Some superheroes are monsters - the Hulk, Swamp Thing, and the regular Thing all come to mind - but almost every caped crusader worth mentioning has been transformed into a monstrous form at one point or another. The trope of either accidentally or purposefully creating monster versions of superheroes has proven popular over the years for a number of reasons - not the least of which is how good their monster forms look on the cover of a comic book.
Of course, it’s never too long before said superhero is back to their marvelous self - usually, after they’ve got a little bit of rampaging out of their system. Such body horror is a common occurrence in the world of comics, where mutation is commonplace and genetic manipulation can happen to anyone.
- Photo: DC Comics
The aptly named Night of the Monster Men crossover at DC Comics saw Gotham City plagued by ordinary citizens turned into monstrous behemoths by Hugo Strange - a revival of the plot of 1940’s Batman #1. To make matters worse, it was only a matter of time before two of Batman’s allies, Nightwing and Gotham Girl, were exposed to Strange’s serum and transformed into hulking monsters themselves.
Dick Grayson had previously worn the mantle of Batman a couple of times, but the Monster Men formula turned him into a veritable Man-Bat. Fortunately, the original Dark Knight was able to synthesize a cure before the transformation proved permanent - and before Nightwing and Gotham Girl’s embiggened forms destroyed the city.36780Scary transformation?
Bruce Banner’s whole thing is transforming into an enormous green rage monster, but he’s also taken on several different Hulk forms over the years - all representative of his many fractured identities. In The Incredible Hulk #19, readers were first introduced to the worst of the bunch, known as the Devil Hulk - an entity made up of all Banner’s internalized resentment and self-hatred. The physical manifestation of the Devil Hulk is truly terrifying, though thankfully it’s usually confined to Banner’s tumultuous mind.
To make matters even scarier, however, in the modern continuity of Marvel Comics, the jade giant is known as The Immortal Hulk - and the Devil Hulk persona now spends the majority of the time “behind the wheel” of Banner’s mind.29457Scary transformation?
The Dark Reign era of Marvel Comics saw Norman Osborn take temporary control of the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. and start crossing enemies of his list - including the Punisher, who he employed the son of Wolverine to eliminate. Daken hunted down Frank Castle and, after a brief battle, cut him to pieces and left him to rot in an alley.
Dismemberment, however, was not the end for the Punisher. The denizens of Monster City, an underground collective of mythical beings, gathered his various body parts and brought them to Morbius the Living Vampire - who then resurrected Castle as a Frankenstein-esque patchwork. This occurred in Punisher #17, though the title was renamed Franken-Castle as of that issue, and would remain as such until Frank regained his human body - and his youth - through the use of the Bloodstone.30268Scary transformation?
The events of World War Hulks featured the super-smart squad of super villains known as the Intelligencia creating an army of hulks to help take over the planet - and they used some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as test subjects. The end result was several Hulked Out Heroes that would need to be put down by the original Hulk, each of whom was frightening in their own right - but none more so than the hulked out Wolverine.
Mutated to monstrous proportions by gamma radiation, Wolverine took a form that emphasized all of his most iconic traits - hairiness, anger, and a set of deadly claws. It’s a combination that the rest of the Marvel Universe were no doubt thankful was only temporary.25267Scary transformation?