit, but ensured that the materials used in the making of the suit could be easily darkened in post-production if he ever had the chance of releasing a Director's Cut, which eventually happened; sure enough, he spends the whole film in black (in the comics, the black suit was short-lived; after Doomsday left him Only Mostly Dead, he briefly wore a black suit with a silver S-shield that was designed to help him absorb solar energy faster to speed his recovery). Interestingly, Wonder Woman keeps her colors from the theatrical cut, though, and while Darkseid's armor is still blue like in the comics it's much darker than it is in the source material.
    • Averted spectacularly with Aquaman (2018):
      • While the title character previously sported warrior outfits with very muted green, gold and brown tones during his appearances in Batman v. Superman and Justice League, the new film sees him don his iconic orange and green costume from the comics in time for the final battle, albeit with the colors taking on a more metallic tone. The sequel sees Aquaman don a stealth suit that’s primarily dark blue and gray/dark silver, loosely based on the character’s short-lived Post-Crisis ocean camo look.
      • Mera's new costume is also a much brighter shade of green than her outfit from Justice League and looks far less like a suit of armor.
      • Played straight with Black Manta, whose outfit is, well... black. However, like the Black Panther example below, this is perfectly in line with what Manta's original design, meaning the character looks like he came straight out of a comic book.
    • Averted and played straight in SHAZAM! (2019). The title character's outfit is just as bright and red as it is in the source material, while the villain, Doctor Sivana, wears a black trench coat rather than the white lab gear he's known for sporting in the comics. It's also averted with the Shazam family when they make their grand appearance in the final battle, as their costumes retain their classic color schemes.
    • Averted again in Wonder Woman 1984, with Diana's costume looking even brighter and more vibrant than it did in her first solo film, and she later wears a suit of bright gold armor.
    • The Suicide Squad zig-zags this. Characters like Peacemaker, Mongal, Polka-Dot Man and Javelin all sport colorful outfits that look like they were ripped straight out of the comics, while Bloodsport wears a dark blue suit of tactical body armor that eschews the red and green of his comic book costume. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn has ditched the red, white and blue clothes she wore in the first movie in favor of a new red and black outfit that more closely evokes her classic color scheme. Blackguard also wears a suit of black, military-style body armor.
    • Averted with the Justice Society of America members in Black Adam (2022), whose colors are accurately represented. The titular Anti-Hero sports his trademark black and gold costume as well. Also averted with Superman's cameo in The Stinger, as his original Man of Steel costume now sports a more vibrant color scheme, reflecting a more positive direction for the character.
  • Power Rangers:
  • 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.
  • Robin Hood (2018) was clearly trying to ride the superhero trend, with many noting that it borrowed as much from The Dark Knight Trilogy than traditional Robin Hood lore. As "the Hood," Robin's outfit is technically green, but it's so dark that you'll easily mistake it for black in half of the shots.
  • 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. This all becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when Deadpool 3 set photos revealed Hugh in yellow spandex looking awesome.
    • Averted in X-Men: First Class — with justification, given it's an 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 (2016):
      • The 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 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, newcomers Cable, 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. Juggernaut's usually crimson armor is metallic silver.
    • In Dark Phoenix, we sadly don't see the comic-inspired costumes from the end of the previous film in action, but the X-Men do wear yellow and navy blue uniforms that were heavily inspired by the outfits from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's New X-Men run. Magneto, meanwhile, goes full on Civvie Spandex here, sporting black civilian clothing that lacks even the muted reds of his Days of Future Past and Apocalypse costumes. Notably, even his trademark helmet is gray this time around.
  • 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 (or orange) 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 much darker green and brown Badass Longcoat with a pair of chic sunglasses, while his arms are gold-striped 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 they’re shiny so it’s still visible.) Averted with Flint Marko/Sandman, who wears the classic green striped T-Shirt.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man which was billed as a Darker and Edgier take on the mythos has fair amount of this.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man Films:
      • Though the main color hasn't changed, the overall aesthetic of the Mk. 1 evokes the spirit of this trope. That first suit built in captivity now looks and functions more like a crudely slapped-together pile of scrap metal than it did in the comics, complete with thick welds and the markings from whatever the metal was originally salvaged from adorning every surface.
