Friday, 20 January 2012

Demon Knights #5

Now I’m a big fan of superhero comics but I also have other comic book tastes, that fall outside the spandex world of the superhero. One such book that falls into that bracket is Demon Knights, set in the very early years of the DCU (think Arthurian) the story centres around a bunch of misfits who have come together in the wrong place at the right time. The small village of little Spring stands in the way of The Horde army led by the Questing Queen and her consort Mordru, acting as unofficial protectors of the village are Jason Blood / Etrigan, The Horse Woman, Exoristos, Xanadu, Al-Jabr a Saraacen, Vandal Savage who used to command The Horde and The Sinning Knight Sir Yestin.

This issue starts with the village under siege as The Horde prepare to attack, as they make their way to the village of Alba Sarum further up the pass from Little Spring. The Horse Woman has just put an arrow through Exoristos as punishment for getting a young girl killed, she sent her on a mission outside the village instead of going herself (I would have thought a strong talking too would have been a better option)

Meanwhile Al-Jabr is attacking Jason Blood because his alter ego Etrican has killed the local priest, Xanadu has aged due to using most of her power defending the village and no one trusts Vandal Savage.
So it is little wonder that the villages are not too happy with their protectors, and are belaming them for bringing The Horde down upon them.

As if this band of misfits arnt disjointed enough Ouesting Queen and Mordrue's spirts enter the village via the help of a magical glass sphere to try and destabilise the group even more, the sphere keeps them invisible unless they want to be seen and can even change their apearance (oh these magic people have such wonderful toys) although I did wonder if you could look like anyone then why not go in as villages.

Each of the group is offered a bribe personal to them so that they will leave the village, and as you would expect all decline. The most interesting bribe was made by Mordrue to Exoristos, who was offered a return back to the home she had been bannished from Paradise Island?
Now is she an Amazon, maybe a ancestor of Wonder Woman?

It is durring these seanes that you get to learn a littel bit more about each character, as you are cleverly drip feed a littel bit more information about each one of them.
Vandal Savage however doesn’t need any encouragement to leave as he is seen leaving the camp under cover of darkness, apparently killing a young boy in the process to avoid not been caught. I say apparently as all may not be as it seems, and for me the loss of Savage from this group would be a major blow for the book.
Savage reunites with the Horde and quickly takes charge of them, but not before he steals a kiss from the Queen (all without the aid of Linx, real men’s men in those day)
The final pages of the book see the queen order the attack on the village starting with the Wallbreaker, think upset dinosaur and you would be in the right ball park.

The artwork in this book is absolutely stunning and all involved deserve a mention, Diogenes Neves penciller, Oclair Albert & Neves inkers and Marcelo Maiolo colorist.
Add to that Paul Cornells excellent writing, and you have the reason why this is one of the first books I read when I pick my comics up.

If your not familiar with the characters dont let that put you off, as I wasn't too familiar with any of them and found this an advantage as I didn’t come into the book with preconceived ideas. 
However, I was aware that Etrigan talked in rhyme something I had found annoying, on the odd occasions he had appeared in books I was reading. The lack of rhyming by Etrigan in this book is a plus point, as it has helped develop the character and he doesn’t seem as cartoony as he was before.
(Also the rhyming must have been a devil to write – sorry couldn’t resist)

 Of the other characters they all seem to be getting equal page time and character development which is not easy on a team book, especially one that has as much going on in it as this one does, all of which is a credit to the writing of Mr Cornell.

I had noted that sales figures were not too good on this book, and feared it may have been one of those cut when the announcements were made. I was however delighted that it wasn’t and long may it stay that way.

If you haven’t read this book please go out and give it a go, when I last looked in my local comic shop all issues were still available.
I give it my highest recommendation, its different but different is good.

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