“The Case of the Super-Arrows” is an injection of science fiction into the early world of Green Arrow. The story is intended to display some really weird, futuristic ideas, but at least one of them is still being used today.
It is the anniversary of Green Arrow’s debut as a crime fighter. As he and Speedy go through an assortment of gifts from various law-enforcement agencies and other well-wishers, a cylinder materializes out of thin air. A voice tells them, “Happy Anniversary, Green Arrow! You have just been presented with a gift from the world of 3000 A.D.” The cylinder contains a collection of “super-arrows” made with the fantastic technology of the future.
They decide to test out the arrows, and one leads them to a bank robbery in progress. Our heroes close in on the bank robbers, ‘Cougar’ Cain and his mob. Green Arrow clumsily drops one of the super-arrows which mesmerizes both he and Speedy. This allows the robbers to escape and take the futuristic arrows with them. After apprehending the crooks using strategy(!), GA decides to lock the arrows away as too dangerous to use.
A common theme that pops up early in GA stories is skill vs gadgetry. In this story, GA saves the day with his incredible marksmanship using a standard arrow when he’s hopelessly outgunned by the stolen super-arrows. It’s an important reminder that the true power is in the archer, not in the gear.
The super-arrows in this story (in order of appearance):
- Cloud-Seeding Arrow (causes thunderstorms when fired into clouds)
- Sonar Shaft Arrow (detects sirens, crashes, explosions at great distances)
- Ice Arrow (encases target in ice)
- Vacuum Super-Arrow (swiftly sucks in gas vapors)
- Hypnotic Arrow (releases spinning lights that mesmerize onlookers)
- Invisibility Arrow (renders targets invisible)
- Anti-Gravity Arrow (pulls things aloft as if weightless)
- Vibration Arrow (can shatter concrete with powerful vibrations)
- Paralysis Arrow (full effect unknown, but stated it has a 1 mile radius)
- Mummy Arrow (wraps target in tight bandages)
- Title: “The Case of the Super-Arrows”
- Story and Art: Jack Kirby
- Publication: Adventure Comics #251 (1958)