All right, we here at The Revolution have been delivering various deep dives into various aspects of the Legion of Super-Heroes including their different headquarters, their different Star Cruisers, the Legion Flight Ring, the Legion’s continuity as a board game, and a detailed look at the world of the 1980s Legion of Super-Heroes. What are we going to do next during this period of no new comic books due to the Coronavirus pandemic? Well, how about deep dives into the costume designs of the various Legionnaires?
I have always been a massive fan of sports uniform and logo designs and history. Well, my design interest in sports uniforms extends to the world of superhero costume designs. Especially with the Legion of Super-Heroes.
The Legion has such a long and rich history dating all the way back to 1958. The Legionnaires have frequently been given updated costume designs to better reflect the different styles from each decade. Some costume designs stand the test of time. Others? Not so much. My plan is to go through the various versions of each Legionnaire’s costume designs and give each one a rating. Then I will pick which costume design is the best of all time and which costume design is the worst of all time.
To kick things off, I have decided to start with Cosmic Boy. My namesake has always been one of my all-time favorite Legionnaires. So, it only seems proper that we start with Rokk Krinn.
When Cosmic Boy debuted in 1958 he was rocking a less than a spectacular looking costume. Rokk had a goofy looking high circular collar. Rokk also had his codename “Cosmic Boy” written out on the top of his shirt. Having the character’s codename written out on their shirt is definitely never a good design theme. Cosmic Boy also has a patch on his left arm. This evokes the feeling of the Boy Scouts which is consistent with the Legion of Super-Heroes being a superhero version of the Boy and Girl Scouts.
Cosmic Boy’s original costume introduces a color scheme that stuck with Cosmic Boy’s character throughout his history. The pink and black color scheme is what defines Cosmic Boy’s designs through the decades and are the two colors most often associated with Cosmic Boy’s design language. This original costume also had Cosmic Boy wearing purple pants. Purple is another color that makes a reappearance from time to time in Cosmic Boy’s subsequent designs.
This original costume sports the four white circles on Cosmic Boy’s upper chest and shoulders. This becomes the iconic design theme for Cosmic Boy in just about every single costume he has ever worn. These four white circles are to Cosmic Boy what the Big Red S is to Superman. If I had to pick one aspect of Cosmic Boy’s costumes that is most unique to him and most represents him it would be the four white circles.
This original costume has a black “vest” design on the sides that wrap around the back and front of the shirt. This is another reoccurring design theme that is unique to Cosmic Boy that plays a prominent role in many of his costumes.
I like the pink and black color combination. I love the black “vest” design on the shirt. And, of course, I love the four white circles. However, I hate the purple pants. It completely clashes with the pink and black shirt. I also dislike the stupid high circular collar. Another negative to this costume is the silly design of Cosmic Boy’s name written across his chest.
Final Grade: 2 out of 10 Night Girls. This costume is responsible for establishing several prominent design themes for Cosmic Boy’s characters. However, the overall look of this costume is ugly. Further, this costume design has not aged well at all.
Cosmic Boy gets a second costume design in the late 1950s. Cosmic Boy’s second costume design features several prominent changes. Cosmic Boy’s shirt gets switched from pink to purple. Rokk’s codename gets dropped from the font of the shirt. The high circular collar is gone. The shirt retains the black “vest” design as well as the four circles. However, the four circles are now purple instead of white. Also, the black “vest” design is more in the middle of the shirt and does not extend all the way to the belt. The shirt has white cuffs instead of the pink cuffs of the first costume. The shirt gets the addition of pink shoulder fins. This is an important addition as shoulder fins play a prominent role in Cosmic Boy’s design for years to come.
Cosmic Boy keeps purple trunks but the pants are changed from purple to pink. The costume is finished off with purple boots with white bands at the top of the boots.
Overall, Cosmic Boy’s second costume is still a miss with me. I simply do not like the color combination of purple and pink. It is hideous. The pink pants and shoulder fins clash with the rest of the costume and give Cosmic Boy a messy looking color scheme.
Final Grade: 3 Night Girls out of 10. Overall, Cosmic Boy’s second costume is another ugly design. The color scheme is a total mess. This is another costume design that does not age well.
