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Demon Knights #15: A Farewell to Paul Cornell

For the last year and then some DC Comic has taken us on an adventure that has at times been slow, and at other times at break neck fast. This journey has, however, never been tedious or bland and almost always able to elicit a certain amount of enjoyment within those who are in tune to its particular frequency. The name of this ride that readers have been one, you might ask? Demon Knights, and with the release of #15 we must say goodbye to our chief tour guide Paul Cornell as he leaves for new pastures. Not without giving us a smashing conclusion, however.

Paul Cornell has done an amazing job with the series since its inception at the very beginning of the reboot, showcasing the deeply hidden past of the DC Universe through the eyes of such notables like Etrigan the Demon, Vandal Savage, and The Shining Knight. Throughout the months following its first issue Paul Cornell has been able to weave a might tale that is a rotating cycle of humor, action, and suspense. The isolation that the series is able to tender given its unique time frame works to its benefit as Cornell was given more liberties with the story he wanted to tell. Now we must say farewell to our former bard as he concludes his story, not with a whisper though, but with a bang.

Demon Knights seals up its original run with something that has been dubbed “the Battle of Three Armies”, which is about as exciting as it sounds. Well, perhaps not to our erstwhile protagonists who happen to be caught in the middle of the fray. Cornell is not distracted by the ruckus that his story has developed toward and uses it instead to go out with more shining character moments, all of which are as golden as they have ever been. Once again our heroes have been pushed toward the side that is nominally “good” whether they like it or not. Insight is given through this situation from some surprising lenses, especially from the likes of Vandal Savage – a character who has gone down as a fan favorite and who will be receiving some more inter-universal appearances in the near future with titles like All-Star Western. The character interactions have always been the highlight, and this does not dissapoint.

Of particular note is the subtle but still rather satisfying conclusion to the small character arc Jason Blood has been subjected over the last couple of installments within this story arc. It is a testament to Paul Cornell’s skill within this day in age to make a few panels mean so much. Along with the relationship between Excorsistos and The Shining Knight, these are the two plot threads that are given a tangible feeling of closure. Cornell might be leaving a few strands hanging, but the couple he does tie up give his run a definite end. One should be able to read singular runs as complete stories and Cornell does his best to deliver that within the pages allotted. It has been quite a trip following the adventures that came from his mind and while one might have wished him to stay, it was Cornell’s decision and we must always choose our endings.

Symbolizing the change in regime starting next month with Demon Knights #16, Merlin goes through his own “rebirth” within these pages – becoming fresher, younger, or in a shorter word, new. X-O Manowar writer Robert Venditti will be taking the reins in January and from all Demon Knights acolytes everywhere I would like to wish him the best of luck. We will never forget what Paul Cornell was able to bring to the table, but we hope that Venditti will be able to carry on the legacy.

The question that must be answered is can he stick the landing of what is to come - as we rejoin the Demon Knights in 2013 and return to their adventures - Thirty Years Later!  



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