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Superhero Replacements Who Are Way Better Than Their Predecessors

Updated October 13, 2020 24.9k votes 2.8k voters 52.6k views16 items

List RulesVote 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. 

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Ted Kord Is The Blue Beetle Who Mattered
    Photo: DC Comics

    Ted Kord is definitely the Blue Beetle that most fans are familiar with, and he’s been around long enough to have his own legacy character, Jaime Reyes. You may be surprised to know that the original Blue Beetle was actually Dan Garrett. He was the property of Charlton Comics, a competitor of DC’s. Garrett would pass on his mantle to Ted Kord within the pages of Charlton Comics, before Kord jumped into the DC universe when DC absorbed the smaller company.

    Since then, Kord has gone on to be a popular hero, beloved for his bromine with Booster Gold and his provision of comic relief on several Justice League rosters. His career simply eclipses that of Garrett’s in almost every conceivable way. Interestingly enough, DC eventually okayed the use of the Chartlon characters as the basis for Watchmen, and the two Blue Beetles inspired the two Night Owls in Alan Moore’s iconic tale.

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