      • Obadiah Stane had a set of blue Powered Armor in the comics. In the film, his Iron Monger suit is gunmetal grey and he wears a black tracksuit underneath it.
    • 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.
    • The Avengers (2012) 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 superhero 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 (sometimes black eye-makeup) rather than his Domino Mask from the comics.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014):
      • Ronan's robes have changed from green to black. However, the Kree military uniform he later sports in the Prequel Captain Marvel (2019) is actually green.
      • When the team gets their matching Ravager suits, they are a dark red rather than the blue uniforms they sported in the comics.
      • Drax's skin is almost grey, rather than bright green, although he still has his red tattoos. Apparently, this was done to make him more visually distinct from the Hulk, which makes sense given they're both a Walking Shirtless Scene.
    • 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. 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.
    • 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, which the actor presumably enjoyed, 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.
    • In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the Vulture's wing suit has many black accents along with the green, and he wears a brown bomber jacket and green trousers instead of a green bodysuit like he does in the comics. He also wears a black pilot's helmet with glowing green eyes, which he doesn'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 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 with black disks, abandoning the red Badass Cape and metallic colors that were characteristics of his previous costumes. Eventually downplayed, as he later dons a red cape after forging his new axe, but the cape has a black lining and the scales on his arms that used to be silver are black now, too.
    • Captain Marvel (2019) has Carol Danvers start out in a green, black, and silver suit, like the rest of her Kree comrades. However, in the process of discovering her past and turning against them, she averts this trope and obtains her classic red, blue, and gold suit.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, Hawkeye dons his Ronin costume from the comics, which is mostly black. He remains in this outfit for the bulk of the film, even once he ditches the mask and goes back to mostly using his bow.
    • In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spidey himself wears an all-black stealth suit provided by Nick Fury, in order to not arouse suspicion from his classmates (which ends up being dubbed "Night Monkey" by Ned, and then by the press following his lead). The new suit he creates just before the final battle in London replaces the blue fields of his traditional outfit with black.
    • Black Widow (2021) has a supervillainous case in Taskmaster, whose white parts are all turned to grey — including the skull mask, which is now a helmet — and even the blue parts of the shield are unpainted. The whole look also drops the pirate-like costume complete with cape (aside from the hood) for something leathery and armored, something that helps hide the character is now a woman.
    • In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Shang-Chi wears a dark red and black outfit similar to the ones that he wears in the comics. The Big Bad, Wenwu/the Mandarin, however, dispenses with the green and gold costumes inspired by traditional Chinese garments that he typically wears in the comics in favor of a more utilitarian blue, grey, and black outfit.
    • Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Spider-Man continue to wear his outfit from the climax of Far From Home, even wearing it inside-out at one point, meaning he briefly sports a black and gold color scheme. He averts it completely in the ending scene, where he's made a new costume inspired by his alternate universe counterparts; it's a dead ringer for his classic red and blue suit in the comics, even sporting a larger spider symbol.
    • Thor: Love and Thunder averts it with Thor himself, whose new armor is heavy on blue and yellow. Jane Foster is not as colorful by following the source material.
    • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever zig-zags with Namor (he still wears a green speedo, but adds some muted green and gold accessories to the Walking Swimsuit Scene) and Ironheart (the primary color of her armor is a red reminiscent of a sports car, but all the secondary parts are black, making for an amalgamation of the Iron Man copy she first wore and the pink, gold and black armor she eventually adopted). And, similar to Civil War, the new Black Panther suit has intricate gold detailing that actually breaks up the mostly-black look of the comic design.
  • 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 — even the X-Men films, which started the black leather trend, were starting to move away from it — which just gave the detractors even more ammo. Conversely, the previous adaptation gave the team dark suits, but they were still blue and thus kept the recognizable look that they are known for, even if not as vibrant as the source material.
  • The Meteor Man features its hero wearing a black, grey and green suit (made by his mother).
