Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Arrow: The Dark Archer Chapter #3 Review and *SPOILERS*

Don’t Go Down to the Basement

Written By: John Barrowman and Carol E. Barrowman
Art By: Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran, Kyle Ritter
Letters By: The Unknown Letterer
Digital Price: $0.99
Release Date: February 10, 2016

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

It’s funny, I read this chapter just moments after watching this week’s episode of Arrow, where Malcolm Merlyn faces off with [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] [REDACTED] and then Oliver [REDACTED] his [REDACTED] and gives the [REDACTED] to [REDACTED]. It’s sort of weird to read this now that I know what happens much further into the future. But it’s been a pretty engaging story so far, and what we’re looking for here is insight into the character, not insight into this season. So what truth bombs do you think were dropped in this chapter of the Dark Archer? Guess what, you don’t have to think! You can read my review!

Explain It!:

I wrote this last week, and will write again this week: this comic is for people that regularly watch Arrow, and are particularly familiar with what happened in season three. If you don’t fulfill these criteria, pass this comic by (and go watch Arrow, for crap’s sake!)

Unlike the previous two issues, which started with Malcolm Merlyn restrained in the Sea of Souls, this one picks up right where the last one left off: Merlyn and some pals dipping into a hole in the wall to get away from Saracon and his mother, Mrs. Al Ghul (divorced). Rainie and Javi actually push a boulder in front of this hole before advancing ninjas can get through, which is the most bullshit. Malcolm and friends follow the old dude whose llama got killed down a winding path into the underground gloom. Meanwhile, at Malcolm’s pad, Saracon is whining like a real bitch about fulfilling his destiny to kill Malcolm Merlyn, and how he already gave a pinky up for the privilege. Look dude, no one asked you to chop off your pinky—in fact, I remember your mother being dead against it. So don’t act like this was some great sacrifice or something. I’m pretty sure Malcolm has a drawer full of pinkies from past assassins so he’s not hard up for them. Saracon gives the order to blow the door open with dynamite, which is both destructive and noisy; the true douchebag’s delight.

Malcolm and co. keep fumbling through the caves below his stronghold, and eventually make it to a room with a big outline of a jungle cat painted on the floor. They chill there for a minute while the old fellow kneels and starts playing jacks or something; behind them, Saracon and his ninjas have entered the caves, and Saracon whistles to send a bunch of bats to the Merlyn crew and delay their escape. These bats…some of these bats look kind of rough. Actually a little creepier than actual bats, because they have somewhat human faces. But bats aren’t supposed to have human faces. Maybe some crazy superbat from Australia or something, they have all kinds of berserk animals there. These bats also eat human faces, which they demonstrate on Malcolm’s head of security, Javi. Eventually, Saracon and Lourdes—that’s the name of his mother that I’ve wanted to know for two chapters!—show up and Saracon of course says some aggressive bullshit, but just then the old man finds a seam in the floor that opens a deep pit, into which Malcolm and his remaining posse fall!

This was an okay chapter, but not as compelling as the previous two chapters. For one thing, knowing he was to be humbled in the Sea of Souls at some point in the story served as good counterpoint to the frenetic events happening at Corto Maltese. For another thing, virtually nothing happened here. We learn slightly more about Saracon, and finally learn his mother’s name! But otherwise it’s just Malcolm getting chased down a flight of stairs and being attacked by bats. Which he hates. Did I mention that? That counts as character development, right?

Bits and Pieces:

Chapter three played out differently than the previous two, and it wasn’t to this issue’s favor. We learn R’as Al Ghul’s ex-wife’s name, and get a better impression of Saracon as a douchebag, but basically all that happens is Merlyn descends a flight of stairs. Some of the art in this is a little rough, but not really terrible at all. Except on a few flying rodents.


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