With an initially fun concept, "Demon Knights" came out of the gate well when it debuted in September 2011, but in recent months it appears to have dropped off of everyone's radar. So with new writer Robert Venditti joining artist Bernard Chang with "Demon Knights" #16, it felt like as good a time as any to reacquaint myself with the title. So far, I'm glad I did.
Taking place thirty years after "Demon Knights" #15 (in which presumably the team disbanded), Venditti places new and older readers on almost equal footing. He brings the group back together by having half of them rounded up by trackers; it's a quick way to learn about the personalities of the three women who have been tossed in jail, and learn a bit about how they interact with one another. Past readers will have a slight leg up on those who are brand-new to the title (or who left and came back), but as someone who hasn't read the title in a little over half a year, I felt like I was quickly brought back up to speed.
Venditti also gives a distinct and immediate threat that readers can grab onto and understand. It's a basic concept that slots in well with what we already know about it within the DC Universe, but Venditti also makes it a little more menacing when he reveals its destination. It's a simple but effective way to get the story rolling, as well as give a reason for the various characters to start getting back together again. Also appreciated is that all seven characters aren't immediately chatting and interacting once again. Half the team is still elsewhere, and Venditti gives a nice little cliffhanger regarding the fate of one of them in particular.
Already on board was Chang, whose art continues to look sharp and attractive. He's a versatile artist, able to take ideas like an aerial view of a town under siege and lets us drink in the carnage without having to get too specific on what's going on. He's especially good with some tight close-ups, like the glimpse we get of the Horsewoman's eyes as she spies one of the trackers on board the bison bearing down on her. He's good at storytelling, and I feel that every shift from one image to the next flows in a strong and effective way.
It's nice to see "Demon Knights" #16 kicking off the new creative team in a good way; the title feels fun and suspenseful once more, and it's already invigorated my interest in the book. Hopefully Venditti's arrival will give "Demon Knights" a good readership boost, because I'd like him and Chang to have some time to show us what they've got in store next. So far, a good job.