Demon Knights #22, the penultimate issue of my favorite comic series from DC, burst into comic stores. For those who’ve followed my column, this series has consistently pleased me despite sales figures that did not jive with its quality. I’ll save my depressing musing on the cancellation of this series until my post on the final issue, so for now let’s talk about this latest issue!
Picking up from Jason Blood’s recovery of the Holy Grail in Demon Knights #21, we watch as Vandal Savage barters for his life with the giants who were guarding the hidden treasury. Next, we see as the Demon Knights return to the city of Al-Wadi where they speak with their old friend Al-Jabr about their success in defeating the vampire horde and finding the grail. There’s no time for relaxation, however, as a horde of enemies march toward the walls of this Moorish city. Can our heroes hope to repel the attack? And what kind of powers does the grail itself possess?
Robert Venditti’s wit shines through once again in this issue. Never before have I read such a great portrayal of Vandal Savage; every scene he’s in is hilarious. Sarah the Horsewoman and her steed Brickwedge also receive some much-needed development in this issue, which is nice since I always liked her character but felt she didn’t get as much page-time as the other members of her team. I was also happy to see Al-Jabr’s return, since we haven’t seen him for a few issues. The scene where the team are attacked by thieves is enjoyable as well, as is the ending which sets up for an epic battle next issue. I wish we could have seen Etrigan in this issue, since I feel he’s plotting something and the fact he didn’t even show up in even one panel is regrettable.
Chad Hardin’s art, while not the best I’ve seen is this series, has definitely gotten better as he’s drawn these characters more and more. His weaponry designs and horses are very well drawn and, while I’m not fond of the way he draws faces, the actual bodies of his human characters are well done. Some of the wide and distant shots also look a bit off. Colorist David Curiel does a good job, albeit there are a few spots where he misses the mark, such as the first page where about half of Savage’s face is missing coloration. Still, these moments are rare enough that they don’t detract from one’s overall enjoyment of the issue.
Ultimately, Demon Knights #22 is a solid issue, though not the best in the series. Nonetheless, this chapter sets up for a promising conclusion, and I’ve got faith that the creative team can give us a satisfying (if all-too-soon) conclusion. It’s also much more enjoyable than the majority of comics on the stands. Fans of the series will enjoy this issue, and, if you’ve never read the series, go collect the back issues before the series finale next month!
-solid writing, especially the humorous scenes
-improved artwork over previous issues
-great set-up for the finale
-characters’ faces look odd
-Etrigan does not appear
-a few coloring errors
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. He’s going to re-read every issue of this series in preparation for the finale next month.
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