I love the sword and sorcery genre. This will not be a news flash to long-time readers. Take a quick glance at my archives and you’ll see my many reviews of Conan The Barbarian, Mike Grell’s Warlord, Red Sonja, King Kull and more. So when word came out that one of the New 52 titles was going to be a fantasy piece set in the medieval days of the DC Universe, you can imagine that piquing my interest. And when it was announced that the team would consist of Knight And Squire writer Paul Cornell and Green Arrow artist Diogenes Neves, my interest became outright enthusiasm.
What Cornell has done with this book is simply brilliant. Within the context of a standard fantasy stock plot (evil queen destroying everything) he has brought together several of DC Comics vast stable of immortal and/or magical characters and concepts to create something wholly original. Of course we knew Sir Jason O’ The Blood – one of the last knights of Camelot, bonded to Merlin’s pet demon – was going to be in this book the minute we heard the title. But who would have suspected we’d see world-conquering villain Vandal Savage during his Conan phase? Or one of the Bana Amazons, freshly exiled from Paradise Island and forced into Man’s World?
Diogenes Neves proved to be particularly skilled at drawing medieval weapons and battle-sequences during his run on Green Arrow. For that reason alone, he would be a fine choice for this book. But his skill goes far beyond merely drawing people swinging sword – he also has a fine gift for faces, drawing unique and distinct characters that are instantly recognizable without having to look at their clothing. And I dare say he draws the best Etrigan I’ve ever seen.
The only reason you should not give this book a shot is if, for some reason, you have an aversion to the fantasy genre. Old-school DC Comics fans will love it for the unique concept which lets us view classic characters in a whole new way. Despite this, new readers will be pleased to find that this title requires no background knowledge of the characters involved and will be able to get into it just as easily as long-time readers.