10 Comic Book Heroes Improved Through Retcon

No matter how often their origins get changed, these amazing heroes never-ending battles rage on.

Jason Todd Robin Red Hood
DC Comics

Much more than villains, superheroes have often remained fairly static and unchanged throughout the decades. Other than modernizing to keep with the times, the continuity of the company, or editorial whims, there are many heroes that look basically the same as they did when they debuted. However, there are some heroes who have not only evolved, but have changed drastically through the passage of time.

A few have been created to apply to a specific cultural stereotype that no longer applies and have become more fully realized characters. Others have “died” and returned as different characters through retcons or rebirths. And others have been several people using the same name over time. A few of these heroes are world-famous, while others are only known to the most knowledgeable comics fans.

Whether they have the name recognition of Superman or Batman doesn’t diminish the incredible story behind each of these characters. They evolved from characters who represented a specific time, to characters of today and characters that will endure into the future. Some characters simply fade away, but these characters are renewed and will shine on for many days to come.

10. Carol Danvers

Jason Todd Robin Red Hood
Marvel Comics

Carol Danvers was a young girl who dreamed of the stars. She joined the Air force to become a pilot and pay her way through college. Her military service included spy work that had her cross paths with Logan, Ben Grimm, Nick Fury, and others. Retiring to become the captain of security at NASA, Carol soon became suspicious of Dr. Walter Lawson, secretly Kree Captain Mar-Vell. Becoming subjected to a Psyche Magnetron, Danvers was transformed and gained superpowers from Mar-Vell’s Negabands. Taking the name Ms. Marvel, she became a popular feminist superhero.

Ms. Marvel joined the Avengers and did well until she was subjugated and violated by the extra-dimensional being Marcus. Escaping, she was violated again when mutant terrorist Rogue stole her powers, psyche, and personality. Carol got the memories back thanks to Charles Xavier but never the feelings. She went to space with the Starjammers and developed vast cosmic powers as Binary. Returning to Earth and losing much of her power, she took the name Warbird and rejoined the Avengers. An alcohol problem nearly cost her that job, but she got help from Tony Stark.

Time as Earth’s most popular human superhero in the House of M and the revelation that she was the daughter of a Kree super-soldier caused Carol to fully embrace her heritage as Captain Marvel, making her one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe.


John Wilson has been a comic book and pop culture fan his entire life. He has written for a number of websites on the subject over the years and is especially pleased to be at WhatCulture. John has written two comic books for Last Ember Press Studio and has recently self-published a children's book called "Blue." When not spending far too much time on the internet, John spends time with his lovely wife, Kim, their goofy dog, Tesla, and two very spoiled cats.