Marvel Comics 2015
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Luca Pizzari & Kev Walker
Coloured by Antonio Fabela
Lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino
Dane Whitman is the Black Knight, the latest of a long lineage to wield an enchanted sword known as the Ebony Blade. Recently, Dane found himself stuck in Weirdworld, a mysterious region that doesn’t obey the laws of man or nature. Having slain it’s former King, Zaltin Tar, Dane is crowned the leader of a territory rechristened New Avalon. But is it Dane or the corrupting influence of the Ebony Blade leading the charge? The Uncanny Avengers have come to Weirdworld to find out.
I really like Dane and I think the Black Knight has always been one of the more underrated Avengers so seeing him again starring in his own book is fantastic. Yes the Ebony Blade is usually one of the constants in his mytho and it’s an easy source to fall back on but so far it’s being done well. It’s tying in the blade's history with family and the whole hero/villain dynamic. If he can once again gain control over the blade instead of it controlling him then he can once again reclaim that which we loved about him making him great again.
So far it’s been all about Frank getting in some hella good characterization regarding all this and his unexpected rule in Weirdworld. However while we still don’t know how he ended up here we are learning the events that led up to that. Last issue the Uncanny Avengers showed up and now we see why they are. Have to admit though seeing Dane’s people watching them go up against what Dane is throwing at them is fantastic.
So months ago Dane went to the Avengers for an assessment and it only confirmed what he knew that the power of the blade was growing. Then Steve approached him to join the team, the Uncanny team that is. The split then and now storytelling Frank’s doing here is superbly orchestrated. I also love his feelings about Deadpool being on the team and the newbie he doesn’t know. Between the battle taking place in Weirdworld and the one that led them to find him there we see some excellent stuff happening.
Dane may be under the influence of the blade but he’s still Dane. He’s smart and experienced in fighting and the art of war, not to mention leadership as well. Oh yeah what Frank did here is amazing in setting up not only Dane’s current state of mind but how he fits into current Avenger rankings. Yeah he used the blade it’s what he does but it’s those actions that need investigating and fixing, not the fact he did what he did. Still this more Punisher style Black Knight isn’t one i’d like to see disappear entirely.
Have to say i’m still enjoying the vision Luca, Kev and Antonio are bringing us here. Their distinct style and use of pages and panel layouts with the darker tones in the colouring really make the emotions here pop. Sure the characters don’t always look like we are accustomed to but they are instantly recognizable except for this weird thing Doctor Voodoo’s face has going on i’m actually becoming impressed and a fan of their work.
Mixing sword and sworcery with the traditional aspects of the Marvel U isn’t easy but Frank’s take has made me sit up, take notice and has me coming back for more.