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26 of 52: Demon Knights #1

by on September 15, 2011

According to the general twitter reviews, I’m one of the few people who really thought that Stormwatch #1 was great. That’s fine. I don’t mind swimming against the current. (I get their point with Detective Comics, but not so much with Stormwatch).

So that gave me enough reason to pick up Demon Knights #1 with my first selection of the week. What did I think of it? Well, you’ll just have to find out.

Demon Knights #1
Writer: Paul Cornell | Penciller: Diógenes Neves

Okay from the outset, I know that Demon Knights is a story from the magical-side of the DC Universe, with two characters from that side: The Demon (Etrigan) and Madame Xanadu.

Etrigan is a demon who is partnered with Jason Blood, and generally is on the side of good. Etrigan also rhymes all of his sentences. He has been around for a little while, and was a mainstay in the (original) DCU’s magical group along with The Spectre, Dr. Fate, John Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, and … Madame Xanadu.

Madame Xanadu ran a fortune teller’s shops in the East Village of New York City. Often, she would be the entry point for someone who has trouble to contact the more serious ‘magicians’ in the DC Universe.

Synopsis:

Four centuries ago (from the time of the story), during the fall of Camelot, the two main characters of this series were brought together. Xanadu was a woman who was sailing with King Arthur’s crew to Camelot, when she jumps over the side of the boat to rescue the sword Excalibur that had been returned to the sea (presumably to the Lady of the Lake).

Elsewhere, Merlin is talking to the captured Demon Etrigan, and binds him to Jason of Norwich. The binding gives Jason his familiar streak of white hair.

Flash forward to the present (actually the Dark Ages in Europe). The Questing Queen (a new villainess) and the wizard Mordru (a very old villain) sacrifice a baby to find out that an object they seek is up ahead. Apparently they are going to pass through the town of Little Spring, where Jason and Xanadu are heading. Jason and Xanadu have been together since Camelot and appear to be a couple.

Arriving in the town, they see (the old DC Villain) Vandal Savage forcibly opening the door of a tavern. Eventually they are joined at a drinking table by Sir Ystin, The Shining Knight (from Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers series). Two other characters, are shown, who may or may not be a part of this series: Al Jabr (seems like an Arabian tinkerer character) and Exoristos (most likely an Amazon).

In the woods outside the town, a friar who is being attacked by the Queen’s Horde is saved by an archer on a horse (unseen due to sunlight). The Horde attacks the town and the bar where everyone is located. Jason turns into Etrigan, and leads the patrons into battle against the Horde. The Queen and Mordru sense the magic from the town, and send dragons to deal with it.

Analysis

I read this yesterday, and did not care for it, but today it read much better. I like the idea of a Dark Ages Justice League/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, with Madame Xanadu, Etrigan, Vandall Savage, Al Jabr, Exoristos, and the unknown horseman. The potential could be a lot of fun.

However, the plot line didn’t really grab me. I mean it’s nice to throw these familiar characters at me, but I have little affection towards them. And Mordru has been used so many times throughout the DC Universe, that I find his place in this book bothersome, rather than interesting.

And the book really was pushing towards the fantasy novel meet cute, where everyone meets in a tavern. It’s a nice twist that Xanadu and Jason already know Vandal Savage, and that there’s a love triangle between Jason, Xanadu, and Etrigan.

So, it was fine, but nothing very special. I might pick up the next issue to see where they take it, but the book isn’t pulling me there.

Questions

  1. In the beginning of the story, one of King Arthur’s knights threw the sword into the water. Which of the knights is this?
  2. Obvious question, who is the archer on the horse (the knight from Question 1)?
  3. Is Xanadu in love with both Etrigan and Blood, or is she playing one of them for cooperation (or playing both of them)?
  4. What is the tie between Demon Knights and Stormwatch (as we saw from Stormwatch flashbacks)

Verdict

I see where they are going with all of this, but I’m just not sure if this is something that is going to pull me in on a weekly basis. I respect the hell out of DC for trying to hit the fantasy market, and try something new. Connecting the current DC Universe with a fantasy oriented past is a good move. I just don’t see the monthly appeal. I’d consider getting issue #2, because I am curious where it goes from here.

C+ (Curious)

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From → Comic Books, DCnU

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