Green Arrow Accidentally Upgrades His Nemesis By Flipping His Own Origin

Warning! Contains spoilers for Green Arrow #11!


  • Green Arrow traps Merlyn in his own traumatic origin, strengthening his skills.
  • Merlyn is left isolated in a future world, forced to hunt and survive like Ollie did.
  • Merlyn’s training now equals Green Arrow’s after facing the same life-threatening scenario.

Green Arrow learned all of his archery skills when he was trapped on Starfish Island. It was here that he learned to be a hero and how to defend himself. It was a major traumatic experience, and now, he’s accidentally forced his worst enemy, Malcolm Merlyn, to go through a very similar trauma.

Green Arrow #11 by Joshua Williamson, Sean Izaakse, and Phil Hester reveals that Oliver Queen accidentally traps his worst enemy in a version of his very own trauma. After Green Arrow has one final shoot out with Merlyn, Green Arrow manages to escape and abandons Merlyn in the future. With no other way to return to the present, Merlyn simply has to try to survive this bleak world he’s been left in.

Just as Oliver was stranded on Starfish Island, Merlyn now had to hunt to survive, and just like Oliver, Merlyn’s skills began to rapidly improve due to these circumstances. While Oliver certainly didn’t mean to abandon Merlyn to this fate, he did just accidentally put Merlyn through the exact same trauma that Ollie endured all those years ago — and Merlyn comes out stronger because of it.


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Green Arrow Forces Merlyn to Relive His Own Dark Origin

Merlyn Is Isolated, Alone, and Desparate

Comic book panel: Malcolm Merlyn in purple stands above Green Arrow.

When Ollie was young he was an entitled spoiled brat — as explored in this very issue. He grew up rich and got anything he wanted. Because of this, he never cared about anyone’s well-being but his own. All of this would change after one fateful trip on his family’s yacht. After running into a storm, the yacht was destroyed, and everyone onboard was lost — except for Oliver Queen. He washed up on Starfish Island. With absolutely no way to get off, Oliver was forced to learn how to hunt to survive, and one of the best ways to hunt is with a bow and arrow. This is where Oliver’s skill at archery truly started to shine. It was a defining moment for Oliver, and now Merlyn has a similar experience to draw on.

Merlyn’s archery skills came from a very different place. Instead of being stranded on an island, Merlyn was a member of the League of Assassins. They trained him to be a deadly warrior, and he also gained some training when he was a circus performer. There’s no doubt that Merlyn was one of the best archers around, but during his first competition with Oliver Queen, Ollie won. This means that even with all his assassin training, Merlyn couldn’t stand up to the training that one gains from actually having one’s life on the line. But this narrative twist now puts Merlyn on Green Arrow’s level.

Green Arrow’s Greatest Enemy Just Got More Dangerous

Malcolm Merlyn Has Trained More than Ever

Comic book panels: Malcolm Merlyn yells before a shot of old Green Arrow Family costumes in cases.

Merlyn and Ollie have been competing for years against one another. They’re bitter rivals, and Merlyn has constantly tried to prove himself as the better archer, but despite his many years of trying to one-up Ollie, he’s never succeeded. It seems that the thing that was lacking from Merlyn’s training was having to put his life on the line and survive only by using archery. This was the major difference between Merlyn and Ollie, and because Merlyn was trapped in the future, it seems that Merlyn is finally on the same level as Green Arrow.

Green Arrow #11 is available now from DC Comics!

Green Arrow #11 (2024)

Green Arrow 11 Main Cover: Oliver Queen battles Malcolm Merlyn face to face.

  • Writer: Joshua Williamson
  • Artist: Sean Izaakse, Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur
  • Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
  • Letterer: Troy Peteri
  • Cover Artist: Sean Izaakse, Romulo Fajardo Jr.