Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters

Cover art to Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1.
Art by Mike Grell.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
Genre Superhero
Publication date August - October 1987
Number of issues 3
Main character(s) Green Arrow
Black Canary
Creative team
Writer(s) Mike Grell
Artist(s) Mike Grell
Collected editions
Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters ISBN 0-930289-38-2

Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters is a three-issue prestige format comic book miniseries published in 1987 by DC Comics. Written and drawn by Mike Grell, it stars the character Green Arrow.[1]

Plot summary

On his forty-third birthday, Ollie Queen relocates from Star City to Seattle, Washington, the home of his girlfriend Dinah Lance. He changes his costume and abandons the use of his trademark trick arrows for more traditional archery equipment. As Green Arrow tries to track down a serial killer, the Seattle Slasher, killing prostitutes in the area, Black Canary attempts to infiltrate a drug racket which may have ties to Kyle Magnor, a wealthy shipping magnate.

Oliver tracks the killer to the abandoned Seattle Underground section of the city, discovering that the killer is a disturbed ex-tunnel rat from the Vietnam War. The Slasher jumps Oliver and gets away to apparently kill again, but a mysterious female archer with an elaborate dragon tattoo on her arm shoots the slasher (as well as a passing motorist) before vanishing.

The archer is revealed to be Shado, the daughter of a Yakuza agent incarcerated during World War II, where American soldiers, including Magnor, forced him to reveal a major cache of Yakuza gold. Dishonored, the agent killed himself in atonement. When Shado comes of age, she is charged with killing those who dishonored her father and the Yakuza. The passing motorist she killed was one of those soldiers, who used the stolen gold to build a financial empire. Ollie tracks Shado down and fares poorly in the confrontation.

At home, Ollie hears on the news that the drug supplier Dinah had been investigating was found dead and mutilated earlier that day. Panicked, Oliver races to the dockside warehouse Dinah suspected the drugs were being distributed from. There, he finds Dinah tied up, tortured, and on the verge of death. Without hesitation Ollie kills her torturer, one of Shado's intended victims, along with the others in the drug lab. After learning about what happened at the docks, Magnor warns his CIA contact, Osborne, that he wants better protection on their next deal. Osborne assigns weapons master Eddie Fyers to eliminate Shado.

After killing another target, Shado leaves a message for Ollie to meet her on Mt. Rainier where she intends to kill Magnor. Although Ollie initially tries to stop her, he notices Fyers aiming a sniper rifle at Shado and moves to subdue him, inadvertently giving Magnor a chance to escape. Ollie also confronts Osborne about the use of an Iranian arms deal to fund Nicaraguan Contras, mirroring the events of the Iran-Contra story which broke months earlier.[2] Ollie confronts Magnor in his office. Ollie intends to frame him for the murder of the drug supplier, but Shado shoots the target through the window and kills him.


Oliver's murder of Dinah's torturer marks a significantly darker turn in his character; in later storylines, Oliver reflects that him taking a life in this manner marked a change in his life, leaving him unable to find peace anywhere or with anyone. When he is killed by a bomb explosion and later resurrected by his friend Hal Jordan- temporarily possessing the god-like power of Parallax-, he is initially resurrected without any memory of the events of this storyline or what happened afterwards, hoping to return to a more hopeful, peaceful time of his life.


Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters was nominated for a 1988 Eisner Award for Best Finite Series.[3]

The series proved popular enough that DC Comics commissioned the first ever Green Arrow ongoing series, also written by Grell.[4] The series ran for 11 years. Grell also wrote the official Post-Crisis origin of Green Arrow in Green Arrow: The Wonder Year.

The series was major influence on TV series Arrow. Oliver is not referred to as "Green Arrow" in the show, wears a hooded costume similar to that worn in The Longbow Hunters, and in the first season, is willing to use lethal force. Edward Fyers is a main antagonist in the first season, and Shado has a recurring role in the first and second seasons. A character based on the Seattle Slasher, referred to as the Starling Slasher to match the show's setting, appeared in the episode "Blind Spot."

In 2014, Jeff Lemire, writer of the New 52 Green Arrow series, used the name "The Longbow Hunters" for a team of villains.


  1. Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Writer/artist Mike Grell introduced a Green Arrow for the modern comic book reader in the three-issue prestige format Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters." 
  2. Mike Grell "director's commentary" on The Longbow Hunters
  3. Comic Book DB
  4. Mike Grell, Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters

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