I feel legitimately guilty that I haven’t reviewed an issue of Demon Knights in the last few months. Since the start of DC’s New 52 intiative, this series has consistently been my favorite title. A new art team of Chad Hardin and Wayne Faucher join writer Robert Venditti with this issue, replacing fan favorite Bernard Chang (who still drew the above cover). Did this latest entry in the series continue the unbroken perfection of this fantasy epic?
Demon Knights #20 begins with the team recovering from the recent vampire attack on the Amazons’ homeland of Themiscyra. Thanks to Amazonian librarian Khronika the team learns that the Holy Grail is located on an island in the Mediterranean. Sir Ystin, renewing his/her quest to find the Grail, implores the rest of her compatriots to join the search. Soon, the team arrives at the mysterious locale where they’re attacked by a gigantic beast and forced to fight for their lives.
Like all the other issues of this series, Demon Knights #20 contains a lot of positive aspects. Robert Venditti transitions seamlessly to this new arc, making it easy for a new reader to follow the story while at the same time acknowledging much of what has come before. I especially like that this issue touched upon the Amazon “mating ritual” which was originally discussed in Wonder Woman #7. This series continues its trademark humor, the majority coming from the hilarious Vandal Savage; fans of the series won’t be surprised to see what kind of books this boorish strongman looks for first when he enters a library. The issue ends with an awesome battle pitting the Demon Knights against a giant octopus, which is not only involves creative tactics, but also contains the best art in the issue.
That said, this issue is sadly not without its flaws. Series regular Bernard Chang is no longer on art duties and, while Chad Hardin is not a bad artist, his work is nowhere near up to the quality of Chang’s prior work. Mid-to-long range shots of characters’ faces often look odd or out of the ordinary, and I felt like Jason Blood especially never looked quite right in this issue. There are still a number of great scenes, like the aforementioned battle, and perhaps Hardin’s art will evolve to fit the title if he stays on for the coming issues.
Demon Knights #20 is a good comic, and definitely keeps to the high quality of this series even if it’s not quite as good as some prior installments. This coming arc is finally addressing Ystin’s Grail Quest, which was hinted at all the way back in Issue #4. I’m really excited to see what develops in this new arc, and hope the series can continue on unabated.
-great set up for a new arc
-great characterization and humor
-ends with an epic fight scene
-artwork is lower quality than previous issues; notably characters’ faces look odd when not drawn up close
-much of the issue involves set-up for the new arc
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. If this series gets cancelled, he might dress up as Etrigan and protest outside of the DC offices.