  • Justified with the Ghost Rider Duology and the Blade Trilogy, as both of the movies' heroes 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 leather 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 velvet, 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. Chun-Li does wear blue once in the club scene but that’s it.
  • 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.
  • Played with in Venom (2018). While Venom was always colored black to begin with, he at least has a large white spider Chest Insignia across his chest and backside. Due to this version having no connection to his Arch-Enemy Spider-Man, he does not have this symbol and instead trades it for white veins across his body.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), Violet's and Sunny's outfits are changed to goth Lolita-esque dresses, rather than the blue/pink and white dresses of the books.
  • Transformers Film Series: The films opt not to take the direction the toys do by making normaly-muted vehicles more colorful to result in more colorful robots and instead use the muted colors the actual vehicles would have, resulting in instances of this.
    • The Autobots are generally rather colorful, benefitting from the stylish cars they pick as their alternate modes, but they tend to have a lot more bare metal in robot mode than most depictions. Optimus Prime is also a dark blue truck with bright red flames rather than a bright red truck with blue highlights, though the arrangement of red in his robot mode is placed to evoke his iconic red windshield chest. The Dinobots, who cannot replicate the skin of real dinosaurs when they transform and instead are bare metal, are a dark shade of gray when their G1 versions have gold highlights and some lighter gray thrown in with the dark gray.
    • The Decepticons are traditionally military vehicles and aircraft with the films taking a realistic approach to their color schemes, resulting in instances like Starscream being mostly gray because a real F-22 Raptor doesn't have the red highlights typically added to the character's jet modes. The Constructicons are a notable aversion, as they have more color variety than their usual depictions with individual members ranging from yellow to red to green, when Constructicons are traditionally a unified green and sometimes yellow.
    • Characters without an Earth alternate mode are depicted as bare metal when most depictions have Cybertronians be colorful even before coming to Earth with their old colors taking priority over the scanned vehicle's (assuming the vehicle they scan doesn't just conveniently have the same color scheme) compared to how the movies give the impression that their Earth alternate modes are where their color comes from.
    • This became less prominent starting with Transformers: Age of Extinction due to more Decepticons being introduced with alternate modes that don't need to be muted by design (i.e. Stinger is a red sports car), and Bumblebee depicts pre-Earth Cybertronians with bright colors and Decepticons Shatter and Dropkick are bright red and blue respectively, with their similarly-colored sports car modes affecting the coloration of their should-be-gray jet and helicopter modes.
  • Morbius (2022): The titular character abandons his comic book vampire costume in favor of ordinary street clothing, such as a hoodie.

  • 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:
    • Clark wears a black Badass Longcoat for a year or so, along with black pants and 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 black Powered Armor with a few blue lights 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. However, he winds up donning the old suit again in Season Seven.
      • 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 Monitor, in the comics, was white, gold, and dark blue. The show turns the white to dark silver and adds black to the blue.
      • Potential spoilers, depending on how closely Crisis follows the comics: Concept art shows that the Anti-Monitor will look much the same but with the silver turned black and some tubes added, apparently having taken fashion tips from X-Men foe Apocalypse. Comic Anti-Monitor conversely had armor that looked quite different from the Monitor's, but with similar colors except for the white becoming gray. However, since Oliver is discovering apparent evidence of the Monitor being as likely to start the Crisis as help stop it, presumably the images of an evil Monitor are actually of the Anti-Monitor, whose resemblance gets the Monitor mistrusted.
    • 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, with a variation per season afterward; its only major change from the comics is not having fully golden boots, until Barry finally receives them in Season Eight.
      • The Reverse Flash's suit is still yellow in the top half, but the bottom fades into black. A younger alternate version of him in Legends of Tomorrow spends most of his time in all-black motorcycle gear when not in the suit. Come Season Eight of The Flash, however, we finally see him in a comics-accurate suit, complete with red boots and belt.
      • 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.
      • Exaggerated with James Jesse/Trickster I. In contrast to the garishly multicolored costumes he wears in the comics and in the 1990s series, this Trickster usually wears black suits. The closest he comes to his original costumes is a black shirt with a multicolored checkerboard pattern, but even that is more subdued than the other versions of him. Also, in the 90's series, he dyed his hair in different colors, but leaves it gray in this series. May also be enforced, since this version of the character was meant to be less of a loony prankster and more of a psychopathic terrorist.
