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.
Peter Parker never lived up to his secret identity more than he did in Spider-Man #100, in which the wall-crawler sprouted four extra arms from his midsection for a total of eight limbs. Ironically enough, the mutation came as the result of some self-experimentation intended to remove Parker’s spider-powers so he could start living a normal life again - something made impossible by his new handsy appearance.
Though the Six Arms Saga was quickly undone with some help from Dr. Curt Connors and Morbius the Living Vampire, it was adapted into a storyline for Spider-Man: The Animated Series that saw Peter transform even further into a monstrous “Man-Spider.” Years later, Man-Spider would become comic book canon during a trip to the Savage Land.117162Scary transformation?
- Photo: DC Comics
Green Arrow usually earns props for being one of the few big-name superheroes in the business without any superpowers or super-tech of his own - and though he did gain some lupine abilities in the Outbreak story arc, it wasn’t by choice.
That saga saw Oliver Queen infected with the Lukos virus, a clumsy analogue for HIV that inflicted fur, fangs, and claws - transforming its victims into werewolves in everything but name. Fortunately, Green Arrow as able to reverse the process before it was permanent and get to the bottom of Seattle’s growing “warg” problem while he was at it.84152Scary transformation?
The Beast is notable for being the only major superhero on record to be accidentally transformed into a monster, and then just rolling with it. After serving the X-Men as an oddly proportioned but essentially humanoid founding member, Hank McCoy started experimenting with himself in Amazing Adventures #11. He experienced the first of many secondary mutations - sprouting fur and animalistic features in an instant.
Though he often tried to return himself to his original appearance, McCoy eventually learned to accept his new look as the true expression of his mutant self - which is good, because he’s subsequently changed into a whole host of different forms.74152Scary transformation?
Steve Rogers can’t spend all of his time fighting WWII-era threats, sometimes he has to fight more modern threats - like werewolves. The Man and Wolf arc saw Cap tangle with a cult of lycanthropes empowered by the villainous Dredmund Druid and Nightshade and climaxed with his transformation into “CapWolf” in Captain America #405.
Unlike a garden-variety werewolf, Rogers’ Super Soldier Serum allowed him to retain his mental faculties, even when in CapWolf form - which subsequently led to the defeat of the bad guys and his inevitable return to normal. The CapWolf concept, however, proved to be a bit of a “cult classic,” and Marvel has found excuses to return to the idea on multiple occasions.77158Scary transformation?