Marvel Fanfare #52-54 (Black Knight)
Issue(s): Marvel Fanfare #52, Marvel Fanfare #53, Marvel Fanfare #54 (Black Knight stories only)
He gets separated from him army and winds up having to team up with an Arab soldier called Saracen to fight the demon Moloch.
Then he fights an Arab sorcerer who drugs soldiers to turn them into assassins.
The stories are entertaining enough but feature some Arab stereotypes that seem out of place in a story written in 1990. (Although the stories do make an effort to show that the Crusaders were responsible for atrocities during the wars).
The final issues get into the politics between the European kings that were involved in the Crusades...
...and shows the Austrian king forming an alliance with the evil Arab wizard from part 2.
The Black Knight bumps into a young Prester John...
...and they prevent King Richard's assassination. However, because the Black Knight earlier protested Richard's treatment of the Arabs, he's not entirely welcome. So King Richard rewards the Black Knight by officially knighting him...
...but then banishes him and declares that no history shall be kept of him, resolving any time travel discrepancies.
The editori-Al in issue #54 jokes (?) that Marvel's Sales Department didn't think that the Black Knight could be a big commercial success, which is why there's also a separate Wolverine back-up story.
That's interesting because a little earlier than the publication of these issues, the Black Knight came up as one of the most popular Avengers that didn't already have a series as part of a poll to see who might replace Hawkeye in Solo Avengers. That actually resulted in a mini-series that ran partially concurrently with these issues, but ended a little earlier. It's possible that sales on the mini were what the Sales Department had in mind. There's really nothing here that would change readers' minds, although i guess it's nice to fill out the period where the Black Knight was trapped back in time.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place during the Crusades, but from the Black Knight's perspective it takes place after he goes back in time after Defenders #11. The Black Knight does not return to the present until Avengers #225-226.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Steven Grant provided some very detailed information on the background of these Black Knight stories in an interview earlier this year...
These were originally written in the late 1970s, but they obviously didn't see print until over a decade later.
Posted by: Ben Herman | December 12, 2015 9:25 PM
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