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Quote1.png As long as the Black Blade blazes darkly in my hand, I must fight on... No matter what the cost! Quote2.png
Black Knight[src]

History

As a young man, Dane Whitman fell in love with Ashima Chopra, who developed terminal cancer. Dane planned to visit her in the hospital and propose, but lost his nerve and fell out of touch. Refusing treatment, Ashima died within a year, after secretly giving birth to a baby girl, Jackie.[4]

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As an adult, Dane inherited his uncle Nathan Garrett's castle. He was unaware that his uncle had been the villainous Black Knight until finding notes and inventions.[5] Eventually he came upon the Ebony Blade. Passing its test, Sir Percival explained the history of the blade and its curse. Taking the weapon Dane decided to be a hero, joining the Masters of Evil just as his uncle did, but with the intent of infiltrating them from within. This he did to aid the Avengers, but they did not trust him until he later assisted them against Kang the Conqueror.[citation needed]

Crusades

Dane later fought alongside the Defenders against the Enchantress, but was apparently turned to stone by her. The Valkyrie took possession of the Knight's Ebony Blade and his winged horse, Aragorn, and Dr. Strange took custody of his petrified form.[6] The Defenders later attempted to restore him using the Evil Eye of Avalon. They discovered, however, that Whitman's spirit had been transported back in time to the 12th Century where it now inhabited the body of his own ancestor, Eobar Garrington. Whitman declined to return to the present day with the Defenders, and Valkyrie returned his sword to him; Whitman allowed her to keep the horse.[7] Later, however, he was equipped with a new flying horse named Valinor and transported (still in Garrington's body) to the present day by the mage Merlyn, to carry out a special mission. Sent to find the amnesiac hero Captain Britain, Whitman then traveled with him to Otherworld to battle the evil Mordred and his master, the demonic Necromon, and save Camelot (at some point during the course of this quest, both heroes were briefly abducted by the Grandmaster to participate in his 'Contest of Champions'). After this mission was concluded, Whitman was returned to the 12th Century, though he did briefly travel forward again to attend Merlyn's funeral. Back in the past, he protected the mystical island of Avalon from the demonic Fomor, until Garrington's body was eventually destroyed during a battle involving the time-traveling Avengers. Whitman's spirit returned to his original body, which became flesh and blood again.

Avengers

Dane served several tours of duty with the Avengers. While a member, his scientific knowledge came to be useful, especially when such minds as Iron Man and Hank Pym were not on the roster. He began his first extended membership with the team shortly after Vision stepped down as chairperson.[8] Dane participated in the siege on Avengers Mansion by the Masters of Evil (during which he was captured and beaten by Mister Hyde). Despite his injuries, Dane remained with the team after the membership shakeup that followed.[9]

The curse of the Ebony Blade reasserted itself after the Avengers' associate member Marrina went insane and became the enormous Leviathan. Her husband Namor used the Ebony Blade to slay Marrina, reactivating the Knight's curse. Dane began to physically transform into an extension of the blade, his body seizing up until he required an exoskeleton to move it.[10] After the Avengers disbanded, the Black Knight joined Thor in defense of Asgard from the invasion of the Egyptian Death God known as Seth, but his curse finally took hold and the Knight was trapped as an inanimate statue once again.[11]

Returned to his ancestral castle, Dane's statue was tended to by Victoria Bentley. She attempted a spell to restore him to life, but inadvertently summoned the spirit of the original Black Knight, Sir Percy of Scandia, in his place. After a series of adventures, Sir Percy abdicated Dane's body, taking the Ebony Blade's curse with him and restoring Whitman to his own body. Sir Percy had taken a squire named Sean Dolan, who Dane kept as his own.[12]

The Black Knight returned to the Avengers after this, first as a reserve substitute,[13] and later as a full member.[14] The curse of the Ebony Blade became too dangerous, and Dane eventually abandoned it choosing to use a technological weapon instead.[14] He was involved in Operation Galactic Storm, during which he was part of Captain America's team, sent to the Kree Empire. At the end of that mission, Dane was among the Avengers who followed Iron Man to execute the Kree Supreme Intelligence, and was, in fact, the one who struck the mortal blow.[15]

With the Avengers

While Dane would be away with the Avengers, Victoria Bentley retained ownership of the castle so he would not lose it. She could easily watch over the property as it neighbored hers. However, Dane's former squire became possessed by the Ebony Blade and turned into the Bloodwraith.[16] The Bloodwraith accidentally killed Victoria during a duel between the Bloodwraith, Dane, and Deadpool.[17]

At this time, Dane also found himself in a love triangle with Crystal and Sersi. At first, he pursued a relationship with Sersi, as Crystal and her estranged husband, Pietro, attempted to reconcile, even becoming Sersi's "Gann Josin", establishing a powerful psychic link which was meant to help Sersi maintain control in troubled times. Still, after Crystal and Pietro relationship seemingly reached the point of no return, he confessed his feelings for Crystal and the two kissed. However, Luna's kidnapping brought Pietro and Crystal closer again, so, after Proctor (an evil alternate version of Dane) was finally defeated, Sersi felt she was too dangerous and had to exile herself, and Dane went along with her, leaving Crystal behind.[18]

Ultraverse

The two eventually ended up in the Ultraverse. Dane became a member of the local heroes known as UltraForce.[19] During a reality-shredding event known as Black September, the Avengers and UltraForce joined forces against Loki and the combined sentient power of the Infinity Gems. In the aftermath, Dane remained in the Ultraverse as the new leader of UltraForce.[20]

After leading UltraForce for several months, Dane had the opportunity to return to Earth-616 after an alien invasion. He took the chance and passed through a portal leading back home.[21]

While Dane was in the body of his ancestor Eobar Garrington during the Crusades, he met the knight Bennet du Paris, who became Exodus shortly after.[7][22] This explained why Dane felt Exodus was somehow familiar when they 'first' met in Genosha sometime earlier.[23]

Heroes for Hire

Sersi was later able to transport herself and Dane back to the present. Their 'Gann Josin' had apparently been broken and they had gone their separate ways aside from acting as reservist Avengers. Dane joined Luke Cage's Heroes for Hire shortly after his return.[24]

Not long after his return to Earth, the Lady of the Lake appeared to Dane, telling him he was destined to become Avalon's champion. She presented him with a new armor as well as the Shield of Night and the Sword of Light.[24] While working with Heroes for Hire Dane came across the High Evolutionary's Knights of Wundagore and agreed to train them. It was at this time that Dane acquired one of their "atomic steeds."[25]

Excalibur and Avengers

Dane briefly joined an Excalibur team who helped Captain Britain to become the new monarch of Otherworld.[26] For a time he served sporadically as a member of the Avengers[27][28] and was present when they disbanded.[29]

Later, Dane had returned to Garrett Castle and converted it into a museum. Dane suddenly switched bodies with the original Black Knight, Sir Percy of Scandia. The investigating new Excalibur team found an ancient scroll in Percival's tomb showing the team as the saviors of Camelot. Traveling back to the era of King Arthur, Whitman met Percy and helped his ancestor, King Arthur, and Merlin defeat the dragons plaguing the kingdom (revealing the "dragons" to be Makluans in the process) and returned to the present. After assisting Excalibur in tracking down Juggernaut in Korea and returning him to the team, Whitman left in search of his real Ebony Blade.[30]

Captain Britain and MI-13

Recently returned to England, Whitman appeared to be wielding the original Blade again (actually a fake created by Dracula), using it to slaughter invading Skrulls during the Secret Invasion. Dane also was revealed to have a literal stone heart, given to him by Sersi to keep him "above it all" and uninvolved.[31] During the invasion, Dane made his way through London protecting innocents and in doing so saved the life of civilian doctor Faiza Hussain. Faiza fought alongside Dane against the Skrull army and their champion, Super-Skrull, until Dane was incapacitated and a newly resurrected Captain Britain came to their rescue. While Captain Britain fought Super-Skrull, Faiza attempted to heal a dying Black Knight with her newfound abilities, and Dane - under the belief that he was on his deathbed - dubbed her his steward. Captain Britain was able to defeat the Super Skrull, Faiza healed Dane once magic returned to England and the Skrull Invasion in England came to an end; but not without revealing the new wielder of Excalibur to be Faiza.[32]

Killing a Skrull

Insanity and Euroforce

He slowly started to become insane because of the power of the Ebony Blade. After encountering a fake Savage Steel robbing a bank, he brutally beat the criminal, even costing him an eye and leaving him in a coma. After the Watcher's death and the release of the secrets buried in his eye, his attack on Savage Steel was revealed to Rebecca Stevens, a historian investigating the Blade who he previously met. She told him that the past users of the Blade had all fallen insane and offered help, but he refused.[33] Later, he was recruited to lead the new Euroforce as a "temporal adjustment".[34]

Journey on Weirdworld

Black Knight had fled to Weirdworld after killing Carnivore when losing control over the Ebony Blade as it increased in power.[35] There, he murdered King Zaltin Tar to establish New Avalon and built an army of Amazons, Demon Dogs, Giants, Ice Swarms, Thunder & Lightning Dragons, Tribbitites, and Underwater Apes with the help of Shield and Spear. The army was formed in anticipation of the arrival of the Avengers Unity Division seeking to bring him to justice.[36] When the Avengers Unity Division arrived, they encountered Black Knight and his army, ultimately separating him from the Ebony Blade, so that he could be apprehended.[37] Later, commander Steve Rogers realized that the people of New Avalon relied upon Dane Whitman, and after defending the kingdom from the Fangs of the Serpent, Rebecca Stevens negotiated a compromise whereby Dane would remain in Weirdworld with her.[38]

Worldwide Conflicts

When Captain America established a Hydra Empire in the United States of America, Hydra splinter groups started to form all over the world and several superhero teams were gathered to stop Hydra from going any further.[39]

Meanwhile, Dane Whitman returned to Europe to help Euroforce battle Hydra, but he was apprehended alongside several teammates, remaining imprisoned until the Champions of Europe arrived and freed them.[40] On another occasion, Dane answered the call to join the Avengers battling the threat of the Empyre led Cotati.[41]

As the Phoenix Knight

Enter the Phoenix

When the cosmic force known as the Phoenix Force returned to Earth, it staged a contest to determine its next host, and Black Knight was one of many individuals summoned to the White Hot Room for it. The Phoenix empowered the assembled champions and had them fight each other in trials by combat.[42] Dubbing himself the Phoenix Knight, Dane was pitted against the mysterious Red Widow in Stonehenge.[43] However, Black Knight was quickly overpowered by his opponent and was defeated.[44]

King in Black and Curse of the Ebony Blade

Depressed and resentful that the Avengers viewed him as a madman, Dane doubled down on his conviction that the Ebony Blade was responsible for his fits of rage. When the dark god Knull assailed the Earth with his horde of symbiotes, Dane was among the Avengers-adjacent heroes contacted. En route to Manhattan he was attacked by a symbiote-dragon sent by Knull to claim the Ebony Blade, crashlanding in Shanghai, China. Losing his grip on the Ebony Blade, Dane encountering Aero and Swordmaster while searching for it, and was angered by their disdain towards him. When Swordmaster refused to help save the civilians after learning the symbiotes were not minions of his nemesis, the dark god Chiyou, his divine weapon - the Sword of Fu Xi - foresook him for Dane.

Lapsing into a berserk state, Dane hacked a symbiote dragon to shreds, maniacally declaring that the Sword of Fu Xi belonged to him now. As Swordmaster tried to take the divine sword back, one of the symbiotes latched onto them and connected them psychically to Knull, who revealed to Dane the truth of the Ebony Blade - that the sword's curse was not responsible for his family's history of mental instability and bloodlust, but it fed off their inner darkness and could only be wielded by a person consumed by evil. Knull declared his intent to claim both the Ebony Blade and the Sword of Fu Xi for himself, manifesting an avatar in the shape of Chiyou to mock Swordmaster. The Sword of Fu Xi rejected Dane as its wielder and returned to Swordmaster, leaving Dane devastated to learn his whole life had been a lie. Sensing his despair, the Ebony Blade returned to him, and Dane ultimately decided to channel his inner darkness to put a stop to Knull's invasion.[45]

At some point around this time, Dane learned about the existence of his daughter, Jacks. Deciding to approach the relationship slowly to "soften the blow", Dane reached out to her academically to discuss her thesis in Arthurian mythology. Mordred, seeking to claim the Ebony items for himself, killed Dane and tried to take the sword before being chased away by the Avengers, and Dane was later resurrected by the Ebony Blade. While Dane confronted Percy for the truth of the Ebony Blade, Elsa Bloodstone attacked him - having been tracking Mordred to obtain a Bloodstone in his possession. Dane, Elsa, and Jacks tracked down the missing Ebony Chalice to the mystical realm of Listeneise, repelling Mordred when he attempted to claim the goblet and sword. Drinking from the Chalice, Dane learned that Merlin had masterminded the downfall of Camelot, manipulating Arthur and Mordred, and had Percy assassinated in hopes of covering up Camelot's dark secret with the sanitized narratives that became Arthurian lore. Informed of Mordred's plan to forge the Ebony Shield, Ebony Dagger, and Ebony Chalice into an Ebony Crown, Dane cast aside the Ebony Blade and let Mordred fatally wound him. When Jacks took up the Ebony Blade, her connection to Dane was revealed and she used her rage to kill Mordred. Resurrected by the Ebony Crown, Dane reforged it into the Ebon Siege - which gave dark portents to those who sat in it. Expecting Jacks to reject him as her father, Dane was shocked when she instead offered to lessen the burden of the Ebony Blade's curse by sharing the moniker of the Black Knight with him.[46]

Powers and Abilities

Power Grid[53]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Master: Single Form of Combat:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Single Type: Medium Range:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Bulletproof:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Gifted

Powers

None

Abilities

Gifted Scientist: Whitman started out as a scientist, though specializing in physics (having earned a Master's degree in physics), he is proficient in a wide array of advanced sciences and technologies, including genetic and mechanical engineering; and continues to approach things from a scientific perspective more often than not, despite his ties to the world of magic.

Expert Swordsman: Whitman is an excellent swordsman whose skills have allowed him to best the Swordsman in combat.

Magic Immunity: The Sword that Whitman is using is immune to magical powers, granting him an immunity to magic.

Skilled Martial Artist: He is an excellent fighter, able to hold his own against such highly skilled fighters as Captain America and Wolverine.

Expert Horseman: He is also an expert horseman.

Magical Knowledge: Whitman has become somewhat familiar with magic.

Skilled Tactician & Strategist: He has also demonstrated good leadership skills as leader of both the Avengers and UltraForce. He has strong strategic and tactical skills.

Physical Strength

Possesses the strength of a normal human male who engages in intensive regular exercise.

Paraphernalia

Equipment

Dane wears protective armor, apparently of elven design. He also possesses a necklace that can contain his armor, sword, and shield and reappear whenever he says Avalon.

Weapons

  • Originally after taking up the mantle of Black Knight, Dane took to wielding his uncles Power Lance as a personal armament. Using it with the same expertise as its original creator did every now and then.[47]
  • Dane currently wields the Ebony Blade as it has been gifted back to him by Storm.[48][31] In addition, he also owns a few replicas of the Ebony Blade that are stated to be nearly as powerful and just as dangerous.[49][50]
  • He formerly used a Photon Sword and the Sword of Light and the Shield of Night, and for a time (while in the service of Merlyn) carried Excalibur after the temporary destruction of the Ebony Blade.

Transportation

Notes

  • The Black Knight was one of the characters featured in Series A of the Marvel Value Stamps issued in the 1970s.

    Marvel Value Stamp #97

  • On the 50 state variant covers of U.S.Avengers Vol 1 1, Black Knight was assigned as the Avenger of Ohio.

Trivia

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

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