Sunday, July 28, 2013

New 52 Review: Demon Knights, volume 2

Demon Knights, issues 8-15 & 0, by Paul Cornell, Bernard Chang, Diogenes Nieves, Oclair Albert, & Robson Rocha.

This story picks up where the prior arc ended, with our gang of medieval heroes heading to take on the Questing Queen, Mordru her consort, and her hordes, who have gathered in the large and grand city of Alba Sarum. All of our heroes have explaining to do, especially Vandal Savage, who appeared to have betrayed his comrades in the prior battle.

Everyone has a "plan," and nobody is communicating their plan to each other. Even the members of the group who know each other the best, the Demon and Madame Zanadu, keep their own counsel. One of the strengths of the comics medium is the ability to present points of view from various characters, and writer Paul Cornell excels at that.

Their eventual goal is to reach Avalon, but they need Merlin to do that, and his soul is in Hell, so a little side trip through Lucifer's realm is in order. The Demon and Jason Blood are separated, for a time, allowing the Demon to try to revolt against Lucifer. As one would think, this effort fails. But enough magic occurs and enough bargains struck by our band that they succeed in bringing Merlin back to life in time to bring victory and send them all back to their realm, safe and secure.

Cornell manages to drop in regular moments of character building, as the seven find themselves in various pairs and trios throughout the issues. The Shining Knight gets many of the best moments, and we learn much more about Al Jabr and Exoristo than we knew before. This combination of strong plotting, dialogue, and characterization make these issues an enjoyable read.

The story is interrupted by the mandatory #0 issue, which added another month to the reader's wait for the continuation of the ongoing story. But this issue tells the New 52 origin of the Demon, which has both similarities and differences to the backstory created for the Demon by comics legend Jack Kirby

Cornell left the title after wrapping up this story in issue 15, and I admit that it leaves me unsure the future of the title, which continues to sell quite poorly. But even If I don't like the next arc by the next writer before the series is canceled, if this is the only stretch of great issues we get, I think I can be satisfied with this story.

Source: Individual issues purchased by me and my daughter.

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