New 52 Review – “Demon Knights #1”

DC’s “swords and sorcery” offering ships this week.

General Information

Title: Demon Knights #1

Author: Paul Cornell

Illustrator(s): Diogenes Neves (pencils), Oclair Albert (inks) and Marcelo Maiolo (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


At the fall of Camelot, Merlin bound the demon Etrigan to a man named Jason. Hundreds of years later, Jason Blood (and Etrigan), Madame Xanadu and Vandal Savage are trying to live their lives in relative peace when the inn they stay at is overrun. With immortal main characters, this is clearly in continuity, as they might appear elsewhere. However, given that this story is set so much earlier than the others in the line, it’s entirely probable that this can be read independently without concern for continuity.

High Point

Etrigan’s attitude. He’s always been a bit nasty, but the rhyming singsong dialogue of old undermined that somewhere. The rhyming now is used only in select scenarios, and makes the character seem that much tougher.

Low Point

We see a lot of origin events, so we know a lot of the “whats,” but the “hows” and especially “whys” of the origins are missing. I’m also not entirely sure if the main characters are heroes or villains. Right now, they are just irritated citizens.

The Scores

This is an original genre for the line, particularly for an in-continuity title from either of the big two. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is very strong. Clear lines, appropriate colours, and sufficiently emotive expressions are the norm here. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story feels low-calorie. A lot of stuff happens, but without the right motivations and reasons behind the events, that stuff doesn’t really mean much. I give it 3 out of 6.

The characterization of Etrigan is pretty clear, but I’m really unsure of everybody else. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response is bland. I love Etrigan’s introductory dialogue, but the rest just falls flat. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow is disrupted a bit by the lack of reasons for the scenes. As I said above, we see events involved in origins, but there’s a lot that’s missing. Etrigan is bound to Jason in one scene, while Madame Xanadu jumps off a boat in another scene. Cut to centuries later and the pair who hadn’t previously met now travel together, encountering Vandal Savage along the way. Meanwhile, characters who want to “fix the world” send out a mob. We don’t know why any of the characters are doing any of the things we do, so it feels like something is missing with each change in scenes. The actions within any given scene flow very smoothly, so I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s not terrible, but I’m still not sure what the title will be in the long term, aside from the “swords and sorcery” entry in the line. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Demon Knights receives 26 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman

2 replies on “New 52 Review – “Demon Knights #1””

  1. I keep wanting to read more about Etrigan for some reason…guess this would be a good place to start.

    now, to decide between physical and digital editions…

    • I read my digital comics on an iPad. This would look great there. Titles that are heavy on double page spreads tend to suffer, though, so I’d advise against getting, say, “Batwoman” in a digital format if the paper can be found.

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