EMP Arrow

In the right circumstances, the EMP Arrow is incredibly powerful. It creates an electromagnetic pulse that is capable of disrupting or interfering with all electronic devices within range. Some devices will be destroyed outright. It is good for taking out computers and most vehicles. The arrow is powerful enough that it can disrupt Iron Man’s armor. It is an essential trick for use against cyborgs, robots, and anyone in battle armor.

It does have a massive drawback, however. The arrow will affect anyone within range, including the archer and their allies. Fortunately, the standard super-archer’s arsenal is almost entirely mechanical or chemical  and therefore immune to the debilitating effects of the EMP. Hawkeye has disabled his own hearing aid this way, though.

Extremely advanced electronics such as Iron Man or Ultron have partial shielding and are prepared for this tactic. It will still affect them, but the effect is very temporary.


  • Type: Non-Lethal Arrow
  • Frequency: Rare
  • Effects: An arrow that disrupts or damages electronic devices.
  • Also Known As: Electromagnetic Pulse Arrow

Reality Check

An EMP is a burst of electromagnetic radiation created by nuclear explosions. The resulting rapidly changing electric and magnetic fields may couple with electrical and electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges. The specific characteristics of any particular nuclear EMP event vary according to a number of factors, the most important of which is the altitude of the detonation.

There are actually three different types of electromagnetic pulse: E1, E2, and E3. They affect various types of electrical systems in different ways.

  • E1 affects local antennas, short cable runs, equipment inside buildings, integrated circuits, sensors, communication systems, protective systems, and computers.
  • E2 is similar to a lightning strike (so not as damaging since we know how to deal with it), and affects longer conductive lines, vertical antenna towers, and aircraft with trailing wire antennas.
  • E3 affects power lines and long communications lines like undersea and underground cables, which could wreak havoc on commercial power and landlines.

Overall, most of the damage would come from E1 and E3 pulses disrupting the technology we’ve come to rely on. Post-blast, generators may be able to still provide power, but for the most part, people would not have access to electricity.