As we enter the 1960s we get Cosmic Boy’s third costume design. With the third costume, things start to get better for Cosmic Boy. This third costume establishes Cosmic Boy’s iconic costume design. While we will see various tweaks to this third costume design as we move through the years, this basic costume design remains in place all the way into the 1970s.
This third costume design clearly establishes Cosmic Boy’s classic pink and black color combination with white as his tertiary accent color. Pink is not a color that I generally like with one exception. That one exception is when pink is paired with black. It almost always looks great. You see this color combination for sports teams like Inter Miami and Palermo. It is also the trademark color scheme for Bret “The Hitman” Hart. I am firmly in the camp that any proper costume for Cosmic Boy absolutely needs to follow the pink and black color scheme.
The third costume also streamlines the design language by junking the color purple. Adding white as an accent color really brings together the entire design language for Cosmic Boy’s third costume. The shirt retains the four white circles and the black “vest” design of the first two costumes. The shirt retains the white cuffs of the second costume. The shoulder fins from the second costume are still present though they look so much better in white rather than in pink. The shirt adds a high white color which adds a nice clean and formal look to the costume.
This costume has no traditional belt. Instead, it has a thick band that mimics the curves of the black “vest” design. The trunks are changed from purple to white with black accent lines. The pants remain pink. The boots are changed to all white with a white band above them.
Final Grade: 6 Night Girls out of 10. Overall, this is a clean and sleek look that possesses a coherent design language. This is a classic costume that ages quite well. This third costume is pivotal for the overall design language for Cosmic Boy’s costumes for years to come.
Cosmic Boy’s fourth costume brings a few minor tweaks to his third costume. The shirt is basically the same with a few tiny changes. The white high collar now has a black line in the middle which gives the collar a more fashionable look. The shirt is still pink with white shoulder fins and four white circles. The shirt also keeps the white cuffs. The shirt also still has the black “vest” design. However, the black “vest” design is large and extends all the way to the belt. This is a tweak to the black “vest” design that becomes an iconic look for Cosmic Boy’s costume for decades to come. This is a great tweak to the costume as the black “vest” design looks so much better when extended all the way to the belt.
This fourth costume gets a black belt with two squares in the middle. This is the first appearance of squares in the middle of the belt. The square design in the middle of the belt also becomes a core design trait for Cosmic Boy’s costumes for a couple of decades.
The trunks are changed from white with black shading to pink with black shading. I actually prefer the white with black shading trunks. It helps to break up the mono-pink look of the costume. The pants remain pink. The boots change from white to pink but retain white bands above the boots. I am not a fan of the white bands above the pink boots. I understand that the white bands above the boots were an attempt to continue the accent color of white throughout the costume. However, the white bands over the boots just look oddly placed.
Final Grade: 5 Night Girls out of 10. The fourth costume suffers from just too much pink. Still, the addition of the squares on the belt and extending the black “vest” design to the belt are important additions that make this costume enjoyable. In the end, the mono-pink look of the fourth costume makes this a design that does not age particularly well.
Cosmic Boy’s fifth costume is largely the same as his fourth costume. The shirt remains the same. The belt remains the same. The trunks change from pink with black shading back to white with black shading. The pants and boots remain pink and the white bands over the boots also remain.
The only change for the fifth costume is that the trunks are now white with black shading. This is a big improvement. This change helps break up the mono-pink look. It also makes the white band above the boots look better within the context of the entire costume design.
Final Grade: 6 Night Girls out of 10. This is another clean costume design. The only thing weighing down this costume design is the pink boots.
The sixth costume design is another positive step forward as it makes just a few small tweaks to the fifth costume. Again, the shirt remains largely the same. The high collar is changed from white to pink. Personally, I prefer the high collar to be in the white accent color rather than the pink primary color. The belt changes from two squares in the middle to one square in the middle. This is a step backward. The one square design is boring compared to the two square design.
The trunks and pants both remain the same. However, the white band above the boots is dropped and the boots are changed from pink to white. Yes! These are two big tweaks that really make Cosmic Boy’s sixth costume the best-looking design so far.
Final Grade: 7 Night Girls out of 10. The artists just keep making small tweaks to refine Cosmic Boy’s costume to make it look better and better. This is a classic looking costume design that still looks good today.
