The DC reboot is upon us, comic book sniffers! Welcome to the new DC universe! In an effort to help bring new readers into the world of comics, the Fanboy Comics staff has decided to review at least five new #1 issues each week of September, DC’s reboot launch month.
I first heard about this comic about a year ago at Comic-Con when I picked up a DC sampler. Demon Knights takes place in the dark ages, 400 years after the fall of Camelot. It is the story of a demon, Etrigan, captured by Merlin and imprisoned in a mortal body belonging to Jason of Norwich. The two have a Jekyll-and-Hyde relationship, except, as far as I can tell, Jason controls the switches and usually calls for Etrigan before battles and things. When he does call on the demon, his whole form changes to that of a giant, monstrous, yellow-skinned, red-eyed beast. Despite his appearance, Etrigan is less a villain and more a roguish, anti-hero who cannot deny his nature. It’s understandable; he is a demon.
So, reading through this first issue by Paul Cornell, the immediate impression is that this is the introduction to a vast, fully-developed world. There are some occult Medieval politics going on that you won’t quite be able to grasp. But, you can tell who is good and who is bad, for the most part. The good guy, is the slightly naive, handsome young man, into whom Merlin stuffed a demon; the bad guys have long fingernails and killed a baby on page 12. There are also some pretty interesting side characters that you aren’t really sure about yet, like Assassin’s Creed-guy and the Loki-looking chick. Since it’s a middle-ages action story, you would assume there’s going to be some serious sword fights, brutal deaths, drunkenness, bawdiness, wizards, and dragons. And, on all counts, you should be pleased. Many of these characters are immortal, or at least can live for 400 years and look relatively unchanged. That fact slowly becomes clear and is never explicitly stated, which is a good thing. I like a slow burn. The cover by Tony Daniel and Tomeu Morey is simply amazing, and the inside art, pencilled by Diogenes Neves, does not disappoint. It’s dynamic and fun with the right amount of “HOLY SH–, THAT’S SO F’ED UP!!!” The washed-out colors fit the story perfectly, but, at first glance, some of these unfamiliar characters were indistinguishable. Between the complexities of the story, the ashen color scheme, and a subtle humor, this comic benefits with multiple readings.
Even on the first reading, however, there is a lot to love. I would definitely recommend checking this out if you’re a fan of the Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, the original Conan The Barbarian, or A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger. Just kidding, I never saw that movie. Demon Knights #1 offers a lot and, if you don’t like it, give it away to someone who might.