A city under siege, an advancing army of evil – EVIL – and seven samurai a team of magical based heroes standing in the way. While he is really a she, Demon Knights #4 gives us the low down on the origins of the Shining Knight.

Writer: Paul Cornell
Pencillers: Michael Choi and Diogenes Neves
Inker: Michael Choi and Oclair Albert
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Cover: Michael Choi
Editor Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Demon Knights: Mordru and Morgain LeFay continue their attack on the village of Little Spring, sending in dragons, raining down fire, and even allowing the advancing horde to kill a young girl. It’s all building to a great battle, but first…


As each issue progresses, we are given little hints and looks at each characters’ origins and history, and this issue focuses squarely on The Shining Knight and “Sir Ystin’s” first encounter with Merlin. It’s a trippy vision where Merlin sends Ystina looking for the Holy Grail, and though things are pretty cut and dried as to how Ystina’s powers work, there are foreshadowing moments and dire warnings scattered throughout the dream.

Save for a few moments where the Demon Knights get their name, and Morgan LeFay seems to be in on the magical journey, there isn’t really much going on in this issue, which is a real shame. Sure an origin story is good, but to break the story up right at the moment readers are expecting the giant battle to break out, is an overall moment of disruption that takes one out of the story. The Holy Grail hook will certainly play a role in the future, and though this setup does work, this reviewer is one that wishes it had come later in the arc. Even though Ystin/Ystina’s sex has been a mater of jokes amongst the characters, it’s clear this is Morrison’s Shining Knight helping the rest of the party.


I like how DC went ahead and hired two artists to tackle the visual storytelling in this issue. While Diogenes Neves handles the five pages of story that takes place in the Demon Knights world, it’s Michael Choi who bears the heaviest load in the Shining Knight’s dream sequence. Choi does an excellent job, adding lots of detail in the faces, and creating a believable world that Merlin and Ystina inhabit.

Normally when artists share duties on a title, there is a jarring jump between the two. Here, there seems to be more of a natural flow, and what would normally seem odd and out of place for me, works really well in this particular issue.


The first two issues of this story were packed with action, but the last two have slowed the overall story down. If the six issue arc is what the writer and artists are going for, these two issues are the mid-arc drag. More action! More fighty-fighty and punchy-punchy are needed! Though we get a look at Shining Knight’s origin and the art is pretty to look at, the overall book moves very slow. I like the sword and sorcery, and I can’t wait for big battle to break out. Demon Knights is a great ensemble piece, but focusing on a single character for the entire issue earns Demon Knights #4 2 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. December 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm — Reply

    Have to agree, wiile I love Demon Knights, this issue feels like it could be skipped, and people could go on to issue 5 without missing a beat.

  2. Trey
    December 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm — Reply

    I am really not getting the whole it’s a girl not a guy thing. I was expecting the flashback to explain it but nope

    • December 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm — Reply

      Sadly, you’ll have to either Wiki the answer, or go back and read Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers series.

  3. TaZ
    December 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm — Reply

    “Though things are pretty cut and dried as to how Ystina’s powers work” I’m sorry but I don’t agree with that. The whole “mystic vision” deal didn’t explain much of anything other than yet another author tying in Grail/Camalot myth (which is not necessarily a bad thing), give the book title some meaning and lead into the Huntswoman disemboweling an Amazon with an arrow. If it was a means to bring readers up to date with Morrison’s character then I don’t think it did that very well. This was a bit of a “HUH?” in a series that I was enjoying and hopefully we’ll get back to the “Justice League Dungeons & Dragons” soon. I’m still waiting for them to add a dwarf or an elf to the team.

  4. Ryan
    December 23, 2011 at 7:14 am — Reply

    This issue was BOR-ING, especially after how interesting the first three were. I feel that Demon Knights and Suicide Squad are falling under a lot of peoples’ radar, but I was loving both until their #4s hit. I hope that DK is back in issue #5.

    Exoristos seems great. I hope she bounces back from that arrow wound quickly.

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