Once again it’s time for me to take a look at my favorite series published by DC: Demon Knights. This week, I’m checking out Issue #11. Last time, our heroes ran afoul of an undead King Arthur on the way to the mystical isle of Avalon. What horrors await them now as their literal inner demons awaken? And did this issue hold up to the high standard I’ve already set for this near-perfect series?
Madame Xanadu is the only character not transformed by the mystical energies of a nearby tower, and it’s up to her to keep the group together as they manifest bizarre new forms. The problem? Her comrades claim these monstrous new appearances suit their deepest desires! Of course, having a skeletal Briton monarch roaming around doesn’t help matters much. And, as always, there’s something sinister lurking in the background that hopes to delay our heroes even further. Can Madame Xanadu purify her comrades and reconcile with a past that continues to snap at her heels wherever she goes?
Regrettably, I felt the writing in this issue did not hold up to the standards set by previous chapters. Paul Cornell did provide us with some witty jokes, combined with some hand-waving that seems meant to inspire laughter rather than outrage and confusion from the reader. King Arthur also had the chance to make a fairly inspiring speech. Despite all this, the plot this time around felt slower. Obviously, this issue is meant to set us up for a confrontation with the team’s next big villain, so I can excuse the exposition. I have to say I was also happy to learn more about Madame Xanadu’s lineage, and was fairly surprised by some of the revelations. Ultimately, the writing was good, but sadly not great.
Before I say anything else about the art, let me first say that the cover, the work of Philip Tan with Jeromy Cox, is the best of the series so far (check it out above); though the characters don’t manifest monstrous forms exactly like the cover, I still think it does a great job portraying the early conflict of this issue and showcasing some amazing monster designs. Robson Rocha joins the art team this time around, helping both Diogenes Neves on pencils and Oclair Albert on inks.
I’ve got to give Rocha props, because it was impossible for me to see where the series regulars’ work ended and his began. As always, Neves and Albert brought their A game to the table to showcase some awesome pages. My favorite was a full-page spread of Etrigan battling King Arthur; the determination in Arthur’s eyes really shows his conviction to fight against death itself to save his homeland. Marcelo Maiolo’s coloring work is superb, using bright spot colors to draw the eye as contrast from the darker tones that constitute most of the comic. Finally, Jared K. Fletcher brings a subtle, yet nice touch in his lettering work. Overall, the art stayed at the high level I’ve come to expect for this series.
Demon Knights #11 is a good installment in the series, but sadly is not the best. The art remains stellar, but the writing dragged a bit. Even so, it’s still a really enjoyable read and, as always, I encourage anyone and everyone to pick up and read. This issue is actually a fairly decent jumping on point, so new readers can probably catch on fairly quickly. I’m really excited for the next issue, and am sure it will be an astounding one.
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He’s starting to wonder if he should call himself the world’s biggest fan of Demon Knights.