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Demon Knights
by yo go re

Wait, this isn't based on a Tales From the Crypt movie!

Jason Blood, once a mortal man who lived centuries ago, was bound to Etrigan after the Demon was summoned by none other than the wizard Merlin. Jason was rendered immortal and granted the ability to swap places with his demonic counterpart upon saying the magic words. Though Jason has tried many times to exert his will over Etrigan while he is transformed, the Demon is too powerful to be completely contained. Still, more often than not, Etrigan, despite his nature, is interested in the greater good - even if his motives and methods remain suspect.

DC's "New 52" reboot was not very strongly planned from the outset. Confusing and contradictory editorial mandates, some books being allowed to continue their existing storylines while others had characters forced into new situations and new origins... it was a mess. But there was also some room for innovation and experimentation, which is how we got Demon Knights, a book that might otherwise have never been approved.

Set in the (indeterminate faux-medieval) past, Demon Knights followed a group of... well, not "heroes," exactly, so a group of characters who were recruited to help protect Camelot from the forces of Morgan le Fey. Think "The Magnificent Seven," but with castles instead of cowboys. That's why this Demon is wearing a full suit of armor rather than his traditional costume. His arms, legs, and stomach are covered by scale mail, while he's got thicker plates on his shins, forearms, and shoulders. The breastplate is intricate, with a big symbol on the chest that (absent any context, and with the added knowledge of a DC Comics connection) looks like he's trying to be a member of the Bat-family. There are spikes on the bracers, and fine patterns on the shoulders and shins.

The only "normal" part of Etrigan's design is the head. He's got the yellow skin, the ears that look like fish fins, all that. The head here is smooth on top, where in the comics it had some bumps and ridges. The head is also wider and shorter than Diogenes Neves' art, though it's not like he's going to be hard to recognize regardless.

The particular shade of yellow chosen for his exposed skin is a darker mustardy color, rather than the toyish bright yellow seen on previous Etrigans. The scale mail is light silver, with the firmer armor darker. It's hard to tell that the symbol on his chest is supposed to be some kind of demonic face, because the eyes are the same red as the rest, rather than being grey. Also they didn't bother to sculpt the nose slits. Plus, all those sculpted flames on the chest and shoulders? They should have been painted red as well. And the discs that hold his cape on. His cape which should be blue, not lavender.

The Demon has a balljointed head, balljoint/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge/swivel wrists, a balljointed chest, balljointed waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel/hinge/swivel ankles, and hinged toes. The thighs are a bit too high to really be of much use, but that's the way all these joints work - they have since Fortnite. His cape and loincloth are soft PVC, so they can move out of the way pretty well.

Etrigan's only accessory is a sword. It's not a magical sword, it's not a special sword... it's just a sword he happens to use. It's definitely a shape that would work best in fantasy, sort of a curving half-scimitar [so like Dothraki weapons, then? --ed.] Someone didn't think the crossguard through very well, though: the raised parts on the ends are to trap your oppenent's sword, right? Well the front side of the sword comes out farther than the crossguard, so in order to trap anything, the opposing sword would have to get up under the hook at the end, then over the crossguard and back down. Best not to think about it. The sword can be held in either hand.

Demon Knights was a really fun book. It was basically a D&D campaign in the DC Universe, complete with everyone first getting together at a tavern. The dynamic between all the characters was awesome - especially Etrigan and Jason Blood, which was the heart of the series. The 7" scale of McFarlane's DC toys has made them easy to ignore, but if they did more of the Demon Knights, I might finally have to give in.

-- 10/09/21

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