      • 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 blue-black face mask. Because a very similar 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 black 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 silver Powered Armor with blue Tron Lines while underneath he wears a simple ensemble of black jacket, shirt, and grey trousers. 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 seen in the New 52 comics. He briefly dons the Season 3 Flash suit to fool Team Flash in the penultimate episode.
      • 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. He later wears a Badass Longcoat with an all black outfit after he possesses Ralph Dibny's body.
      • 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.
      • The comic version of Cicada wore an indigo jacket with a blue shirt, red pair of pants, and cream-colored gloves. The Cicada of the show has a similar costume, but the shades are dark enough to be mistaken for black in some shots. The jacket has been replaced with a hooded black cloak, and he now wears a black face mask. Even the blade of his signature dagger is pitch-black.
    • Legends of Tomorrow:
    • Supergirl (2015):
      • 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 keeps the classic color scheme otherwise. 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.
      • Come Season Five, Supergirl trades the red skirt for blue pants that match the top, and the red symbol and its gold border both become more metallic. The blue gets darker when it was already pretty dark compared to the comics and the red of the cape and the boots get darker; apparently, someone watched Man of Steel, The gold belt remains, though.
      • 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.
      • After Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019), he switches to solid black tactical gear with a small red X. There's more red on the back, but, well, it's on the back, so we hardly see it. However, by the last few episodes of the season, he's donned a slightly upgraded version of the original outfit.
      • 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.
      • Averted with Brainiac 5 in the second half of Season Five, when he takes off his inhibitors and subsequently his true costume is revealed to be primarily bright purple, with touches of black and silver.
      • 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 midriff or cleavage). She also features her symbol in the same way Supergirl does. Finally, she has a black cape and a metallic mask.
      • Guardian trades his blue and gold comics suit for solid gray and black. Even when he's told that the look is scaring people, and the perfect opportunity to say, "Huh, maybe friendlier colors; how's blue and gold sound?" passes, it isn't taken (however, he does eventually reveal his identity to the public to make it clear that the guy behind the black armor is on their side). An Alternate Universe version has the gold armor and an American flag design... but he dies about sixty seconds after we meet him.
      • This is finally averted in Season Six, when James's Canon Foreigner sister Kelly takes up the Guardian mantle fully, complete with the classic blue and gold suit.
    • Batwoman (2019): Averted, though it takes a couple episodes. At first, she wears a tweaked version of one of Batman's old suits, giving a solid black look (again, making Batman an example of this because his comics suit has shades of gray and a gold belt). However, when one of Batman's enemies starts causing trouble to call out what he thinks is him, she decides she needs to establish her own look so this doesn't become a habit. Cue the bright red wig, symbol, and belt from the comics (but not the boots, gloves, or inner cape, though they do bear hints of red).
  • The short-lived Birds of Prey (2002) has Huntress wearing a black leather trenchcoat rather than an actual costume and mask.
  • The Boys (2019):
    • Queen Maeve's suit colors are changed from bright silver and blue to dark gray and deep maroon.
    • Black Noir wore a violet/indigo-tinted black full-body suit. The show's version wears dark gray armor.
    • Downplayed with A-Train, who has a few dark sections on his blue suit and black sunglasses instead of a white 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.
  • Batman (1966) has 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 being transformed into Deathlok, after which he does gain a more colorful suit. However, the mostly muted color palette of his new outfit is still a far cry from the red costume Deathlok sports in the comics.
      • 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.
      • Patriot, a Captain Patriotic superhero with a red, blue and white costume in the comics, instead wears a dark blue S.H.I.E.L.D. jumpsuit with black body armor over it as his combat outfit. The only stylistic flourishes are a silver S.H.I.E.L.D. logo across the chest and a pair of silver stars on the wrists.
