A Brief History of DC Characters That Have Lost Appendages

Panel from 'Infinite Crisis'
Credit: DC Comics

This week, some of Jason Fabok’s art for the upcoming Batman & The Murder Machine surfaced that seemed to show Green Lantern Hal Jordan missing his right arm  – the same one he traditionally uses for ring-slinging (and maybe a leg too).

Assuming the cover isn't a hoax or just hyperbole, Hal’s not the only DC character who has lost a limb – far from it, in fact. Here’s a brief history of the most prominent DC heroes and villains to have lost a limb in the line of duty. It's longer than you might think. 

Credit: DC Comics

Green Arrow

Lots of DC heroes have lost limbs in alternate realities – in Flashpoint, you could have formed a Justice League of the folks who had been maimed. Hell, losing an arm is practically all Deathstroke does in alt-realities. We’re trying to stick to main continuity though – with one notable exception: Green Arrow.

One of the most iconic moments in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is when Batman, in Kryptonite-fueled armor, takes on Superman himself with help from Green Arrow, who blames Superman for the loss of his arm in the dark, future world. The image of Green Arrow firing Kryptonite arrows with his teeth stands out , as does Olver Queen’s continued role in Miller’s Dark Knight stories.

Credit: DC Comics

Aquaman

Thanks to adaptations to survive the pressures of the ocean, Aquaman’s Atlantean physiology makes him impervious to many forms of harm that we surface dwellers have to worry about. Even though he’s bulletproof, Aquaman does share at least weakness with non-Atlanteans – Piranha.

When a villain named Charybdis interfered with Aquaman’s ability to communicate with sea life and submerged his arm in a pool of Piranha, Aquaman did probably the most badass thing possible and grafted a harpoon onto the stump. It stayed there for years until his death and subsequent resurrection in Brightest Day.

Credit: DC Comics

Roy Harper

Cry For Justice was meant to launch a new era for the Justice League, but it felt more like an ending than a beginning – especially for Roy Harper, the former Speedy-turned-Arsenal-turned-Red Arrow. In a clash with Prometheus, the villain cut off Roy’s arm with a nanite-laced blade that prevented prosthesis.

Roy’s life quickly spiraled downward after his daughter Lian died at the end of Cry For Justice, leading him to relapse on drugs. Roy’s relapse in turn led to a series of increasingly dark incidents, including an infamous moment when he beat several criminals with a dead cat.

Yup – it really was that dark.

Credit: DC Comics

Cyborg

Vic Stone was a star athlete whose career was cut short in high school after his father Silas accidentally summoned a monster that nearly killed him. As a result, Silas replaced the missing parts of Vic’s body with cybernetic tech.

Cyborg went on to join the Teen Titans, but in modern continuity, he’s a founding member of the Justice League.

Technically, Cyborg lost all his limbs – but there are other DC characters like the Brain and Metallo that have technically lost their entire original bodies.

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Alfred

Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s butler, has been in more than his share of physical danger over the decades, but true to form it was the Joker that finally maimed him.

During Scott Snyder’s “Endgame,” the Joker kidnapped Alfred, cutting off his hand and mailing it to Batman.

You know, like a joke?

Credit: DC Comics

Arm-Fall-Off Boy

There’s not much to say about this would-be Legionaire that isn’t all right there in his name. With the stunning power to have his arms fall off, Arm-Fall-Off Boy lost his limbs in likely the least violent way possible – but none of that helped him get a spot on the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Decades later, the “pre-reboot” version of the Legion’s Lightning Lad also lost his arm after absorbing “poison electricity,” though it was later restored by science.


Risk

Risk was a teenage thrill seeker who, along with a group of other teenagers, was abducted by aliens and discovered he had powers. He later became a member of a short-lived incarnation of the Teen Titans, before spending time as a criminal.

Years later, Risk was called back into active duty during Infinite Crisis and discovered first hand that his alien DNA doesn’t stack up to that of Superboy Prime, who tore Risk’s arm off in battle (see above).

Credit: DC Comics

KGBeast

Anatoli Knyazev was a Russian government operative who had his strength cybernetically enhanced. KGBeast tangled with Batman, nearly fighting the Dark Knight to a standstill before Batman gained the upper hand (pun intended) by snaring KGBeast in place with his bat-rope.

Unwilling to lose, KGBeast got free by severing his own arm, which he later had replaced by a cybernetic machine gun.

Credit: DC Comics

Armless Master & Legless Master

It’s unknown whether the Armless Master and Legless Master were born without their respective limbs, or lost them later. What is known is that the two brothers became skilled martial artists in a Thai fighting circus.

The pair traveled to Gotham, where they trained even the likes of Catwoman in the art of hand-to-hand (sorry) combat before being slain by the League of Assassins.

Credit: DC Comics

Sister Superior

Vera Lynn Black lost her arms in a childhood accident. When her brother Manchester Black died trying to kill Superman, she had a pair of cybernetic limbs packed with weaponry outfitted where her arms should have been.

After a stint fighting the Justice League, Black, under the name Sister Superior, joined the team, helping to co-found the short-lived Justice League Elite, a branch of the League dedicated to black-ops missions.

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