Marvel Super Heroes #4 (Black Knight)
Issue(s): Marvel Super Heroes #4 (Black Knight story only)
Granted it's just a filler story, but it's a filler story with nice Alan Davis art.
The story has a kind of jerky man trying to get the police to enforce a court order telling his ex-wife to hand over custody of their son. But the police are repelled by armored knights. The Black Knight, compelled by the curse in his sword, shows up to help out. When the Black Knight makes his way to the mother, he finds that she's wearing an amulet that he recognizes as belonging to a wizard named Kalmari.
The Black Knight fought Kalmari during the period where he was trapped back in time during the twelfth century.
The amulet transforms the woman into a dragon.
The Black Knight has to hold back, both for fear of killing the mother and for drawing blood and thus reactivating his sword's curse.
He eventually tries talking to the dragon and reaching the mother inside. That works, and the dragon transforms back into a woman. The spirit of Kalmari then appears...
...but the Black Knight slices through that, destroying the amulet.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is meant to take place after Dr. Strange has removed the curse of the Black Knight's sword in Doctor Strange #68 and before the curse is reactivated in Avengers #293. I've pushed it back to the period where the Black Knight was using a Steed of Wundagore during Roger Stern's run.
Instead of pointing to every other story from this issue, let me just point here. The Considerations on that entry will link to the others.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This was originally intended for Solo Avengers. I guess it got shunted to Marvel Super Heroes when the format changed?
Posted by: Michael | July 29, 2015 7:58 PM
I've always been a fan of the Black Knight. I never felt he would be able to support his own ongoing title, but I always thought he'd be perfect for a regular short feature somewhere. You could draw upon either his "knight" status or scientific background for storylines.
Posted by: Bill | July 29, 2015 9:51 PM
I think almost any character could support his own title. It really depends on the following:
1) How filled is the "niche" in the market already? If it is already occupied, another title may not get the following. But if not, even if the niche is not hot, there may be enough fans who would give a quality title a try.
2) Will there be a good supporting cast? A cast that is likable and can lead to good subplots is essential. This is something overlooked too much. Solo titles really need a good civilian cast to ground the hero into a believable world.
3) Has the writer come up with a goods rogues gallery? Nothing hurts new titles more than lackluster villains, or when the first issues are only telling a single story that fails to showcase more than one. Are the villains appropriate for the hero? Do they showcase his powers and abilities? Are the villains varied in the menace they offer? (Victoria Bentley would be a good place to start, as well as perhaps other English characters who were involved in fantasy/occult like some of the Vampire Hunting team of the old Tomb of Dracula, or perhaps some of Thor's old abandoned cast who might fit in well with a fantasy hero - I always liked that reporter Hobbs).
At this time period, I would have loved a BK series since I was fan of the character under Stern. I agree it would have been hard, but that is only because so little was done to establish him outside the Avengers team, and he had no obvious rogues gallery. However, with some thought and planning, one could have been provided for him.
The Black Knight is grounded in "historical" lore (Marvel's England), connotations of the occult (Merlin's sword), and Dane's own scientific background and atomic steed. This is a good base to build on. It just needs to be integrated together so that it does not seem chaotic and lacking unity. A good place to start is for Dane to use his scientific knowledge to investigate unique properties of the meteorite that was used to forge the ebony blade and other related fantasy phenomenon (while staying away from occult aspects that stray too far from it). Still keep it four color heroics so it wouldn't be the more grittier occult stories like the Marvel horror heroes of the 1970s.
Of course, this is not easy to do. Most writers of superhero comics are mere maintainers and seem incapable of generating additional content. They merely recycle what others provided. So the likelihood of that happening is slim.
Posted by: Chris | July 29, 2015 10:25 PM
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