Moviegoers and TV lovers have gotten well-acquainted with both Marvel's Hawkeye and DC's Green Arrow. The former plays a supporting part in the MCU, often there to help his fellow Avengers while rarely taking the spotlight. The latter arrived on TV when Arrow premiered in 2013, paving the way for The CW's superhero line-up, which includes The Flash, Supergirl, Black Lightning and Legends of Tomorrow. But while these two archery-loving characters can seem a bit similar on the surface, they each carry their own histories and backstories.
But who is better, so to speak? It's an argument that has only grown in recent years with the public becoming more and more away of each arrow-loving character. There's a lot of support for both characters from both sides of the party. Until the day comes when Disney buys out DC (a prospect that seems slightly more possible with each day), we won't know for certain outside of fan-fiction who would win this hypothetical fight. Nevertheless, through what we know about the characters and their respective histories, we can take an educated guess to see who would win if they were forced to face off against each other.
DC's Green Arrow
Oliver Queen, the sometimes-secret identity of the Green Arrow, is a masked vigilante of the streets, loosely in the vein of Daredevil and Batman, who takes to fighting crime on a gritty, low-level playing field. Similar to Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne, he got his start in a privileged world as the son of a billionaire corporate dynasty who would rather spend his days partying than being productive. Oliver's father is ashamed of his son's behavior, and he's made to do clerical work in an oil rig. This results in Oliver finding an exotic place to party, where he soon faces a terrorist leader with only a bow and arrow.
Under his father's tutelage, Oliver Queen became adept with a bow and arrow at a young age, which led to few advantages up until that point in his life. Those early days were met with tragedy, though, as the terrorist he fought was armed with deadly explosives. One such explosive was attached to his girlfriend, Leena, and in Oliver's attempt to save his love, he accidentally activated the explosion, blowing up half the rig and killing his girlfriend in the process.
Oliver's life was saved, but it came at a grave cost. He was forced to live with only his bow and arrow as a means of survival after washing up on the shore of a deserted island, became a skilled expert in archery in the process. After coming back to the mainland, he found himself in Gotham, needing to save his mother. Oliver was able to get some assistance from Batman, but it was one of the first times Green Arrow was able to save the day. From there, Green Arrow started to build up his confidence, as well as his desire to save the people of Star City.
Additionally, Green Arrow continued building his skillset and arrow arsenal, fighting on a street level and defeating as many villains and henchmen as possible. While he is skilled in other fields, like martial arts, stealth, and acrobatics, Green Arrow wields no actual superpowers, though he sometimes surrounds himself by people who have them.
A varied take on Green Arrow's journey was chronicled in the hit CW series, Arrow, which premiered in 2013. It's set to conclude after its eighth season, which premieres this fall. (This season is part of a "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover events centered around the other DC superhero characters on The CW.)
Considered Earth's Mightiest Marksman, Clint Barton's Hawkeye is known not only for his mastery of archery, but also his devil-may-care personality mixed with an undying heroic spirit. He is also known for his ability to hit any target, which is certainly an admirable trait. Similar to Green Arrow, Clint's early days were painted by tragedy. Orphaned from a young age, Clint and his brother Barney escaped their oppressive orphanage by running away to the circus called The Carson Carnival of Traveling Wonders. It was while part of the circus that Clint learned his trade at bow and arrow, but upon discovering criminal activities happening there, Clint was beaten when he alerted the authorities.
From there, Clint Barton was separated from both his brother and his apprenticeship, but he continued to hone his skills in archery. Adopting the name of Hawkeye, he continued on the circus circuit in search of his purpose in life. Upon seeing Iron Man fighting in action, however, Hawkeye decided he would also become a superhero of a kind, using his archery skills to help people in need. But those heroic origins came with a rough start, as Hawkeye was accused of being a criminal. From there, Hawkeye found himself connecting with Black Widow, then clashing with Iron Man.
Similar to Green Arrow, Hawkeye is a very skilled marksman who knows how to handle himself in hand-to-hand combat without super powers, and can be considered a living weapon. Hawkeye doesn't have everything it takes to defeat the bigger foes. Through his eventful team up with The Avengers, however, Clint Barton finally found the family and stability that alluded him throughout his rough-and-tumble life in the comics.
The character has made several appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with his cameo in 2011's Thor. He made his first major role in the proceedings with The Avengers, then continued to be seen in future Avengers films, including Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Endgame. It was recently revealed that Hawkeye will finally get his time in the spotlight with his own Disney+ streaming series, Hawkeye, starring Jeremy Renner.
Green Arrow Vs. Hawkeye
When it comes to shooting arrows, it's hard to determine exactly who is the better of the two. They're both virtuosos with the weapons, and it's through their bows and arrows that Hawkeye and Green Arrow have been able to find their purposes in life while surviving under extreme conditions. But where archery is concerned, Hawkeye is perhaps the stronger of the two. It's not by any large stretch, of course, but Hawkeye likely boasts the more consistent accuracy. He's known as the man who doesn't miss, a distinction that wasn't given lightly to him. If a bow and arrow's in hand, Hawkeye's ready to go.
But when it comes to actual fisticuffs, Green Arrow might have the advantage. Through his martial arts skill and stealth fighting, Green Arrow knows how to handle himself, and he doesn't ever go down without a brutal fight. What he might lack in projectile consistency when compared to Hawkeye, he certainly makes up in agility and the ability to punch someone's face in. Hawkeye is a bit more singular in his fighting style, and that'll hurt more than it'll help in this hypothetical battle.
Additionally, Green Arrow might be more equipped to handle himself without any back-up, since he is known for his solo fighting skills. Hawkeye, meanwhile, is more often than not fighting alongside the Avengers and working as a team player. That is not to say that Hawkeye can't handle himself in a one-on-one. Plus, Green Arrow does sometimes work with a smaller team, as well with the Justice League. So, it's not as though Green Arrow is always by himself. But in the general scheme of things, we've gotten a better taste at what Green Arrow can do on his own compared to Hawkeye, giving him the advantage there.
Additionally, while Green Arrow arrow skills number more than just basic consistency. In Robin Hood fashion, Green Arrow can shoot upwards of 29 arrows at the same time, and that's a skill that can certainly produce excellent results, and often with flair. It should also be noted, however, that Hawkeye also uses a variety of arrows. So, while he might not be able to shoot as many as Green Arrow, it only takes one of his to really count. And if he has the right arrow with the right powers, he can do some serious damage with a lone projectile.
In the end, it is again hard to say which hero is better, because their shared sense of humanity and grounded perspectives are crucial in worlds filled with superhero musclemen like Superman and Captain America. In the end, however, the point might have to tip toward Green Arrow. While Hawkeye could possibly shoot the right arrow and defeat his opponent more times than not, the optics suggest that Green Arrow is more capable to handle any situation in a general sense. He's able to adapt to different fighting styles if he sees fit, and never allows failure to be an option. That determination and skill might just be enough to push him over the edge.
Do you agree or disagree with us? We're sure you have an opinion, one way or the other. You can let us know what you think in the poll and comments below.
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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