Superheroes and costumes go together like peanut butter and jelly. They serve multiple purposes, like protection, weaponry, and making the character more recognizable to the readers. However, many superheroes include facial masks in their costumes, primarily to hide their identities.
The masks vary in their purpose and style, from the ones only covering the eyes to full head gear. Here’s the ultimate list of the 15 greatest masked superheroes of all time. The list is ranked based on the character’s popularity and the awesomeness of their masks.
Katana might not be the most popular superhero on this list, but her story is incredibly heartbreaking – and her mask is certainly iconic. Before becoming Katana, she lived a peaceful, beautiful life with her husband and two kids. However, things took a horrible turn when her husband was killed with a sword, and her kids burned in a fire.
The soul of Katana’s husband entered the sword, and Katana now uses it to rid the world of evil, fighting for justice – and taking souls in the process. Her mask is pearl-white with a big red dot on the forehead, resembling the Japanese flag. Katana is a remarkable hero, prolific in martial arts, and being the dopest Samurai warrior in comics.
Hawkman is an insanely powerful DC Comics superhero that, well, looks kind of like a hawk. Now, most of the time, when the costume and mask of a character are utterly ridiculous, the character doesn’t work with fans. Hawkman and his wife, Hawkgirl, might be the only characters who the fans love despite the sheer ridiculousness of their masks.
They wear golden helmets with feathers looking like wings and long hawk-like beaks. And, though their outfits changed many times throughout the years, the helmet more-or-less remained the same. It’s hard to imagine the Hawk-heroes without their iconic, ridiculous helmets.
When you think of comic book mercenaries and assassins, many characters pop into mind, like Deadpool, Bullseye, etc. However, one guy that gets looked over quite often – and shouldn’t get looked over – is Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson. The dude is an absolute beast with practically any weapon you give him.
And he’s got one of the dopest masks in comics. You see, Slade is missing an eye, and he isn’t afraid to let his opponents know that. When outside of his mask, Wilson wears an eyepatch. But, when he’s in the Deathstroke outfit, he wears a mask that is orange/red on one side and has an eyehole, while the other side is completely black and closed up.
It’s a spectacular design that says, “I don’t see on this side, and I really don’t care if you know it, I’m still gonna kick your butt.” Now, he’s not a superhero, per se, but has done heroic stuff in the past, so I think he fits the bill for this list.
Cyclops is a well-known X-Men member among fans, especially after several portrayals in live-action movies. He’s the guy with uncontrollable red beams shooting out of his eyes, powerful enough to decimate buildings. And, he’s one of those characters whose mask doesn’t serve him only as a fashion statement or to hide his identity.
It allows Cyclops to control his powers, not to cause total, utter destruction everywhere he goes. The style of Cyclops’ mask changed over the years, from one straight line to an X over his eyes, but whatever it was, it’s iconic and awesome. I wanted a pair of those “goggles” when I was a kid, almost certain it would give me superpowers.
11. Moon Knight
Now, Moon Knight became popular among mainstream casual fans only recently, when the character was introduced into the MCU. However, Marc Spector has been a well-known, fan-favorite character in the comics for decades. Not only is his background story awesome, but the Fist of Khonshu is just as brutal as any other character you might think of.
As for his mask, it changes based on his personality. For instance, when Marc is Mr. Knight, he wears a tight, classy, fully-masked suit, whereas the regular Moon Knight outfit includes a cloak and a cape.
But, one thing is always the same – his suit and mask are all-white because he wants the enemy to see him coming. Moon Knight rejoices in combat and isn’t afraid to eat punches if it allows him to deliver even more of his own.
10. Doctor Fate
The Helmet of Fate is probably one of the most famous comic book masks ever and one of the coolest if you ask me. There have been many Dr. Fates throughout DC’s history, but they all have the supercool golden full-head mask/helmet that, combined with the Amulet of Anubis and the Cloak of Destiny, turns the person who’s wearing it into Dr. Fate.
Doctor Fate has astonishing powers and abilities and is one of the leaders of the Justice Society of America. He who wears the mask will get incredible powers but is at risk of losing control of one’s body to Nabu, a god who takes control through the helmet.
9. Iron Man
If this were a list of the greatest comic book characters of all time, I’d put Iron Man a lot higher up the ladder. However, this list is all about characters and masks, and Iron Man’s mask is more of a suit of armor. Still, it’s as cool and as iconic as any other on this list. Tony Stark is a brilliant scientist who developed the iron suits to make himself a superhero.
