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Demon Knights #1

September 23, 2011

Title: Seven Against the Dark

Writer: Paul Cornell
Diogenes Neves
Oclair Albert
Marcelo Maiolo
Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist:
Tony Daniel & Tomeu Morey
Matt Idelson
DC Comics

In the days after the fall of Camelot, the mystical denizens of what would later become the DC Universe were scattered to the four winds. A woman calling herself the Questing Queen, with her ally Mordru by her side, is marching north conquering kingdom after kingdom. In the first issue of this New 52 series, a group of classic mystical characters are assembled in a really classic fashion to take a stand against her.

It’s funny, that word “classic.” There seems to be a very thin line between “classic” and “cliché,” and the biggest difference is whether or not the thing you’re talking about is cool. This book is cool enough to escape that “cliché” label, as writer Paul Cornell takes a page from every Dungeons and Dragons module ever written and has his tea assemble for the first time in a tavern, just in time to bond over a mission. And it’s quite the group he’s assembled here as well. We don’t realy get to see much of the mysterious Horsewoman yet, but old friends and foes like Jason Blood, Madame Xanadu, the Shining Knight (based, it seems on the Grant Morrison/Seven Soldiers redux version) and – in a surprise – Vandal Savage all make for an intriguing blend of hero and presumptive villain. It’s hard to imagine Vandal Savage truly being a hero, but in these centuries before he’s established his long-running rivalries with the DCU’s champions, he may accidentally wind up doing some good if he’s not careful.

Neves and Albert manage to draw a book with a very strong, very effective fantasy bent, while still mixing in plenty of the visuals and action we’ve come to expect from supeheroes. This is a title that can sit in either camp, but will definitely have some cross-genre appeal. Fans of fantasy who may not be so interested in the modern DCU will find something to like here, and fans of the New 52 looking for its origins will want to see how the universe started to come together.

Rating: 8/10

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