Black Knight #1-4
Issue(s): Black Knight #1, Black Knight #2, Black Knight #3, Black Knight #4
Maybe it's just my personal bias, but i'd bet that when Black Knight had a strong showing in the surveys that were conducted in consideration of replacing Hawkeye in Avengers Spotlight, most people voting for him probably had in mind the depiction of the character from Roger Stern's Avengers run. And probably the last thing on anyone's mind was the idea of him being possessed by the spirit of his ancestor, Sir Percy, for an entire story. But, even though Roy Thomas confirms in a text piece that the remit of this series was to bring Black Knight back from the status quo he was left in during Walt Simonson's run, what we get here is indeed a four parter that is much more about Sir Percy than Dane Whitman.
The story starts off with Hawkeye and Captain America dropping the still petrified Black Knight off at Victoria Bentley's new mansion in Washington, DC.
When the Avengers leave (and half a book devoted to recapping the Black Knight's history), Victoria casts a spell summoning Sir Percy. The spell actually causes Sir Percy's armor to appear...
...and then Victoria takes the helmet and puts it on top of Dane's helmet...
...allowing Percy to possess Dane's body.
Victoria has been doing all this because she's being pursued by demons that are minions of Morgana Le Fey and Mordred.
Sir Percy hops on Valinor, the horse that once had wings before Dr. Strange removed them because Valinor supposedly couldn't exist in our low magic world. And the wings reappear when Sir Percy mounts him.
After Sir Percy fights off that demon, we see Mordred and Le Fey reviving the long dormant Dreadknight.
Meanwhile, Victoria takes the Black Knight to get help from Captain Britain.
They travel to the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, which apparently used to be the site of Morgan's castle.
While they're investigating, they run into an Irish boy named Sean Dolan, who will inexplicably tag along with the group for the rest of the story (because Roy Thomas likes the idea of the Black Knight having a squire). Dolan will later become the villain Bloodwraith.
On a whim, Victoria takes off the Black Knight's helmet, revealing that Dane's previous helmet has disappeared, leaving him with a Zorro-like mask.
Then Dreadknight attacks.
Dreadknight is apparently into extreme exposition. I also love that Black Knight immediately recognizes a guy that Iron Man fought exactly once, although i grant that he and his Hellhorse are pretty distinctive.
Dane once again begins to stiffen up due to the curse, but resists putting the helmet back on, even as the spirits of Morgan Le Fey and Modred can be heard.
He eventually relents, and Sir Percy is able to knock out Dreadknight. Captain Britain spends pretty much the entire fight unconscious.
I like seeing Dreadknight again, but beyond that the only real appeal of these issues so far is Tony DeZuniga's Prince Valiant impression. So it's kind of a shame when he's replaced with Rich Buckler. And both artists are playing things a bit too seriously considering Roy Thomas' sometimes tongue-in-cheek script. Here's Thomas making fun of his own verbosity.
Victoria is falling because they're trying to get into Dr. Strange's house without taking into account his protective spells. They've left Captain Britain behind but kept Sean Dolan with them for some reason. Sean is just some kid that happened to be wandering around the Giant's Causeway and see some lights. I don't know why they brought him.
They've come to Strange because they heard a prophecy from Le Fey, saying that she'll be able to re-enter the world when her castle is rebuilt. That's actually why they were investigating her castle's former location.
For now, they decide to go to into the dimension where Le Fey and Mordred are currently. And yes, Sean goes with them.
Thomas addresses the fact that Sir Percy is always so serious, even though he had a human side in the old Timely comics.
They run into Modred and Morgana, who has the Evil Eye.
She uses the Eye to summon Balor.
The good guys are in trouble. But Victoria Bentley had stayed behind to manage the Orb of Agamotto, and she shows up now possessed by Valkyrie.
As far as i can tell, this ignores the fact that the Valkyrie, along with the other New Dead Defenders, got new human hosts in Doctor Strange #3-4 (it seems like Roy Thomas still hadn't read those issues, even after the Morgana Blessing screw-up).
After Valkyrie helps rescue everyone, Dr. Strange suggests that Victoria de-merge with the Valkyrie, or else she'll go mad (or at least we readers will, if we have to delve into the Valkyrie's complicated origin again).
It's determined that the stones of Morgan Le Fey's castle were used in building London Bridge, and London Bridge has been moved to Lake Havasu City, Arizona (it's true!). So they go there next, and fight some demons.
And also the Wicker Man.
