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File:Demon knights2 9009.jpg


Demon Knights is an ongoing comicbook published by DC Comics, written by Paul Cornell. It was launched as part of the New 52 and is set in The Dark Ages of the DC Universe.

After a prologue establishing Madame Xanadu's and Etrigan's roles in the last days of King Arthur, the story skips forward a few centuries. Xanadu and Jason o' the Blood visit a small village in Europe, where they meet Vandal Savage, the Shining Knight, a Saracen inventor named Al Jabr and an Amazon warrior named Exoristos. They join forces when the Questing Queen and her horde attacks the village on its way to sack the nearby city of Alba Sarum. In defending the village, they meet the Horsewoman, who has been protecting it, and afterwards embark on other quests together; some for the nobility of assisting those in need, some for profit, and some for reasons all their own.

The series is hinted to be the origin of the Ancient Tradition of the rebooted Stormwatch (which Cornell began).

Not to be confused with Demon Knight.


This comic has examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Madame Xanadu tells Etrigan that she loves him more than Jason, but she tells Jason the same thing.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Exoristos. Bonus points for being a literal Amazon.
  • Appropriated Appellation: A soldier from Avalon calls the group "The Demon's Knights" in issue seven, revealing the origin of the non-indicative name (see below).
  • The Archer: The Horsewoman.
  • Blood Knight: Vandal Savage loves to fight, and assists the villagers not because he sympathizes or cares for them, but because it will be a great battle.
  • Boisterous Bruiser:
    • Exoristos, who was raised a warrior.
    • Surprisingly, Vandal Savage, whose reaction to a bunch of dragons bursting in to kill them is "Excellent, I haven't eaten one of these in centuries!"
  • Brought to You by The Letter "S": Madame Xanadu has "M X" on her bodice.
  • The Cavalry: The first arc repeatedly mentions that the Questing Queen is only attacking the protagonists because they are between her and the city of Alba Sarum, a powerful city that she needs to catch unawares in order to be sure she can conquer it, and the protagonists know that their greatest hope is in sending a warning to Alba Sarum so that their army can come to their rescue. Unfortunately, all their messengers are killed before reaching the city. After the initial messengers are killed the Horsewoman gets through and the Alba Sarum army storms to the rescue.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Exoristos' 'armour'. Lampshaded: Ystin mocks it, and Exoristos says that when she is fighting against men, as she usually is, it has its advantages.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Vandal Savage is quickly becoming this.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Al Jabr, with advanced science from the Middle East, is mistaken for a magician by the townsfolk.
  • Egopolis: Issue #9 reveals that Alba Sarum, the great city that the protagonists have been talking about since the first issue, is named for its two princesses: Alba and Sarum.
  • Engagement Challenge: The princesses Alba and Sarum have sworn that they will not marry each other until their city has been declared New Camelot. Unfortunately, when Merlin is murdered it looks like their city will never become New Camelot, but they will still never marry because they made a vow.
  • Eternal Recurrence: The fall of Camelot. "All is lost. Again." Apparently, Merlin helps a King Arthur found a Camelot every few thousand years, and it always ends badly, but he always tries again because the consequences of not trying would be worse. Etrigan and Xanadu were at the fall of knights-in-shining-armour Camelot four hundred years ago, and the Shining Knight was at the fall of prehistoric Briton Camelot 9,000 years before that. Vandal Savage was at the fall of several Camelots, mostly among the riding forces.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: True dragons.
  • Face Heel Revolving Door: After his plan of stealing money from the Horde goes south, Vandal Savage claims that his Face Heel Turn was all a distraction to help the village, and not a way to make a quick buck out of the confusion of battle.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: A young child tells Exoristos that she dresses like a tart[2], which Exoristos takes as a compliment, while wondering if it is some kind of pastry.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Al Jabr.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: The Questing Queen, the Big Bad of the initial arc.
