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Improbable Aiming Skills in comic books.


The DCU

  • Deadshot, a gun-wielding assassin and sometimes Anti-Hero from The DCU, has a long-standing reputation for never missing his shot (unless he happens to be aiming at Batman). In a Suicide Squad miniseries, he took out six targets scattered around a room while blindfolded. Not only this, but he has ricocheted his bullets off poles, while turned around, and hit each target with perfect accuracy.
    • Earlier in the same series, he failed to shoot a target in the bullseye while blindfolded...because Captain Boomerang Jr. had hit all his bullets in mid-air, using bent paperclips. (Admittedly using Super Speed, but still.). In The Outsiders, while in a prison riot, Captain Boomerang Jr. had grabbed and thrown something, bouncing it off the walls, to hit and knock out a fellow prisoner.
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    • One of the only times Deadshot did miss, it was in his youth, a tree branch he was standing on snapped under him, and what should have been a disarming shot became a kill shot. The person he unintentionally killed was his beloved older brother.
  • There's an Elseworlds comic in which The Flash (Wally West) has lost his legs. His contribution to battles is now as a gunslinger, since he has all the time in the world to aim every shot. (For some inexplicable reason he's shown using ordinary handguns. He could probably aim every shot with a machinegun on full-auto.)
  • The Great Ten's Celestial Archer is capable of freaking ridiculous feats with this. He can shoot out the sun and hit a target on the other side of the world. In his defense, his bow is a weapon of the gods and thus is inherently capable of doing that kind of thing.
  • From both The DCU and Marvel Universe, self-trained superhero archers Green Arrow and Hawkeye, and their families of characters, can ricochet arrows off walls and into targets. And that's not even getting into "boxing glove arrows", "bomb arrows", "net arrows" or "cat arrows" (don't ask). They have, at times, been depicted as so implausibly good, some people theorize that they actually have psychokinesis and are simply using it to show off by making it look like they're the world's greatest archers. The fact that the artists and writers of their titles usually don't do very much research into how archers actually even hold their bows drives it home for a lot of people.
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    • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Green Arrow has lost an arm and still manages to be a crackshot. Green Arrow once lost both arms (he got better) and still managed to pull off a shot by bracing the bow with his feet and pulling the arrow back with his teeth.
  • Former Green Arrow sidekick Roy Harper, aka Speedy aka Arsenal aka Red Arrow aka Arsenal again, boasts that he never misses — boasts that he can back up. During the Rise of Arsenal storyline, Roy, in a fit of rage, stricken with grief, addled with drugs, and handicapped by his unfamiliar cybernetic arm, breaks his bow, throws it at a bullseye — and hits it dead center. Even when doped up, handicapped, and mentally unbalanced, he never misses. Note that right before this he had missed every actual shot he took with the bow. The point at the time was to recast Roy back into his non-archer gun/knife nut phase. Or to show that he was so messed up he was overthinking his shots.
  • Green Lantern: Bedovian, a Yellow Lantern and John Stewart, a Green Lantern. The two of them are capable of sniping each other from three space sectors away. Just to give you an idea of how big a sector is, the entire universe is divided into 3600 sectors by the Green Lantern Corps. A conservative estimate would put the size of a sector in the several hundreds of thousands of lightyears.
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    • Stewart and Bedovian weren't necessarily hundreds of thousands of light years away from each other in that instance. The space sectors into which the universe is divided are wedges, with each wedge narrowing as one approaches Oa, the center of the universe. Thus, the closer one gets to Oa, the less distance one has to travel to cross any three sectors. At the time of the sniping incident, Stewart was on or very close to Oa and, if Bedovian was also fairly close to Oa, they may have been shooting across three sectors without being all that far from each other (while not quite as incredible, the distance would still be pretty impressive).
  • In his first appearance in the pages of JLA, the villain Prometheus fired a bullet at Catwoman from one of his gauntlet-guns. The Huntress shot the bullet out of midair with a crossbow bolt. This is a woman who, when introduced, was just a schoolteacher who worked out a lot.
  • In Robin Vol 1, Tim manages to cork the gun barrel of Dorrance's right hand man by throwing a screw into it from a couple of floors up which caused the gun to backfire somehow.
  • Thanks to her telescopic vision, Supergirl has literal super-aim. In a Silver Age comic she hits her target from space.
  • Superman, in one comic, pretends to be a villain named the Golden Dart, kidnaps Lois Lane, and throws darts at her. His Improbable Aiming Skills allow him to keep himself from hitting Lois, instead missing her by "scant inches".
  • Arrowette of Young Justice, who is probably not a member of the Green Arrow Clan, was once shown having a conversation with her mother (the first Arrowette) while playing darts. The camera pans back to show a line of darts driven into each other point to tail, Robin Hood style, from the first, dead center on the target. The ladies decide they really need to find a different game to compete with.

Marvel Universe

  • Blade is pretty damn handy with, you guessed it, blades. Tossing his daggers down the barrel of guns or pinning people to walls by their clothes is a breeze. When sneaking up on a vampire about to bite a woman, Blade threw a stake that knocked the vampire's teeth clean out of his mouth! And Blade claims he can amputate insects with his knives.
  • Bullseye, the Psycho for Hire Professional Killer who serves as the Arch-Nemesis to Daredevil, who mixes this with a physics-defying ability to propel projectiles to turn a variety of mundane household objects into Improvised Weapons. Among the objects Bullseye has used to kill people: paperclips, playing cards, golf balls, orange pits, a ballpoint pen, a toothpick, a salted peanut, and one of his own teeth. He rarely stoops so low as to use an actual gun.
    • Taking it Up to Eleven, one comic has him saying that the prison he's in has him on stool softeners and a liquid diet for fear that if he has a solid BM, he'll weaponize that. And he would, too.
    • Putting this through Serial Escalation to make an awesome moment is a two-part mini-series called Bullseye: Perfect Game. The series revolves around the fact that Bullseye is so bored, he takes an entire year off to kill one guy in the most spectacular fashion possible. The target is a baseball player, so Bullseye becomes a pitcher. When their teams face off, Bullseye creates a perfect game, by clipping his own team beforehand (in ways ranging from throwing a speck of dirt into an eye to cause an infection to killing someone with a thrown battery) and striking out every batter so the score is 0 to 0 in the last inning, with his target about to strike out. Too bad the umpire called the last pitch a ball.
    • In Sinister Spider-Man, Bullseye uses a yapping dog to the eye to distract Venom. Even more amazingly, the dog lived afterwards.
  • In an early issue of Cable & Deadpool, while Wade (Deadpool) is casually conversing with Nate (Cable) about how he no longer feels the urge to kill, he rolls a pebble around between his fingers. When Nate's not looking, he lets it fly and nails a dragonfly so that the pebble knocks the body dead-center, leaving the wings on either side. (Really.)
  • Captain America's ability in throwing his shield to hit multiple targets by means of ricocheting, and still come back to his grasp. Though, in early issues of the Avengers, the "coming back" part was explained by little magnets on the shield and on his gloves. This was later retconned into simply being the product of lots and lots of practice; when John Walker was brought in to replace him as Captain America, it took weeks of training with the Taskmaster for him to even be able to throw it reliably; he never figured out how to get it to ricochet or hit multiple targets or come back to him after being thrown. Tony Stark later noted how embarrassed he was for bragging about the magnets he'd put on Cap's shield, and how Steve was enough of a gentleman to never say a word about it. The only other person who could match Steve's ability with the shield including the ricocheting is Hawkeye.
  • Since Cyclops of the X-Men is using Eye Beams, you'd expect him to have very little trouble hitting whatever he can see. That doesn't explain his ability to pull off such shots as precision-stunning Professor X after ricocheting the beam around three corners or destroying six fast-moving targets, at least two of them behind him, with a single shot. It's been officially stated that Cyclops's mutant ability includes an intuitive knowledge of how to ricochet his own optic blasts. In old comics, this was attributed to his spending most of his training time in the Danger Room practicing how to pull off ricochets and other trick shots with his eyebeam. It even joked that he's one hell of a pool player. The X-Men Noir series recasts him as an ace gunman, thus having him play out a more typical version of this trope. Not only that, but he's an actual Cyclops, sporting a possibly blind, possibly glass left eye.
  • Daredevil himself gets in on the action when he hurls his Billy clubs, often taking down multiple mooks and hitting a switch on the wall with one throw. He's even better with arrows and guns, which have the extra advantage of being designed as ranged weapons.
  • Oxbow from Marvel: The Lost Generation is capable of hitting his target every time - including the time he went to the moon, where it took him exactly one arrow to get accustomed to the different gravity!
  • Resident Action Girl Dani Moonstar of the New Mutants, with her arm broken, uses her one good hand and her FOOT to shoot her tormentor in the throat with an arrow.
  • Kid Twist, a particularly slimy individual from Joss Whedon's run on Runaways, has this as a power: once he sets eyes on a target, he never misses. This includes casually firing his gun behind him, and having the bullet turn corners.
  • In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Hawkeye is an expert marksman who chooses to use a bow because of the challenge. He was shown to be deadly with anything he could throw, even killing a room full of armed guards while strapped down to a chair by flicking his fingernails. (He did mention at some point that it was not only practise, but that his vision was artificially enhanced.) At one point he runs out of arrows and starts shooting piece of rebar at people. It's such typical behavior that no one even mentions it.
    • The main universe Hawkeye, in the Hawkeye and Mockingbird series, fired three Pym Particle arrows - arrows whose heads were capsules filled with dozens of toothpick-sized arrows that were treated with the chemical Ant-Man uses to get bigger/smaller. When they deployed and expanded, the thugs they were facing got to fight in the shade. Every single one was taken down non-fatally. Hawkeye simply said he never hits what he wasn't aiming for. This was during a motorcycle chase.
    • Not to mention in the alternate future Old Man Logan, where Hawkeye is blind, yet just as good, managing to get three gangsters in the mouth with three arrows just by listening to where they are.
  • Wolverine has demonstrated this by first throwing a dart, and hitting a perfect bullseye, turning away from the dartboard and sitting down at a table, throwing his remaining two darts behind his shoulder, where they both managed to hit the bullseye as well. When challenged to get 3 bullseyes again, he stood up and stacked the darts on each other. He has also thrown a katana with his left hand (he's right handed) at an attacking stuka plane, hit the pilot in his side, causing him to crash and burn. He has said that he can put six shots through a quarter, and still have change left for a gum machine.
  • Domino, a not-too-picky mercenary who ended up joining up with Cable in X-Force takes this trope literally. Her mutant power is to subconsciously alter probability in her favor, so if there's a trillion-to-one chance of her making a shot, she's going to make the shot. Any time she misses is due to an outside force affecting the bullet after it's fired, or her target being just that fast.

Other

  • While all The Minutemen from 100 Bullets wield handguns with deadly accuracy; Minuteman Willie Tymes never misses. His fellow agents gave him a nickname "My first shot is my last."
  • Joe Pineapples of ABC Warriors is the greatest sniper in the universe. He can hit targets from across the galaxy.
  • In a Donald Duck classic, one of the nephews manages to deflect Donald's golf ball into a hole-in-one by rapidly firing several shots at it. With a toy airgun. Which he just happened to bring with him. To the golf course.
  • DV8 once contended with a mercenary calling himself Dirge. When Dirge first met Frostbite, he bragged that he once shot nine teeth out of a man's head in nine different shots without hurting him otherwise. The tenth shot killed him, but it wasn't Dirge's fault the guy couldn't keep still.
  • In East of West the Ranger using his sniper rifle can snipe someone from about couple of mountain ranges away with great accuracy. The protagonist can shoot through same distance with even better accuracy by using only his revolver.
  • The Archer Strongbow of ElfQuest never misses, to the point that when he does it's an obvious sign that he's in a bad way psychologically. And shortly after recovering from that, he gets the ability to hit a target without even seeing it, though he's assumed to owe that to magical help.
  • In The Fox Hunt, Shinji, while lying face-down during a bank robbery, manages to throw off his shoe with such precision that it flies over his head and the head of the distracted bank robber and lands right on top of said robber's gun, giving Shinji enough time to undress into his Ghost Fox costume to boot.
  • Best Tiger, a new member of Image Comics' Guardians of the Globe, is by a wide margin the greatest marksman to ever live. Which is why he wears a blindfold so his work will remain challenging. He is introduced using a single bullet to take out several dozen men via ricochet; he intentionally inflicted superficial yet disabling wounds so the bullet would be able to keep up its momentum.
  • Allan Quartermain gained access to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen mostly by virtue of his Improbable Aiming Skills. At least he's got the good grace to use a rifle. The film version did, at least; in the comic, Allan is considered valuable for his experience in adventuring more than anything else, and his signature weapon is an elephant gun and, later, a custom-made double-barreled shotgun — firearms that are very hard to miss with. In the film, he also manages to teach Tom Sawyer to shoot just as accurately, which proves useful in taking out the Big Bad. Interestingly, the film also shows that Quartermain's vision isn't what it used to be. He needs glasses, but can still shoot just as precisely.
  • Lucky Luke is the quintessential Wild West example. He can shoot off the firing pin of a derringer tinier than a pinky — and do so faster than his shadow. At another point, he goes into a saloon and shoots seemingly random holes into a roll of waxed paper. Then he puts the roll and a coin into the player piano... which proceeds to play Chopin's "Funeral March" There are other occasions of improbable aiming in the comics — in one instance, two Dalton brothers shoot two bullets at each other that collide with each other half-way between them. Please note that Lucky Luke is a parody, so his skills are meant to be impossibly amazing, just like the bad guys are meant to be impossibly stupid.
  • The Saint of Killers from Preacher has magical (they were made from the sword of the Angel of Death) revolvers that cannot miss, never run out of bullets, never jam, never inflict anything less than a fatal wound, and can be drawn faster than the eye can see. Given that he's also completely invulnerable, getting on his bad side (or, for that matter, getting close to him) is not recommended. In the final issue he kills God with his guns.
  • Like all comic book archers, Robyn Hood possesses these skills. In her case there is a magical element to her skill, but she is shown repeatedly Splitting the Arrow without her magical bow.
  • In Rough Riders, Jack Johnson is briefly able to keep a swarm of alien insects at bay by boxing it.
  • In the Sin City story Hell and Back, a sniper has a rifle with telescopic sights mounted on a tripod. He misses, the good guy, Wallace, returns fire, across a street, into a darkened building with a short-barreled revolver. His bullet goes down the telescopic sight and through the snipers eye into his brain.
    • Both Sin City and The Badger have featured a character throwing an object with such accuracy that it plugs the barrel of an enemy's gun. What wouldn't a darts player give to be able to throw like that?
    • Daredevil has also done the plugging-a-gun (and surely Bullseye too). Frank Miller really likes these feats, doesn't he?
  • Sonic the Comic:
    • Amy Rose uses a crossbow and in issue #44 fires an arrow from a moving plane at a tiny little button that destroys an entire bridge.
    • Sonic also deserves some mention. While free-falling from the Death Egg II, Sonic steals a EggRobo's laser gun manages to fire one laser shot and perfectly hit the EggRobo carrying the Master Emerald (which is also moving and is about the size of a large boulder).
  • Tex Willer is usually shown as a realistically good shot in addition to the Fastest Gun in the West. Then in one occasion he used his Winchester to shoot a sniper from the limit of said sniper's Sharps. Justified by the fact he knew what he was doing, and applied the real-life technique of aiming at a point over the sniper counting for the bullet drop to put the shot on target (an extremely difficult shot, as Tex stated while he calculated the path).
  • Kris de Valnor from Thorgal is reputed as a deadly archer and proves it many times through the series. However, Thorgal himself can top her feats when pressed. In one instance he won a Duel to the Death by firing two arrows at once. One of them hit the villain while the other collided with his crossbow bolt in mid-air.
  • Usagi Yojimbo:
    • In an early episode, the hero is attacked by a ruffian who is so dirty that flies swarm around him. That is, before the attack. A second's worth of flashing steel later all the flies are lying on the floor, split in half. Except for the last one that's been filleted.
    • In another issue at a carnival, samurai Usagi cannot hit a target while Rich Bitch turned Defrosting Ice Queen Kiku gets a bull's eye on her first try. She explains that she "just aimed everywhere except the target."
  • While most characters in The Walking Dead have remarkable skill at headshotting zombies, Andrea's marksmanship is acknowledged and lampshaded In-Universe as being absurdly good. Whether she's fighting zombies or other humans she's virtually never shown landing anything but perfect headshots. The most impressive part is that Andrea never even fired a gun before the Zombie Apocalypse.
    Andrea: I'm really good with a gun. Very good. It's kind of ridiculous.
  • In Wanted, the Killer, who is clearly a Captain Ersatz of Bullseye and Deadshot, is so great a shot that he decides to pack it in the first time he misses a target from less than a half-mile away. His son, Wesley, inherits the power, which allows him to shoot flies out of midair, deflect bullets with a knife, and shoot people between the eyes without looking at them.
  • Will Vandom of W.I.T.C.H. was always rather good at hitting targets with her powers. Then the last issue of the comic book gave her the ability to see everywhere in the universe... And, upon noticing a girl flirting with her boyfriend she nailed her with a piece of cake from another dimension, qualifying for this trope.


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