When the other good guys get trapped in the Wicker Man, Sir Percy is forced to swear loyalty to Le Fey.
But you know how he's going to get out of this, right? He takes his helmet off, becoming Dane Whitman, who is not bound by the pledge.
Sir Percy then merges with the Ebony Blade, and that will (indefinitely) keep the curse in check.
So now Dane can fight Le Fey and the very whiny Mordred.
Dane actually attacks Morgan's castle, and that sends them back to the dimension they were trapped in.
And that's that. It does reverse the curse of the Ebony Blade, but you wouldn't think it would take 4 issues to do it (and indeed there's no reason why Sir Percy couldn't have immediately entered the sword instead of waiting until the end).
So we have four issues of Sir Percy and his thees and thous. Even when we get Dane, it's not the personable and science-oriented character from Stern's run. We're still dealing entirely with the mystical. Roy Thomas of course created this character and i guess should be able to do what he wanted with him, but it's not what i, at least, would have wanted from a Black Knight miniseries.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Captain Britain and Dr. Strange's appearances are context free (although it obviously can't take place during the Cross Time Caper).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBalor, Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Black Knight (Sir Percy of Scandia), Bloodwraith, Captain America, Captain Britain, Catherwood, Dr. Strange, Dreadknight, Hawkeye, Hellhorse, Mordred the Evil, Morgan Le Fey, Valinor, Valkyrie, Victoria Bentley, Wong
"(and indeed there's no reason why Sir Percy couldn't have immediately entered the sword instead of waiting until the end)."
Posted by: clyde | June 16, 2015 3:02 PM
'It's falling she is'? Really? Ah, Marvel and your Quiet Man Irish characters, regardless of whether they're from the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland... ;)
Posted by: Harry | June 16, 2015 5:40 PM
In fairness, Dane would probably have been especially interested in the Dreadknight, if only because Velsing basically recreated his evil uncle's entire shtick. And that also neatly covers why Iron Man would go out of his way to tell Dane about it in the first place, considering how rarely they've interacted since...jeez, the 1960s.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 15, 2015 9:06 PM
dude, thank god fnord took the time to write this up because I would never read such a lame comic in it's entirety in my life!!! this character sucks, the artwork sucks, and the demons look ridiculous... my good friend Stan Lee is famous for telling his artists to "overact" when drawing action scenes so I'm amazed a Marvel comic has the stiffest looking body language and leaping "demons" I've ever seen... I've got to stop drinking coffee before visiting this site, LOL!
Posted by: Brimstone | December 30, 2015 10:12 AM
You know, a lot of people think Hawk-eye is the weakest Avenger but my vote goes to the Black Knight. At least Hawk-eye has a variety of arrows and can attack from a distance. All the black knight has is a sword and he can't even use the edge of it.
Posted by: kveto | December 30, 2015 10:24 PM
Dane's sword is a powerful magic artifact- it can disrupt spells, cut through most materials, and absorb and deflect energy. It's actually useful. I'd say Mockingbird was the weakest Avengers- all she has is two sticks.
Posted by: Michael | December 30, 2015 10:44 PM
Posted by: Scott | December 31, 2015 2:36 PM
I'll still take Hawk-eye over the Black Knight any day. At least he can hit you from a distance with various arrow-types. But yeah, Mockingbird is less useful than both of them.
Posted by: kveto | January 1, 2016 11:43 AM
The helmet possession element looks like an imitation of DC's Doctor Fate.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 28, 2017 12:05 PM
Silly question that I've pondered:
Is Dane Whitman British? Does he talk with a British Accent?
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | January 28, 2017 9:56 PM
From the wiki entry - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Knight_(Dane_Whitman)
Posted by: clyde | January 28, 2017 11:46 PM
This could have been a lot cooler if Black Knight I had been delivered or presented with any kind of gravitas; Roy Thomas just assumed everyone gets the significance as he does, at times. The Timely Black Knight series still holds up with great Joe Manleey art and Stan seemed really into it, considering the era- Sir Percy is kind of like Zorro, pretending to be foppish when not as the Black Knight.
I thought Dane was a great character in the Stern/Buscema/Palmer run and his inclusion in the Under Siege epic makes him permanently an Avenger to remember. But this series was, and is, a disappointment. I always thought bringing the Black Knight I into the present and serve with the Avengers might be interesting. I'm also genuinely and pleasantly surprised that Roy Thomas was still getting indulged by Marvel in the 1990s; his projects are almost always passion projects.
Posted by: Wis | January 29, 2017 1:42 AM
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