REVIEW: Demon Knights #7

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A village is about to be overrun and the ragtag team of defenders defeated, but can the Horsewoman get help in time? And what about Vandal Savage–was his defection really all it seemed to be? Surely SOMETHING has to give if this book is going to have a happy ending! But is a happy ending really in the cards for our “heroes”?

Demon Knights #7
Writer: Paul Cornell
Pencillers: Diogenes Neves and Robson Rocha
Inkers: Oclair Albert, Julio Ferreira, and Rocha
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover: Michael Choi 
Assoc. Editor: Chris Conroy
Editor: Matt Idelson 
Cover Price: $2.99
Publisher: DC Comics 

Previously in Demon Knights… Vandal Savage abandoned the village to rejoin the Questing Queen, the Horsewoman was nearly killed but managed to get away and go for help, and the only way to restore Madame Xanadu’s powers was revealed to be condemning an innocent man to the depths of Hell and having Jason Blood retrieve his tears.

EVERYTHING A FANTASY COMIC SHOULD BE

Demon Knights has been one of my favorite books of the relaunch since the line “We solve it the way we solve all our problems–throw dragons at them!” in the first issue. It does comic book fantasy incredibly well, capturing the sword and sorcery feel while telling a compelling, nuanced story with gorgeous art. Paul Cornell has written a lot of comics I’ve enjoyed over the years, but this title ranks up there with his run on Action Comics as my favorites. I’ve always been a fan of Etrigan, so seeing how simultaneously deep and shallow his character is in the relaunch has been a delight. Cornell has managed to take several characters that DC readers will be familiar with and give them new spins as well as filling out the cast with fascinating new characters.

EXPRESSIVE ART

In this issue we find out what Vandal Savage’s true plan was when he returned to the Questing Queen–he wanted to use the village as a distraction for the army so he and his men could raid the supply train. When the ruse is found out and his men defeated, he rolls with the punch in perfect Vandal Savage style and returns to the village’s defense as if it’d been his plan all along to distract the army from the village with the raid on the supply train. Vandal has been my favorite character in the book so far–his character hasn’t become the jaded tactician we knew before the relaunch yet–he exudes a sheer joy at living and battling, and Neves’ art is able to portray every ounce of his zest for life.

PYRRHIC VICTORY

With the end of this issue Cornell has managed to capture the feeling and irony behind the Pyrrhic victory. The battle is won by the Demon’s Knights (the first overt acknowledgement of the book’s title) but the village they sought to defend has been ravaged. While they managed to turn back the Questing Queen’s army and Mordru, their ‘mission’ as such was a total failure. The dichotomy between the words on the page, a messenger telling them of how they had won and the art on the page displaying the tragedy around them is perfectly evocative of the message of the book.

THE VERDICT: Still One of the Best Books of the Relaunch

This was one of my most anticipated books of the relaunch, and the one that has done the best job of meeting my expectations. Action Comics stalled out a bit, though it has shown signs of picking back up. Batwoman’s art has fell off with J.H. Williams III taking a break, and without the art his story just isn’t quite the same. Demon Knights hasn’t tried to be more than it is, and while there was one or two issues with some weaker art, they seem to be settling in and working well with the Paul Cornell story. I am excited to see where the title goes from here, and this issue gets a strong 4 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