The seventh costume is a final iteration of Cosmic Boy’s third costume. The shirt’s high collar no longer has a line and is less collar and more spandex turtleneck. The collar does remain pink. I prefer the formal collar with a line rather than this turtleneck design. This shirt also sports a more angular black “vest” design. I find this design for the black “vest” to be the best version of all of the ones that we have gotten up to this point. The while shoulder fins remain as do the white cuffs and the four white circles.
The belt is either no longer visible or has disappeared. The two squares from the fifth costume make a return in this seventh costume at the top center of the trunks. The trunks are now a solid black instead of white with black shading. Also, the vest design now appears to be fully incorporated into the trunks. The pink pants remain the same as do the white boots.
Final Grade: 8 Night Girls out of 10. This is a sleek and clean costume design. The seventh costume leans into the pink and black primary color scheme with the white accent color by making the black vest bolder and more angular and seamlessly connecting it with the solid black trunks. This is a strong costume design that still looks great today.
For the first time in over a decade, we finally get a radical redesign for Cosmic Boy’s costume. The eighth version of Cosmic Boy’s costume is bold, to say the least. I always refer to this costume as the “stripper costume.” The eighth costume is polarizing. Fans either hate it or love. There is little in between. Well, you can count me in the group that loves this design. It is absolutely brilliant.
Basically, the angular black vest and black trunks from the seventh costume are retained and everything that was pink is replaced by…well, by nothing. Outside of the black vest and trunks, we get lots of skin. It is “sun’s out guns out” for Rokk every day.
This costume jettisons the long employed pink and black color scheme with a white accent color. The eighth costume is mono-black. Gone are the trademark shoulder fins. Gone are the iconic four white circles which had been a part of Cosmic Boy’s past costumes since his first appearance in 1958. The lack of the four white circles makes the eighth costume unique. The four circles are a constant design element on all of the other traditional costumes that Cosmic Boy has worn throughout the decades.
The costume retains the two squares in the center of the top of the trunks. The two squares appear to be made from metal rather than just white fabric. To complement the squares on the trunks the costume gets rings above the gloves and the boots made from the same metallic-looking squares. The gloves and boots are both black.
Final Grade: 9 Night Girls out of 10. The eighth costume is a stark departure from the previous seven costumes. However, the design for the eighth costume is striking and original. There is no other super-hero costume that you are going to confuse with this one. I love the unique look. This is such a fantastic design. I prefer my superheroes to look…well…super. So, this costume accentuates Rokk’s physique and makes him look like a super-hero.
Cosmic Boy’s ninth costume is just his eighth costume with a couple of minor tweaks. The first change is to the squares at the top center of the trunks. Instead of two squares, the ninth costume has four squares in the center top of the trunks. Another change is that the rings around the gloves and boots are now much wider than in the eighth costume. These bands are no longer composed of squares but of rectangles.
Final Grade: 9 Night Girls out of 10. The change from two squares to four squares is an upgrade. The number of four squares is an homage to the iconic four circles that used to adorn Cosmic Boy’s costumes. I also like that the bands above the gloves and boots are widened. It gives the costume an even better look.
Cosmic Boy got another major redesign to kick off the 1980s with a tenth costume that is an absolute gem. The only carryovers from the ninth costume to the tenth costume are the four square at the top center of the trunks, the black gloves, the black boot, and the wide rectangular bands on top of the gloves and boots.
The black vest and remains connected to the trunks. However, for the first time ever, the black “vest” does not stop at the chest. Unlike all of Rokk’s prior costumes, the black “vest” design in the tenth costume is extended up across the chest and over the shoulders. This is a fantastic design update to the black “vest” on the costume. I love the look of the black extended across the chest and shoulders. This move helps to make a more balanced color scheme between the black and the pink.
We also get a return of the iconic four white circles with the tenth costume. This is a welcome addition to Cosmic Boy’s costume. The four circles are a design that should always appear on Cosmic Boy’s costume. it is a unique signature trait of Cosmic Boy.
The rest of the costume that used to be just skin in the ninth costume is now covered with pink fabric. The color pink is not the light pink of Cosmic Boy’s prior costumes. Instead, a much deeper and more hot pink is used in the tenth costume. It is a bit too much for me.
