The 9 Stupidest Superhero Secret Identities
Every superhero needs a secret identity; some to move amongst the mortals unheeded, some to simply live a normal life, some to protect themselves while they're off-duty and some to ensure the safety of their loved ones.
And some of them apparently just don't give a shit.
Green Arrow - Oliver Queen
Green Arrow, the comic book character whose superpower became outdated around the time gunpowder was invented, has still yet to be introduced to another modern invention: Shaving. Look at that thing! Nobody's rocked the Shakespeare Van Dyke since the Industrial Revolution. Yet, when trying to narrow down who the Green Arrow really is, nobody starts with the local rich guy who, oh by the way, happens to also be the only other man on Earth with that facial hair?
And it's not like by day he's skating by in obscurity: His secret identity, billionaire Oliver Queen, is a renowned personality in the city where Green Arrow operates - at one point he was even elected its Mayor.
Elect Mayor Shootyourface... or he'll shoot your face!
But hey, the character was created in the 40s. He's probably the product of a simpler time. Modern comic writers wouldn't seriously expect us to believe that anybody is fooled by his attempts at going incognito. Like in this recent storyline where Green Arrow is captured and unmasked by the police, and...
Now that I can see the area immediately surrounding his eyes, it seems so obvious...
Still, we can't help admiring the man's insane dedication to that beard. Show us a man who values his facial hair over his own life and the safety of his loved ones, and we'll show you a man, sweetheart.
He-Man - Prince Adam
Thanks to the Sorceress of the legendary Castle Grayskull, Prince Adam of Eternia is magically transformed into... the same dude, with a tan.
That's it. He's no bigger as He-man--you've probably never noticed this, but under that pink jacket Prince Adam's actually pretty muscular--he's just paler and wears more clothes. That's the same dramatic transformation you undergo every winter.
The Power of Grayskull.
If you ask us, the fabled and much sought Power of Grayskull is extremely overrated--although we can understand why a dude like Skeletor would be so desperate to get a part of this action.
"Beach season approaches, Beastman."
And yet it still fools everybody. According to He-Man's opening theme, only three people are aware of his "secret": the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms and Orko. Man-At-Arm's daughter, Teela, despite being Prince Adam's best friend since childhood, has never noticed that he looks exactly like He-Man, probably because she was too busy ogling his man-cleavage to notice anything else.
The Thing - The Thing in a Trenchcoat
Like the rest of the Fantastic Four, The Thing's identity isn't really secret. Every member of their family has superpowers, so there's no one left to protect. But what if he just wants to escape the limelight for a little while? How can a gigantic, several ton rock monster just enjoy pedestrian life? Holograms? Shapeshifting? Mu-mu and motorcycle helmet?
He dresses like a gigantic rock-shaped pervert.
And it works, too. Hell, even the movies used it:
Why even bother doing all the legwork of maintaining an entire separate identity if a raincoat and a hat make you functionally invisible to society. If only more superheroes wised up and took advantage of this wonderful idea...
OK, one guy in a trench coat--even one the size and shape of a Hummer--just minding his own business is fine, but FOUR walking together? Even if you are physically incapable of seeing faces and don't register that there are four monsters under there, it still looks like somebody's about to get raped.
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers - Five Teens From Angel Grove High School
The Power Rangers' superhero personas are entirely concealed by their face wrapping helmets, ostensibly making their secret identities impossible to screw up ... unless they hung out together all the time, wore monochromatic outfits corresponding with their respective Ranger identity and openly practiced martial arts together in formation. They have to try to screw things up that badly. Just look at that picture: The blue ranger is dressed in blue, the pink ranger in pink, the red ranger in red, the yellow ranger in yellow and the black guy is wearing... jeans and stripes. Hey, he can wear whatever he wants; he's still the black one. Later, when a new Green Power Ranger shows up...
...a green clothed teen suddenly joins the gang:
Nobody in that town is fooled for a second by the rainbow coalition of black belt teenagers. They're probably just thanking god there's no albino kids in town. Imagine the PR disaster, having your town saved by the White Power Ran-
The 1940s Flash - Jay Garrick
And we are officially no longer trying: No mask, no cowl, no tan, just a colander on his head. A colander with wings.
The explanation was that he moved too fast for anyone to recognize him, but what about when he was carrying someone else at the same speed?
Or jumping on people from behind?
Or having his picture taken for the cover of a magazine?
And it didn't help that he wasn't exactly judicious when it came to using his powers...
He should play that Flash guy! What a game that would be!
