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15 Comic Book Characters With Inconsistent Canons That Are All Over The Place

Updated July 13, 2020 834 votes 139 voters 14.8k views15 items

List RulesVote up the comic book characters with the most inconsistent origins.

Comic book characters are some of the most fleshed-out in all of fiction, thanks to most of the successful ones being in print for the better part of a century. Over time, new writers and artists come onto the scene to put their own unique spin on folks like Superman and Thor, but while this can breathe new life into the beloved superheroes, it has the secondary effect of altering those characters' origin stories, making their canons difficult to follow.

DC Comics is well-known for mixing things up every once in a while, but it's hardly the only publisher to tinker with its timeline. These comic book characters have played the retcon game multiple times, and some of their backstories are now wildly inconsistent.

Check out the list of inconsistent superhero stories down below, and don't forget to vote up your favorite to see which one rises to the top!

  • Donna Troy
    Photo: DC Comics

    Like any self-respecting member of the DC Universe, Wonder Woman has had her fair share of confusing alterations to her origin - yet she's much easier to follow when compared to Wonder Girl.

    When she was first introduced, Wonder Girl was depicted as Princess Diana as a teenager, in much the same way Superboy was for Superman. That worked for the first four years she was in print, but when she joined the Teen Titans in 1965, everything changed. Instead of being Diana at an early age, she was rescued by Wonder Woman and given Amazonian powers. 

    When Crisis on Infinite Earths hit the DC Universe, Donna Troy got another alteration to her origin story. She was originally schooled by the Titans of Greek mythology on the planet of New Chronus, though her memories were wiped. When they were restored, she changed her name to Troia, and things got a bit insane after that.

    She was later retconned to be a magical duplicate of Wonder Woman, who had lived many lifetimes. This was meant to explain how she was Donna Troy in the past, Troia in the present, and whatever else she might be called sometime in the future.

    Confusing canon?
  • Power Girl
    Photo: DC Comics

    Power Girl made a fair amount of sense when she was first introduced, but like so many others in the DC Universe, the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event changed her forever. Initially, she was simply an alternate-reality version of Supergirl, who came from Earth-Two (the home to the Golden Age superheroes of the DC Universe).

    Then the crisis hit, and she got completely revamped. Instead of being from Krypton like Supergirl and Superman, she was from Atlantis, which doesn't make a ton of sense in the whole scheme of the DC Universe. She did lose some of her powers in the transition from Kryptonian to Atlantean, but other than that, she appeared to be mostly the same character.

    She then had a kid and joined up with the Sovereign Seven, which was apparently a thing, but all the changes made her somewhat unappealing to readers. To fix the issue, DC opted to give her back her original cleavage-boosting costume and return her origin to that of Krypton. 

    She has one of those strange origin stories that doesn't seem odd if you pick up her earliest appearances alongside her most recent ones. However, if you read anything in the middle, prepare to be lost.

    Confusing canon?
  • Hawkman & Hawkgirl
    Photo: DC Comics

    Hawkman and Hawkgirl are two of the most retconned characters in DC Comics. (Hawkman clearly takes the lead here, but you can't talk about one without talking about the other.) Originally, Hawkman was Carter Hall, a reincarnated Egyptian prince who created a special belt made of Nth metal that gave him the ability to fly. The wings were used to steer and control his flight.

    But wait! He's actually Katar Hol, a police officer from the planet Thanagar who came to Earth in pursuit of a culprit. He opted to stay, took on the role of Hawkman (later joined by Hawkgirl), and tried out the whole superhero thing.

    Carter Hall was the character kids read in the 1940s, but the following decade, he was Katar Hol. He's changed since then to include a reincarnation story explaining how he comes about every generation to find his love, Hawkgirl (and vice versa). In a way, the modern take on the characters, which fuses the two separate origin stories into a third, is the best way to square this circle. However, anyone who reads Hawkman sporadically is sure to be confused.

    Confusing canon?
  • When Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were first introduced, they were villainous members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Before long, they left that organization to join up with the Avengers when Captain America took command and reformed the team. For a long time, they remained in the Avengers, but their origin story changed a bit over the years.

    It was eventually revealed that they were the children of Magneto, and while it wasn't explicitly stated in the books, that was what readers believed to be canon for years. Marvel made some changes a few years back, and the twins were no longer Magneto's children, which threw their whole backstory out of whack.

    The Scarlet Witch's story is probably the most confusing of all, thanks to her ability to alter reality. She has created two children, who have been lost and later found, and a lot of what happens in her world is dependent on what she can remember at any given time. Everything about her is chaotic, and as a result, her origin is tweaked a lot in the books, making it hard to know exactly what version of the character you're reading at any given time.

    Confusing canon?