Black Knight 1 Spotlight: Did Dane Whitman Pull the Wrong Sword

Last month I expressed my love for the character of Black Knight. And just as I once followed him on his adventures to the Ultraverse (that’s a deep cut for any younger fans), I’ve also followed his adventures to the new Weirdworld setting in All New All Different Marvel.

Eric Powell Cover

So what is the deal with Dane Whitman? Well this issue is an ideal jumping on point as a couple of pages gives you a brief history of the Black Knight of Marvel. Frank Tieri using the narrative device of the Black Knight chronicling his origins and current status on a tape recorder which allows new readers to see where he started, insight into the Ebony Blade, and allows the action to progress without any jarring exposition.

Well done.

For his part on art duties, Luca Pizzari shows off the new duds that our hero is sporting and it looks quite badass in the sword and sorcery setting of the issue. He also manages to put a nice spin on a very Obi-Wan style character for Dane in the form of his ancestor Sir Percy of Scandia.

And as far as which Obi-Wan, Tieri writes this as the dickish “from a certain point of view,” really not that helpful spirit guide. Which should lead to fun interactions within the series, since Dane already seems tired of his ghost ancestor’s nagging.

This series has helped me realize that you can’t trust old wizards. As my title points out, the all powerful Merlin might be the biggest dick of all. Sir Percy was the first of Dane’s lineage to carry the Ebony Blade and mantle of the Black Knight during King Arthur’s reign. As Dane points out for new readers, yes he means that King Arthur.

What do we know of Arthur? Merlin guided him. He became king and was able to wield Excalibur, an enchanted and powerful sword. And this is where Merlin is a dick because Arthur gets a sword and is king and here is how the conversation with Percy must have gone:

“Hey Percy take this enchanted weapon the Ebony Blade. Unlike Excalibur, this sword has an unquenchable thirst for blood and will make you and your bloodline addicted to its power. P.S. it will also drive you mad and be your undoing. Merlin out!”

So yeah, maybe it isn’t the greatest weapon to have by your side, but in this issue alone it shows how cool its power can be and the benefits it bestows on Dane.

The whole team is doing a great job of world building from creating supporting characters for our hero to creating the actual Weirdworld setting. Aiding in this task are the tremendous colors of Antonio Fabela. His muted pallet really creates a dark ages type of atmosphere. The colors help create a perfect scene of when Dane stumbles across something else that was dumped in this realm. Fabela enhances the scene to make it look both haunting and beautiful.

Joe Sabino is the last component providing lettering that is clear to read and does not interfere with the art. His choices on the word balloons really sell the dialogue and the captions are especially important when detailing the character’s history.

All in all this is a fantastic issue that ends on a cliffhanger that leaves me dying to see what comes next. Eagle-eyed readers may notice a character at the end who I believe appeared previously in Tieri’s Original Sins 2.

Do yourself a favor and add this to your pull list. There won’t be another book like this in stores. Whether you are a Black Knight fan or not this story should suck you in and appeal to fans of Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones for that sword and sorcery feel. As Tieri mentioned this may also appeal to Breaking Bad fans as the hero is addicted to his cursed sword and seems to be willing to give anything to hold onto it.

Before I close out, I have to mention that this series is also blessed with beautiful covers that really make it stick out on the shelf.

Julian Totino Tedesco Cover

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