*This article was originally published by the author at Imstillakid.com*
When I first started collecting comics in the mid-1980's one of the first titles that I collected was The Avengers. Specifically, during the Roger Stern and John Buscema era of the title. One of the great things that I discovered about this book throughout the years, was that it always found a way to have the Marvel heavyweight characters that were already household names like Thor, Captain America and Iron Man fighting alongside lesser second and third tier characters. These were always heroes that most people who haven't followed the comics for 30 years weren't very aware of. One of those characters that I loved so much was The Black Knight, a scientific mind with a mystical sword and armour made for a great complex character.
THE BLACK KNIGHT
This incarnation of the Black Knight, the third in the Marvel Comics Universe, is Dane Whitman a man of science who took on the mantle from his dying uncle Nathan Garrett — the previous Black Knight. Uncle Garrett was a Super-villain and former member of the cabal of villains known as the Masters of Evil — a constant threat against the Mighty Avengers. Mortally wounded in battle with Iron Man, the elder Knight summoned for his nephew — confessed his crimes to him, and persuaded the younger to take up the mantle of the Black Knight and fight on the side of righteousness. Upon Nathan Garrett’s death, Dane Whitman did indeed adopt the persona of the Black Knight and began an incredible life of crime fighting and battling evil in all of its forms.
The Dane Whitman Black Knight was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema in 1967 and first appeared in Avengers #47.
THE EBONY BLADE
Upon taking up the guise of the Black Knight, Dane inherited his uncle’s castle in England and upon taking up residence there, was given the powerful Ebony Blade sword from the spirit of Sir Percy of Scandia — the first Black Knight and ancestor of young Mr. Whitman. The Ebony Blade is a weapon of immeasurable power and said to be indestructible. Forged from the metals of a fallen meteorite, and enchanted by Merlin the powerful, the blade is able to:
*Cut through any physical substance other than magically enchanted weapons or powerful metals like adamantium.
*Cut through mystical barriers.
*Deflect energy when angled correctly.
*Absorb all forms of energy.
*Be summoned by the rightful owner if it were ever lost, even if it was in a different time period!
A curious mind, Dane Whitman discovered the fantastic abilities of the Ebony Blade through constant scientific testing of it.
Dane Whitman. Loyal Team Mate
Dane Whitman had a lengthy stay in 12th Century England, when his spirit was summoned by sorcerers to aid their crusade after his apparent death while battling alongside the Defenders against the Asgardian Enchantress and her cronies. Rescued years later by time travelling Avengers, the Black Knight continued his battle against wrong doers in the present and had several stints as a member of the Avengers valued ranks, including a lengthy stay in the mid 1980’s. He is a loyal friend and team-mate, often approached for council by other members including some of the founders like the Wasp and Captain America. For a stint in the early 1990’s, the Black Knight was even field leader of the world’s most renowned super team.
BLACK KNIGHT LOYAL WARRIOR AND LOVESTRUCK EVERYMAN
Dane Whitman is always looking out for his team mates well being. He helped run tests on the Wasp which helped her realize that she could use her bio sting powers at almost full size. He also ran tests on Monica Rambeau, the 80’s version of Captain Marvel, so that she can learn the full scale of her energy shifting powers. He even helped save Sersi‘s life by allowing their souls to be bonded together — that’s a friend, right there! The Black Knight is a hero who uses the scientific genius of his civilian life while also battling evil with his magically enhanced armour and enchanted sword. Sadly, the Black Knight’s biggest weakness is his uncontrollable propensity to romantically crush on just about every female co-Avenger he serves with. He practically challenges crusader Paladin to a duel in Avengers #271 – 274 (see images below) over the Wasp’s affections. He agreed to the soul bond with Sersi because he fancied her hard, and also chased the Inhuman Crystal around like a lovesick puppy when she joined the team.
Beautifully rendered by the legendary John Buscema, Avengers #271 was (possibly?) my first exposure to the Black Knight in the 1980’s. I immediately thought that he was pretty cool. I’ve been a fan of the character ever since. Hopefully, he can join the ranks of the Avengers once again soon and I would love to see him make an appearance in the expanded Marvel Cinematic Universe!