I love Dungeons & Dragons-type genres, especially when they appear in mainstream comics like Demon Knights. Volume 1 of Demon Knights was up there as one of my favorites in the New 52. Characters like Etrigan the Demon, Madam Xanadu, and a live-for-the-moment Vandal Savage just made me squeal to my inner fanboy for these characters, with a great action packed and humorous opening book. So now volume 2 is out and although the book has a slight change of direction, volume 2 further cements Demons Knights as one of the better 52 comics out there.
DEMON KNIGHTS VOL.2: THE AVALON TRAP collects issues #8-12 and #0. After the Demon Knights defended the town of Little Spring from the Questing Queen in volume 1, the kingdom of Alba Sarum welcome the knights to their home, which is to become the next Camelot of the world, thanks to Merlin finding residence there. But mysteriously, Merlin is assassinated. The only hope of bringing the great wizard and reputation of Camelot back to life, the knights must travel to the mysterious land of Avalon and retrieve Merlin's soul. But dark forces protect the path to Avalon, including an old DC villain reborn in the New 52 and one the Demon Knights planning a betrayal.
Cornell continues to write the series being about the journey itself, while slowly building character moments in-between. We get a nice history of Madame Xanadu's relationship to both Jason Blood and Etrigan, the knight's deal with gaining dark power; face a powerful witch, and even deal with a big sea serpent ridden by pirates (not making that up. Even Vandal Savage says: "Look! It's a pirate sea serpent! That is something I have never shouted before!" It's a great laugh). With a growing storyline that ends on a cliffhanger for the next volume 3. And #0 issue looks at an interesting back story of Etrigan when he was a low-level demon in Hell and Jason in servitude of Merlin as both characters paths crossed.
Paul Cornell has become one of my favorite current writers in comics thanks to his work in Action Comics, his Vertigo series Saucer Country Vol. 1: Run, and now Demon Knights. His work has a distinct sense about it that makes him totally different writer then most. Demon Knights continues this with action, romance, wizardry (of course!), and humorous tone about these seven oddball characters destined to work together and yet, find their own destinies as the same time. Cornell is born to write this series for the character interactions, especially the banter between characters. The description about Vandal Savage being: "The immortal arse! He's turned over whole empires in search of sex and booze!" What kind of writer today puts something that witty into comics? So Cornell continues to write a great team book of this Medieval Justice League.
Art by Diogenes Neves continues to be great as usual. His high detail for action sequences, medieval designs, and character expressions (again, I love Vandal's over the top expressions) are top notch. Some shared art work with Bernard Chang comes in issue #8 where both artist share past and present flashbacks that come off rather seamless. And Change does the #0 issue, while his art isn't quite up to Neves work, Chang still does a great job to carry Cornell's narrative.
If there is any negatives, I guess some of the Knights get more attention then others in then volume 1. Most of the focus here is for Etrigan and Xanadu that get the most time to shine, the rest of the cast get barely get some more insight on them. And the reintroduction of old villainess in the New 52 is good, but gets introduced real quickly and disappears just as fast. Would of liked to see her some more, but I doubt she'll return because of the change in writing in volume 3.
DEMON KNIGHTS VOL.2: THE AVALON TRAP continues to be one of my favorites in the New 52. It has everything from action, humor, great team dynamics, and one of the few medieval magic books on the market. Because of the lack of character development and quick ending, I'll give the score a 4 ½ score out of 5, but I'll round to 4. Things will get weird come Demon Knights Vol. 3 (The New 52) as writer Paul Cornell leaves after issue #15 closing his story arc and Robert Venditti takes over until...I'm sadden to say, issue #23 where Demon Knights gets cancelled. Much like I, Vampire, I am going to miss this series. But I still urge readers to pick up this great series (and I, Vampire) and show DC these characters are worth supporting.