There will be some spoilers for the first issue of Arrow: The Dark Archer in this review.
DC has a new Digital First comic series based in the CW universe and this time it's focuses on Malcolm Merlyn. And who better to write Arrow: The Dark Archer than the man that brings the character to life John Barrowman and his usual writing partner and sister Carole E. Barrowman. The story takes place between season 3 and 4 of Arrow, so he is the new Ra's al Ghul at this point.
The first chapter in The Fall of Malcolm Merlyn starts of with him bound up in an underground cavern that looks like it's been used for a few rituals over the years. There is water pouring in and will soon be flooded. He is being held by a shadowy figure who tells him that without his precious green liquid his magic is nothing but parlor tricks. The green liquid he/she is referring to is the vial that he carries around his neck. It has been visible in many of his television appearances but has never been explained… maybe they will do that in this series.
From there the story jumps around quite a bit in time, back and forth trying to fill in the story up to that moment. We see him dealing with a still angry Nyssa and leaving her in charge as he goes off to deal with something which seems to be trying to build stealth technology. Also we get to meet Nyssa's mother who isn't named and her half-brother Saracon. The two seem to be on a mission of revenge against Ra's for taking Nyssa… but this isn't the same Ra's anymore. And Malcolm is attacked outside of some kind of lair just after he receives a package most likely sent from the mother.
The issue is interesting and keeps your attention, but it's mainly set up and mood building. Daniel Sampere's art is good. He makes the characters close enough to the actors that you know you are in the Arrowverse but doesn't suffer from the stiffness that many likeness comics end up with. In a way this was basically dumping the puzzle box on the table. We have a bunch of pieces now, it's up to the Barrowman siblings to put them all together in an entertaining way. Which I think they are more than capable of doing. Even the hook at the end which really doesn't seem that big of a deal when you sit back and think about it makes you close the book trying to figure it out. A good job all around.