Thursday, February 21, 2013

New 52 Review: Demon Knights 1-7

Demon Knights, issues 1-7, by Paul Cornell, Michael Choi, Diogenes Nieves, & Robson Rocha.

Paul Cornell is a terrific writer, having worked in a range of media, from TV, novels, and many comic books. It is hard to think of a better choice of writer for a medieval sword & sorcery epic. Of all of the outside-the-box titles in DC's New 52, this was one I was looking forward to the most, and so far I have been satisfied.

This is basically the medieval version of the Magnificent Seven, bringing together the Demon, Madame Xanadu, Shining Knight, Vandal Savage, Exoristos, Al Jabr and the Horsewoman. Each of these characters have a magical or supernatural  aspect to them, many tying back to King Arthur and Camelot. As we meet this band in issue #1, some of them already know each other, some know each other only by reputation, some are meeting each other for the first time. 

Some of these characters I knew of before reading this, in their prior incarnations, and some of these are brand new (at least to me). The relationship between Xanadu, Jason Blood, and the Demon is a new spin on these characters, and is an odd take on the comics' most famous love triangle, between Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Superman.

Cornell's ability to tell an action-packed story while introducing all of these characters was quite an accomplishment. We got enough character bits to understand who these beings were, what their basic relationships were, and who trusted who. These magical beings come together in these issues to save the town of Little Spring from the horde, commanded by Questing Queen and her consort Mordru. They need to get past this small town in their march to the greater prize of the grand city of Alba Sarum. There are betrayals, magic spells, dragons, battle plans, and some epic fight scenes along the way.

 And the cover to issue 4 is terrific.

Of the original New 52 titles that have survived the first two rounds of cancellations, it is among the lowest-selling books. Critical responses to the title have been strong, and rightfully so. But I do confess that I'm worried about the long-term survivability of the title.

Source: public library.

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