Friday, July 19, 2013

Demon Knights #22

Within the look of this cover is the key to why I dislike Jim Lee's style.

I looked up Howard Porter (who did the cover!) because I wasn't familiar with his name and I simply adore this cover. Turns out he, and this probably doesn't come as news to anybody else, did pencils on Grant Morrison's JLA in the late 90s. That stuff looks pretty Jim Leeish, so I never would have guessed. But this cover? I love it. It's fairly gritty with none of that sleek shine. It's somewhat cartoony and exaggerated which I often prefer to photorealism. But then there's a demon and a half-vampire on this cover, so photorealism might be a bit absurd.

Wait, wait. Don't move on yet! Let's just drink in that sentence one more time, out of context: "Photorealism might be a bit absurd." Oh, if a truer statement exists....

I didn't know how to finish that last sentence so I just shoved a bunch of periods on the end of it.

This issue begins with Vandal Savage already beaten down by the giants of the Treasure Vault. I'm glad Venditti has decided to continue to tell Savage's story although I was prepared to have this book end with his whereabouts and condition unknown.

I also like the sketchiness of Chad Hardin's art, although it might not be very noticeable in this scan. I don't know if this sketchiness is on purpose or this is simply what happens when you don't have an inker. Either way, it's satisfying something in my liver. Or spleen. Or gizzard. Dammit! Which organ is it that processes aesthetics? Oh! The brain!

Unsurprisingly, Vandal Savage immediately turns on Jason Blood and his cohorts when the Giants threaten to cut him in half. I think Savage is more concerned about his outfit than his life. He offers to lead the giants back to The Grail and the thieves that made off with it.

By the way, do y'all know about this site: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee? I'd watched the Ricky Gervais one previously and just watched the Chris Rock one this morning. Those are two of my favorite comedians but I really should watch more of these when I can squeeze in some extra non-comic book reading time.

The rest of the Demon Knights return to al Jabr to tell him they have The Grail. Oh, and that they also took care of Cain! It's too bad al Jabr is mortal. I'll miss him in the DC Universe once this title is cancelled and no more stories take place in 1043 CE. al Jabr wants to take a look inside the Grail Box because he's a scientist and until he sees what's in the box, it may as well contain Cracker Jacks. Oh, and one of those little fuzzy cardboard things that would change color to tell you how humid it was. Being that I grew up in California, my fuzzy little cardboard thing never turned pink. But The Shining Knight refuses to question the contents of the box! She insists that it remained closed for vague and barely intelligible reasons!

By "vague and barely intelligible reasons," I meant faith based reasons. And she should really have somebody take a look at that.

The Demon Knights have only stopped by al-Wadi to resupply before they search for Merlin to return the Grail to him. While they're in town though, they may be able to help al-Jabr stop his city from descending into chaos. Isn't that always the way? You build a city dedicated to science, logic, and reason and it's taken over by thugs and thieves. Desire for the greater good can never win out over desire for one's own best interests. This is why faith eventually wins out over rationalization and civilization crumbles. Things don't fall apart because men are having sex with other men and because people deny the existence of God; things fall apart because people want to believe that their ego, their personality, will never, ever be extinguished if only they follow a bunch of ancient laws and vague, interpreted scripture concerned with life 2000 years ago. People like to believe that religion is full of charity and helping others. Bullshit. All religion is based on a selfish desire to exist forever.

Y'all knew I was a cynical bastard, right?

The Demon Knights head to their rooms to get some rest. The Horsewoman chooses to sleep outdoors with Brickwedge, so they're the first to notice the odd trembling when Savage's giants have arrived.

Too bad nobody in the DCnU owns a shrink ray.

The Giants descend on al-Wadi and fire a warning shot which destroys the city's watchtower. But more importantly, it knocks Merlin's Box off of a table, spilling The Holy Grail to the floor. The box was designed to hide The Grail from those that would use it for their own desires. And now that it's out of the box, I imagine The Queen and many others will also be descending on al-Wadi.

But that probably won't happen until around Issue #25! For now, The Grail simply causes an explosion of uncontrolled growth in the flora. To stop the wild vines encasing the city and its people, The Horsewoman manages to place it back in Merlin's Box. In the process, her legs are healed.

And that's what happens when I have a nice hot coffee and doughnut to get to! I summarize the last ten pages in two paragraphs without even trying to be funny! Time to eat!

Demon Knights #22 Rating: No change. This is very nearly my favorite comic book, right after my other favorite comic books which I can't think of right now but they might exist so I'm hedging my bets and not saying, "This is my favorite comic book!" But since I'm not completely biased, it isn't #1 because Batman by Scott Snyder has pretty much been the stand out comic book of The New 52 from the get go. But this book is more fun!

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