Superman’s brutal attack on Green Arrow returns to DC Comics

Dark Knights of Steel borrowed a page from The Dark Knight Returns, with Green Arrow suffering a major loss under Superman’s command.

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Dark Knights of Steel # 2.

In a new comic Green arrow received a familiar wound once inflicted by Superman in the reality of The return of the dark knight, this time losing an arm in the fight against tyranny in the world of Dark Knights of Steel. Many stories have seen the Emerald Archer lose a limb thanks to those who have sought to incapacitate him without killing him. These efforts have rarely been successful, however, as Oliver Queen is too stubborn to let the loss of an arm keep him from a fight, no matter what reality he finds himself in.

Dark Knights of Steel takes place in an alternate DC Comics universe where Jor-El of Krypton built a rocket capable of holding his entire family and landed on Earth in medieval times. Almost two decades later, Jor-El has become king, raising his son Kal-El to follow in his footsteps and granting a special role to his bastard son, Bruce Wayne, who defends El Castle as that literal dark knight. Its main task is to defend the kingdom from magic users and metahumans of all kinds, who are seen as the only real threat to Jor-El’s reign. Ironically, Jor-El was killed by a common arrow in the last pages of Dark Knights of Steel # 1, although briefly enhanced by the power of the Green Man, which is the global version of Green Lantern.


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Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the Green Man abandoned his ally, an archer named Oliver, who fired the shot that killed King Jor-El. The Bat-Prince was just as quick in chasing the Archer, but was careful not to kill him. Instead, he cut off Oliver’s left forearm, leaving him unable to draw a bow but still alive to face justice from House of El. It seems like a clear homage to The return of the dark knight, where Oliver Queen was similarly injured following an unspecified encounter with Superman.

Dark Knights of Steel Green Arrow and Superman

True to form, his apparent harmlessness does nothing to make this version of Oliver Queen more gentle or repentant for his actions. Indeed, he doubles down on his anti-tyrant rhetoric when questioned by Prince Kal-El later in the issue, telling the young prince that he and his father aren’t really men, despite all their lofty pretensions. His speech evokes the spirit of Green lantern / Green arrow writer Dennis O’Neil, who once asked Green Arrow to deliver a similar speech to Hal Jordan and the Guardians of the Universe, saying “You call yourself a hero! Boy, you don’t even qualify as a man! “

While the second issue of Dark Knights of Steel ends with this medieval Green Arrow still in prison, it seems unlikely that its story ends there. It is more likely that, just as in The return of the dark knight, the loss of an arm will only make Oliver more determined to fight Superman and find ways to compensate for his injury, by pulling the string of his bow with his teeth if necessary. Although he will likely find some kind of prosthesis or could be cured by the wizards employed by Jor-El’s rival, King Jefferson, all Green arrow worthy of the name will continue to fight as long as he can catch his breath, even if he can’t shoot an arrow.

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