Demon Knights #1

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There are comic books with great art and there are comic books with great stories.  Rare is the comic with both.

Of DC’s “New 52”, only Justice League had achieved this distinction thus far (but having done so with an already worn-out feeling), that is until this week’s Demon KnightsDemon Knights is revitalizing and crisp and in the words of Emily Dickinson, “Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon.”

Although taking place in the past, beginning 400 years ago just after the defeat of King Arthur’s Camelot, the dialogue is ripe with clever rhyme as only Etrigan can ever chime.  The agony of a mortal man being fused with the demon Etrigan by the wizard Merlin comes across early in the book as we simultaneously bear witness to the last knight of Camelot relinquishing Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake.

In short, recollections of Camelot 3000 echo faintly in Merlin’s statement that the rise and fall of Camelot happens e’er again and again.  Flash-forward to the Dark Ages and we see the now fused-mortal habitually calling forth his inner demon Etrigan to fight his battles for him.  The rich art details the worms of the era, both used as pack animal and as battering ram.  There indeed be dragons here as well as Sir Ystin, long-lived from Camelot and now currently in the same age and tavern as Etrigan.

The villains are enduring as well, as we see Mordru and his Queen conquering land after land at the expense of sacrificed omen-possessed young babes from villages.  In short, the writing, dialogue, depth of characters, and action alone are worth the line drawn at $2.99; which in times of recession I find myself searching for these dimensions more and more in addition to quantity and quality.

The beauty of beginning a new origin and lineage is thus:  DCs “New 52” are subject to Darwinism, and only those titles that offer substantial stories and art will still be here a year from now.  With the team of Cornell, Neves, and Albert, I suspect Demon Knights to last through these Dark Ages as the knights’ story unfolds and begins to merge with other present and worthy heroes in the new DC canon.

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