I destroyed your city and it didn't break you, Arrow. I should've kept it simple... and just destroyed your heart.
~ Merlyn
It's been a long time. But surely you remember Tommy's father... Malcolm Merlyn, the original Dark Archer
~ Merlyn

Merlyn the Archer is a supervillain and a professional assassin in the DC Comics universe. He is an enemy of several superheroes, including Batman, the Green Arrow, and Booster Gold. He was a former member of The 100, but currently a member of the League of Assassins. Merlyn is also the archenemy of Green Arrow and tries to prove that he is the better archer.


Arthur King alias Merlyn is a skilled archer and master assassin. Oliver Queen had heard of the exploits of "Merlyn the Magician" long before he had become Green Arrow. To his surprise, Merlyn challenged him to an archery duel and ended up defeating him. However, Merlyn uses his talents primarily for crime. He is known to have been a member of the League of Assassins. Green Arrow again ran into him when Merlyn was hired to assassinate Batman. Oliver intercepted Meryln's shot with one of his own. Merlyn admitted Oliver had improved since their last encounter, but managed to escape. A man from Libya hired Meryln to kill a Russian scientist who was visiting Casablanca. Although he was aided by Syonide, he was foiled by the Flash and Phantom Lady.

He continued to act as a freelance assassin. He was hired by Queen Bee (Zazzala) to take on the Justice League. The 100 also sent him against Black Lightning. He befriended Deadshot and Monocle while part of the Killer Elite. After the Justice League defeated the Elite, Merlyn and two other members of the Killer Elite were hired to kill the Body Doubles, only to find this attempt failing as well. He also was one of the criminals who sold their souls to the demon Neron. Merlyn was later hired by the Zandian government to teach Turk. The two tried to rig an archery contest in Turk's favor but were stopped by Young Justice.

Merlyn warned other villains that the death of Sue Dibny would cause more trouble for them. He along with some others were captured by the Justice League shortly after. However, Deadshot was able to arrange their release with the help of Amanda Waller. He, Deadshot and Monocle attempted to kill the Shadow Thief during his trial, but were stopped by the Manhunter (Kate Spencer).

During the Infinite Crisis, Merlyn was a member of Alexander Luthor Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains. Since then, he has been continuing his attacks on Green Arrow. During Countdown, he has been seen once more as a member of the League of Assassins, coordinating his attacks with Talia al Ghul. He played a large part in the attack on Green Arrow & Black Canary's wedding with the new Injustice League. Merlyn then joined the League of Assassins elite team Seven Men of Death.

As part of this team, Merlyn was summoned by Talia to Gotham City, in order to retrieve the Suit of Sorrows from the Order of Purity. During the attack on the Order, Merlyn killed the Order's leader Leland McCauley and injured Felicidad Gomez before being confronted by Azrael. After Talia stopped Azrael for a moment, Merlyn and the others tried to move him to their headquearters, but Azrael recovered and used one of Merlyn's own arrows to stab him in the face.

Later Merlyn would finally get his chance to get his revenge on Green Arrow when joining Dr. Lights attempt to attack Star City. Among other villains, Merlyn would finally get his chance against Green Arrow in a one on one match where this time it was Merlyn who managed to be the victor of the challenge. Gaining success with his reputation, Merlyn found recruitment from the crime lord known as Brick to take part as one of his lieutenants. But Merlyn would find himself crossing paths with Green Arrow once more when the hero attempted to bring down Brick’s criminal empire within Star City, this resulted with both Merlyn and Brick escaping capture from Green Arrow and his allies.

But Merlyn didn't give up his personal vengeance for his primary nemesis when noticing Green Arrow's romantic attraction and feelings for Black Canary. This motivated Merlyn to come up with possibly the most devious plan he ever thought of when attempting to frame Green Arrow by using and manipulating those who were close to Black Canary. After noticing that the League of Assassins were tracking down a little girl known as Sin, who was currently under the care of Black Canary, Merlyn took the opportunity to kidnap the Sin and pin the kidnapping and the death of Sin on Green Arrow. However there was fault with his plan when Sin mysteriously disappeared and Merlyn was forced into a grueling fight with the pursuing Black Canary. Nearly strangling Canary with the cord of his broken bow, Merlyn was defeated by Green Arrow, later realizing that it was Conner Hawke who took Sin from his care and faked her death to throw off the League of Assassins from capturing Sin.

