Hundreds of years before Superman guarded the skies, a group of ageless fighters stood up against evil. DC Comics' Medieval team book Demon Knights features Etrigan, Vandal Savage and a host of other classic heroes kicking butt and engraving names. Issue #15 of the comic saw a massive showdown — and the departure of the book's original writer, Paul Cornell.
What's in store for the Demon Knights now? Here's your exclusive first look at Demon Knights #16 — plus an exclusive interview with the book's new writer, Robert Venditti:
So I understand issue #16 takes place 30 years after issue #15. How much has changed? And what's the reason for such a long jump in time?
Just about everything has changed. The team has experienced some falling-outs, and a large part of the first arc's early issues will be centered on bringing them back together. There's a major threat facing Europe — something no one has seen before —and it'll take the combined might of the Demon Knights to stop it.
The reason for the time jump is simple. The book has a large number of immortal characters, so I wanted to explore that. The passage of time affects people in different ways, both outwardly and inwardly. I also felt the change would offer readers a clean jumping-on point.
How hard is it to get used to writing Etrigan's rhyming dialogue?
Up to this point, the series has set a precedent where Etrigan doesn't rhyme except during key situations, and we're keeping with that.
Are there going to be some shakeups of the team? Or is it roughly the same members?
All of the team's core members will be present, but in ways readers hopefully won't expect. Demon Knights may be considered a team book, but the word "team" is a very loose interpretation of what they are. They're more like a band of not-so-merry misfits, so they don't have the strong ties to each other that other teams might. To say this will lead to some conflict between the characters is a huge understatement.
How weird is it to try and meld superhero tropes with medieval fantasy tropes? Are you discovering those two very different genres have something in common, thus far?
I don't know how much I think of the Demon Knights as superheroes. Yes, they have certain talents and abilities that set them apart from the average person, but I wouldn't put them in the same category as Superman or Batman. These characters are medieval first, and they're shaped by the time and place in which they live. That's part of what makes this such a unique title, not just in the DCU, but in the wider comics marketplace as well.
Which character is the most fun to write, thus far?
Etrigan and Vandal Savage are obvious choices, but I'm having just as much fun writing Horsewoman. She's such a compelling character. A paraplegic living in the Dark Ages‹the conflict just leaps off the page. All the cast members have their interesting quirks, though, including Brickwedge, a new character who'll be showing up in issue 17.