Final Grade: 9 Night Girls out of 10. The tenth costume is a fantastic redesign. This is a strong design that presents a powerful and unique look for Cosmic Boy that also pays tribute to his prior costume designs while still providing something new and fresh.
The eleventh costume is a minor refresh of the tenth costume. There are only two changes. The first is the deep hot pink is swapped out for the light pink from Cosmic Boy’s classic Silver Age costumes. This is a wise change and makes the new costume look absolutely fantastic.
The other change is that the rectangles that comprise the bands above the gloves and boots are clearly metallic rather than just white. This is another nice tweak to the costume. Obviously, using a metallic material is a visual cue of Cosmic Boy’s magnetic powers.
Final Grade: 10 Night Girls out of 10. I give the chef’s kiss to this costume design. This is the pinnacle of the design language for Cosmic Boy’s costumes. It simply does not get any better than this.
The eleventh costume arrived during the nadir of the Legion of Super-Heroes history: The TMK Legion. In reality, the eleventh costume is barely a costume at all. Basically, it is just Cosmic Boy in a trench coat over painfully 1990s “futuristic” civilian clothing. And, for the first time, Cosmic Boy sported facial hair.
Final Grade: 1 Night Girls out of 10. This is a crap look that lacks any imagination or design appeal. On top of that, this “costume” design has aged horridly and looks like the awful 1990s design that it is.
The twelfth “costume” also came to use during the dreadful TMK Legion. This is also not a costume. Instead, Rokk simply sported a basic black t-shirt and pants. Again, it is painfully 1990s and completely lacks any imagination or cool style. Honestly, there is next to nothing to say about this “costume.”
Final Grade: 1 Night Girl out of 10. Again, this “costume” lacks any effort and definitely has not aged well.
The thirteenth costume was actually a disguise when Cosmic Boy was trying to hide his identity. Note Rokk is sporting a long goatee. The costume itself looks like a generic design slapped together from the spare parts bin and assembled with little imagination. The thirteenth costume is unique in that it is the only costume where Cosmic Boy wears a mask. The color scheme for the thirteenth costume is black and magenta with gold as the accent color. In general, this color scheme does little for me.
The shirt is a bit of a mess. The magenta part of the shirt has busy lines drawn all over it. It makes the shirt look way too busy and unappealing. This pattern is extended to the pants, too. The thirteenth costume sports big gold metallic gauntlets and boots. I normally like gauntlets. They are a cool accessory. However, the gauntlets simply do not match the design of this costume. The thirteenth costume also sports the old WCW Heavyweight Championship Belt. The gold belt for this costume is tacky looking and completes the generally gaudy look that the gold accessories give this costume.
Final Grade: 3 Night Girls out of 10. This costume manages to be both generic and gaudy. That is hard to pull off. Overall, this is an ugly costume that is designed without any effort. This is the type of costume usually reserved for generic one-time villains.
The Reboot Legion of Super-Heroes saw Cosmic Boy getting a new costume that had some design cues from the Silver Age costumes. The fourteenth costume is a modernized Silver Age design. The result is a clean looking design. The fourteenth costume’s color scheme is light purple and black with silver as an accent color. I am not sure if this light purple is lavender or periwinkle. At any rate, this is an homage to the use of purple in Cosmic Boy’s first two costumes back in the 1950s. Personally, I prefer black and pink, but the black and light purple is still a good combination.
The top of the costume brings back the formal high color of Cosmic Boy’s Silver Age costumes. The difference is that the color is now black instead of either white or pink like in the previous costumes. The top of the costume retains the black “vest” design found in the costumes. This black “vest” design is more in keeping with all of Cosmic Boy’s costumes prior to the 1980s costume where the black “vest” design was wrapped across his chest and over his shoulders. I also like that the black is run down the center of each arm and culminates in the form of fingerless black gloves.
The top has silver metal fins. Again, this is an homage to the white shoulder fins of the 1960s costumes. The top also has the iconic four circles. However, this time the circles are silver metal circles instead of white circles. This is a great modern update to the shoulder fins and the four circles. The use of silver metal instead of white fabric is evocative of Cosmic Boy’s magnetic powers.
