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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  • 1
    How can he shoot arrows like this? Oct 10, 2014 at 9:03
  • 1
    @NoNameNeeded432 with great difficulty (and his mouth).
    – Daft
    Oct 10, 2014 at 9:04
  • 2
    @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??
    – Daft
    Oct 10, 2014 at 9:12
  • 2
    Dental archery: ifanboy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/…
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 10, 2014 at 14:42
  • 3
    @NoNameNeeded432 An armless world class archer in real life.
    – Kyle Jones
    Oct 11, 2014 at 6:10

2 Answers 2


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.

  • 5
    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.
    – Kreann
    Oct 10, 2014 at 12:37
  • @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...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 10, 2014 at 12:49
  • @SeanDuggan I've 'unaccepted' your answer if you would like to delete it.
    – Daft
    Oct 10, 2014 at 14:00
  • @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.
    – Kreann
    Oct 10, 2014 at 14:06
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    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
    – Petersaber
    Aug 4, 2015 at 5:59

It's alluded to in Dark Night part 1, when Kent and Bruce are talking about "retirement" due to goverment involvement. The choices were a) "stop" or b) work for the USA, Superman chose the later while the rest of the Justice League retired except Oliver, who didn't want to.

Superman had to "step in". How do you prevent an archer from shooting arrows? You take away his arm and you throw him in jail

The rest of us learned to cope. The rest of us recognized the danger... of the endless envy of those not blessed. Diana went back to her people. Hal went to the stars. And I have walked the razor's edge for so long... But you, Bruce... you, with your wild obsession...

They'll kill us if they can, Bruce. Every year they grow smaller. Every year they hate us more. We must not remind them that giants walk the earth.

You were the one they used against us, Bruce. The one who played it rough. When the noise started from the parents' groups and the sub-committee called us for questioning... you were the one who laughed... that scary laugh of yours. "Sure, we're criminals", you said. "We've always been criminals". "We have to be criminals".

We almost threw a party when you retired. By then the PBI was in it and the things were getting out of hand. And there was that trouble with Oliver. Do you remember why you retired, Bruce? No... just look at you... You'd do it again... and like a murderer, you'd cover it up again. Nothing matters to you... except your holy war.

They were considering their options and you were probably still laughing when we came to terms. I gave them my obedience and my invisibility. They gave me a license and let us live. No, I don't like it. But I get to save lives and the media stays quiet.

But now the storm is growing again... they'll hunt us down again... because of you.

  • 1
    This is a great answer, cheers Hs_panda!
    – Daft
    Feb 2, 2015 at 14:19
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    I'd love a source for the quote. Who said this ?
    – Kalissar
    Mar 9, 2015 at 15:00
  • @Kalissar Superman said it.
    – TylerH
    Mar 9, 2015 at 16:09
  • @TylerH Oh, I thought about him first but was disturbed by the "invisibility" part. Is it a typo or did he really said Invisibility ? What did he mean by that ?
    – Kalissar
    Mar 9, 2015 at 16:39
  • @Kalissar I'm not sure. Most likely its a reference to his secret identity or something about working in the shadows. I can't say for sure because I haven't read the comic series "The Dark Knight Returns" where the quote is said.
    – TylerH
    Mar 9, 2015 at 17:25

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