Superman and Lois, the first Arrowverse DC TV series headlined by the Man of Steel (and the first live action show to actually put the word “Superman” in the title in 25 years) is arriving in February. And with this new series, a fresh start for the Man of Steel and family, Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman is getting a brand new costume. Don’t worry, this isn’t some Hollywood executive’s attempt to make Supes “edgy” or more hardcore. Fans should rest easy that TK.
Tyler Hoechlin has been playing Clark Kent in the former-Arrowverse since Supergirl Season 2, when he won over audiences and longtime Superman fans with his easygoing charisma that showcased much of what has been missing from live action portrayals of the character since Christopher Reeve hung up his cape in 1987. But even though Hoechlin’s performance has always been on the mark, the costume he wore through various appearances on Supergirl and in crossover events like Crisis on Infinite Earths (where we were treated to an absolutely perfect Brandon Routh Superman costume) was faithful and evocative in its own ways, it never quite felt at home with some of the suits worn by his superheroic co-stars.
But this new suit fixes all of those problems, with dynamic lines that help showcase the actor’s physique, cleaning up some flourishes, and generally bringing it all together with a more classic look for the character. But it’s not TOO classic, as there’s still a few elements that are uniquely modern, and should look really great in action.
The new Superman costume was designed by Laura Jean Shannon and built by her Supersuits team “in conjunction with Creative Character Engineering.” It might just be my favorite live action Superman costume overall, and it’s a perfect blend of the classic and the modern.
See for yourself…
Superman purists will immediately note the lack of red trunks, a characteristic this suit shares with the previous version. Comics editors and Hollywood executives had tried to remove Superman’s red trunks from the character for decades, with numerous stalled movie versions in the ’90s designing trunks-less versions of the costume. In 2011, DC Comics tapped Jim Lee to redesign the costume, removing the trunks, replacing the gold belt with a red one, and adding flourishes like an awkward high collar and stylized “gauntlets” on the wrists that helped nod to the character’s Kryptonian heritage. Similarly, 2013’s Man of Steel movie dropped the trunks as well, lengthened the cape, and also darkened the blues and reds for a more alien, even regal look.
But ultimately, there’s a reason why Superman’s costume has remained virtually unchanged since his first appearance in Action Comics #1 in 1938. The further you get away from that classic look, the more it feels like you’re trying too hard. The brand new Superman and Lois costume manages to avoid those pitfalls nicely.
We can see nods to some of those more recent design elements here, notably the slightly pointed sleeve ends, the aforementioned lack of trunks, and the red belt. But there are other elements that make this feel a little more “classic” and less deliberately different than previous versions. The red and blue remain consistent with Hoechlin’s previous Arrowverse suit, and we also see a continuity in the texturing of the suit itself, something which is standard practice for live action superheroes these days.
It appears that the Kryptonian family crest on his chest (“it’s not an S”), is slightly smaller than the previous suit. Similarly, the cape clasps that previously came over the shoulders and nearly met the logo are gone, replaced by a cape that is more traditionally tucked into the collar. The new suit also loses the low, flat neckline in favor of something a little less radical.
My favorite change comes with the belt. Hoechlin’s previous suit had a wide red belt that sat straight along the waist, and the effect seemed to flatten him out. The more narrow and textured version here, particularly the pentagonal belt buckle that mirrors the emblem (another on again/off again design choice in the comics), helps make the entire suit more powerful. If you’ve gotta lose the trunks, this is the best way I’ve seen to break that midsection up.
It’s a little tough to tell if they’ve made drastic changes to the boots, which appear to be the same height as they were in the previous costume. The result here is perhaps the best Superman redesign seen in the last decade, whether on the page or the screen, and the overall silhouette and look is exactly what you’d expect.
“I find that the new suit is representative of the show,” Tyler Hoechlin said in a statement. “Just as this suit is unique and set apart from the ones that preceded it, the story we’re telling about Clark/Superman at this point in his life is unique and something we’ve never seen before. I appreciate the opportunity to wear the suit and the responsibility that comes with it. But it’s always interesting when I’m asked how I feel about ‘my new suit,’ because I’ve always felt that the suit doesn’t belong to me; it belongs to everyone that finds some kind of meaning in that suit, in the symbol on the chest. I just happen to be the one wearing it. I come from the world of baseball and a line of coaches that always preached that the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the one on the back. Because when you wear that jersey, it represents not only you, but your entire team, and everyone that has ever worn that jersey that came before you. So when I wear the suit, that’s what it means to me. It represents everything that Superman stands for and has stood for, for almost a century now. And I look forward to carrying on that tradition.”
The only question is: what will the story reason be for Clark getting a new Superman costume? We’ll find out when Superman and Lois premieres on the CW on Feb. 23.