What happened to Green Arrow's arm in The Dark Knight Returns 2?

  • In The Dark Knight Returns 2, an elderly Green Arrow turns up but he's missing an arm.

    What happened to him? Does Green Arrow lose an arm in canon somewhere or is it just for this particular story?

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    How can he shoot arrows like this?

    @NoNameNeeded432 with great difficulty (and his mouth).

    @Draft How can you shoot arrows with your mouth? I suppose you could try to pull the string with your teeth, but that would probably ruin your teeth quite fast.

    @NoNameNeeded432 Well he's an old man so he's probably already wearing dentures. Plus this is set 20 or 30 years from now so who knows what advances there could have been in dental-archery??

    @NoNameNeeded432 I'll add a screenshot of him actually doing it later.

    dental-archery made me chuckle. :-)

    @NoNameNeeded432 An armless world class archer in real life.

  • FuzzyBoots

    FuzzyBoots Correct answer

    6 years ago

    The evidence is for it being due to Superman. In the The Dark Knight Returns comic, when Batman mentioned he was going up against Superman, Oliver rubbed his stump and said something like "It still hurts when it rains." That suggests that Superman was the source. That leads to the question of the circumstances.

    The most likely case is that he lost it to Superman deciding to amputate it. In Green Arrow Volume 2 #100, released 9 years later:

    Green Arrow ends up shot, with his hand stuck in a deadman's switch in the bomb containing the mutagen. As soon as he removes his hand, the bomb will detonate. Superman arrives on the scene .... On the plane, Superman goes over all the available options with Oliver. Oliver tells Superman to destroy the bomb and Oliver as well. Superman tells Oliver he sees one way out of this for Oliver, but it involves amputation. Oliver says he'd rather die and Superman tells Oliver the choice is not his.

    In the baseline universe, Oliver refuses to let Superman do the amputation and he's blown up by the bomb, only to be later resurrected by Green Lantern by the bits of him stuck on Superman's cape. Within the The Dark Knight Returns continuity, instead, perhaps the amputation happened, making the bomb situation an explanation 9 years later. Alternately, we just have to assume that, at some point, Superman just decided to blow Oliver's arm off, possibly as part of the theme of Superman being the government's enforcer to prevent vigilantism.

    Great answer. The original Dark Knight Returns story by Frank Miller dates back to the early 80's. Not much context is given about the amputation, but definitely Superman is the culprit. Given the context of the graphic novel, that Oliver said he escaped his prison, etc., I always assumed that Superman amputated Oliver's arm in order to stop his career as a vigilante (but was just **my** assumption). Nevertheless, maybe the story you are referencing, from 1995, just "closes the loop" for the amputated arm event, and definitely explains a canon (as much as it can be canon in DC) event for that.

    @Deion: You're absolutely right. I misread the 1986 as 1996. It now seems more likely that the 1995 bomb storyline was meant as an allusion to the 1986 storyline rather than vice versa. That said, I don't think I can delete an accepted answer...

    @SeanDuggan I've 'unaccepted' your answer if you would like to delete it.

    @SeanDuggan, I think that your answer is great. It provides a canon explanation for the missing arm event, even if DC took 10 years to get around it. Or else, everyone could assume whatever they wanted, given the context of DKR, so, there could **not** be a really correct explanation. I think you should keep the answer, and, probably get it accepted as best answer again if no other or better answers to this question are posted.

    Again, just to clarify (see overview section in the link): Certain elements of the main DC Universe did eventually come to match Miller's tale. So basically there isn't really a in-universe explanation of how Oliver loses his arm in the DKR-universe story, but there is a canon event (as much as something can remain canon with DC's constant rebootings) for it.

    Alright. In which case, I will not remove the answer, but I will amend it. Sorry for the trouble.

    @SeanDuggan, don't be sorry. I'm really glad that we got to a (even) better answer. It was fun, and I think the purpose of this site is to get the knowledge of different people in other to find the best answers.

    at one point in the second part of the movie Bruce asks Clark about Oliver. Superman starts making excuses, and Bruce goes "I'm sure Oliver was all torn up about it too" - which to me indicates Superman tore his arm off

    Frank Miller's original comic made it very clear - Superman did it to end Green Arrows vigilante career. The amputation stuff after the fact sound like sugar coating.

    @IrishBrian, your edit felt too much like it was changing my intention.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM