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Quote1.png That's the legacy of your kin, boy. You've had it wrong all this time. The Ebony Blade can only be wielded to its mightiest potential by those impure of heart. Quote2.png
Knull[src]

Ebony Blade was a magical blade forged by Merlin and Sir Percy from the Starstone meteorite.[12] The Ebony Blade was enchanted to cut through any object, to prevent the death of its wielder, and to deflect any magic, but it also carried a curse that would slowly corrupt any user and cause a lust for violence, bloodshed, and death.[5][13] According to Knull, Merlin lied about the true nature of the Ebony Blade, and it can only be wielded by the impure of heart -- drawing out their negative emotions until they become bloodthirsty berserkers.[14]

History

Sir Percy of Scandia / Black Knight

Merlin gave the enchanted sword to Sir Percy of Scandia, the "first" Black Knight although he was the ninth person to wield it, directly after King Arthur's cousin Sir Reginald.[15] Merlin claimed that the Ebony Blade had acquired a curse because of all the blood that Sir Percy shed with it;[13] but in-truth the Ebony Blade merely brought out Sir Percy's repressed rage, bloodlust, and psychosis - traits inherited by many of his bloodline.[14]

Medieval period / Knights Templar

The Ebony Blade was wielded by Knights Templar for over 600 years,[4] many of them succumbing to the sword's dark power.[14]

Dane Whitman / Black Knight

The sword passed down through the generations until it finally came to Dane Whitman, Sir Percy's descendant, who used the blade for many years.[16]

Soon after the first Secret Wars, the Ebony Blade was stolen by Mister E -- an entity of living darkness that had been created by the dark god Knull -- who believed it could be used to harm his master.[9]

It passed briefly to Valkyrie when Dane's body was turned to stone, and his soul sent back in time to the 13th century, but was soon returned to him. Later, the blade was broken by an entity called the Iron Ogre, but was eventually reforged and returned to Whitman by Merlin. Due to the curse, Dane eventually gave the Ebony Blade up,[17] driving it deep into the same meteor it was forged from and hiding it in his castle, where he assumed only another deemed "worthy" would be able to withdraw it.[5]

Sean Dolan / Bloodwraith

Sean Dolan, Dane's ex-squire, was able to draw the blade during an attack on Whitman's castle, but succumbed to its power and transformed into the Bloodwraith.[5]

Dolan fought with the curse, and was able to give up the sword for a brief time. During this time, it was trapped in the Negative Zone barrier outside of Attilan.[18] In the meantime, a second Ebony Blade had been brought into Earth-616 by Proctor. When Proctor was killed, his blade was taken into Avengers custody.[2]

Dolan was drawn to the second Ebony Blade and once again became Bloodwraith. Crystal retrieved the original Ebony Blade, and the Vision threatened to destroy it if Bloodwraith didn't surrender. Bloodwraith tossed the alternate Blade aside and reclaimed his own. Crystal picked up the second Blade, claiming it would be important to the future of the Inhumans.[19] Bloodwraith was last known to have the Blade in his possession in Slorenia, where he was trapped by the Scarlet Witch.[20]

Augustine du Lac / Vatican's Black Knight

The Ebony Blade was reclaimed by the Vatican's "Black Knight",[21] Augustine du Lac,[22] -- a descendant of Lancelot[4] -- in a Vampire nest in Iraq that had been flattened by the Opus Dei.[21]

As the Black Knight, Augustine wielded the Ebony Blade during his attempted invasion of Wakanda along with Klaw, but he was defeated and the Ebony Blade was confiscated by the Black Panther.[23]

Black Panther

Brian Braddock later tried to claim the sword from T'Challa during a meeting as part of the British legacy, but T'Challa refused to return of the weapon, later using it against Iron Man's attack in front of the White House.[24] T'Challa was actually waiting for Dane Whitman to return it, suspecting that others would have tried to save him from it while T'Challa himself believed that those who shouldered great responsibilities must make such decisions themselves.[21]

Returned to Dane Whitman

After Dane Whitman learned that the sword he was using was not the Ebony Blade[25][26] (which was seemingly part of a scheme of Dracula)[27] and that the real one was in Wakanda,[26] he begged an audience with the Wakandan Queen Ororo who, at his request, returned the Ebony Blade to him.[21]

The Ebony Blade's power later began to affect Whitman, making him increasingly violent in his dealings with criminals.[28] Eventually, as the blade's power continued to increase, Whitman lost control and killed the criminal Carnivore, then fled to Weirdworld. The Avengers Unity Division followed him and managed to take the Ebony Blade away from him but it quickly corrupted Commander Rogers until Whitman was able to convince Rogers that it belonged with him.[29]

Stolen by Malekith

During the War of the Realms, Malekith defeated Dane Whitman in combat and took the Ebony Blade for himself, delighted by its blood curse. When attacked by Venom, Malekith read the symbiote's memories to learn of Knull and used the Ebony Blade to subdue it, casting the cursed sword aside in favor of turning the Venom symbiote into his own version of All-Black the Necrosword.[10][30] The sword was later wielded by Captain Britain.[11]

King in Black

As the primordial dark god Knull descended upon the Earth with intent to conquer and slaughter the light of the universe, Dane Whitman battled one of his Symbiote Dragons over London when Knull dispatched it to claim the Ebony Blade for himself. Dane managed to incapacitate the symbiote-dragon but lost his grip on the Ebony Blade and crash-landed in Shanghai, China, where Aero and Sword Master were battling the Symbiote God's forces.

When one of Knull's symbiote-dragons latched onto Dane, the dark god gained knowledge of the Ebony Blade's history and revealed the truth of its curse to him - that the fits of bloodlust and rage were his own inner darkness, which the Ebony Blade fed off of, and that the cursed sword was at its most could only be wielded by someone impure of heart. This revelation left Dane devastated that Merlin and Sir Percy had lied to him, and that the flaws and psychosis he'd blamed on the sword had been his inner darkness all along. Sensing that Dane was at his lowest point, the Ebony Blade returned to him - although he had a crisis of conscience and initially refused to wield it until he saw Aero and Sword Master struggling against Knull's avatar. Regaining his resolve to use his inner darkness as a force for good, Dane took up the Ebony Blade and unleashed its dark power against Knull.[14]

Curse of the Ebony Blade

While Dane was assisting the Avengers, Mordred Pendragon decapitated him with the Ebony Dagger and attempted to take the Ebony Blade from his corpse before being chased off by the Avengers. After Dane's corpse was returned to Garrett Castle, the Ebony Blade resurrected him.[31] Investigating the history of the Ebony Relics with begrudging help from Elsa Bloodstone, Percy and Arthurian scholar Jacks Chopra - secretly his daughter - discovered that Merlin had lied about the history of the Ebony Relics and orchestrated Camelot's downfall to cover up his dark secrets.[32]

Gaining knowledge of Mordred's plot, Dane forfeited the Ebony Blade to prevent it from turning him into a monster and allowed Mordred to fatally wound him. Jacks took up the Ebony Blade and attempted to avenge him, but was killed by Mordred - who forged the other relics into the Ebony Crown.[33] The Ebony Blade resurrected Jacks - revealing her to be Dane's long-lost daughter - and she and Elsa managed to dispatch the would-be king, thus enabling Dane to resurrect through his cousin's regalia. Dane and Jacks then decided to split the curse of the Ebony Blade between them by taking turns operating as the Black Knight.[34]

Properties


Composition

The sorcerer Merlin came upon a strange black ore called the Starstone, apparently the site of a fallen meteor. He had Sir Percy forge the Ebony Blade, Ebony Dagger, Ebony Chalice, and Ebony Shield out of the strange material, using his magic to empower them.[16] When Percy chose the sword, Merlin cast the other items into the river Acheron, but the Ebony Dagger and Shield were claimed by Mordred before they could be consigned to the Underworld.[35]

Powers

Forged as a dark counterpart to Excalibur, the Ebony Blade is a mystical sword of great power but bears a terrible curse, one that feeds on and exacerbates the negative aspects of its handler to feed its power, making both it and them stronger.[35] According to the dark god Knull, the Ebony Blade is a symbiotic divine weapon with the potential to destroy worlds, and its true power is beyond the ability of mortals to comprehend or unleash.[14]