The belt sports a massive Legion “L” logo buckle. I much prefer the more simple and clean two square and four square belt designs in the costumes from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The giant Legion “L” buckle looks tacky and has not aged well. Also, the belt has pouches on the side because….well, because it was the 1990s. The pouches on the belt never looked good when new and it certainly looks awful and dated now.
The lower part of the costume continues the black and light purple design of the top of the costume. This leads me to my biggest criticisms of the fourteenth costume. It looks like a full-body leotard rather than an outfit. The entire costume is basically just footie pajamas. This is one big leotard that runs from Cosmic Boy’s neck to his feet. The lack of boots and gloves only emphasizes the fact that this entire costume is basically just footie pajamas.
Final Grade: 5 Night Girls out of 10. The fourteenth costume has nice modernized design cues from the Silver Age costume in the form of the black “vest” design, the four metal circles, and the metal shoulder fins. While I still prefer the combination of black and pink, the color combination of black and light purple also works quite well. However, in the end, the fourteenth costume is let down by the fact that it looks like a full-body leotard instead of an actual outfit.
The Threeboot Legion of Super-Heroes brought Cosmic Boy an entirely new costume. The fifteenth costume shakes things up by changing the color scheme to black and light blue with a white accent color. Thankfully, the fifteenth costume trashes the footie pajamas look of the fourteenth costume. The shirt design is quite different. Instead of sporting shoulder fins, there are black stripes across each shoulder similar to evokes the design cue of the old shoulder fins. The black “vest” design is modified to extend across the armpits and down over the arms. This is a new twist on the black “vest” design.
The shirt retains Cosmic Boy’s iconic four circles. However, for the first time, the four circles are in black. I do not like this design change. The black circles do not pop like the white circles and silver circles on the older costumes did. This is more subdued and the circles tend to blend into the background. I also do not like the unnecessary busy lining in the middle of the shirt.
There is no belt for this costume. Instead, the shirt runs straight into the all-black pants. Luckily, the addition of white gloves and white boots prevents the fifteenth costume from looking like a full-body leotard. The white gloves and boots bring some brightness to the costume and prevent it from being too drab and dark. Also, the lack of any light blue in the pants and the hard line of the light blue ending at the waist also helps to break up the costume design and make it look more like an outfit than a full-body leotard.
Final Grade: 5 Night Girls out of 10. This is a solid but not spectacular costume design. Kind of like the Threeboot Legion themselves.
With the re-introduction of the Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion as the real Legion in the DCU, Cosmic Boy got another new costume. The sixteenth costume is yet another modernization of several common design aesthetics of Cosmic Boy’s prior costumes. The formal high collar from older costumes makes an appearance. However, this collar is in silver and has a small “V” shape in the front. I like the design of this formal high collar.
The shirt continues the black “vest” design found in the fifteenth costume. This costume brings a slightly different color scheme of blue-back and silver with pink accents. The black “vest” extends through the armpits and down both arms. The shirt also has the iconic four circles. This time the circles are in silver like the fourteenth costume. Instead of the inside of the shirt being pink or purple, it is silver. I am not a fan of so much silver on the shirt of this costume. This takes away from the pop that the silver circles would have on top of either pink or black.
We then get pink piping along the edge of the black “vest” and get pink piping on the edge of the collar and down the middle of the shirt. We also get pink piping around the shoulders that evoke the look of the shoulder fins from the older costumes. I love the pink piping. I love the pink accent designs. They are a fantastic callback to some of the earlier Cosmic Boy costumes from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
The silver belt with the Legion “L” logo buckle and the pouches evokes the belt from the fourteenth costume. I did not like the belt with the large buckle and pouches back on the fourteenth costume. And I do not like it any better here with the sixteenth costume.
The pants are all blue-black. We get white boots that have a cool pink and black striping pattern at the top. I actually like the design of the boots quite a bit. They are more interesting looking than simple white boots. The striping on the top of the boots helps complete the overall color scheme and design of the entire outfit.
Final Grade: 6 Night Girls out of 10. This is another solid but definitely not spectacular costume design.
In Legion of Super-Heroes #10 published in 2012, Cosmic Boy wore a special one-off costume. This was a stealth costume for Cosmic Boy’s espionage mission. Like any good stealth costume, the main color is black. This stealth costume had magenta lines drawn all over it to give it a cool look and to better define the boots and gloves. Also, note that there are magenta lines on the neck of the costume to evoke the look of a formal split color like some of Cosmic Boy’s older costumes. That is a fantastic touch.
