Friday, September 16, 2011

Demon Knights #1 Annotations

Finally -- original content!

One of the main features of this site will be annotations for new issues of Demon Knights as well as comic books from the past featuring the stars of Demon Knights. Although I have an encyclopedic knowledge of some corners of the DC Universe *cough*Flash*cough*, this is not one of them. Therefore, I will be googling and researching furiously to compile these, until eventually I do have an encyclopedic knowledge of this corner, too!

I'll be linking to various wikis where you can learn more about each topic. For the non-DC-specific stuff, I'll link to Wikipedia. For the DC-specific stuff, I'll link to the DC Comics Database. Here we go!

Page 1. This is probably Sir Bedivere, but maybe it's Sir Griflet. Whaa?? If you think reboots and retcons are bad in comic books, try a centuries-old legend.

So here's the deal. The next couple pages follow pretty closely with established Arthurian legend. However, there are so many sources for this legend that there are lots of contradictions.

On one hand, there's the Vulgate Cycle. This was a 12th Century French recounting of the Arthur story, divided into five sections. The fifth was Mort Artu, i.e., "The Death of Arthur". In this version, we have Sir Griflet.

The well-known 15th Century English Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory follows the Vulgate Cycle for many of its details, but uses Sir Bedivere for this scene instead, which he cribbed from the 14th Century stanzaic Le Morte Arthur.

Check out the amazing Timeless Myths for more on this story.

The sword that Bedivere/Griflet is holding is none other than the famous Excalibur.

In the background, we see Camelot burning. In this issue, all the information that we are given regarding why it is burning is that "beasts" are somehow involved. However, Jack Kirby's The Demon (Volume 1) #1 (which I'll be annotating soon!) opens with a similar scene, and these beasts are are under the command of Morgaine le Fay. It remains to see whether this still is still true in the post-Flashpoint universe.

Page 2, Panel 1. According to Malory, the occupants of the boat are Morgan le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, the Queen of Northgales, the Queen of Waste Lands, and of course, the mortally wounded King Arthur.

Of course, it would be strange for MLF to be taking Arthur off to be healed while simultaneously sacking his castle. One could safely suppose that either she's not in the boat, or the fall of Camelot is not her doing post-Flashpoint.

Panel 2. According to Layamon's Brut, Arthur was taken to Argante, the beautiful elf queen of Avalon. There's an entire Wikipedia article on the possible return of Arthur.

Page 3, Panel 3. Madame Xanadu first appeared in 1978's Doorway to Nightmare #1. It was later established, in her solo Vertigo series, that her real name was Nimue Inwudu and that she was the younger sister of MLF and the Lady of the Lake. Interestingly enough, in some accounts, Nimue was the Lady of the Lake.

Page 4, Panel 1 The wizard Merlin needs no introduction.

Panel 2. Enter Etrigan, our main character. Interestingly enough, in Jack Kirby's The Demon #1, Merlin actually did use Etrigan to help defend the castle.

The printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440. Libraries had been around since antiquity.

The book on Merlin's desk may be the Eternity Book, which plays an important role in the first two issues of Kirby's series.

Panel 3. Enter Jason Blood, who (as we will see shortly), will become Etrigan's human host. Norwich is an actual city in England. In fact, during the 11th century, it was its most populous city.

Page 6, Panel 1. The idea that Camelot had risen and fallen many times apparently comes from Grant Morrison's Shining Knight series.

Page 7. The character lit in purple in the middle of the page is the "Mystery Woman" who appeared in Flashpoint #5. She has appeared in all the New 52 #1's published so far.

The man on the left's bird mount reminds me of a chocobo.

Page 8, Panel 1. Note that we're now inside the castle mounted on top of the brontosaurus-like creature seen on the previous page.

Enter Mordru, who ironically first appeared in the far future as a Legion of Super-Heroes villain. There is some internet speculation that the queen is MLF.

Page 10, Panel 1. Note that the dialogue says "Little Spring" on the next page, but the map says "Little Pass". Mistake?

Googling "Alba Sarum" only brings up references to this very issue. However, "Alba" is the Scottish Gaelic word for "Scotland", and "Sarum" is another name for the English town of Salisbury, which is famous for being near Stonehenge.

Page 12, Panel 1. Enter Vandal Savage, an immortal caveman. Notice his coiled serpent belt buckle. I've googled high and low for this specific symbol with no luck. Check out this Wikipedia page for a myriad possibilities as to its meaning.

The name of the inn may refer to one of the various times that Rome was sacked.

Panel 3. Brigantia lies in what is now Yorkshire.

Page 13, Panel 1. Notice the hooded character talking to the bartender in the background. He'll come into play soon.

Panel 2. Enter Sir Ystin(a), a Grant Morrison creation based on the Golden Age Shining Knight, Sir Justin.

Page 14, Panel 1. Enter Al Jabr, a new character. His name is Arabic for "restoration" and just so happens to be the origin of the word "algebra".

Panel 2. Enter Exoristos, a new character. Her name is Greek for "exiled". Internet speculation is that she is an Amazon, like Wonder Woman.

Page 15, Panel 1. Note that the monk here looks an awful lot like the one we saw on Page 11.

Panel 4. Enter Horsewoman, also a new character. DC's The Source blog did a feature on her back in July. There's been some comparisons drawn between her and Oracle, seeing as both are redheads who can't walk. However, post-Flashpoint, Oracle is Oracle no more as she has regained the use of her legs and resumed her career as Batgirl.

Page 17, Panel 1. "Concealed within the form of man"? Ugh, I guess I picked the wrong name for this blog...

1 comment:

  1. It's a bit boring this insistence of DC writers in creating amazons with male names, as Philippos and now this Exoristos. Her name should be Exoriste.