Green Arrow has been a surprisingly stalwart feature of the DC Universe despite not getting a true ongoing until 1988. An occasional billionaire who fought crime in Robin Hood attire, the Batman resemblance was noted by fans almost immediately but without nearly as many cool gadgets. The character hung onto the peripheral of the spotlight for some time, but in the 1960s really came into his own. Losing his fortune and donning a more elaborate costume and general design, Oliver Queen became one of comics’ most politically charged superheroes as he fought for the little man.
Green Arrow’s various costume designs are interesting for a variety of reasons. Though they follow a similar pattern, they all maintain the same basic look over the span of his career, making him instantly recognizable. What’s more, his changing looks seem to go in line with the trends of comics, as Green Arrow’s changing fashion highlights the changing ebb and flow of comic books in general. For this list, we’ve counted down Ollie’s major costume changes, but looks that were minor tweaks of the existing costume are mentioned in their relevant entry. So nock an arrow and spoon out some chili: here is every Green Arrow costume, ranked.
18. THE CLASSIC ARROW
Ollie’s original look and the one that a lot of readers may balk at. Created by Mortimer Weisinger and George Papp, the two drew inspiration from the 1925 silent serial, The Green Archer. Sporting a simple, unadorned green tunic and tights with brown boots and gloves, he looked every bit the Robin Hood type on a budget. The costume was topped off by as simple domino mask and a feathered cap (which, according to Ralph Dibny, hides a bald spot).
Debuting in 1941’s More Fun Comics #73, Green Arrow is unique in that this original costume, simple as it may be, persists into the Silver Age. Weisinger, a huge fan of his own creation, kept the character as a backup story during his run on Superboy, and the success enjoyed by being in such a title meant he avoided the same revamp that The Flash and Green Lantern would go through.
17. EVERY ARROW DEFINES YOU
With the original Injustice Green Arrow dying and the replacement returning to the original Earth after the first game, Injustice 2 needed a way to include the fan favorite character. To that end, it was established in the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic book tie-in that when Black Canary died, she was whisked away to an alternate reality along with an Oliver Queen who had similarly lost his Dinah and nearly died.
Injustice 2’s third Oliver’s initial Green Arrow costume is fairly plain, a green body suit with a stylized arrow across his chest. We’re placing it so low on this list because it’s not a definitive look, as the costume was modified heavily throughout the game via Injustice 2’s gear system, including more detailed chest pieces and even a feathered cap. Notably, he doesn’t have a hood in the game, however, much to the chagrin of many fans.
16. TECH ARROW
Of all the changes to take place in The New 52, Green Arrow’s were perhaps the most drastic. Out was the hero of the people, and in was a young tech entrepreneur with too much money. This Oliver borrowed some elements from Arrow, which was reaching the height of its popularity, pairing him with a team who outfitted him with tech and offered field support.
Oliver’s New 52 look was a more modernized attempt at his costume, consisting of a hooded, sleeveless top with ribbed detailing. His domino mask featured more accents, designed to take on a more goggle-like appearance (though this was dropped by many artists) and his trademark facial hair was replaced with a five o’clock shadow and sideburns that occasionally bordered on mutton chops. Regardless of how the look went over with fans, though, this iteration of Green Arrow was poorly received.
15. THE LEGACY COSTUME
Following Zero Hour and despondent over killing his close friend Hal Jordan to save the universe, Oliver found himself on a journey of discovery and stayed at a monastery alongside Connor Hawke in the brief period where Ollie was unaware he was Connor’s father. Though this costume made its debut on the Green Arrow #0 cover, it wasn’t Ollie wearing it, but Connor.
Oliver wouldn’t don this costume — a green bodysuit with brown boots, hood, and torso as well as a large, gold arm guard — until Green Arrow #98. He and Connor would have matching uniforms, but it was only for a few issues. When Oliver died in a plane explosion in Green Arrow #100, his costume was also destroyed and Connor took over as Green Arrow until Oliver’s resurrection in 2001. Connor wore this suit for his entire career until he was written out of existence during Flashpoint.
14. YOUR ARROW
Following DC’s Convergence event, several titles were soft-rebooted and a few costume alterations were made as part of the DCYou initiative. Among them was Green Arrow, which was undergoing a creative overhaul as Arrow EP Andrew Kreisberg and series writer Ben Sokolowski left the book, being replaced by Ben Percy and Patrick Zircher. The two would downplay the elements of Arrow that had been introduced, and overhauled Ollie’s suit.
The new look was more akin to a spandex bodysuit for the first time since Oliver’s ‘90s look, complete with an almost uncharacteristic giant arrow emblazoned across his chest. The look also abandoned the pseudo-goggles to return the domino mask and retained the hood. Debuting in 2015, Oliver wore this costume for about a year, changing styles again when the character underwent a series of storyline changes for DC Rebirth.
