Total Nerd

Superhero Replacements Who Are Way Better Than Their Predecessors 

Stephan Roget
Updated June 14, 2019 13.8k votes 1.9k voters 30.2k views 16 items

List Rules Vote up the second versions of superheroes you think are better than the original.

Amazing alternate costumes for superheroes are always entertaining, but what about alternate superhero characters? The topic of “legacy characters,” or replacement superheroes, has led to many heated debates in the world of comic book fandom. Publishers have attempted to add diversity and “fresh ideas” to their comic book universes by replacing their most popular heroes with younger and more diverse vigilantes. The results have been, at best, mixed.

Fan outrage is high anytime a popular character goes away - even the times when Marvel changes a character for no apparent reason aren't met with as much resistance. Nothing is worse than seeing your favorite superhero feign death for awhile so that a precocious teenager can take up their mantle to spout internet slang and share crossovers with Spider-Man.

Now, this may be considered sacrilege in some corners of the fandom, but some legacy heroes turn out pretty cool. In fact, there's a rare handful of second generation superheroes who are actually better than the originals. It's not easy to replace a legendary hero, but as the following characters can attest to, it is doable. Check out the list below and vote up the coolest second generation heroes who you believe are an improvement from the original. 

Ant-Man (Scott Lang) is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Superhero Replacements Who Are Way Better Than Their Predecessors
Photo:  Marvel Comics

The first legacy hero to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man who actually beat his predecessor, Hank Pym, to the screen. In the Ant-Man movie, Pym is aged way up from the comics and is long retired from his Ant-Manning days, leaving Lang to be the one and only wearer of the mantle in the MCU. In the comic book, Pym was a founding Avenger and had a lengthy history before Lang was even invented.

However, Lang was chosen for Hollywood fame because his character was a bit deeper. Lang began his career by stealing the Ant-Man gear from Pym’s lab to help pay for his daughter’s necessary surgery, giving his character some goodhearted complexity. Pym, on the other hand, had a hot temper and a history of outbursts and non-heroic activity, like infamously slapping his wife, the Wasp. Scott Lang is definitely truer hero material. 

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Flash Thompson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Superhero Replacements Who Are Way Better Than Their Predecessors
Photo:  Marvel Comics

Venom may not have been introduced until the late ‘80s, but he quickly became a fan favorite amongst Spider-Man’s rogue gallery. Fans were so attached to Venom that Marvel attempted to rebrand him as a hero or, in their words, a “lethal protector.” However, it never really felt right to be cheering for Eddie Brock, the hateful maniac who tormented Spider-Man and occasionally ate brains.

The Venom symbiote eventually bounced to a few different hosts, including the Scorpion, but it found a much more suitable home in Flash Thompson, Spidey’s old high school bully. Flash had done a lot of growing up, which included a stint in the armed forces that cost him his legs. Newly empowered by the symbiote, Flash regained his mobility and put the power of the suit toward purely good intentions for the first time. “Agent Venom” was a fun character that maintained all of the great qualities of Venom while giving the readers a real reason to root for him. 

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Human Torch is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Superhero Replacements Who Are Way Better Than Their Predecessors
Photo:  Marvel Comics

Those with only a tangential knowledge of comic book history probably assume that Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four is the original Human Torch, being that his adventures began with the Marvel universe in 1961. However, the character name actually predates the existence of Marvel Comics and comes from the World War II era when Marvel was known as Timely.

The real original Human Torch was an android, which makes absolutely no sense (why not call him the Robo Torch?). The robot came to be known as Jim Hammond and used his fiery powers to help Captain America and the Invaders against their Nazi foes. Just for being human, Johnny Storm should be considered the superior Torch. Besides, Storm's long history with the Fantastic Four beats out anything that Hammond ever did - while WWII was super important, the FF have saved the multiverse on a handful of occasions. 

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Wally West is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Superhero Replacements Who Are Way Better Than Their Predecessors
Photo:  DC Comics

For an entire generation, Wally West is The Flash. While Barry Allen has recently become the most famous individual to wear the costume, thanks to his popular television series, he spent over two decades of continuity dead, from 1986’s Crisis on Infinite Earths to 2008’s Final Crisis. For the majority of the interim, Wally West was the Flash, and nobody seemed to mind at all. In fact, during this time, things like the animated Justice League series boosted the Flash’s profile, which means that Wally is probably just as responsible for the character’s modern relevance as Barry is.

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