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Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade’ manages to make the title character compelling

Even if you come in thinking Black Knight is a loser, you’ll come out convinced to buy the next volume.

I’m a huge Avengers fan — especially the ’70s and ’80s Avengers, before John Byrne took over. I have a fondness for almost every Avengers team of that era, and I hold a lot of love and feelings towards nearly every member of those Avengers teams. This is important context because the reason I said “nearly” is because of a handful of members: Dr. Druid, Starfox, and Black Knight. The first two on that list aren’t relevant here; they’re just characters that were very frustrating to read at the time and have no business being called heroes. Black Knight, on the other hand, is a more unique case.

See, for a while, Black Knight was a good idea. Dane Whitman is a guy with a magical sword that begs him to murder people, but Dane wants to be a hero and not murder anyone. If his blade sheds any blood, Dane is basically possessed by it, making his own means of being a hero his downfall. But this really cool concept never really translated to strong writing or interesting characterization. At one point, they got rid of the Ebony Blade altogether, giving him a lightsaber that made him super uncool. Let me repeat that: Black Knight managed to make a lightsaber boring. So you can understand why I’ve generally not been a fan.

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Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade

Marvel Comics

Si Spurrier kicks off Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade reminding everyone that yeah, Black Knight’s a loser. But not just in the way where the audience doesn’t like him — he’s such a loser the Avengers audibly vent their frustration about having to deal with him when he’s working with them. They make it painfully clear that they only see him as someone to destroy magical enemies, and even then only when their first pick is busy. Reading this first issue of Black Knight was cathartic at first, seeing this character I found boring get dragged by the likes of Thor and Black Panther. But by the end, it was just sad. Dane Whitman was a sad man, venting to an app on his phone that refused to give him any real advice, who just wanted to be appreciated by the people he looked up to. And of course, that’s his downfall.

Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade

Marvel Comics

The plot of the book is pretty solid, even if the middle portions are a bit dull. There’s a subversion of Arthurian myth that feels very reminiscent of Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora’s Once and Future, there’s a POV character through whom we see this world of the Black Knight and his history through a new lens, and there’s an Elsa Bloodstone team-up that’s pretty fun if nothing special. Sergio Dávila’s artwork is good if a bit muddled in some of the flashback segments. But all of this is secondary to the highlight of the book: Dane Whitman’s acceptance of his history and legacy and the path he’s given to move forward.

The final issue of the series is reminiscent of the first, with the majority of the plot interwoven with Dane’s confessions to this anonymous app on his phone, but the final issue’s confessions mean something. They’re not the desperate pleas of a pathetic man desperate to have someone love him, they’re the final words of a man who’s made something he’s proud of. It’s beautiful and despite the story getting a bit muddled in the middle (as I mentioned earlier), it’s an incredibly earned moment. It makes the whole story worth it, even before the last five or so pages promise a direction for the future that’s incredibly intriguing.

Black Knight’s not a character who’ll move a lot of sales, and this run obviously exists so that Marvel has something to point to when the Eternals movie releases since he’s going to be played by Kit Harington there. And while this character is likely going to be completely different from whatever the MCU’s version is, Spurrier and Dávila have certainly managed to make him compelling in his own right, and they’ve convinced even a person who thinks Black Knight is a loser that a follow-up volume is a day one purchase.

Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade
‘Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade’ manages to make the title character compelling
Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade
Even if you come in thinking Black Knight is a loser, you'll come out convinced to buy the next volume.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.7
Spurrier writes a gripping and emotional arc for Black Knight.
The book delivers a really interesting new direction and status quo for the character.
Spurrier's take on Arthurian myth is quite fun.
The middle of the miniseries is a bit dull in places, but it is worth pushing through.
9
Great

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