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Off My Mind: Should Teams Have Matching Uniforms?

Are they merely fashion statements or do they serve another purpose

There is so much evil in the world of comics and it can become too much for a single hero. Superhero teams can give the heroes an advantage while also giving them a sense of comradery. We have seen different teams over the years with a variety of members. A question that is bound to come up during the formation of a new team is what should their look be? Should a team have matching costumes or not? 
 

Obviously there are pros and cons to both. Matching costumes show a commitment to the team. You could even relate it to having "team spirit." Wearing matching outfits shows you believe in what the team represents. You are part of a bigger picture. There's also an advantage in those big crazy fights where it could get hard to keep track of which villain you need to hit and who's supposed to be watching your back. A team with a uniform is easily recognizable to the public. Even if a new member joins the team, everyone will know they're in safe hands and there's one more hero there to vanquish the evil around them. Having a team uniform most likely means you don't have to worry about making your own repairs if a costume gets ripped. Chances are, there's a closet full of them in different sizes. This could also come in handy after the holidays when we sometimes gain a little weight. 
 
What are some of the cons of having matching uniforms? 
 == TEASER == 
Wearing the same outfit as everyone else could lead to an individual losing some of their individuality. You could become just another costume crusader doing whatever you're told to do. You have to hope all the members on your team won't screw up in public and make people blame you for their indiscretions. In those big crazy battles, you could become more of a target as the bad guys will know to aim for everyone wearing the uniform. The main reason to not have a team look is you are stuck with someone else's choice. You might have to wear a long cape or big uncomfortable boots if you want to "play" with the team. If you ever had any thoughts to what you'd like to wear while fighting crime, those ideas could be thrown out the window. 
 
The argument could go on. Should a team have a costume. Let me know your thoughts. Does it make the team appear more impressive or does it make them look like mindless soldiers? 
 
(Thanks to bingbangboom for planting this seed in my mind.)
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Posted by aztek_the_lost

It makes them more inseparable, whether that's a good thing or not is each reader's opinion, but I never think of the Fantastic Four individually at first thought, it's always the group whereas with the X-Men I think of the individuals first and team second. Granted, whether or not the costume or not is a directly related variable is questionable but this has made me think it likely is a subconscious one at least.

Moderator
Posted by uroboros

The one that confuses me is Secret Avengers, Beast has a dashing little number but no one else seems to have jumped on board with that one.

Posted by Jake Fury

After seeing the X-Men in spandex for so long Morrison giving them the black costumes was a pretty slick visual. I also liked the Ultimate X-Men's similar costume patterns.  
 
I think the problem is that many of these team related heroes also operate independently and therefore just stick with their original costumes.
Posted by ComicMan24

It depends on the origin of the IMO. In a team like Fantastic Four where the members share their origin, it makes sense. But in teams like Avengers or JLA where most of the members have established a solo crimefighting career from before, I think individuals costumes are fine.

Posted by comicbikerscott

i think it's up to the team
Posted by howlett76

hmm   just me but seems like the problem with costumes is..  the ff needed a certain conformity to relax the public since they were going without masks and in the middle of town   while the others... are more independanty their natures and mutants just get labeled together regardless by the public so doesn't make a spit of difference if they match or not..   they tend to have  x's on their costumes some place which is  the right message,  now avengers  are all known individualy  in the public eye   and being an avengers just makes them that extra more "heroic"      really depends..

Posted by GothamRed

I'm fine with matching uniform, so long as they aren't exactly the same, like with the ultimate X-men.  However, I prefer characters to have different costumes because it gives the character more of a chance of becoming individual and iconic, plus it gives them the chance to go solo more easily, or at least have a solo series.

Posted by KRYPTON

Not all teams should have matching uniforms. Only teams life the Fantastic Four or X-men (and others) should have matching uniforms. Because since the Fantastic Four doesn't have a series with just The Thing called "Ben Grimm: The Thing". But, teams like The Avengers, they don't need matching uniforms, because they've got more than one book series. It works for Wolverine, because he's more like the lone wolf in the team, and his colors blend perfectly with his book series and also when he team's up with the X-Men or X-force. 