      • 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 (2015):
      • 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. The suit is later destroyed during the finale of The Defenders (2017), causing Daredevil to switch back to the black outfit for the entirety of the third (and final) season of his own series. Daredevil later reappears in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, now sporting a new costume designed by Luke Jacobson that eschews the black coloring of the original in favor of a mixture of yellow and red.
      • 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 an all-white prison outfit. When he's released from prison in Season 3, he begins wearing his trademark white business suit from the comics to signify that he's completed his transformation into the Kingpin. The white suit is retained for Vincent D'Onofrio's Role Reprise in Hawkeye (2021), in which he now also wears a bright red Hawaiian shirt beneath the jacket. However, flashback scenes also show him in an all-black ensemble similar to what he wore in season 1 of Daredevil.
      • Elektra's costumes are also primarily a mix of black and red, rather than being completely red like in the comics. Even her battle outfit from The Defenders (2017), which is otherwise a fairly close approximation of her iconic comic costume, has black leggings added to it.
      • Played interestingly by Bullseye. He wears a copy of Daredevil's suit which, while still brighter than the famous blue-black costume from the comics, is itself an example of the trope being played straight.
    • 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.
      • Downplayed by Trish herself once she becomes a vigilante in season 3. She is Not Wearing Tights, but the colors are still Hellcat's blue and yellow, if darker shades.
    • 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!"
    • WandaVision has a Mythology Gag where Scarlet Witch, The Vision and Quicksilver don their classic, colorful outfits from the comics (right down to Wanda's trademark tiara, which has thus far been left out of her MCU looks) as Halloween costumes. In the final episode, Wanda finally wears a costume resembling those of the comics, tiara and all, albeit with a darker red color scheme and black accents.
    • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier:
      • While he plays this mostly straight in the movies, the Falcon finally averts this here, with his new suit incorporating the red and white color scheme he's known for in the comics. In the finale, he dons a very comics-accurate version of his Captain America suit, red, white and blue all included.
      • Zig-zagged with Battlestar. His costume is primarily blue and red like Walker's Captain America suit, but he wears a large black bulletproof vest over it for added protection.
    • While Loki (2021) follows the character's muted and primarily black outfit from the movies, there is a hilarious aversion with Richard E. Grant's Classic Loki, who wears a yellow and green getup straight from the comics.
    • Mostly averted regarding Kate Bishop in Hawkeye (2021), who still wears primarily purple, albeit with black pants. And, after many movies of playing this trope straight, Clint dons a costume with a prominent purple chest emblem and sleeves during the finale.
    • Also averted in Ms. Marvel (2022), where Kamala Khan begins her heroics dressing like her idol Captain Marvel, and when getting a proper costume it's very comics-accurate (the only more muted color is changing yellow to gold).
    • Downplayed example in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. She-Hulk's outfit has a large amount of black on the torso, but still incorporates the white and purple color scheme she's known for sporting in the comics.
  • 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. The series owed a lot of inspiration to Power Rangers and the costume change was allegedly done to appeal to American audiences when the show was inevitably brought westward. In a twist of Irony, Saban decided to skip Go-Busters due to low toy sales in Japan, but after Hasbro bought up the franchise they announced it would be adapted as Power Rangers Beast Morphers.
  • Titans (2018):
    • Robin's outfit retains the red and green color scheme from the comics, but the show's very muted color grading often causes it to look much darker. The leggings also have some black coloring in addition to the green.
    • Averted by Deathstroke, whose costume retains its trademark blue and orange color scheme.
  • Star Trek interestingly goes through a similar progression to superhero works. The pants have always been black, but with the shirts, we go from fully red, gold, or blue to indicate department in TOS and TNG but starting with DS9 and Voyager in the mid 90s, we go to just color at the shoulders and black from there down. Come most of the TNG film era and later seasons of DS9, the shoulders have become gray, making the collars the only color. Enterprise has navy blue uniforms with only small lines for the colors that indicate department; Discovery makes the lines that indicate department gold and silver. The "Kelvin Timeline" films do have TOS-style uniforms, but seem to have a different version of the uniform for any task the crew might be performing, and bend over backwards to ditch the colorful ones as early and often as possible in favor of something gray or navy blue.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: Parodied in the DVD-only Strong Bad Email "comic book movie", where Strong Bad lists "Leatherquest 2000" as one of many tropes applied to a hypothetical Strong Badman movie.

