Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Arrow: The Dark Archer Chapter #4 Review and *SPOILERS*

Join the Military! Travel, Meet Interesting People, Desecrate Artifacts

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 24, 2016

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

“Malcolm, Rainie and Old Dude, on a routine expedition, met the laaaamest ninja clan they’d ever known!” Last chapter of the book was little more than Malcolm and pals being chased through a secret rocky passageway by the League of Assassins, before they tumbled into a big hole and wound up Through the Looking Glass. Actually they ended up at the bottom of the Sea of Souls, where we know Malcolm will ultimately be captured and tortured by an unknown, cloaked figure. I wonder when that will happen? Next week, you think? Maybe in a few months? Sure before the end of 2016? Well I’ve got news for you: it’s happening right now! You can learn all about it if you read on!

Explain It!:

Again with my usual disclaimer for this digital comic book: it’s for people that watch Arrow on the CW regularly, in particular the third season. If you don’t watch Arrow or didn’t watch the third season, then much of it will make no sense to you. Okay?

When last we left Malcolm and his crew: Rainie his personal assistant, and that old dude whose llama Malcolm ran over in the first chapter, fell into a deep hole while trying to escape ninjas from the League of Assassins. Reaching the bottom and somehow not breaking every bone in their bodies, Malcolm and Rainie immediately defend themselves against their enemies, who are dropping from the ceiling like bat guano. While fighting, a weird-looking sword is thrown in Malcolm’s chest, felling him! Rainie and the Old Dude take off, and Saracon from the League wonders who threw the sword, implying that her people did not. No matter; they’re here for Malcolm, so they truss him up to that altar we saw in the very beginning of the first chapter, and now we’re completely up to the present! Finally, we can move forward in time with this story instead of dwelling in flashbacks!

So next there’s a flashback to 1985, when Malcolm was nineteen and first recruited out of the Air Force Academy to join the Hidden. Also a member of the Hidden was Saracon’s mom, Lourdes—and she and Merlyn were fucking! This annoys the people in charge of the Hidden, because Lourdes is promised to another man, presumably the R’as Al Ghul that Malcolm killed to take his spot. Ibadan and Darius of the Hidden decide to “deal” with Merlyn, and I think we know what “deal” that is going to be. Darius tells Malcolm to come with him to an Ashkiri temple at the foot of the Kush Mountains in India. There, they will seal off the temple so it isn’t usurped by one of the many tribal factions currently warring in the region. As they reach the temple, a terrible sandstorm gets whipped up! They take cover, and when the dust settles, they see a whole lotta murderous types on horseback racing towards them!

So yeah. A nice revelation in that Lourdes and he used to be lovers, but otherwise not a lot happens in this chapter. The art is really nice as usual, and there are a couple of good smarmy Merlyn moments, but this story is really crawling now. The fact that I just saw Malcolm deposed as the head of the League of Assassins on last week’s Arrow may have something to do with me getting bored of this title, but really I think it’s become a fairly mediocre book with little to nothing going on. Perhaps we’ll discover that Malcolm is Saracon’s dad, then I will know a secret about a character for whom I have no affinity.

Bits and Pieces:

I was initially very excited to learn more about Malcolm’s sordid past, but it turns out to be barely more interesting than my own life. Some strange connections are made, and there’s a little fan service for adherents to the television show, but overall it’s a lot of pages with nothing happening. Too bad. The art is nice, but certainly not nice enough to warrant checking this out on that alone.


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