September 24, 2011

Going Medieval: A Look at DEMON KNIGHTS # 1

I was really, truly prepared to dislike Demon Knights # 1....

Not out of prejudice, you understand - I've never really been a sword-and-sorcery, magical fantasy kind of guy. Never played Dungeons & Dragons, haven't read or watched a frame of  Game of Thrones. It's only been recently when I read - and enjoyed - Burrough's A Princess of Mars. Granted, I loved Paul Cornell's other comics work, including Knight & Squire (now collected in trade paperback), so I thought I would at least give it a chance.

I'm glad I did, because so far, this is the most enjoyable book of the "new DC 52" relaunch.

Part of what makes this book enjoyable is that this has all the earmarks of a good first issue of any comic - sets the tone, starts a storyline, and creates engaging characters that we want to follow. (It also helps that Cornell cleverly recasts several DC characters in this - in short, this book takes fine advantage of the reboot). It also has a slightly sardonic sense of humor which may be why I like this book - so much of sword and sorcery/medieval fantasy works seem to take themselves extremely seriously. Yes, there are dramatic moments, but the writing cleverly balances several seemingly different elements - it may be "busy" (as some other reviews have put it), but it's never dull.

Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert's art really helps sell and strengthen the tone of this book. It hits a strong balance - it never seems extremely ornate or generic. There's a clever use of fonts to suggest the "supernatural" quality of specific characters, and in short...this is just a very enjoyable comic that starts off relatively strong.

Many bloggers and web sites have taken "pools" to see which DC relaunch books survive and which get canceled. I hope that more people check out Demon Knights - it has potential to be a really strong, unique book amongst the plethora of superhero-driven books which DC has included in its relaunch.

Give Demon Knights a chance. At the very least, you'll get to help one worthy book beat the odds.