Posted by Adam Michaels

It's always a matter of opinion, of course. That goes without saying. But I think the fact that the FF have matching costumes is something that sets them apart. I might be wrong, but I believe they're the only team these days who have team uniforms. At least as far as the major teams are concerned. You look at the different Avengers teams, the JLA & JSA, the (Teen) Titans, and even the X-Men, they all have their individual costumes, whether on solo or team adventures.  
 
I remember when Stan and Kirby brought us the Marvel Age in the 60s, the FF and the X-Men were introduced to us as teams, and they made that evident by giving each team's members matching uniforms. That was opposed to the Avengers, which was a union of a group of solo superheroes who already had their own costumes/identities. The simplicity of it is attractive to me. 
Posted by bingbangboom

I like the idea for at least an option. You would think even with the marketing of a new team, sometimes it would make sense in the MU. 

Edited by Dr. Detfink

Oy Vey! Between Off My Mind and Brutally Honest, there is less neurotic thinking in a Woody Allen film. This must be the Whiskey media version of Curb your fan boy Enthusiasm.  
 
The FF wear the same costume because they are in the public's eye all the time. They PROMOTE themselves so Reed can sell his patents (to whom no one knows) and make ridiculous coin living in the Baxter building. 
 
The same cannot be said for all teams because the X-men like wearing their costumes all the time (it's a Bay thing), the Avengers are a rotating door for freaks...

Posted by Precise

Matching uniforms is soooo 90's :P
 
But seriously, no I like a little individuality.

Posted by eldestrisk

They should have individuals uniforms, but something that tells they are from a certain team, like the X with the X-Men.

Posted by difficlus
@comicbikerscott said:
" i think it's up to the team "
this..
Posted by tgaxgriffenx

I think that depends on the team and the uniform itself. If the team is a tactical squad who train together and have a strong background together then yeah its a great idea. If it is just a rag tag group of heroes who joined because they couldn't stop a threat alone then not so much. If the uniform is impressive and varies from member to member based on there abilities and tactical styles. X-men probably have executed this example of uniforms that are unique  to the wearer best. 

Posted by Nova`Prime`

The problem with team uniforms, outside of the F4, is that fact that most teams are created from characters who were at one time and still solo adventures. Of course you had the classic XMen look and that sometimes creeps back into the older members, but lets face it Wolverine, Colossus, and Storm don't look the same wearing the classic blue/gold look. If the characters started in the team, ala original XMen/F4 they should at least have a similar look, teams like the Avengers shouldn't.

Posted by Eyz
@ComicMan24 said:
" It depends on the origin of the IMO. In a team like Fantastic Four where the members share their origin, it makes sense. But in teams like Avengers or JLA where most of the members have established a solo crimefighting career from before, I think individuals costumes are fine. "
^Like he said!
It all depends of what kind of characters make the team.
Bunch of space cops (GL), mutant superhero group (X-men), family of characters (F4),
or
People who join force to battle evil (Avengers, JL...)..
 
I put Legacy characters like the Blue Beetles or the Robins the preview pic was in a whole different sort altogether.
Posted by ddaann1985

Im gonne be short and say...no, they shouldnt have...
 
In the X-men it kinda worked out... those matching uniforms became somewhat the 'training' uniforms... I remember Jubilee and even Gambit wearing them :)

Posted by dondasch

The issue of matching uniforms is highly determined by how the public views the team.  With the Fantastic Four, for instance, they have always been in the public eye, and so, need to have that artistic demonstration in order to further the public cognizance.  With teams like the X Men, they have typically shunned the public eye, likely due to being "feared and hated by a world that does not understand them".  So, it really depends on how the team has set themselves up to be viewed by the public.

