Silverwolf’s Den: Demon Knights #12

Demon Knights has consistently been my favorite New 52 title since I first picked it up last September. Now, a full year of issues have passed and the pieces of this grander story are falling into place. Last month’s title was less enchanting, but did this issue reinvigorate the title to its previously perfect levels?

Demon Knights #12 takes our heroes through the enchanted and twisted world of Morgaine Le Fey, sorceress extraordinaire, enemy of Camelot, and sister of Madame Xanadu. She pits the heroes through a confusing maze filled with monstrous beasts with the hope of capturing the lifeless body of Merlin for her own sinister purposes. What does she have planned? Can our heroes stop her nefarious plots and continue their quest to Avalon?

Paul Cornell continues his writing run on Demon Knights in this issue. Honestly…I wasn’t fond of the writing this time. The issue felt rushed, with the characters solving problems in the blink of an eye which I felt could (and should) have been stretched over at least another issue. I respect that too much exposition bores readers, but given the amount of buildup from the last two installments, I expected a more drawn out confrontation with Le Fey. There really was a lot of potential here, and I feel it was squandered. Even so, the dialogue was witty and interesting, and there were a few creative choices, such as how Etrigan broke out of magical bonds, that I liked.

An unused cover by Philip Tan. Not bad, but I see why DC changed to the one featured above

Diogenes Neves knows the characters of Demon Knights front and back by this point, and he continues a great showing with his pencil work. The character models have started to look more refined which is a great boon for such a team-style title. Le Fey’s menagerie and the interior of her fortress were especially cool, though admittedly I wish we could’ve seen more of both. Oclair Albert and Dan Green both provide solid inking work, making the pencils really stand out. Marcelo Maiolo keeps up the good coloring work, choosing some great neon tones to evoke the spells cast by Le Fey. To be honest, it’s difficult to say much about lettering, but Jared K. Fletcher’s work can’t be called poor.

Demon Knights #12 is nowhere near the best issue in the series, but it’s a fairly decent jumping on point for new readers. Whether or not you pick it up should probably be based on how Issue #13, coming in October, turns out. Again, I think there’s some really great set-up here for some plot threads Cornell has been weaving the last few months, but I just hope things aren’t as rushed or deus-ex-machina-ed as they were here. The rush may not even be Cornell’s fault, and could indeed be related to an editor who wants to speed things along, but either way I didn’t like it. I did enjoy reading this issue, but it failed to blow me away like most of the prior installments.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He’s starting to think his standards for fantasy comics are higher than normal superhero titles. 

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