    Western Animation 
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Batman: The Animated Series
      • The universe started off having Batman in a grey suit with dark blue cape and cowl and the chest insignia surrounded by a yellow oval. When the show was revived to be The New Batman Adventures the cape and cowl became a flat black and the yellow oval on the chest removed.
      • The new Robin, Tim Drake, took on a costume that dropped the green from Dick Grayson's Robin costume, leaving him as mostly just red and black.
      • Batgirl also had a grey costume from BTAS and a black one in TNBA, which made the blue and yellow segments of the costume stand out more as well as her red hair, though to be fair, she is often depicted in early and later comics wearing a black outfit.
    • Batman Beyond had the future Batman take to an almost entirely black suit with a red chest insignia.
    • Darkseid is depicted wearing a black outfit with blue highlights rather than the outfit being blue itself.
  • 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 (2010) 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. In one episode, when his traditional purple costume (from the previous series) is found in storage, he responds with embarrassment.
  • Spider Man Freshman Year sees Daredevil in a black costume with some red piping, inspired by the Beta Outfit the character wore in the first and third seasons of his Netflix series.
  • 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. Pretty much everyone wears a black bodysuit with a nod to their comic looks and colors somewhere on it. Jean has a green triangular area in the middle, Kitty's has a blue one, Rogue has a green chest plate, Ororo's cape is white on the inside, homaging her white 90s outfit... basically, the one highlight that breaks up the black will be the color most of the costume was in the comics. Exceptions include Scott, who has a gold X across his chest that brings to mind the his X-Factor outfit (he's never primarily worn gold, but gold-X-on-black strongly resembles his X-Factor suit's gold-X-on-dark-blue), and Kurt, whose red V on his otherwise black suit similarly makes him look like he does in comics but with the dark blue turned to black. Wolverine is notable for starting off in his classic orange costume (mind you, while the orange matches the original, it's black where the original was yellow) and then transitioning to a solid black, maskless outfit in the later seasons ('claw mark' designs on the shoulders... it's basically a right-off-the-page recreation of Ultimate Wolverine.) 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. Colossus and Angel, though the black is there, are quite colorful, though both got their outfits before ever working with the X-Men... maybe this version of Charles just has a thing for black? Meanwhile, rookies who don't have unique costumes yet are stuck in solid black with just the gold shoulder pads and belts. Spyke spends most of his time looking like this... until his powers grow beyond his ability to rein them in. He ends up in (permanent) bone armor.
  • The second season of Fantastic Four: The Animated Series notably changed it so that the blue parts of the Fantastic Four's costumes were now black with blue highlights.
  • In Big Hero 6: The Series Season 2, the titular group gets a mainly black color scheme with their signature colors.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • Hot Spot's costume is much sleeker and black in contrast to the busy grey yellow and white bodysuit with cropped hoodie from the comics, though his comics costume eventually came to reflect the more simplified one from the show.
    • Deathstroke's blue-and-orange suit has been replaced with a gray-and-black uniform, although his mask is still half-orange.
  • Actually inverted in one instance in Spider-Man: The Animated Series with the Punisher. Instead of wearing mostly black clothes, he wears a brown coat and a green bodysuit underneath it, likely to play up the (comparatively) Lighter and Softer angle the show used with him.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) has everyone colorful with two exceptions: Wolverine wears his orange-and-yellow costume, except the orange is a very dark brown. In the comics, he'd been in yellow and blue for quite some time. Hawkeye wears a movie-based outfit that's all black with an arrow symbol and shades (those are dark red) Add some brown on the sides. Later on, the brown turns black, the black turns gray, and the symbol and shades turn purple, all to match Avengers Assemble.)


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Darker And Edgier Costume


No Yellow Spandex

Would Wolverine rather wear black leather or yellow spandex? (The Trope Maker)

How well does it match the trope?

4.73 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / MovieSuperheroesWearBlack

Media sources: