A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Friday, December 16, 2005

What are they teaching in schools these days?

Truth to tell, I was supposed to write about Green Arrow's recent appearance in Birds of Prey, but there's really not much new to say about that one; the few errors that appear are mostly minor and are things I've already flogged to death in previous posts. Fortunately, Geoff Johns and Tony S. Daniel have stepped up to the plate and provided grist for the mill.

Teen Titans #30

First off, it's wonderful to see a new Captain Carrot story. If you agree, e-mail DC and tell them so. That way maybe they'll give us a new series. Wouldn't that be nice?

But I digress.

So anyway, the Titans are gathering for battle against Brother Blood and his undead minions. We finally get to the new Speedy, A.K.A. Mia...

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Mia, according to what she tells Roy, is in school, at shop class, working on a "stupid flash grenade arrow" in a vise grip. Okay, so let's leave aside for a moment the painfully obvious fact that in these paranoid and litigious times there is not a high school in America (in any universe, DC or otherwise) that is going to allow a minor to (a) make arrows on campus and (b) make explosive or incendiary arrows in class. No, sorry, it's not going to happen. This scenario is more unbelievable than any of the superpowered adventures in the rest of the book. Heck, the Captain Carrot sequences have more credibility than this scene. But, as I said, we'll leave that aside and get to the really egregious part.

The really egregious part being, one does not construct arrows in a heavy-duty woodworking vise. One would use a fletching jig. Here's a simple one from Cartel:

Secondly, the arrow Mia is shown working on is a good 10" too short for her. Based on her age, height and build, I would guess her draw length to be somewhere in the vicinity of 28", maybe even 29" if her form is perfect (it's not). The arrow she has clamped up there getting crushed and ruined in that clumsy iron monstrosity looks to be maybe 16-18" long at the outside.

If she tried to shoot that arrow, one of two things will happen:

1. She will draw the bow to 16" and release. Let's assume for the heck of it that she's using a 40 pound bow. There's a mathematical formula we can use: that 40 pounds is the draw weight when the bow is drawn to 29"; for each inch below that length, we subtract 2 pounds of power. 29" minus 16" leaves 13". 13 times two is 26. 40 minus 26 is 14. Mia will shoot that arrow with the equivalent of a 14 pound bow. With that big heavy payload, that arrow will hit the ground within about 30 yards. Hopefully that's far enough for her not to be injured by the flash grenade.

2. She will accidentally draw the bow too far back, the arrow will fall off the rest, and she will shoot herself right through her left hand. Ouch.

I know Ollie wants her to learn to do it herself, but does he really want her to learn the hard way?

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