13. HOBO WITH A BOW
Shortly after his best friend Hal Jordan went insane and became Parallax, Oliver Queen died in a plane explosion. Some time afterward, Hal restored his name during the event The Final Night, sacrificing his life to reignite the sun before being reborn as The Spectre. However, before his death, Hal made one final action with his nigh unlimited power: he resurrected Oliver.
Brought back intentionally with no memories of anything that happened after Longbow Hunters, Oliver wandered Star City as a vigilante without anyone realizing for years. He donned a sort of Hobo Arrow appearance, sporting a green duster over what appears to be remnants of his previous costume, his trademark feathered cap and an impressive beard. After returning to civilization, Oliver quickly dropped this look in favor of his classic costume.
12. THE YOUNG ARROW
Smallville wanted Batman, but there was a moratorium in place as the company planned the character for films. So instead, they got Green Arrow. Portrayed by Justin Hartley, Oliver here is much younger than typically portrayed, and has a longstanding relationship with Lex Luthor. Billionaire by day, vigilante by night, Oliver was the first real hero to encounter this iteration of Superman and fight by his side.
The costume is ridiculed today, but at the time was truly interesting to behold. Comprised of a green and black leather suit, Oliver bared his arms here and stored a series of small throwing arrows on his wrists. In lieu of a mask, he wore a set of sunglasses with technological enhancements. Make no mistake, this look and character were popular at the time, and the ensuing Arrow spin-off very nearly resembled this character more than what we got.
11. BLACK ARROW
With Blackest Night on the horizon, the recently resurrected Oliver Queen could not escape his fate. The Black Lantern ring flew onto his hand and brought him under the sway of Nekron and he unwillingly joined the Black Lantern corps. Oliver fought valiantly against the Black Lantern Power Ring’s influence but still found himself battling his friends and family.
Like others possessed by the Black Lantern, Oliver donned a costume which vaguely resembled his standard attire. His uniform turned a black shade and took on more of a unitard appearance, with the Black Lantern symbol spreading across his chest. Even Oliver’s bow was changed, becoming black and taking on a sharp, pointed appearance. He managed to successfully fight off the Black Lantern’s influence long enough to save his family, but not before joining up with another Lantern team…
10. WHITE ARROW
As the Blackest Night event drew to a close, the power of the White Lantern charged up the heroes who had been touched by death previously. Among those, naturally, was Green Arrow, who had been returned from death about five years earlier. Like all others who wore the White Lantern Power Ring in that brief moment, Oliver donned a variation of his usual attire.
With a bold White Lantern symbol across his chest, Oliver donned a slick, pure white suit complete with hood and domino mask, and even wielded a pure white bow. This suit only lasted for a brief time, with the ring leaving all but Deadman after the battle was won. Oliver would move on to his updated hooded look after this for Brightest Day.
9. THE BRIGHTEST DAY
After his resurrection, Oliver wore his second costume for a long while. But after Cry For Justice saw him ousted by the superhero community for executing Prometheus for his role in the mutilation of Roy Harper and death of Lian Harper, Oliver fled to the mysterious forest growing outside of Star City. Here he changed his costume, returning to a look reminiscent of his Longbow Hunters appearance.
Inspired in part by the look that had just debuted on Smallville, this new design went back to the sleeveless tunic and brought the hood back to his costuming. The typical arm bracers were replaced with gloves and thick arm guards which held a series of smaller arrows, a nod to his popular Smallville counterpart’s armament. Oliver would wear this look until Flashpoint rebooted the DC Universe and Oliver was drastically reimagined.
8. THE GREEN ARROW
You have to figure Oliver loves it when Barry comes to visit on Arrow because they always bring him something new for his suit. Cisco even brought him an entirely new suit, which came in handy when he returned after a brief retirement at the beginning of Season 4 and needed new threads to take on the emerging threat of Damian Dahrk.
The new look paid homage to his comic book attire and highlighted the growth of the character. A more exciting look than his leather bodysuit, the new costume featured a two-toned green design and bared Oliver’s arms for the first time. The new look was well-received, but still got an update between seasons, with Oliver adding sleeves to the new suit before the start of Season 5.
7. THE ANIMATED ARCHER
Every fan of Justice League Unlimited remembers that opening, as the first animated appearance of a modern Green Arrow stopped a convenience store robbery. This was Green Arrow in all his Dennis O’Neil designed glory, sporting the classic costume, feathered hat and, yes, even the Van Dyke. Oliver even maintained his everyman status, recruited to the Justice League exclusively so that he could keep the team grounded.
