The bow and arrow was the ranged weapon of choice for most of human history. As firearms became faster and more powerful, their archaic ancestors inevitably fell by the wayside – at least in warfare. After hunting and sports, today’s bows are most often used not on the battlefield but in fiction.
Bowmen can be especially enjoyed in superhero and fantasy comic books. The majority are among the physically weak of their respective worlds, but they make up for it in other ways. While it may seem foolish to challenge godlike beings with a stick and string, the greatest archers bring skill, tenacity, and fun wherever they go.
10 Rob O ‘The Hedge Was A Fun Part Of Sonic Lore
This Sonic the Hedgehog character from the late ’90s and early’ 00s is a fun pastiche of the famous Robin Hood. Rob O ‘the Hedge is the charming cousin of Amy Rose with a flair for the dramatic – speaking in a heightened Shakespearean-style dialect. Conversely, he’s also a guerrilla warrior, using his bow against the oppression of Robotnik.
Unfortunately, Rob O ‘the Hedge hasn’t made any appearances other than a handful of issues from the first Archie Sonic series and Knuckles the Echidna. It would be nice to see him in the latest IDW series or a game, but it won’t be likely due to legal disputes with creator Ken Penders.
9 The Arrow Was The First Superhero Archer
Before Green Arrow or Hawkeye were pinning thugs to walls, Paul Gustavon gave the world The Arrow. While he might not have the lasting impact of more famous archer superheroes, The Arrow is still pretty interesting and may or may not have had lasting effects on archers to come. Ralph Payne was a special agent, a similarity he – perhaps coincidentally – shares with the modern Clint Barton and Youngblood‘s Shaft.
Inevitably, The Arrow would fall into the public domain and has since been used by a couple publishers. In Dynamite Entertainment’s Project Powers Jim Krueger and Alex Ross partnered Payne with an Avengers-style team of other public domain heroes such as Black Terror and the Golden Age Daredevil.
8 Golden Archer Is Marvel’s Green Arrow
Throughout the years Marvel and DC have been accused of copying one another. With Squadron Supreme and Champions of Angor, that was the fun intention. The Golden Archer – eventually Black Archer in some stories – is Wyatt McDonald, an Australian pastiche of Oliver Queen who has all the skills of his progenitor.
Compared to teammates like Nighthawk, Hyperion, and Doctor Spectrum, Wyatt hasn’t had many appearances. His most high-profile story is found within the pages of the classic Supreme Squadron maxiseries written by Mark Gruenwald. Since then, he’s only appeared briefly in Supreme Power and the Heroes Reborn tie-in Siege Society.
7 Arwyn Shoots With Vengeance
Arwyn is the protagonist of the CrossGen series Sojourn, one of the publisher’s highest selling titles. Created in-part to capitalize on the theatrical release of The Fellowship of the Ring, Sojourn was a fantasy comic in the Tolkien style – complete with a MacGuffin quest to defeat a dark lord.
This MacGuffin, however, is a magic arrow, shattered into five pieces. Royal Archer Arwyn is set upon this vengeful quest after her family is murdered by the forces of the dark lord Mordath. While she also relies on other weapons throughout the series, Arwyn’s mastery of the bow firmly sets her in the pantheon of archers.
6 Scarlett Is A Great Shot And Core Member Of GI Joe
If knowing is half the battle, the other half is a bolt to the face. Agent Scarlett is an original member of GI Joe and the first female of the series. More often than not she prefers to use her iconic crossbow, a great weapon for clandestine missions.
Scarlett also uses specialty bolts in the vein of Hawkeye or Green Arrow’s trick arrows. From the original Larry Hama run to the IDW continuity, Scarlett has shown up in several GI Joe comics for forty years. She also appeared in every live action film and most animated series.
5 Obadiah Archer Is Proficient Marksman
One half of the Archer & Armstrong duo, Obadiah Archer is the premiere marksman of the Valiant Universe (other than Turok but those days are gone). Much like Scarlett, Archer often dispenses pain with a crossbow. Obadiah was trained to be an assassin from his childhood and gained an incredible knowledge of martial arts and weaponry beyond just his crossbow.
Originally created by Barry Windsor-Smith, Bob Layton, and Valiant father Jim Shooter, Archer has undergone a couple iterations – like most Valiant characters. However, both the first version of the character and the 2012 relaunch are expert archers.
4 Dani Moonstar Doesn’t Need Her Powers To Be Deadly
Dani Moonstar is a core member of the New Mutants created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod. Throughout her history, Dani has had a fluctuating power set. Originally, she could create visible manifestations of fear, but that power eventually morphed into energy manipulation. Dani even developed magical powers after becoming a Valkyrie in Asgard.
With her powers, Moonstar is able to imbue her bow and arrow with psionic energy, creating a devastating attack. When she lost her abilities after House of M, she was still a formidable opponent with her archery skills intact. Sadly, her iconic bow wasn’t used in the 2020 film The New Mutants.
3 Yondu Can Whistle A Deadly Tune
This blue-skinned Centurian of the 31st Century is the archer of the Guardians of the Galaxy. When compared to other archers on average, Yondu Udonta might not be the most accurate. Fortunately, he has a cheat code: yaka arrows. While whistling a specific pitch, Yondu can change the trajectory of his arrows rendering any lack of meaningless accuracy.
The MCU version of Yondu portrayed by Michael Rooker skips using a bow all together. Using his cybernetic fin, this Yondu controls a single arrow to annihilate large groups of enemies.
2 Hawkeye Is Always Worth A Shot
One-time supervillain Hawkeye quickly reformed to become a prominent member of the Avengers and the Marvel Universe. Armed only with his signature bow and a quiver of trick arrows, Hawkeye has faced forces well beyond his power level. With Banner’s assistance, Barton was even able to kill the Hulk in Civil War II.
To make up for his lack of superpowers, Barton uses his words as much as his arrows and is equipped with a perseverance to survive. A testament to his resilience, Hawkeye is often one of the last men standing in dystopian storylines such as Old Man Logan and Age of Ultron.
1 Green Arrow Remains The Best
The Emerald Archer may not have been the first bow-wielding superhero but without a doubt has been the one with the most staying power. After his time in the hands of Neal Adams and Dennis O’Neil, Oliver Queen involved himself with the plight of common people perhaps more than most of the high and mighty DC heroes.
With a Van Dyke-adorned smile, Green Arrow pierces his foes with both arrows and character criticism. While he only has a few reoccurring rogues himself, Queen has often been the perfect foil for wider DC villains. Green Arrow’s skill with the bow has allowed him to defeat character’s such as Deathstroke and even Solomon Grundy.
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