As I mentioned in my last post, I would be discussing my love of the Black Knight today. For those of you thinking this is about the Martin Lawrence film, you may want to leave now to avoid disappointment.
At this point, it would be fair to point out that I have never gravitated toward the big heroes or the most popular ones either. I also seem to have an affinity for awesome helmets, which brings us to today’s subject.
Dane Whitman, aka, the heroic Black Knight. Whitman was introduced in Avengers 47 and would fight the Avengers in issue 48 due to one of those classic misunderstandings. Dane inherited the mantle of Black Knight from his villainous Uncle Nathan Garrett who had been an Iron Man villain. With his dying words Garrett asked Dane to do good to make ammends for all he had done to tarnish the Black Knight legacy.
I now own issue 48 but this all happened 20 years before I was born and well before I got into comics. No, my love of the Black Knight begins in K-Mart of all places.
Years into my collecting days, I was at K-Mart with my mother when I noticed a comic book section near the book and novel racks. Now, I know the 90’s get a lot of flack for gimmicks, and foil covers, and the speculator market, but I’ll tell you that one issue caught my eyes. This one:
Full disclosure, this was my first Avengers comic I bought. This issue may have been well into the Gatherers arc, which the Black Knight played a big role in.
What can I say about this character. He wore a cool Avengers style leather jacket and his design was awesome. From the amazing helmet I previously mentioned to the dark color scheme and striking red bird in circle logo. And what of this knight’s sword. A lightsaber!
If you read my previous post on the Force Awakens, a lightsaber was more than enough to excite this Star Wars fan. But what of the story? In this issue, the character is shown as a competent leader and respected member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes despite just being an average man with a sword.
He also did something this issue that I respected even though he wasn’t completely under his own control. He lashed out at Cap as the cover shows.
I know a lot of people love Steve Rogers, but as I mentioned earlier, I never gravitate toward the big guns. Also Cap has that Superman quality I don’t care for. You know, where everyone acts like they worship him and defer to his leadership.
It’s ok, I learned to like Rogers during Brubaker’s amazing run, even though Bucky will always be my Cap. (sorry Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers)
In this issue Dane fights Cap while mentioning that he lords over everyone as mister high and mighty. He basically vocalized all that I thought of Cap at the time. As a result, I was back at K-Mart often and ended up collecting the rest of the Gatherers arc.
Through the years I have collected all Black Knight that I could from Heroes for Hire to the excellent Captain Britain and MI:13. But more importantly, I have pre-ordered the new Black Knight series by Frank Tieri and Luca Pizzari. It is worth noting that Tieri previously wrote Black Knight in the New Excalibur series which I also bought at the time.
The image at the top of this post is from issue 1 of the new series and I strongly recommend you order this series from your local comic store (lcs) or online subscription service. While the lightsaber is gone, Tieri will be writing a story about the most famous weapon of the Black Knight, the cursed ebony blade, and how Dane Whitman is addicted to its power as shown in the recent Original Sins issue 2 short story he wrote.
Luca Pizzari has reworked the classic design into a new take and the story will take place on a medieval style environment, Weirdworld, as introduced in Secret Wars. The art looks great and I can’t wait to see Pizzari cut loose in an environment far different than the regular Marvel U.
This new series presents a world of opportunities (pun intended), and will be able to tell edgy stories with a character that is not one of the marquee players of the Marvel Universe. I can’t wait till November as I am sure much like the Black Knight and his cursed blade, I will be addicted to this new series.
Check back here in November for my thoughts on issue 1.