Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Demon Knights #1

Gone, gone the form of man.  Rise the demon…ETRIGAN


Two things: 1) I don’t know much about Etrigan the Demon other than he was a creation of Jack “The King” Kirby, is a jerk, and talks in rhyme.  At least he does sometimes.  So in honesty I’m not all that interested in an ongoing title starring the character.  2) While I’m a big fan of the fantasy genre I’ve never really cared about it in comic form.  I’m not against it I just haven’t really found any that I was terribly interested in.  Except for Bone, I suppose.  So really under normal circumstances I almost certainly would have never picked Demon Knights #1 on my own.  The only reason I did last week was because Paul Cornell seemed to be the only person who treated to the infamous Batgirl of San Diego Comic-Con with any sort of dignity (Read her story here) and I decided to buy this book.  Also The Lady, who is the biggest Whovian I know, pointed out that Cornell apparently was also a writer for Doctor Who and she got excited.

This book was written by Cornell with art by Diogne Neves (Pencils) and Oclair Albert (Ink).  The story is titled “Seven Against the Dark”.  Even though I think Cornell is a rock star I have no real way of knowing if he’s any good at what he does; I never read any Doctor Who novels.   So I’m jumping in pretty blind here.

Full review after the jump.

My goodness, Etrigan, you certainly are rude!
Why in the hell are you f**king nude?!
During the Dark Ages Jason o’ th’ Blood and Madame Xanadu, two survivors of the fall of Camelot hundreds of years earlier, have just arrived in the small town of Little Spring where they run into their old acquaintance Vandal Savage at an inn.  While there they meet a few other noteworthy people but before anything goes anywhere the horde belonging to the Questing Queen burst in looking for trouble.  Unfortunately for them they picked the wrong town to invade.

I think it’s safe to say that the artwork is best part about this comic.   I love the design of the world, I love the costumes featured, and I think this is one of the few examples of the DCnU where the character designs actually look good.  This art works out really well for this setting.  I also like the basic structure of this book (With an exception that we’ll get into).  It introduces the villains, who come of horrendously sinister by the way, and gives a reason for our heroes to get together.

This book will eventually be an ensemble and most of the characters are introduced in this issue.  Most of these characters are familiar; Etrigan the Demon, Madame Xandau, future badass super villain Vandal Savage, Shinning Knight, with the others either being brand new characters or I just don’t recognize them.  Hey, I’m not an expert, damn it; I don’t know every goddamn thing!  Anyway we get to see a lot of Etrigan/Jason Blood and Xanadu but the others are more cameos than anything else, which sucks because it makes it hard to figure out much about this book in the first issue.   They look pretty interesting, more or less, though Exoristos may be the biggest cliché I’ve seen in a while.  I’m looking forward to getting to know these guys but for now there’s not much of them.   Also I’m not crazy about the love triangle (And That’s a nice way of putting it) between Xanadu, Jason and the Demon but hey, that may be explained away a bit in future issues. The dialogue is fine.  I’m happy that they don’t try to use “Ye Old English” and it’s mostly contemporary way of talking and t times it can be funny.  Also unlike almost every other comic in this reboot this book may in fact be completely free from the continuity mess since it takes place in the Dark Ages.

Arriving from the depths of Hades, the Demon is all about the ladies!
The plot is structured well but I feel it moves really damn fast while we focus on the heroes.  There’s a lot going on here in such a short book.  Because of this we don’t really get to know the heroes very well.   I also think we miss out big time by not have a more detailed fight between our heroes and the villain’s goons that show up near the end as it would have been a good show off their capabilities in the first issue.  Sadly it just doesn’t work out that way but we are guaranteed to get that scene right away in the next issue.

Also…did we have to kill a baby?   I understand what it does for the plot but it kind of made me have to put the book down for a while.

Babies are things I usually admire
But in this damn case KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!
There’s not really a lot to say about this book, mainly because more than any of the other books in this reboot, feels like it needs to be read as full story.  This issue is good, more or less, but I suspect that this comic would work better being read in trade paperback so that the story is more complete.  There’s clearly a ton of potential here but honestly not a lot happens and it ends right when things start picking up.  I liked this book and I want to read more but it’s just a frustrating piece to review since I suspect I’ll need more issues to read before I can give a final review (In fact that’s the main reason I usually don’t review single issue comics).  Still if you have a limited amount of cash and are picking and choosing which DC Comics titles to buy I would recommend this to just about anyone, especially if you’re a comic book fan who doesn’t particularly like superheroes.

I give Demon Knights #1 3 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.


Pros

-Good art

-Good plot structure

-The characters seems interesting…so far

Cons

-Nothing really happens until the end

-The characters don’t really have time to make much of an impression

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