Green Arrow proved a popular character, and in Justice League Unlimited’s later episodes even showcased a budding romance with Black Canary as the two set out to expose Cadmus alongside Huntress and The Question. Green Arrow’s popularity would continue animated, as he wore this costume again for his appearances later on The Batman, albeit with slight modifications to match that show’s art style better.
6. THE ANIMATED HUNTER
For his appearances on the highly rated (and finally about to return) Young Justice, Oliver received a modernized version of his Longbow Hunters outfit. The short sleeved, hooded green tunic was belted with a golden G buckle and clasped with a series of straps across his chest. This was the first time a costume resembling the Longbow Hunters era of Green Arrow had appeared in animation, and it makes for a really great looking suit here.
Oliver wore this look for his many appearances on the show, as stories focused on the cloned Roy Harper trying to find the original. It’s expected that he’ll turn up again when Young Justice returns on the upcoming DC streaming service, but it’s unknown if he’ll receive an updated costume.
5. GREEN ARROW REBORN
In 2016, after years of The New 52 meeting fan criticism, the Convergence event sowed the seeds for DC Rebirth, which saw the characters revitalized and stories brought more in line with their classic iterations. Green Arrow was chief among these, getting a number of familiar elements back in his story, such as his passionate yet volatile relationship with Dinah Lance and his everyman status as Oliver was believed dead.
The new costume is, interestingly, a hybrid of his previous looks. The new suit consisted of a thick top with green chest and brown accents on the stomach, and gave Ollie a set of brown arm guards and returned the classic Van Dyke. Much like Rebirth, Oliver’s suit was a celebration of all that had come before, the good and the bad, and took the best elements to make a classic costume with timeless appeal.
4. AN ARROW AMONG US
When Injustice: Gods Among Us hit consoles, it notably featured redesigns of popular DC Comics characters. While most of them were alright, one of the more popular looks from the game was Green Arrow. Brought over to the other Earth to open up Batman’s kryptonite vault, as that Earth’s Green Arrow was already dead, his design was familiar while still being strikingly different.
In an homage to his Longbow Hunters costume, Injustice’s Green Arrow wore a sleeveless tunic that draped past his waist and a hood with a quilted pattern. He also wore a large arm bracer that extended up to his shoulder with a similar quilted design. This Oliver also notably had a large dagger tied to his bow, which enabled it to be used in more combos while fighting.
3. THE HOOD
Superhero costumes on television are a mixed bag. Sometimes you get lucky and get solid costuming, such as the ‘90s slew of Superman and Superboy costumes or the remarkably expensive suits of The Flash. Other times you get the 1997 Justice League of America pilot. Defying all odds, after a stint on Smallville proved the character’s success, Oliver Queen got his own series and a remarkably good costume.
Arrow debuted a ridiculously fit Stephen Amell with a form-fitting, leather bodysuit and an accented hood. The suit was a dark, deep shade of green and suited the more realistic look of Arrow just fine. The suit got a number of small upgrades over the years, starting with a mask from Barry Allen to replace the grease paint the character previously used. This costume suited Oliver until the climax of season 3, where he destroyed it to join the League of Assassins.
2. THE LONGBOW HUNTER
Perhaps more so than any other comic book character, Green Arrow changes as the tides of comics change. The Golden Age saw him as a bright archer emulating other heroes. The Silver Age saw him as an everyman who lost his fortune and fought for the common good. But with comics’ dark era of the 90s fast approaching, Ollie changed up again.
Redesigned this time by Mike Grell in 1987’s Eisner award winning Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, Grell took the opportunity to again redefine Oliver. He dropped his bright, verdant costume for a darker, muted green one that substituted his trademark feather cap for a green hood. Oliver also dropped his trick arrows for more traditional ones, sharpened and lethal to redefine him as a hunter. The Longbow Hunters would redefine Green Arrow for the new comics era. Ollie would later wear a sleeveless variation of this look after the events of Infinite Crisis and One Year Later.
1. THE EMERALD ARCHER
As the Silver Age wound down, it came time for a new look for DC’s Emerald Archer. Dennis O’Neil refreshed the character with his appearance in 1969’s The Brave and The Bold #85, a mind-bender where both Oliver Queen and Bruce Wayne find themselves at odds with the notion of abandoning their costumed identities, Ollie having been out of his for some time beforehand.
For the redesign, Oliver finally acquired his trademark, epic Van Dyke which persists in most iterations of the character (even Stephen Amell temporarily donned one for an older Oliver on Legends of Tomorrow). The simple green tunic is replaced with a layered one with more ornate gloves stylized to vaguely resemble arm guards. This is perhaps the most iconic Green Arrow look, and one Ollie typically goes back to, most notably when he was resurrected in 2001.
Which Green Arrow look is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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