Posted by ddaann1985
@dondasch: 
Dont know if that counts for the Avengers too.... the Avengers are sometimes even more adored then the FF and they never had matching uniforms. :)
Posted by dondasch

@ddaann1985 I attribute this to the public being fickle :)

Posted by d3v

I think the big issue with having team uniforms is having to create a Wolverine costume for every team.

Posted by gordocomics
@d3v said:
" I think the big issue with having team uniforms is having to create a Wolverine costume for every team. "
Posted by Gambit1024

I think they should have matching uniforms. When they don't it just doesn't scream "team" to me. 
 
And if they don't have matching uniforms, they should at least wear the team's logo on their costume. 

Posted by AlphaZro

I'm not so hot on entire uniforms for teams but the insignia like the x's every x-man carries is way better in my opinion.

Posted by CaptainGenisVell

I think it depends; if they have a set roster like the fantastic four (majority of the time) then they should have costumes or if they have quite abig organistion like the x-men, so you know.
But with other teams who change the roster more frequently and the team isn't of such a large number then I think it's fine if they don't have them.

Posted by DMC

Uniforms also make the team seem more organized more official, like police officers and such and they definitely makes the team more recognizable to the public. In the publics eye there's no second guessing who's on the Fantastic 4 but the Avengers can be tricky. Even if they're standing next to Cap, Iron Man and/or Thor (and other recognizable Avengers) it would be hard to identify who's an official member of the group and who's just teaming up with them at the moment.
 
The individuality problem can be avoided if the uniform comes in a variety of styles but shares the same color scheme. 

Posted by oldgum

Avengers Never have matching uniforms.

Posted by karrob
@ComicMan24 said:
" It depends on the origin of the IMO. In a team like Fantastic Four where the members share their origin, it makes sense. But in teams like Avengers or JLA where most of the members have established a solo crimefighting career from before, I think individuals costumes are fine. "
I agree
Posted by Doctor!!!!!

You don't matching outfits, but it helps... 
along as you sport your team logo everywhere(X-Men)

Posted by FireFlare153

I think costumes should be different but with the same symbol that represents whatever team. It give members individuality and lets them know what team there're on. like the X-men.

Posted by danhimself

what's the point in being on a team if you're not going to have matching uniforms??  I wouldn't even consider joining a team unless they had matching uniforms

Posted by Decept-O

All I can say is, I am happy provided  the uniforms don't look like this:    
 

 

Uh, yeah.
 
 
Posted by Fantasgasmic

Without having read the comments, I know someone has already said this but I don't care. 
 
I think it depends on the team dynamic. If said team always functions as a team, then YES they should have similar outfits (I prefer varitions on a theme to identical costumes. it helps the characters keep some personality, and it helps the readers keep track of who is in a scene).  
 
The obvious reference point is the X-Men, because they've done a JILLION different costumes for just about every member. Way back in the day they all had the identical blue and yellows; when the original X-Men left to make the original X-Factor they all had the same design but in different colors (both these were good ideas but their looks are really dated). The second major class of X-men (pictured above) is how most of us who grew up through the 90s remember them (everyone had their own look,  like in the 90s cartoon). I think my favorite concept, though, is something similar to the X-Men movies, or the New X Men (either the post-M-Day team, or the crappy book with the ugly matching jackets). 
 
If, on the other hand, the team is made up of people who have their own adventures, (JLA, Teen Titans, Avengers, Outsiders, etc.) it makes sense that the'd each just wear their own costumes, or maybe a variant with the team logo in place of their own. Beast has effectively done this. His new Avengers costume looks a LOT like his last X-Men one, but its an Avengers A instead of an X now. Wolverine could have a variant with an A on it, or even Spidey.

Posted by ShirEPanjshir

I don't know. I guess having team uniforms for something like Fantastic Four, where extra-terrestrial expeditions are a big part of their heroic adventures makes complete sense. Since when you encounter a new civilization, they will immediatly know who belongs to the team and who doesn't.
For something like X-Force, it also makes sense to me, since it's a black ops team, you can't have people running around in bright colors and would want everyone to wear the same style of suits.
 
