Solo Avengers #4 (Black Knight)
Issue(s): Solo Avengers #4 (Black Knight)
He's also interested in the blood curse that we've been hearing about recently in concurrent issues of the Avengers, and on that front, Dr. Druid can help.
Although by helping, he manages to get himself possessed by / transformed into the Last Knight, a descendant of Dane's from the future that will succumb to the curse by drawing blood with the sword.
The Last Knight wants to kill to Dane before Dane can have any kids, so that the curse will never get passed on to him.
It soon comes out that the Last Knight has actually already committed suicide. Given the fact that he's basically a spirit in high tech armor, and fighting with lethal force while Dane is trying to avoid using his blade, the Black Knight is having trouble, even when he cheats and hits him with some gas. Even telling him about Reed Richard's theory of time travel doesn't stop him.
Dane eventually resorts to punching his ancestor out using hand-to-hand fighting techniques learned from Captain America, and when the Last Knight passes out, he transforms back into Dr. Druid. The issue ends with the Black Knight reaffirming that he can never use the blade to draw blood and that he'll always have to keep looking for a cure for the curse.
Despite the fact that this reads more like a primer for the Black Knight...
...and the fact that it features two characters that Stern was using at the same time in his main Avengers run, and therefore not characters that would have been my top choice for the earliest issues of Solo Avengers, this is actually my favorite of the three stories. Done differently this could have just been a few panels in a regular issue of the series, but of the one-and-done features in this series so far, it still feels the most like a complete and purposeful story. Paul Ryan doing a good job with the action is probably a factor as well. Mind you that doesn't mean i think this is a particularly great story.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Avengers #290-291. It's also not strictly necessary, but the MCP places the Black Knight's behind-the-scenes appearance (at a baseball game with the Vision) in Solo Avengers #5 directly after this issue, and that issue has to take place before West Coast Avengers #33.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Cool to see Dr. Druid getting his Stewie Griffin on in that first panel.
Posted by: Robert | June 3, 2014 6:47 PM
The Black Knight's worried about drawing blood with his evil magic sword, so he takes it into battle and tries to smack people with the broad side instead of locking it in a vault or dropping it in a vat of molten adamantium? One of the dangers of going back and reading the things I fondly remember from my childhood is realizing they don't make sense.
Posted by: Alex F | August 28, 2014 5:03 AM
@ Alex F -
That would be true, if Dane never used it usefully. But think of what he does with it - he takes down Moonstone with it prior to the siege, his connection with it helps him and Cap escape and take down Hyde late in the siege, he helps take out Zeus with it (the most awesome use in my opinion) and he cuts off the Sentry's arm. It is a useful tool in combat, even with the limited way he has to apply it.
And when the curse does come (soon after this), it is deliberately, not accidentally.
The one thing that doesn't get discussed much in all the times that Dane and Druid are paired off in their short time together is whether or not Dane knows that Druid is directly responsible for him being saved from the Crusades - they briefly touch on the fact that Druid knows about Dane's sojourn into the past, but given that Druid's only previous encounter with the Avengers prior to the Siege was rescuing Dane from the past, you would think that would have come up.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 2, 2015 8:27 AM
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