In this week’s Hawkeye: Blindspot, everyone’s favorite archer is dealing with his biggest threat yet: blindness. But Clint Barton is far from the first superhero to deal with a debilitating injury. Throughout comic book history, caped crusaders have constantly battled with scrapes that have left them unable to use their powers, or with severe limitations. We’re not talking about previously disabled heroes like Daredevil, or Professor X; these are heroes who got knocked down mid-way through their runs… And got right back up and kept fighting:
1. Batgirl’s Spine
Probably the most famous example of an injury that actually stuck in the comics, Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, was shot by the Joker in Alan Moore’s seminal The Killing Joke. Gordon is still in a wheelchair, but she more than bounced back psychologically, becoming Oracle – a genius level computer hacker who works as the eyes and ears of the DC Universe’s heroes. She’s also the leader of the Birds of Prey, and all around a unique, strong, exciting character.
2. Wolverine’s Skeleton
Logan has had his share of injuries in his day, like that time a nuclear bomb dropped on him and he was okay. But the only attack that’s stuck is that time Magneto ripped out his skeleton. To be fair, he was still mostly okay – you know, it was just his bones, you guys – but for a while, he didn’t have a metal laced skeleton protecting him. Sometimes his claws broke off! It was awful!
3. Aquaman’s Hand x2
The first time Aquaman lost his hand, it was when he was robbed of his ability to talk to sea life, and had his appendage stuck in a pool of piranhas. Over time, he was given a hook, and then a magical water hand, before outright dying of shame. Okay, maybe not shame. He was recently brought back to life with all his body parts... Only to have his OTHER hand cut off in the most recent issue of Brightest Day by his archenemy, Black Manta. How he’ll deal with this, we don’t yet know. Our guess? Shame-death.
4. Thor’s Gorgeous Face
Hela may be busy being the Norse Goddess of Death, but she still had time to wreck Thor’s beautiful face by horribly scarring him. To protect himself, and others from his disgusting face, Thor covered his eyes with a helmet/mask combo, and grew a beard. Thank goodness that eventually Hela relented, and eventually healed him. Beards are the worst, right?
5. Batman’s Back
No, not the title of the new Christopher Nolan movie (though it should be). Around the same time that Superman was all up and dying, a new villain cruised into Gotham City with a bone to pick with Batman. After wearing him down, the Mexican wrestling-masked Bane picked up Batman over his head, and broke his back. Bruce Wayne took a while to recuperate, letting an insane man named Jean Paul Valley take over the Batman identity. Hey, now that we think of it, Bane IS in the new Batman movie… There’s still time, Nolan. Call us?
6. Arsenal’s Arm
Sliced off in the recent Justice League: Cry for Justice maxiseries, Arsenal, like Hawkeye, was able to use pretty much anything as a weapon. That is, until villain Prometheus infected his stump with nanites that prevented him from getting a prosthesis. He eventually did, but it was a robotic arm that clamps painfully onto his upper arm. Anyway, he’s a villain now, and most famous for whipping homeless man with a dead cat while high on heroin. That’s what losing a limb does to you, guys.
7. Dr. Strange’s Hands
Stephen Strange already had nerve damage when he became Sorcerer Supreme – it’s what cut short his career as a surgeon. But more recently, his hands were broken by the Incredible Hulk during the World War Hulk crossover. According to every comic he’s appeared in since, that has prevented him from properly creating spells, and caused him to abdicate his position as the SS. However, he still seems to cast any spells he wants, so maybe he’s better now? I dunno.
8. Box Gets The Bends
One of the more tragic characters in comics, Roger Bochs lost his legs prior to ever appearing in Marvel’s Alpha Flight. Chronically depressed and overweight, he nevertheless attracted the attention of the beautiful but crazy Aurora, finding happiness for the first time in his life… Only to end up getting decompression sickness (a.k.a. The Bends), and ending up confined to his robotic box armor. He was eventually cured, and even given legs, but then those legs decomposed, Aurora broke up for him, he went crazy, and died. Point being, don’t get the bends.
9. Dagger’s Eyes
Hawkeye could probably commiserate with Dagger, one half of the crime fighting duo of Cloak and Dagger. Dagger’s ability is to create blades made of light, and throw them with great accuracy. That is, until she temporarily went blind. During that time, she depended on her partner Cloak to guide her aim, until she eventually recovered.
10. Spider Man’s Legs
Remember that time Peter Parker lost his leg in a fight with the Green Goblin? No? Well, that’s because it happened in the alternate universe continuity of MC2. After the climactic fight, Spider-Man had his leg amputated, and gave up on the hero business for good. That is, up until his daughter MayDay Parker started moonlighting as Spider-Girl, and he jumped back into the webs to help out. Another disability he has in this alternate future? A very silly looking goatee. He should talk to Thor about that one.