Final Grade: 8 Night Girls out of 10. This is a cool looking stealth outfit that matches Cosmic Boy’s design language. This is a sleek costume that looks great. Too bad we never saw this stealth costume again.
In Legion of Super-Heroes #0 published in 2012, we got a flashback story that took place “Before the New 52.” In this story, Cosmic Boy wears a modified version of his seventh costume. There are several noticeable differences. This costume extends the black “vest” design into black biker shorts instead of just black trunks. There is one large rectangle in the middle of the waist while the seventh costume had two squares in this position. The high collar is black instead of pink. This costume gets the black lines down the arms much like Cosmic Boy’s fourteenth costume.
This costume also differs in that it has white gloves and cuffs while the seventh costume just had white cuffs. Another difference is that this costume has white boots with large cuffs at the top while the seventh costume just white boots with no cuffs. This costume also gets tons of unnecessary black lines all over it like many Jim Lee designed costumes in the New 52.
Final Grade: 5 Night Girls out of 10. This costume is the worst version of the original black and pink Silver Age costume. Black biker shorts instead of black trunks is a truly awful look. The unnecessary and busy black lines all over the costume are also terrible looking.
With the Fourboot Legion, Cosmic Boy got racially retconned and was given a new costume. I am not a big fan of either new direction. The seventeenth costume has a black and salmon color scheme with a silver accent color. I absolutely hate this color scheme. The introduction of salmon is an unwelcome addition. Breaking from Cosmic Boy’s trademark color scheme of black and purple or black and pink makes zero sense. Further, salmon is just a hideous color and we get so much of it slathered all over this costume. Also, the combination of black and pink is a strong color scheme. So is the color combination of black and purple. Those colors all work so well together. But, black and salmon? Ewwww. it is just nasty.
The top of this costume sports a split folded collar. I am not a fan of this design at all. It is a combination of a polo shirt color with a turtleneck under it. It is just not appealing. The top of the costume retains the iconic four circles which remain in silver. The top is sleeveless which is a playful nod to the old stripper costume of the 1970s. I like the “sun’s out guns out” look for Cosmic Boy.
What I do not like are the gloves. They are a design mess. Less is more is a general rule that applies to nearly everything and that certainly includes costume designs. These gloves should have simply been fingerless black gloves as a nod to the fourteenth costume. Or perhaps even just regular black gloves. But, having the gloves be black in the middle with salmon fingers and palms is too much. Then you add on that mess the silver circles on the back of the gloves and the result is a glove design that is way too busy and over the top.
This costume also has a metal belt with the Legion “L” buckle which is a similar design trend from the fourteenth and sixteenth costumes. I am not a fan of the aforementioned belts and I am not a huge fan of this belt, either.
The lower part of the costume is also a mess. The black extends down from the vest across the upper thighs. Then the black stops and begins again down below the knees. The design of the black on the lower part of the costume is another design element that is just too busy. Then, to make things worse, it is hard to tell if the black below the leg is just part of the same leotard costume or if they are boots. On top of that, for some bizarre reason, a line of silver is placed across the tops of both feet. It is just a hideous mess. There is no coherent design language to this costume.
Final Grade: 3 Night Girls out of 10. Much like the Fourboot Legion, the seventeenth is a sad disappointment.
The Best Costume of All-Time
Yup. The sweet 1980s costume is the best design of all of the costumes that Cosmic Boy has worn over the past fifty-two years. This costume still remains the gold standard for Cosmic Boy’s look.
The Worst Costume of All-Time
This “costume” is just lazy, dull, and incredibly dated. There is nothing to like about this look. But, this really is not a costume, so I do not think it is fair to give this “costume” the award of the Worst Costume of All Time.
The current costume is hands down the worst. Unlike the TMK trenchcoat look, you can tell that actual thought was placed into creating this costume design. Yet, the result is still a mess of a look.
All right, let me know if I missed any different versions of Cosmic Boy’s costumes over the decades. If there is one thing I have learned is that some of you guys out there have incredible memories and impressive knowledge of the Legion and have given me some interesting items that I had missed out on in my prior articles. Until next time, Long Live the Legion!