For those Etrigan enthusiasts, Paul Cornell finally delivers some answers regarding Etrigan’s lack of rhyming in “Demon Knights” #0. He also includes the “current” version of the demon bonding with Jason Blood in a story that splits time between Camelot and Hell.
Cornell depicts Etrigan as a demon displeased with his post, aspiring to be more without having the accomplishments to build upon. He sets Etrigan to rebel against his master and parallels that with Jason of Norwich’s own struggles on the mortal coil. Anyone with any “Demon Knights” familiarity to this point knows what happens next, but Cornell does manage to add in some details sure to raise an eyebrow or two.
Bernard Chang has been the pinch hitter for the relaunched DC Universe, contributing both Deadman and Vandal Savage stories to “DC Universe Presents” as well as providing strong artwork for this issue of “Demon Knights.” Largely unsung for his efforts and results, Chang designs a range of bestial demons for this issue, avoiding the cavernous gulch of phoning in otherworldly designs: the prose demons are a different lot from the lyrical demons, who are remarkably distinct from Etrigan himself.
“Demon Knights #0 is enhanced by Jared K. Fletcher’s lettering and Marcelo Maiolo’s color art. Fletcher could easily unleash holy Hell in the form of countless scads of lettering variations, but chooses to largely keep the demonic verse in check much as he does mortal word balloons. Maiolo, in turn, adds texture and temperature to the realms of mortal and demon, giving the destroyed laboratory of Merlin a different feel in the sunshine of our world than the climate of Hell, which burns brightly with a different kind of heat.
The rest of the regular cast of “Demon Knights” stays out of this story, giving Etrigan room to grow. This issue is stronger for that, able to focus on one character (well, two actually) and advance his tale, without having to balance the personalities and quirks of a handful or more. I’ve enjoyed the issues of this title that I’ve sampled and “Demon Knights” #0 is no exception. It is, however, a sterling example of what this title is capable of producing.