Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Demon Knights #1 (November, 2011)
In the 12th century or so, on the last night of Camelot, a knight of King Arthur delivered the sword Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. The sorceress Xanadu was`among those carrying Arthur to Avalon, but said "sod this," and tried to dive in after Excalibur. It didn't pan out. Meanwhile, Merlin imprisoned the Demon Etrigan in the human host Jason of Norwich.
Four hundred years later, during the Dark Ages (although technically, Camelot was also part of the dark ages, and another half a millennium before that even,) the Horse of the Questing Queen marched. The Queen demanded an infant sacrifice from an occupied village. Her love Mordru used his magic to summon a demon to possess the child, and consult it for prophesy before the weak vessel burst. The path to Alba Sarum was indicated, meaning travel through the Dagger Pass and a tiny village called Little Springs.
Madame Xanadu and her lover Jason o' th' Blood hoped to pass through Little Springs without incident, though Xan openly expressed the unlikelihood, given their usual troubles. Vandal Savage was shouting at an innkeeper, demanding entry, and burst down a door when refused. Jason and Xanadu had last met him ninety years earlier in Brigantia, but saw no reason that they should have to wrestle with him now. In fact, they all had drinks. Savage confessed, "I've`always been jealous you two fellow immortals were at the fall of Camelot. I have almost no ethics myself, you understand-- but I like them in others. And I'm pleased that glittering example once existed."
The Shining Knight called them all "liars" and "rogues," claiming to have also been at the fall and not seen them there. Then again, "Sir Ystin" didn't appear to be an actual sir, despite the gleaming armor on her slight frame. The Saxons figured, "The Celts have odd ways. Nod and smile. Greetings, Sir Ystin!"
There was an argument when the bartender refused the coin of Al Jabr, but his amazonian companion Exoristos intimidated improved service. "I come from an island where men are castrated-- and women are pleased."
Outriders of the Questing Queen's Horde tried to seize the flock of a friar outside town, but they were killed by the archery of a woman on horseback. Other outriders raided the inn tavern, prompting Jason to release the Demon Etrigan in defense. Xan whimpered "Just one quiet pint. That's all I ask." Etrigan kissed Xanadu, who he believed was leading Jason on and truly in lust for the Demon. "...I really prefer-- a bit of rough."
As hostilities escalated, Mordru detected magic in Little Springs, and delivered from afar some of his own. "Dragons" were released from wormholes in space...
"Seven Against The Dark" was by Paul Cornell, Diógenes Neves and Oclair Albert. The characters are a lot more fun in this book than Cornell's Stormwatch, and the story is clearer, but it seems kind of pointless. This is like a JLA of immortality, meaning that the characters that are best known are perfectly safe, so your reading enjoyment is dependent upon your interest in watching the leads going through the motions. Madame Xanadu is more flippant and sexually adventurous than I recall. The Demon is more amorous and gullible, plus I don't like the wings. Vandal Savage is more thuggish and boisterous-- more of a tuna sandwich-- and I appreciated the working in of his serpent belt buckle. It would be interesting if Al Jabr turned out to be Adam One. I suppose it's cute seeing these characters in earlier days, and the playing with magic as advanced science (dragons = dinosaurs) is nice. With a name like "Demon Knights" and all these Daemonites running around the DCnÜ, you just know there will be some amusing tie-ins to come. I guess that's something to look forward to, but it's still asking a lot for me to think of this as anything more than a short-lived aside, if not an outright lark.
New 52's Day