Paul Cornell’s Knight and Squire is… well, I have no idea what it is. When reviewing Kathryn Immonen’s fantastic and underrated (and extraordinarily uneven) Patsy Walker: Hellcat, I reviewed one issue with a resounding, “Uh… wait, what?” and was unable to give it a letter grade or even make a coherent statement about the issue. Paul Cornell’s Knight and Squire belongs in a similar category. Though it has less concentrated weirdness than Immonen’s wonderful series, each stand-alone issue is a bizarre, humorous exploration of an underutilized portion of its comic universe.
Knight and Squire is a six-issue mini-series with no noticeable ongoing narrative or connecting elements. It boasts no big-name cameos. It’s a comedy book where almost every gag is a British in-joke. And it’s impossibly fun. While much of DC is wallowing in the past and making a bloody spectacle of it, Cornell and artist Jimmy Broxton are carving out their own bizarre chunk of the DC Universe to play around in.
Jimmy Broxton’s art is lively and playful, a solid (if unspectacular) addition to a series that could be described in much the same way. If nothing else, however, credit must be given: Broxton has had to create a stunning array of strange, faded C/D-list heroes and villains, and he’s succeeded wildly in making the world of English super-heroics come alive in the weirdest possible way.
The first three issues of Knight and Squire have been a pleasant surprise. In particular, Knight and Squire #3, stands out as a good example of a funny, well-executed issue of comics. While the first two issues were funny, they were hardly memorable: the Morris Men were so particularly British a bad-guy, and the first issue hardly had a villain at all. The third issue, however, ripped a villain straight from the pages of Shakespeare – self-serving asides to the audience included – making the humor much more universal. And believe me, this can be a very funny book if its style of humor is up your alley.
Ultimately, Knight and Squire will likely go down in the books as a quirky novelty project, and much like Patsy Walker, will be quickly forgotten by all but a small, devoted cult of comic fans. For now, however, it’s an engaging series, fit for the fan desperately looking for something different. I’ll check back in at the end of the series to see how it’s come along, but for now, Knight and Squire is strange and interesting and little more.