Whether you’re a true comic book fan or you like the TV and film adaptations, the stories are full of archers. Some characters, like Marvel’s Yondu from Guardians of the Galaxy, have supernatural powers and use their mind to control their bows and arrows. Some, like Huntress of DC Comic’s Batman universe, use crossbows, and others use traditional, recurve or compound bows and arrows, like the Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Hawkeye and Kate Bishop. All of the archers have a way with a bow and can fire arrows with the best of them, but who has the superior skill? Let’s discuss their strengths and weaknesses and find out.
We chose four archers that you’ll either know from comics or the small screen and put them in a fantasy tournament to see who would win in a comic book archery battle royale. Though each archer is known for chasing villains and using their skills as part of their fighting techniques, they’re going to battle it out in a recreational tournament to determine the best archer of them all.
Round 1: Green Arrow vs. Hawkeye
For the first match, we’ve paired Hawkeye, or Clint Barton, against the Arrowverse’s favorite masked vigilante, Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow.
Though Barton is known as an “expert marksman,” many viewers have pointed out that he can be seen using less-than-perfect form. In the 2012 film “The Avengers,” Barton is seen wearing two arm guards. Arm guards protect the archer’s arm from bruising and damage if the bowstring snaps back against their forearm. Normally, an archer only wears one, which begs the question: If Hawkeye feels like he needs to wear two, is he really that good?
In the original comics, Queen had to teach himself archery skills using a handmade bow and arrows while he was marooned on an island and needed to hunt to survive. Barton learned his archery skills when he mentored at a carnival. Though learning archery at a carnival would have been fun, the edge goes to Queen, since he had to be precise in order to survive. That will cause you to sharpen your skills quickly. Queen has also been known to be able to put an arrow through a drop of water, so that might be tough to beat. Hawkeye also tends to do a lot of “no-look” shots. While aesthetically really cool, in a traditional archery competition, that’s not going to help you much.
Winner: Green Arrow
Round 2: Kate Bishop vs. Wonder Woman
As you’ll notice, we have both Hawkeye and Kate Bishop in this tournament, but putting them against each other in a preliminary round seemed unnecessarily cruel, since Clint Barton is Bishop’s mentor. Instead, we’ve paired Bishop with Wonder Woman, Diana Prince.
Diana Prince and Kate Bishop would be worthy opponents. Prince would enter the competition with skill that’s been ingrained into her DNA since birth, and Bishop would come in with a skill that’s been carefully crafted and honed over time. Each had a mentor in their archery journey: Prince had her Aunt Antiope and Bishop had Barton. Prince grew up learning archery among many other battle skills, like swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat, with her Amazonian family. Bishop practiced archery on a collegiate scholarship and has honed her skill with Barton.
Bishop’s familiarity with competitive archery through her scholarship would give her the edge in this situation. While Prince could go head-to-head with almost any opponent — arguably including Bishop — and walk away victorious on the battlefield, Bishop’s level of focus and experience with the specific format would give her the edge in a traditional archery tournament. Archery requires an intense amount of focus, calling for the archer to quiet their mind and focus on the target. In the “Hawkeye” Disney+ series, Bishop is shown landing her arrows on many different specific targets, like the rope of a bell in a bell tower, specific areas of a speeding car, and the exact middle of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Granted, the scene where Bishop hits the string in the bell tower isn’t very realistic: she places a tennis ball and an item to grab the string on the end of the arrow tip, which in reality would throw off the arrow’s weight and cause it to fly differently, but it’s demonstrating her skill. While Prince is very skilled in battle and would likely be victorious against Bishop in a fight, we’re going to say that Bishop would win in a traditional tournament.
Winner: Kate Bishop
Round 3: Green Arrow vs. Kate Bishop
So, it comes down to this: Oliver Queen, the masked vigilante, vs. Kate Bishop, the archery prodigy. In the final round, we think the Green Arrow would have the advantage due to his skills stemming from absolute necessity rather than tradition or desire. Queen is used to using his archery powers to protect his city, so this recreational competition would actually take some pressure off and allow him to showcase his skill in more of an “exhibition” format. He’s bound to be able to focus even more without the fate of humanity on the line.
It would be an exciting round to watch because Bishop would no doubt feel that she has something to prove, knowing how skilled Queen is. She has experience in competitive archery so she would likely go point-for-point with Queen, but the pressure would ultimately get to her in the final round, causing her to falter. Though Bishop is plenty skilled, the edge in this match has to go to the Green Arrow.
Winner: Green Arrow
And there you have it. In a tournament between four incredible archers, the Green Arrow would be the ultimate winner. Each round would be something to behold and it would certainly draw quite the crowd. We can almost imagine it. Hawkeye is doing one of his signature “jump, turn and aim” shots while trying to land a bulls-eye. That same arrow lands wildly in the two-ring while Oliver Queen takes a deep, calm breath, adjusts his green mask and launches an arrow straight at the 10-ring. Kate Bishop good-naturedly heckles Hawkeye between rounds. Wonder Woman comes through on horseback to land an arrow on the target after the competition, just for fun. It’s hard to visualize all that and not want to see that tournament come to life. We hope you had fun with this: we certainly did.