For other teams like the Avengers, I guess it 's less of a necessity to all wear the same uniform. However it perhaps could be rather interesting for all of them to have a certain emblem or something in common that does indicate they are part of the same team, while still wearing their own colors/uniforms. Something like with the X-men, where there isn't a team uniform per sé, but they all ( or at least most of them ? ) do have the X emblem on their uniforms somewhere. 
 
Plus there is also the question of practicality. Take Wolverine for example. The poor guy would have an X-men uniform, an X-Force uniform, an Avengers uniform, a New Avengers uniform and his own colors. The guy would never get into a fight anymore because he'd be too busy changing clothes.
And there's the simple fact: some people, like say Batman, would be forced to quit wearing their cape. Which they in fact use as a strategy. Or the other way around, some 'd be forced to wear a cape perhaps, and thus limiting their fighting style.

Posted by Video_Martian

NO, a team SHOULDN'T have matching costumes!

Edited by batman_is_god

I think all their costumes should KIND OF match. Like maybe they all have similiar outfits, but each one has unique things, like hoods or exclusive colors. That way they look like a unit, but the characters can stand out. 
 
That excludes teams made of existing characters, like the JLA or Avengers. I am talking about the Fantastic Four and X-Men kind of things.
Posted by lastdrag0n89

Maybe not matching costumes but team colors and similar themes would be cooler.

Posted by Norusdog

honestly..dunno if I can answer...for some teams (F4) it fits..but we're used to seeing the heroes with those outfits on..none of them had established their own.
 
now if say Thor was to join them..or Iron Man....I really can't see either of those two wearing F4 style uniforms (or color scheme in the case of Iron Man's paint job lol.)
 
So really it depends...on "new" teams...maybe....established ones? can't really see it....
 
overall it really depends on the team and the hero(ine)'s in question

Posted by staceydillon

I believe it depends. Fantastic four, yes. They have always been the fantastic four no matter what. Avengers, no. The members of the Avengers hop from team to team. Changing their costumes would get confusing. Yes uniform shows unity but they can still be a team without matching.

Posted by Outside_85

Some teams it kinda makes sense to have same style uniform, Fantastic Four is one such team, since they were 'created' at the same time. And some teams it don't, generally speaking teams like JLA, TT and Avengers where the members are also known for their solo adventures. 
X-Men kinda falls through both tags, since they try to look uniform some of the time, like in the pic posted (yellow and red repeats), but it often ends up falling through because of the various styles of costumes, different sizes, shapes and colors of the memebers.
 
Visually, matching uniforms make's a better impression, giving the group a sense of unity and seriousness, as opposite of many different uniforms will make the group look unorganizes and appear more like a mob than a tested group. 
On the other hand, being in a uniform also makes you an easy target and you will share any problems that might be associated with the uniform or one of the other members. 
 
So uniforms have pros and cons, new teams could start out in matching uniforms to mask potential inexperience before moving on to make their own uniform after a given time.

Posted by sora_thekey
Simple: If the roster of the team does not change ofter (like the Fantastic Four or the original X-Team) then yes, a Matching Uniform does work because you will always see the same characters wearing that costume and the individuality will stay since there will be no more like that.
 
If the roster is constantly changing (like the X-Men or the Avengers or even the JLA) then no. in those cases the blond woman in the team will be lost with the other blond woman who although is not on the current adventure she will appear later making the characters looks their individuality.
Moderator
Posted by Lvenger
@sora_thekey:  That's exactly what I was going to say. Same roster makes for an easier matching uniform like with the X-Men and Fantastic 4 and consistently changing members with different powers, skills etc e.g Avengers. It could also be a case of whether matching uniforms look good. I mean, it works for the Fantastic 4 but can you imagine the Justice league in matching uniforms? Some of the team members are iconic superheroes in their own right (Superman, Batman) so replacing their outfits with team ones wouldn't be a good idea in my opinion
Posted by blaakmawf

I made my fortune on pen-wangs.

