(a) Bernard Chang
Demon Knights has been in a unique position since it debuted with the ‘New 52’. It’s not a top seller, it features a group of characters that are either more obscure or brand new, and it’s set in Medieval times. Under normal circumstances, this title would have been cancelled months and months ago. Fortunately for us readers, stellar writing coupled with an intimate look at the history of the ‘New 52’ has made Demon Knights a must-read title more months than not.
Robert Vendetti continues his run in Demon Knights #17 which sees an incomplete team tracking down their missing pieces. To stop the evil vampire Cain from taking the Amazon island of Themyscira — and thus the whole world with the power of Amazonian vampires — Al-Jabr has tasked Exoristos, Shining Knight Sir Ystin, and the Horsewoman with finding Jason Blood and his demonic alter-ego, Etrigan. It’s a classic “get the gang back together” scenario, except it involves confronting one of their old allies, Vandal Savage, who keeps Blood as a prisoner and tortures him on a daily basis. Vendetti’s characterizations of the Demon’s Knights stay true to Paul Cornell’s stellar interpretations, but he also adds a new layer of mystery that comes from not knowing what they’ve all been up to over the past 30 years. It’s there, in the little one-offs and asides, that Vendetti truly captures the feeling of removal from these characters’ ongoing tales. Obviously, we’ll learn more as the story continues, but it’s nice seeing old friends interact in new ways as a result of something we can all relate to: the passage of time.
As the ‘New 52’ moves forward, cohesion amongst titles has become an extremely important aspect of the storytelling process. Seeing Cain and his vampire horde traveling through Medieval Europe adds more credence and meaning to the events of I, Vampire, and we’ve already seen Etrigan pop up in Stormwatch. Robert Vendetti has stated that he’s got a long-term game plan in place for the series, and Demon Knights #17 is another great example of how the setting for this title allows for fantastic storytelling because of it’s distance from the rest of the DCnU.