  • Good Shepherd: After Etrigan claws a local village priest, which is not only a fatal wound but will also drag the priest's soul to hell, the priest spends his final moments trying to find the will to forgive Etrigan, since offering that forgiveness is more important than praying for himself.
  • Handicapped Badass: The Horsewoman
  • Hannibal Lecture: Xanadu gives one to Exoristos when she finally gets tired of her misandrist and just generally bitchy comments.
  • Honor Before Reason: The two princesses of Alba Sarum, Alba and Sarum, have made a vow that they will not wed one another until their city has been declared New Camelot. However, when Merlin is murdered it looks like their city will never become New Camelot, but they declare that they will stick to their vow regardless, even though it means they will never wed the woman each loves.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted in the first story arc.
  • Is It Something You Eat?: When a small girl tells Exoristos, "You dress like a tart," Exoristos' reaction is, "Again, thanks! Is that some kind of pastry?"
  • King Arthur: Arthurian mythology plays a significant role in the series. The founding and destruction of Camelot was experienced by multiple character, multiple times, and the series takes place at the beginning of a new cycle, with the city of Alba Sarum hoping to be declared New Camelot.
  • Large Ham: Vandal Savage
  • Magnificent Seven Samurai: Incredibly influential. The writer even stated he is more interested in the character dynamics than the setting.
  • Meaningful Name: The princesses of Alba Sarum note that Al Jabr is Arabic for "the numbers" (It is actually Arabic for "restoration").
  • Merlin Sickness: In the vision in issue four, Merlin says that he is aging backward, and remarks that the fact that he is still very old suggests the universe has a few years left in it.
  • Non-Indicative Name: There is only one demon on the hero side, and even he shares space with a human. For that matter, there is only one knight, too.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: True dragons are flesh-and-blood dinosaurs, whereas "Heraldic" dragons are mechanical devices controlled by people.
  • Rashomon Style: Issue 8, Madame Xanadu and Etrigan each explaining to the others the nature of the romance between Jason, Xanadu and Etrigan and how they each say it began.
  • Screw Destiny: Merlin and Xanadu desperately want to stop the eternal cycle of war and death, despite being urged by others that it must continue this way.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them: The two princesses of Alba Sarum, Alba and Sarum, are able to be a publicly engaged lesbian couple because they run the city. Madame Xanadu is happy for them that they can live their lives as they truly are, but also hopes that the common woman who does not have such power will get the same rights.
  • Shout-Out: To Asterix and the Goths in #2. "Ostrogoths, Visigoths, and every other sort of Goth."
  • Spiritual Successor: To Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: "Sir" Ystin(a). Nobody is fooled, but they all play along with it.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: The immortals are going to help the villagers defend their home, but Vandal Savage is also trying to prepare them to assist and show that they deserve help.
  • Triang Relations: Between Jason, Xanadu, and Etrigan (as detailed below). Looks like a type seven. May turn out to be a type four, with Xanadu and Jason love each other, unforunately Etrigan has the hots for Xanadu as well.
  • Two-Person Love Triangle: Madame Xanadu is romantically involved with both halves of the Jason/Etrigan body sharing. She tells each half of duo that she loves him more than the other half.
  • War Is Hell: The series focuses heavily on the civilian casualties and property destruction of combat; when the protagonists are being congratulated on their great and glorious victory (And it was a great and glorious victory, since their actions saved a vast city and thousands, possibly millions, of lives) the 'camera' focuses on the dead bodies and burned buildings that came from the fight.
  • You All Meet in An Inn: All the immortals unite against the Questing Queen because they happened to pick the same inn to rest at, and that inn happened to be in the Queen's path, though the Horsewoman only met them (briefly) after the inn was destroyed.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Exoristos says this word for word as she is the last person remaining that's protecting the village. Then The Cavalry arrives.

Notes

  1. Clockwise, starting top left: The Horsewoman, Vandal Savage, Al Jabr, Exoristos, and "Sir" Ystin(a), the Shining Knight. In center: Etrigan the Demon (top) and Madame Xanadu. Not pictured: Jason o' the Blood.
  2. prostitute
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