After being hired to assassinate a few more targets in Star City, Merlyn crossed paths with both Green Arrow and Black Canary, which resulted with both Merlyns defeat and Canary being injured during the battle. But after mysteriously being bailed out of jail, Merlyn was kidnapped by Cupid who drugged him and used the villainous archer in a trap that would result with Green Arrow killing Merlyn. Even though Green Arrow got the better of Merlyn, he refused to take the life of his greatest enemy. Later in the fight Cupid ended up slitting Merlyns throat and relied on Black Canary and Green Arrow to be distracted by saving him so that she could escape. Green Arrow and Black Canary got Merlyn to a hospital in time to save his life, but the doctors do not know how much brain damage was caused by the attack. The doctors do expect that Merlyn will never be able to talk again. In Batman Incorporated #4 (2012), Merlyn (Arthur King) appears in the employ of Talia al Ghul, as part of the League of Assassins, and battles the members of Batman, Inc. He defeated members of the group with ease, but his bow was subsequently broken by a surprise shot from Damian Wayne. During the Forever Evil storyline, Arthur King is among the villains recruited by the Crime Syndicate of America to join the Secret Society of Super Villains.

The New 52

Coinciding with the then-recently debuted series Arrow, DC Comics in 2012 introduced a new Merlyn in Tommy Merlyn, the son of Malcolm, as part of its The New 52 relaunch. The character first appeared in the prequel story Green Arrow #0, which, set five years before the present-day narrative, saw Oliver Queen's best friend Tommy caught up in a hostage crisis on a Pacific Ocean oil rig with a villain named "Iron Eagle". Tommy was caught in an explosion. In the present day, Tommy, is next seen waking up in a hospital. He is next seen in the 2014 Green Arrow storyline "Kingdom", in which he appears as a heavily burned archer and a mercenary sent to capture Mia Dearden. The same storyline also introduced a new character in John King, who reflected Arrows contemporaneous depiction of Merlyn as a wealthy businessman Malcolm Merlyn.

DC Rebirth

As part of the DC Rebirth event, the Green Arrow series brought back Arthur King and gave him his television series alias Malcolm Merlyn. He is depicted as a master archer whose skills exceed those of Oliver, Shado, Emiko Queen, and Tommy. He appears as a member of the League of Assassins. Merlyn was contracted by Cyrus Broderick, a director of the Ninth Circle criminal organization, to frame the Green Arrow for multiple high-profile killings, in order to "take" everything away from Oliver Queen after he destroyed their base of operations, The Inferno, which hosted their "bank" and resources. Using arrows resembling Arrow's, the Dark Archer succeeded in tarnishing the hero's image. However, when he killed a famous football player, Cy Samson, the Green Arrow saw Merlyn, and the two archers engaged in a fierce duel across the stadium, with Oliver believing the hooded Malcolm to be Tommy. Malcolm then reveals himself to Oliver, and proceeds to best him in the duel, whilst taunting his foe. The intervention of Black Canary and the Seattle Police Department force Merlyn to flee, though not before firing an arrow at the police chief, who Green Arrow manages to just save, though the hero's bow is shattered in the process.

