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Trick arrows

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Trick arrows
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
Marvel Comics
In story information
Element of stories featuring(DC Comics)
Green Arrow, Speedy, Red Arrow, Merlyn, Moonbow
(Marvel Comics)
Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, Trickshot, Comanche

Trick arrows, also referred as specialty arrows in contemporary times,[1][2] are projectile devices that are seen in various media of fiction. Trick arrows are shot with bows like arrows but can possess a specialized function (technological or magical) such as compact explosive charges or rotary drills. They are often found in the world of comic book superheroes, used by archers such as Green Arrow of DC Comics and Hawkeye of Marvel Comics.

In some portrayals, particularly during the Silver Age, trick arrows are sometimes shown to defy the laws of physics and reality, to varying degrees.

Overview from other media[edit]

Trick arrows are generally technological, although they can be magical, like those used by the comic book characters Celestial Archer and Maya, or Hank the Ranger of the Dungeons & Dragons TV series.

Explosive arrows were seen in the films Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III starring Sylvester Stallone (an avid bow user). The explosive arrowheads used in the movie are just props; they are Razorback 5 arrowheads with their protective cover left on. The conical covers were hand painted with gold paint with black tips to make them look like RPG warheads. The box Rambo stores them in is the original factory box painted black, with written warnings. The arrows were constructed specifically as props for both films and do not function as they are portrayed.

A live-action variety of explosive arrow kit-bashed from two M203 grenades, was used in the movie Predator. The character Yeoman of the Wild Cards superhero anthology series also makes occasional use of exploding arrows. Bo and Luke Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard used arrows with dynamite tied to them because they were banned from having firearms after being caught moonshine running. Trick arrows were also featured in the book Mockingjay, the third book in The Hunger Games series, when both the heroine, Katniss Everdeen, and her friend Gale Hawthorne use special arrows against the Capitol including fire arrows and explosive arrows designed by their scientist colleague, Beetee.

In the Thief computer game series, the main character Garret employs several different types of arrow to alter the environment or to assist in gameplay; such as Water Arrows (to extinguish torches or clean blood splatter), Moss Arrows (to create a "carpet" for silent walking), Rope Arrows (to attach a rope to a surface that can be used to climb to otherwise unreachable places), Vine Arrows, Fire Arrows etc.

Green Arrow's trick arrows[edit]

Oliver Queen is DC Comics' primary archer hero. His arrows, over many decades' worth of stories (of various tones and degrees of seriousness), have included:

  • Acetylene Arrow
  • Acid Arrow (contains a vial of highly corrosive acid which is released on impact)
  • Antler Arrow
  • Aqua Lung Arrow
  • Atomic Warhead Arrow (contains an extremely miniaturized atomic warhead)
  • Avalanche Arrow
  • Baby Rattle Arrow
  • Bait Arrow
  • Balloon Arrow
  • Bloodhound Arrow
  • Bola Arrow
  • Boomerang Arrow
  • Boxing Glove Arrow
  • Bubblegum Arrow
  • Buzzsaw Arrow
  • Cat Arrow
  • Chimney sweep Arrow
  • Cryonic (Freezing) Arrow
  • Diamond Tipped Arrow
  • Donut Arrow
  • Drill Arrow (tipped with a motorized drill-bit)
  • EMP arrow first appear in Smallville episode "Reunion." It is designed to disable electronic devices.
  • Explosive Arrow (contains a simple compact explosive charge)
  • Fake Uranium Arrow
  • Fan Arrow
  • Fire extinguisher Arrow
  • Firecracker Arrow
  • Flash Arrow
  • Fountain Pen Arrow
  • Glue Arrow
  • Grappling Hook Arrow
  • Greek Fire Arrow
  • Handcuffs Arrow (tipped with a pair of handcuffs that close around a person's wrist on impact, if aimed properly)
  • Harpoon Arrow
  • Ice-Cutting Arrow
  • Ink Arrow
  • Kryptonite Arrow (contains an isotope of Kryptonite, to be used against Kryptonians such as Superman or Supergirl should they go rogue)
  • Lariat Arrow
  • Magic Arrow (introduced in injustice 2 comic book series, this type of arrow can pierce any type of magic ball, beam or shield)
  • Magnesium Flare Arrow
  • Mini-Arrow
  • Mummy Arrow
  • Nanite Arrow appears in Arrowverse, as an arrow containing nanites that emit a frequency capable of disabling the super speed of speedsters.
  • Net Arrow (contains a spring-loaded nylon mesh which is released and entangles the target on impact)
  • Nth Metal Arrow (to be used against supernatural beings. Used in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.)
  • Paint Brush Arrow
  • Parachute Arrow
  • Peppermint Stick Arrow
  • Quantum Arrow (actually two arrows to be used simultaneously, one fired by Green Arrow and another by his sidekick Speedy. Used in an episode of JLU, "Patriot Act").
  • Rain Arrow
  • Reflector Arrow
  • Rope Arrow
  • Safe-Cracking Arrow
  • Smokescreen Arrow (releases a wide stream of harmless obscuring smoke through the air after being fired)
  • Sonic Arrow
  • Stunner Arrow
  • Sun Arrow
  • Tear Gas Arrow
  • Trap Arrow
  • TriClamp Arrow (arrow separates into three handcuff-type clamps)
  • Tumbleweed Arrow
  • Umbrella Arrow
  • Uranium Arrow ( The full body and tip made up of uranium affect as uranium cage and cannot be broken by any bomb or anything and cannot be teleport)

