The cast.note 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.
Demon Knights is an ongoing comicbook published by DC Comics, initially written by Paul Cornell and later by Robert Venditti. 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 shows the origin of the Ancient Tradition of the rebooted Stormwatch (which Cornell began), its lasted 23 issues.Not to be confused withDemon Knight.
Bigger on the Inside: The tower of Camelot is gargantuan on the inside, and is said to be all the Camelots merged together.
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. He betrays them to the Questing Queen just before the siege is about to begin, then betrays the Queen herself once the battle is joined
(possibly Mythology Gag depending on what official policy on Vertigo Comics is this week): Lucifer is easily bored, and while he's certainly happy to invade Avalon he can't help wondering what the point is. You get the feeling that in a mere thousand years, he'll decide to quit altogether and do something else.
At the end of #14, King Arthur calls them his "Watchers of the Storm" and describes them as "eminences of blades, modern Apollos, doctors of magic, an engineer". All codenames from the current Stormwatch apart from "doctors of magic" (which may be foreshadowing the Doctor from The Authority being introduced to Stormwatch).
Category Traitor: A few lines early on suggest that due to her Amazon upbringing, Exoristos sees both Madame Xanadu and Shining Knight as this on the basis of their sex — Xanadu for being the "wrong" kind of woman by Amazon brawler standards and Shining Knight for presenting as male. She gets better, but it's implied this still strains their team dynamic and might have ended her later romantic relationship with Ystin.
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. Then this promptly proves to be a bad idea as the Horsewoman shoots her in her exposed stomach for encouraging a girl to do a mission which resulted in her death.
Chekhov's Gun: The Waters of Avalon, a minor detail from the beginning of the second arc, end up being the key to defeating the armies of both Lucifer and the Questing Queen in the climax of the third arc.
The Black Diamond that Exoristos took as part of her deal with Lucifer to get released. It causes strife and hatred, ultimately leading to Exoristos and Ysitn's break up, along with causing strife within Al Jabr's city after she leaves it there. Ultimately it becomes the key to defeating the Giant's army and controlling the power of the Holy Grail.
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 raiding forces.
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, he later does this a few more times before the series end.
Etrigan after the second arc betrays the team and sends them to hell but by the post time skip arc most of characters still tolerate him because of his power.
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.
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.
King Arthur: Arthurian mythology plays a significant role in the series. The founding and destruction of Camelot was experienced by multiple characters, 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. King Arthur himself joins the team briefly, having left Avalon.
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.
Mugging the Monster: Issue #10 opens with pirates attempting to rob the team as they travel to Britain, unaware of just who it is they are robbing.
And in issue #22, a half-dozen thieves attempt to mug them. It goes about as well as could be expected:
Sir Ystin: We've faced dragons, demons, and a giant sea beast, but you common thieves have us truly scared.
Noble Demon: Etrigan, quite literally when it comes to Madame Xanadu.
Nonindicative 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.
The name comes from something Sir Ystin shouted during a vision quest which the rest of the group decided was A Good Name for a Rock Band. Said vision quest was supposed to warn them about a group of Demon Knights. The Daemonites.
Older Than They Look: A lot of the human cast have immortality as a factor, but Sir Ystin in particular has been around a long time (though their apparent age varies depending on the artist).
Our Dragons Are Different: True dragons are flesh-and-blood dinosaurs, whereas "Heraldic" dragons are mechanical devices controlled by people.
Queer as Tropes: To a surprising degree. It isn't made a big deal out of, either.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: We have a Muslim tech genius, a paraplegic horsewoman, a lesbian/bisexual exiled Amazon, an immortal transgender knight, a proto-supervillain comic relief, and a demon, his dude and their magic-wielding polyamorous girlfriend.
A Rare Sentence: Savage gets "Look! It's a pirate sea serpent! That is something I have never shouted before!" And considering he's an immortal caveman, that's impressive.
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.
Seen It All: They are a team of immortals, so they have all seen many things. Vandal Savage exclaims with glee any time he encounters something he has not seen before, or when he encounters something he has not seen for centuries.
Serious Business: In Hell, rhyming is very important. Lucifer even chides Etrigan for flubbing a simple rhyme. It's also mentioned there are also prose demons, lyrical demons and "fell editors".
Shadow Archetype: The Questing Queen to the Shining Knight; both seek the Holy Grail, but while Ystin is idealistic, desexualized and self-sacrificing, the Questing Queen is mature, feminine and ruthless.
Ship Tease: After seeing Shining Knight slay a giant wolf monster, Exoristos exclaims that Knight's performance was arousing. Knight does not quite know how to respond. In issue #14 Exoristos asks if Ystin would like to move in together. Y'know, once they get out of Hell and all that.
Shoryuken: Vandal Savage does this to a giant sea serpent in issue #10.
Something We Forgot: In #16, Exoristos, the Horsewoman and Sir Ystin are thrown in a dungeon. Exoristos and Sir Ystin are chained together on either side of a wall to prevent them trying to escape. A guard comes and fetches Exoristos and the Horsewoman, leaving Sir Ystin on the other side of the wall wondering where everyone has gone.
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, unfortunately Etrigan has the hots for Xanadu as well.
Lucifer: LEGIONS OF HELL — TODAY WE CONQUER A NEW LAND OF THE DEAD! ...Which is very exciting. I suppose.
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.
Would Hurt a Child: Vandal Savage kills a village boy when the boy discovers Vandal leaving them to fend for themselves against the questing queen.
Wrong Genre Savvy: The entire team is surprised when, after slaying a giant wolf monster, it transforms back into a regular wolf. Al Jabr points out that he was not expecting it to be an actual wolf.
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.