1 Powerless Justice League Hero Can Officially Beat Batman


  • Batman’s encounter with obscure villain the Blue Bowman, a criminal who copied Green Arrow’s gimmick, showed his Justice League teammate possesses the ability to defeat the Caped Crusader with his unpredictable trick arrows, proving that Batman needs one of his famous contingency plans for the archer.
  • Batman relies heavily on predicting his enemy’s moves, but was caught off guard when faced with the randomness of Green Arrow’s trick arrows.
  • Green Arrow deserves more credit from Batman, as his arsenal and his tactics present a unique challenge that Batman would struggle to predict and counter.

Batman is known for having contingency plans to deal with his fellow Justice League members, should any of them ever go bad – and as one of Batman’s early adventures showed, the Caped Crusader should put extra time and effort into his plan to deal with a renegade Green Arrow, whose trick arrows have proven capable of taking Batman down.

Batman #139 – by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff, and Stan Starkman – proved that Green Arrow’s technology can be used effectively against Gotham’s protector. This story saw one of Batman’s lesser criminals, known as the Signal Man, sharing a jail cell with Bulls-Eye, Green Arrow’s arch-rival at the time.

Batman #139, appearance of the Blue Bowman, a villain who stole Green Arrow's trick arrows, his gimmick, and his look

Bulls-Eye taught Signal Man all about Green Arrow’s iconic trick arrows. Taking inspiration from this, Signal Man changed his name to the Blue Bowman, recreated Oliver Queen’s trick arrows, and used them to absolutely trounce both Batman and Robin in a fight, emphatically proving that Queen, despite not having superpowers, could defeat Batman in a combat scenario.

Related: Green Arrow Has the Best Answer For Why Batman Doesn’t Kill the Joker

The Blue Bowman Should Have Been Nothing More Than A Minor Threat

This Classic Batman Story Proves Green Arrow Is A Match For The Caped Crusader

Blue Bowman Defeats Batman And Robin

Batman operates at his best when he can predict his enemy. When the Blue Bowman showed up with a quiver full of Oliver’s iconic trick arrows, it completely took Batman by surprise. He was beaten not just once, but twice, by the Blue Bowman. It was only when he finally got his bearings, and took a good look at Blue Bowman’s arrows, that Batman turned the tables. Deducing Blue Bowman’s strategy, Batman managed to counter the villain’s trick arrows with his own trick Batarangs. While beating the Blue Bowman was not ultimately that hard for Batman, he still lost two fights initially, making it clear Green Arrow could feasibly beat Batman.

Batman #139 was published in April, 1961.

It has been stated a few times in comics, usually in jest, that Batman has no contingency plan for Green Arrow, since he’s not a big enough threat. This was stated in DCeased and Oliver took offense to it there, as he should. Batman’s entire gimmick is predicting his opponent, knowing what trick they have to play. Batman excels when enemies have pre-defined weaknesses to be exploited, as is the case with Superman. But Ollie has no such weaknesses, and his trick arrows provide him a level of randomness that Batman would find difficult to predict, as shown by his encounter with the Blue Bowman.

Oliver Queen Deserves More Credit From Batman

The Dark Knight Should Remember His Blue Bowman Encounter

Batman #139, Blue Bowman gets the best of the Dynamic Duo once more with another trick arrow

In Tower of Babel, Batman makes the offhand comment that Oliver Queen is “every bit the playboy I pretend to be.” Bruce assumes that he could take Ollie off the table by introducing something disruptive to his personal life, but in truth Green Arrow has more fortitude than that. While Batman has his gadgets, Green Arrow’s trick arrows are much more random and difficult to predict. Ollie’s own son Connor even remarks that only a lunatic could make Ollie’s quiver work. This level of randomness and surprise is the key to beating Batman, which Blue Bowman proved decades ago, when he ambushed and defeated Batman using Green Arrow’s infamous trick arrows.

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