Green Arrow's aqua-arrows[edit]

The Aqua-Bow was a cross between a speargun and a crossbow from World's Finest Comics vol. 1 #130 (December 1962).[3]

  • Electric Eel Arrow (releases a mild, stinging shock)
  • Glowfish Arrow (resembles luminous fish that swim in dark depths, lights up like a searchlight)
  • Jellyfish Arrow (jellyfish-shaped, covers target with gooey, sticky substance)
  • Octopus Arrow (fires an inky cloud around its target)

Miss Arrowette[edit]

Arrowette, a female version of Green Arrow, used trick arrows with a stereotypical feminine theme:


The miniseries Infinite Crisis introduced a one-off Phantom Zone arrow, used by Green Arrow's sidekick Mia Dearden/Speedy.

  • Phantom Zone arrow

Hawkeye's trick arrows[edit]

Trick arrows used by Marvel's Hawkeye include but are not limited to:

  • Acid Arrows
  • Adamantium Arrows (often combined with Electrical arrowhead)
  • Blast (Explosive) Arrow
  • Blunt Arrows
  • Bola Arrows
  • Boomerang Arrowhead (allows an arrow to return to shooter)
  • Cable Arrow (allowing him to swing through the air)
  • Electrical Arrow
  • Flare Arrow
  • Freezing Arrow
  • Glue Arrow
  • Hacking Arrow
  • Localized Nuclear Arrow
  • Magnesium Flare Arrow
  • Magnetic Arrowhead (adheres to metal surfaces; can be added to other arrows)
  • Magno-volt Arrow
  • Net Arrow
  • Parachute Arrow
  • Putty Arrow (adheres to rough surfaces, and can stop exposed machinery)
  • Pym Particles Arrow (increases or decreases the size of an object or opponent)
  • Rocket Arrowhead (boosts range, can be added to other arrows)
  • Shrapnel Arrow
  • Smoke Arrow
  • Sonic Arrow
  • Suction Cup Arrowhead (adheres to smooth surfaces; can be added to other arrows)
  • Tear Gas Arrow
  • Thermal (Incendiary) Arrow
  • Toxic Gas Arrow
  • Vibranium Arrow (must have supplement Magnetic, Putty, or Suction Cup arrowhead to stick to target; deadens kinetic and vibratory energies)

City of Heroes/Villains[edit]

These Superhero-based Massively Multiplayer games had a Trick Arrow power set as a primary power set for Defenders and a secondary set for Controllers, Corruptors and Masterminds. Arrows available in CoH were:

  • Acid Arrow
  • Disruption Arrow
  • EMP Arrow
  • Entangling Arrow
  • Flash Arrow
  • Glue Arrow
  • Ice Arrow
  • Oil Slick Arrow (which can be ignited by an energy attack into Flaming Oil Slick)
  • Poison Gas Arrow


  1. Benjamin Raab & Deric A. Hughes (writer) Laura Belsey (director) (November 19, 2019). "Prochnost". Arrow. Season 8. Episode 5. The CW.
  2. Brown, Elliot (December 2002). "Green Arrow's Weapons". Green Arrow Secret Files and Origins. 1 (1).
  3. World's Finest Comics vol. 1 #130 (December 1962)

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