  • The Ebony Blade deflects most magical attacks. When angled in a certain way, it can instead absorb energy directed at it. It seems mostly immune to magical effects.[36]
  • It can cut through any substance (except other enchanted weapons or extremely strong metals like Adamantium; although this last bit is contradictory)[37] even piercing Iron Man's Extremis armor with one slash, though how much of a certain substance it can cut through depends on the strength of the wielder. The sword is also indestructible.[citation needed]
  • The blade and its wielder are linked. The wielder can be transported to the blade's location through mystic ceremony, or sometimes even act of will.[38] In a few cases Dane Whitman has been transported into the body of an ancestor to wield the blade.[39] The wielder can also - when the sword so-chooses - telekinetically summon the blade to themselves or manipulate it in a remote fashion similar to Thor using Mjolnir.[14]
  • Merlin has enchanted the blade so that its wielder can be injured, but not killed. The one exception is when the wielder is attacked by a weapon forged from the same starstone as the blade (such as the dagger Merlin himself crafted).[16] Sir Reginald once stated it also gives it's wielder healing abilities to complement this facet.[40]
  • According to Merlin, the link between blade and wielder means that evil acts committed by the wielder can taint the blade. If used to spill too much blood in evil acts, it will begin to crave blood, and induce the wielder to kill even more. If enough blood is shed the wielder becomes the Bloodwraith. Only a worthy person can resist it. Dane Whitman once cleansed the blade of the taint accumulated over the years by casting it into the Brazier of Truth, but it could become tainted if used for evil again.[5][13] Knull refutes this, saying that from its forging the Ebony Blade was only able be wielded by those impure of heart and only brings out what was already inside them, with the sword's power increasing the more evil its wielder is.[14]
  • The Ebony Blade of a different universe's iteration of the Black Knight could be used to fire energy pulses and convert their flying stallions into corrupted skeletal versions of themselves alongside its wielder.[19] Dane has used it to emit devastating pulse blasts and unleash area-of-effect discharges powerful enough to level wide ranges.[31]
  • Users of the Ebony Blade cannot be felled by their own weapon, when another user tries to strike them down it'll barely penetrate the skin.[41]
  • In the hands of Bloodwraith the blade is shown to have the proclivity to feed upon lost souls in order to increase the curse's power.[42] Such an effect caused it's wielder to grow to monolithic proportions gaining incalculable strength and durability; mainly by making it's wielder immaterial.[43] The blade also showed itself to affect intangible people, as well as be resistant to phasing; as demonstrated when The Vision tried and failed to pass through it.[44]
  • When its full power is unleashed, the Ebony Blade encases its wielder in a suit of black armor manifested from its dark essence. Allowing it's wielder to fly about in a shroud of malefic intent.[14]
  • As the result of one of Merlin's enchantments, the Ebony Blade is able to resurrect its wielder so long as they are a member of King Arthur's bloodline and are holding onto it when they die. However, being resurrected in this manner has a negative psychological impact on the wielder, making them more susceptible to their inner darkness.[45]
  • Dane once used (unconsciously) the black sword to block mental intrusion by psychics. Synapse described trying to read his mind with the weapon in hand as trying to probe a curtain of infinite black.[44]
  • It can use some kind of untapped magical power in order to open doorways between dimensions.[46]
  • The Ebony Blade, when sufficiently fueled by the users murderous rage, can further strengthen and empower the weaponer to incredible extents.[35]
  • With proper hexations cast upon it, the Ebony Blade can act as a tracker that enables it to find other artifacts that were similarly created through the Starstone material. Acting as a supernatural compass that leads its wielders adjacent Ebony items.[35]

Known wielders

In addition to the various Black Knights, and Black Panther, who have owned the Ebony Blade, the following people have used the Blade at some point:

Notes

  • The Ebony Blade was originally referred to as the Black Blade. Merlin created the weapon to be a worthy magical counterpart to King Arthur's Excalibur.[51]
  • Even before the blade became cursed from the blood it was used to spill by Sir Percy, possessing it would drive the wielder insane.[15]
  • Although the spirit of Sir Percy originally told Dane Whitman that Merlin had created the Ebony Blade,[16] it was later revealed that it was Percy himself who had actually forged the sword and three other items from the Starstone at Merlin's direction.[12] This was disregarded by Symbiote Spider-Man: King in Black #3 and King in Black: Black Knight #1, which depicted Merlin as having forged the Ebony Blade by himself, but Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #1 reaffirmed that it was Percy who forged the Ebony Blade.
  • In Namor the Sub-Mariner #60-61, the soul of Namor ended up in an ethereal realm of darkness within the Ebony Blade after the Blood Wraith used it to kill him. While there, Namor encountered the souls of some of the people who had recently been killed by the Ebony Blade, including Victoria Bentley and Marrina. Also present were Sir Percival, Sean Dolan and a "dark brigade" of undead demon-knights. Victoria explained that a battle for control of Dolan's soul was fought between good and evil within that inner dimension whenever he drew the sword. Morgan Le Fey subsequently used the Ebony Blade to kill Andromeda whose soul also entered that realm. Andromeda warned Namor that the army of the dead was being controlled by Marrina who wanted to keep him there against his will but that he could yet return to life through the band of light that still connected her to Life. Namor did so and was restored to life within his body while Marrina's soul, which he had taken with him, was finally free. However, since Andromeda's soul had to remain within the sword, her host body was now controlled by the soul of its original occupant, Genevieve Cross, who had to deal with the fact that her body was now that of a water-breathing blue-skinned Atlantean.
    • Later stories have largely ignored this storyline. Although Victoria Bentley and the ethereal realm within the Ebony Blade have not been seen since, Sir Percival's spirit was next seen advising Dane Whitman in Weirdworld and Andromeda, whose Atlantean form was controlled by Cross in Namor the Sub-Mariner #62, was seen to be back in control of her body in subsequent appearances. No explanation for how the latter two spirits apparently escaped that inner realm have been presented.
  • T'Challa and Captain Britain wielding the sword contradicts the later lore that only the impure of heart can wield it.

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

  1. Black Knight (MDCU) #1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Avengers #375
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Avengers Annual #21
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Black Panther Vol 4 #3
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Avengers Annual #22
  6. Avengers Spotlight #39
  7. Quicksilver #6
  8. 8.0 8.1 Marvel Atlas #1; United Kingdom's entry
  9. 9.0 9.1 Symbiote Spider-Man: King in Black #2
  10. 10.0 10.1 War of the Realms #3
  11. 11.0 11.1 War of the Realms #5
  12. 12.0 12.1 Mystic Arcana Black Knight #1
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Doctor Strange Vol 2 #68
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 King in Black: Black Knight #1
  15. 15.0 15.1 New Excalibur #12
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Marvel Super-Heroes #17
  17. Black Knight Vol 2 #4
  18. Fantastic Four: Atlantis Rising #1
  19. 19.0 19.1 Avengers: Unplugged #6
  20. Avengers Vol 3 #36-37
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Captain Britain and MI-13 #10
  22. Klaws of the Panther TPB; Black Panther (Shuri)'s entry
  23. Black Panther Vol 4 #4-10
  24. Black Panther Vol 4 #22-23
  25. Captain Britain and MI-13 #7
  26. 26.0 26.1 Captain Britain and MI-13 #8
  27. Captain Britain and MI-13 #9
  28. Original Sins #2
  29. Black Knight Vol 3
  30. War of the Realms #4
  31. 31.0 31.1 Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #1
  32. Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #2-3
  33. Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #4
  34. Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #5
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #3
  36. Avengers #263
  37. Punisher Kill Krew #3
  38. Avengers #366
  39. Black Knight: Exodus #1
  40. Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #2
  41. Black Knight Vol 3 #2-5
  42. Avengers Annual 22
  43. Avengers Vol 3 #37
  44. 44.0 44.1 Black Knight Vol 3 #2
  45. Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #1-5
  46. Black Knight Vol 3 #3
  47. Defenders #4
  48. Avengers #293
  49. Avengers #100
  50. Namor the Sub-Mariner #61
  51. Black Knight #1
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