Posted by weapon154

If they were individual heroes that came together because of a major baddie, (the Avengers)they don't have matching uniforms but if they share a common origin, (Fantastic Four) than they sould start wearing matching uniforms.

Posted by leokearon

As long as the team doesn't have anything like the New Mutants Graduation outfits I'm happy. Of course I think it depends if the heroes were individual heroes before they joy that determines a uniform or not.

Edited by Soldier zero

This is "the chicken or the egg" kind of question. Costume - or uniforms - are the most important element of a character visual identity, with a great visual design even a unremarkable character can stand out. The choice of a unique and distinct design is a important choice since it pretty much define the hero public image and personality (which is why Batman in "The Brave and the Bold" use a vibrant blue instead of black).
Being part of a team is a pretty common element of the superhero business, it makes a hero able to create relationships, make friends and face bigger threats, but at the same time force him to renouce to a small part of his/hers independence and individual identity. Matching uniforms gave a sense of belonging or evenness depending on how they are used.
 
Let's take some examples:
 

The Fantastic Four

 
The F4 are probably the most well known case of matching uniforms, but the reason here are somewhat different from the usual. The F4 aren't simply a team, they are family - and not in the surrogate sense liek the Titans - the sense of belonging here reach his apex.
It's worth noticing that when Ben Grimm goes solo - which he does more often than people gave him credit for - he usually lacks any reference to the F4 in his outfits.
 

The Xavier Institute

 
The Xavier Institute sits pretty much halfway between the belonging and the evenness. The black and gold (later blue and gold) suits used by training students were an attempt to negotiate, on one hand they helped to create the esprit de corps needed to hammer a bunch of teenagers into a team (especially with the New Mutants), on the other hand they were meant to even the playing field and make all the student just students in a way interchangeable and all equal.
When Banshee and Forge created the Muir Island X-Men giving them matching uniformas was a quick and dirty way to create the aformentioned sense of belonging.
 

Hydra, S.H.I.E.L.D., the Lantern Corps and other paramilitary groups

 
For any military organization uniforms are a paramount element, aside from the tactical considerations, matching uniforms help to retrain the members from people to soldiers. Hydra is particulary efficient about this, not only its uniform include a mask that makes all the members (other than Strucker and his closest lieutenants) almost impossible to tell apart, but all of his doctrine is aimed to stress the survival of the organization over the individual (I think we're all familiar with their creed "Hail HYDRA! Immortal HYDRA! We shall never be destroyed! Cut off one limb and two more shall take its place!").
S.H.I.E.L.D. is a bit more on the belonging side (at least under Fury's command), but still they need soldiers more than people, S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms are practicly identical save one stripe to indicate the agent's section.
 
Given all of that some groups really can't work with matching uniforms, their members are too independent or simply too iconic to be forced ina single design.
 
For Example:
 

The all new, all different X-Men

 
Opposite to the original team the second X-Men team was a very colorful match up. In this case the different uniforms underlined that all the members were individuals, each one from a very different background, instead of group of American teenagers.
 

The Justice League and the Avengers

 
Let's face it, reducing these two teams to single design is almost impossible, all their key members are the biggest icons of their respective universes. The design of character like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America or Thor is too much part of them to be taken away. Even trying to imagine a sort of team costume here is horribly difficult.
 
A strange case was the animated version fo the Legion of Superheroes, while the costumes are all different there are some basic lines (no more tha two/three colors, large vertical stripe in the middle of the torso) that are equal for most of the members.
 

Posted by Mumbles

Matching is cool, but works the other way as well.

Posted by TheMess1428

The costumes don't have to all be the exact same thing like in X-Men First Class or how Mr. Fantastic and Human Torch are usually always wearing the exact same thing. They could all be variations of the same thing. Like maybe a female member has a skirt or super high boots. And maybe one of the guys has a sleeveless version. Or someone has one that covers their hair like Flash or Cyclops. Same logos and colors can be pretty much all that you need.

Posted by Gunslinger6

only if the team is military, like shield (or weapon x). otherwise superheroes are special, unique, they should look that way.

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