In Other Media


  • Merlyn appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Dead Reckoning". He is shown as a member of Gorilla Grodd's Legion of Doom. In a fight for leadership of the society, Merlyn sides with Grodd in the mutiny against Lex Luthor. Merlyn is seen firing his arrows and dispatching multiple other supervillains during the fight. His final fate is unknown, as when the mutineers are defeated and captured, Merlyn is not seen among them.
  • In "Disciple", a season nine episode of Smallville, Steve Bacic portrays an adaptation of Merlyn called Vordigan who is referred to as The Dark Archer in advertising. He later reappears in the season ten episode "Prophecy" in a cameo role as the Injustice League member assigned to kill Green Arrow.
  • First appearing on Arrow as the wealthy CEO of Merlyn Global Group, Malcolm was devastated by the murder of his wife during a mugging in the crime-infested area of Starling City called "the Glades". He left his son, Tommy (portrayed by Colin Donnell), to train in Nanda Parbat with the League of Assassins, where he took the name "The Magician" (Arabic: الساحر Al Sa-Her). Years later, he left the League and returned to Starling City to plot "the undertaking": destroying the Glades with an earthquake device. When his best friend Robert Queen refused to go along, he arranged for the bombing of his yacht, inadvertently marooning Oliver Queen on the island Lian Yu for five years until his return to Starling City. As the vigilante known as "Arrow", Oliver begins interfering with Malcolm's plans so he dons his "Dark Archer" suit, to confront the Arrow, learning his secret identity in the process of defeating him. Oliver seemingly kills Malcolm but is unable to stop his earthquake device from leveling the Glades and killing hundreds, including Tommy, who dies saving Laurel Lance's life. In season two, Malcolm is revealed to have faked his death and discovered he is the father of Thea Queen, Oliver's younger sister. He convinces Thea to leave the city and become his trainee shortly after her mother's death. In season three, the League is after Malcolm for breaking their code with the undertaking, so he brainwashes Thea into murdering Sara Lance in a bid to force Oliver to kill Ra's al Ghul, the League's leader. With Malcolm's training, Oliver kills Ra's and hands leadership of the League to Malcolm, who becomes the next Ra's al Ghul. In season four, Ra's daughter, Nyssa, leads a rebel faction of the League in a civil war against Malcolm. Oliver ends the war by defeating Malcolm in a duel and severs his left hand. Nyssa subsequently disbands the League to end her father's legacy. Malcolm, who adopts a cybernetic prosthetic hand, then joins H.I.V.E. and forms an alliance with Damien Darhk. But when he discovers that Darhk's "Project Genesis" involved destroying most of the world with a fleet of nuclear missiles, Malcolm temporarily aids Oliver's team in stopping him. Malcolm is killed in the season five finale when he uses a land mine to kill him and Captain Boomerang to save Thea.
  • Malcolm appeared in The Flash during the episode "Legends of Today" (a crossover with the Arrow episode "Legends of Yesterday"), where he offers the heroes information regarding Vandal Savage but then steals Savage's remains after the heroes kill him. Malcolm appears next in Season 3 in "Duet", a crossover episode with Supergirl, where Music Meister traps Barry and Kara in a musical dream world. Malcolm's counterpart is "Cutter Moran", the mobster owner of the nightclub Kara and Barry sing in. His son is Mon-El's counterpart Tommy Moran and he gets in a gang war with Joe West's counterpart Digsy Foss and his husband, the counterpart to Martin Stein.
  • Malcolm is featured in season two of Legends of Tomorrow as a member of the Legion of Doom, comprising time traveller Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash and past versions of Damien Darhk and Leonard Snart/Captain Cold. The Legion is searching for the Spear of Destiny to rewrite history and change their fated deaths; Malcolm himself aims to bring back his wife and son.


  • Merlyn appears in DC Showcase: Green Arrow voiced by Malcolm McDowell. He is hired by Count Vertigo to assassinate Princess Perdita at the airport. After a long battle with Green Arrow, Merlyn and his henchmen are ultimately defeated.
  • Merlyn is included in the script Green Arrow: Escape from Supermax as one of the convicts imprisoned with Green Arrow.

Video games

  • In the videogame Injustice: Gods Among Us, Merlyn appears in one of the Green Arrow S.T.A.R. Labs missions imitating Green Arrow. Green Arrow must hit Merlyn with three arrows in order to accomplish his mission.
  • Malcolm Merlyn appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. He appears as part of the "Arrow" DLC.
  • While he doesn't physically appear, Malcolm Merlyn is alluded to in Lego Dimensions. When Green Arrow is paired with the Twelfth Doctor of Doctor Who during gameplay, Arrow mentions that the Doctor's reoccurring companion Captain Jack Harkness looks familiar. This is a nod to the fact that both characters are portrayed by John Barrowman. On a related note, Barrowman himself even returned to voice Jack within the game.


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           Green Arrow Villains

Actor | A.I.M. | Amanda Waller | Anarky | Anti-Monitor | Black Manta | Brick | Bronze Tiger | Brother Blood | Catman | Cheshire | China White | Clock King | Constantine Drakon | Count Vertigo | Crumbler | Darkseid | Deadshot | Deathstroke | Doctor Light | Doctor Polaris | Doomsday | Electrocutioner | Firefly | Harley Quinn | Hatchet | Heat Wave | Icicle | Jason Todd | Johnny Sorrow | KGBeast | Killer Croc | Killer Moth | Lady Shiva | League of Assassins | Maxie Zeus | Merlyn | Mirror Master | Onomatopoeia | Professor Ivo | Professor Ojo | Ra's Al Ghul | Riddler | Royal Flush Gang | Shade | Shrapnel | Simon Stagg | Solomon Grundy | Starro | The Queen | Toyman | Warp