Wolverine - Patch
Patch was originally introduced as an identity Wolverine assumed only while traveling to the Asian nation of Madripoor. So, in America he's a costumed madman who stabs people in the head...
"Holy! Did you see that shit!? Did you see what I just did? Tell me you were looking!"
...but in Madripoor, he's the respected owner of a bar called Princess and dresses accordingly.
Is the assumption that people in Madripoor have never even heard of the X-Men, so they wouldn't recognize Wolverine despite his flimsy disguise? Bullshit. No place on Earth, no matter how remote, would not have heard of the X-Men in the Marvel universe. They're a band of superpowered freaks on the news for saving the entire planet from buttchinned green dudes like every other weekend. But OK, we'll play your game, Marvel - nobody's ever heard of the X-Men in Madripoor. So if that's the case, why would he even bother wearing a disguise in the first place?
The Hulk - Joe Fixit
Yep. The Hulk had a secret identity - not Bruce Banner, that's a whole different being. The giant, fucking hulking (hence the name), occasionally gray colored monster went incognito and worked as a Vegas bouncer. He called himself Joe Fixit, because he "fixed" problems. Presumably punch-based problems.
"Yeah, I can help you with your bookkeeping... with stomping!"
He even got a girlfriend, an aerobics instructor named Marlo that had no idea who he really was. Keep in mind we're still talking about The Hulk in his giant monster form here, and never once did Marlo stop and think - possibly as she's fleeing in terror from gargantuan Hulk-wang - that this thing might be the monster she saw on the news yesterday swinging tanks into other tanks.
Robin - Dick Grayson
Batman's always getting grief for dressing his sidekick in the, uh... most questionable costume imaginable... but the truth is, Dick Grayson was already wearing that Speedo long before becoming Robin. The character's origin establishes that Dick was part of a famous circus act, The Flying Graysons.
How does a lame trapeze act become famous, you ask? By getting themselves killed in front of a full audience, of course. Luckily for young Dick, Batman happened to be in the audience when all this happened, and adopted the boy. Unluckily for Dick, he decided that the exact same flamboyant circus outfit that his dead family just made front page news in would make a great super-secret superhero costume. This rampant disregard for Dick's out-of-costume identity, coupled with the inherent dangers of "fighting crime from the shadows" while wearing bright primary colors and no armor save for a Speedo and a V-neck shirt, begs the question: Why did Batman want Robin dead so badly?
We're thinking Robin had pictures.
The Entire Superman Family - A Bunch Of People With Poor Eyesight
This comes as no surprise: It's a cliche that Superman's glasses are the most laughably ineffective costume ever, but who cares? Changing that part of the mythos would be like taking the stars off the American flag. So screw suspension of disbelief: Superman predates it. He's got a free pass to be wearing the same completely unbelievable disguise 70 years later. The many, many other Super-characters, however, do not. Take Supergirl, Superman's cousin from planet Krypton, who is apparently into roleplaying and uses sex to deal with her abandonment issues (her home planet was never there for her, growing up).
Her secret identity, Linda Lang, is also the niece of Clark Kent's friend Lana. She even works at the Daily Planet, the same paper as Clark.
You'd think that at some point the Editor would notice that every glasses-wearing member of his staff mysteriously disappears whenever there's trouble, not to mention that all of his nerdly reporters are suspiciously built like Aryan wet dreams. But wait, there's more! There's also Superman's teenage clone, Superboy. While he has the good sense not to work in the same place as Clark Kent, he does go to his old school (Smallville High) and share his last name (Conner Kent).
Man, every nerd at this school looks like an Abercombie and Fitch catalog.
And it's not even over! After the film Superman Returns introduced Superman's six-year-old son with Lois Lane, the comics followed suit by having a Kryptonian boy of the same age conveniently show up in a spacecraft that lands in Metropolis.
Clark Kent and Lois Lane secretly adopt the boy and name him Chris Kent. So how do they alter his appearance so people won't recognize the alien child everyone saw arrive?
Even the fictional characters are starting to get bitter over how lame a plot device this is.
Maxwell Yezpitelok lives in Chile, and when he's not being harassed by earthquakes he likes to waste his time writing back to scammers or making stupid comics. He has published a few comics in his home country, and he'll write some for you if you pay him.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Know way too much about a random topic? Create a topic page and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!
For more comic book bafflingness, check out 8 (Pointless) Laws All Comic Book Movies Follow and The 5 Worst Comic Book Sidekicks of All Time.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 07.12.10) to see David Wong's fatter, more terrible alter ego.
And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get sexy, sexy jokes sent straight to your news feed.