He’s one of the leaders of the Avengers, a member of the Illuminati, and one of the smartest people on the planet – and that Iron Man helmet became such an integral part of comic book history. Even among casual MCU fans who aren’t into comics that much, Iron Man is one of the most important superheroes in existence.
Meow! Catwoman is not always a superhero, per se, but certainly evolved over the years from being a Batman villain to an anti-hero and Bruce Wayne’s crucial love interest. Selina Kyle is a stealthy thief with cat-like reflexes and abilities, especially when fighting and moving around Gotham’s rooftops without ever being spotted.
Now, apart from the atrociousness that was Halle Berry’s Catwoman costume (and the entire movie), pretty much every version of Catwoman’s costume and mask was awesome and iconic. The one with a face mask with pointy cat ears is the most popular, but other versions – such as the one with cat-like goggles – are just as cool.
Matt Murdock is such a spectacular, beloved character that became even more popular after the phenomenal performance from Charlie Cox in the Netflix series. He is a blind lawyer with superhuman senses and abilities, which he uses to fight crime and bring justice to the streets of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen.
The Daredevil costume and mask went through several variations, but the most iconic one is the one with a red mask, devilish horns, and bright-red eyes. Although he calls himself Daredevil, Murdock is actually quite religious and has a strict no-kill policy. His only goal is to bring criminals to justice in the court of law and nothing more.
If you ask movie fans, Logan wears no mask, right? Well, if you ask comic book fans – or meme fans – you’ll know that Wolverine packs one of the most recognizable masks in comics history. You know, the one with large, pointy eyes? The meme I’m talking about is the one where Wolverine is lying in his bed, holding a photo in his hands.
Apart from his mask, Wolverine is one of the most popular X-Men members ever, with a phenomenal healing factor and adamantium-infused claws and skeleton that make him as tough as they come. Now, you might find his comic book mask a bit silly, but it’s undeniably iconic.
5. Dick Grayson
I deliberately put Dick Grayson on the list as a name of the hero because his mask remained iconic throughout the character’s entire history. He was first known as Robin – the epitome of sidekicks, Batman’s right hand. Then, he grew into his own, becoming Nightwing, another iconic DC superhero overlooking the streets of Gotham City.
Dick Grayson is the perfect example of how keeping it simple can sometimes be the best course of action one can take. His mask literally covers only his eyes, but it became iconic quite quickly – despite the rest of Robin’s outfit being quite ridiculous if you ask me. Dick Grayson was great as a sidekick and great as a superhero himself, and he deserves a high spot on this list.
4. The Flash
The Flash is one of DC’s powerhouse superheroes, as many consider him to be equal to Superman. The Justice League’s designated speedster is connected to the cosmic entity called the Speed Force, granting the Flash unfathomable speed, being so fast that he can perceive events lasting for a mere attosecond.
From Barry Allen to Wally West, the Flash’s costume changed quite a few times, but the mask remained more or less the same. It covers his head while the mouth and chin are opened, and the mask has those little antennas on both sides resembling Flash’s iconic lightning.
Deadpool is an absolute fan-favorite superhero due to his brutal nature and witty, never-ending remarks that make him so uniquely hilarious. The Merc with a Mouth was a mercenary that was experimented on and gained spectacular superhuman abilities, mostly revolving around an ultra-powerful healing factor that prevents Deadpool from dying, regardless of the damage he takes.
Another iconic thing about Deadpool is – you guessed it – his mask. It’s a full-head red mask with black spots around the eyes and white lenses over the eyes themselves. It’s incredibly recognizable and kind of resembles Spider-Man’s mask, but with a twist.
Who would have thought that Peter Parker would become such an iconic Marvel character? In fact, one might argue that Spider-Man became the face of Marvel Comics, and quite quickly after his introduction, if I may add. Spidey is one of the most popular superheroes ever created, not because he’s the most powerful but the most relatable.
Parker is a smart high-school kid that’s goofy, friendly, and so kind and nice that you just can’t help but love him. On, and the Spider-Man mask – a red full-head mask with a spider’s web and big white triangular eyes – is probably the most popular superhero mask ever created. Well, apart from our number one.
You probably guessed it before you even saw it – Batman is the greatest masked superhero ever created. The mask is just as iconic as the character himself – the open-chin black mask with mat-like ears, helping Batman hide in the shadows while fighting the baddest criminals on the streets of Gotham City.
The best thing about Batman is – he’s not really a superhero, as he has no real superpowers. He’s one of the best martial artists in the world, a brilliant mind, and a guy who spends his unfathomable wealth to do good. There’s not a more iconic masked superhero than Batman, which is why he deserves the number one spot on this list.