SIR Ystin's Quest, Renewed
Chad Hardin's art is pretty good in the opening sequence, but towards the end of the issue it starts to deteriorate a bit, culminating in the battle with the hydra beast depicted on the cover. This battle reminds me plenty of other battles we've seen, especially the demonic creatures they fought on the way to Avalon, but there's something a little hollow about it. The art is at its absolute weakest during this portion, and it just feels like it's going through the motions. Everyone attacks, and then a team effort is made for the final strike. Nothing much made me really invested in the battle, and part of it was the art.
At this point, I'm not feeling like Venditti writes the characters quite as deeply as Cornell did. Like I said last issue, Horsewoman does little more than talk to her horse for some comic relief, Jason doesn't do anything but summon Etrigan in a fight, and Vandal Savage is the comic relief. Though to be fair, Savage is EXCELLENT comic relief while still being a badass.
There's a lot of focus being put on Shining Knight and Exoristos in this arc, which is pretty well done aside from one major flaw. Venditti has been constantly having characters refer to him as female. I can understand Hippolyta doing it, but for Exoristos to do it even half as much as she does in this issue is a slap in the face of a great character, and all transgendered readers who felt represented by Shining Knight. And Exoristos' whole exile subplot is resolved far too easily.
In Conclusion: 3/5
It's unfortunate, but at this point the cracks are starting to show in Venditti's run, but he had a damn hard act to follow. The art wasn't as great in this issue, there were a whole handful of rushed plot points, and overall the fight and much of the character interaction felt a bit hollow. But mostly I can't forgive Venditti for having Exoristos not stand up for Shining Knight's gender.