Series – Black Knight (2015)
Writer – Frank Tieri
Artwork – Luca Pizzari & Antonio Fabela
Publisher – Marvel Comics
Summary from Comixology – “What do you do when it’s your destiny to be damned? For centuries, that is the question that has plagued each wielder of the Ebony Blade…with all of them eventually meeting untimely ends due to the sword’s curse. And it is the question the current Black Knight, Dane Whitman, must ask himself as his addiction to the blade grows ever stronger and he finds himself in the aptly named Weirdworld. What are the circumstances that brought him to leave Earth and enter this strange and dangerous realm? And what do the Uncanny Avengers have to do with it? Find out here in this new ongoing tale of sword, sorcery and one man’s struggle to not lose his soul.”
The Black Knight is one of those characters that’s been mostly inconsequential the past few decades. He’s a part of many formerly prevalent characters that just sort of took a backseat to more popular ones in the 80’s and 90’s. One interesting thing about Black Knight, though, is that, per Comic Vine, he appears in 960 different comic book issues. To give you a frame of reference, Jessica Jones has been in 473 issues, and Star-Lord has only appears in 365 different issues. Now, I will say that it’s entirely possible that these numbers are mere estimates and don’t reflect the exact numbers. Even so, that’s still a wide margin. My point isn’t to make a case for why Black Knight should get a live-action interpretation, although that would be super cool. I’m just saying, it’s interesting that a character that, outside of the comic book world at least, most people wouldn’t be familiar with has been in almost a thousand different comic book issues.
Frank Tieri is one of those writers that’s so low-key you’ve probably read multiple books that he’s written and didn’t even realize it. My absolute favorite thing he’s ever done is Space: Punisher. It’s bizarre and over-the-top, and I love it so much. Dane Whitman is very different from Frank Castle, and almost makes sense in a more ridiculous situation, a “weird” world….
The story opens with Dane, the new leader of New Avalon, leading a battle against the Fangs of the Serpent, an army of snake-men hellbent on being up to no good. As the story progresses we see more of New Avalon’s section of Weirdworld, as well as a little more backstory on Dane and what’s up with that sword he wields. It means to drive him mad, and may already have…
The art in this book is very reminiscent of the classic comic art of the late-60’s and 70’s. Pizzari and Fabela are a fantastic team and capture the essence of Weirdworld, as well as the Black Knight himself, in a darker way, but not at the sake of sacrificing color. I really love how the panels are very detailed, and descriptive even, without being overly complex or complicated.
The page that stuck out to me the most was one where we get to see a large area of Weirdworld, full of peaks and waterfalls and other really captivating geographical structures. It’s a very gorgeous, very well drawn page. There’s also a page that shows us Dane’s room, which contains items he’s retrieved from things that the universe has dumped into Weirdworld (automobiles, buildings, a submarine…), and you’ll notice some really cool little Easter Eggs on that page.
Black Knight #1 is a solid first issue. It’s exciting, funny, and has a couple of really interesting twists at the end that will definitely make you want to come back for issue #2. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s been reading comics for a long time because it’s a really great new direction on a character who’s long been underrated. Funny enough though, I would actually also recommend this book to someone who’s never read comics, and maybe just all that into superheroes. This is certainly not a typical Marvel comic, not the way they’ve been publishing for the last several years anyway, and I think it could compel anyone who likes Dark Ages types of stories to jump in. Head down to your local comic shop and pick up a copy of Black Knight #1 today!
Music Pairing –
I wanted to choose something heavy and epic for this issue, but I also wanted it to have some relevance to war or battle. Therefore, I think the best musical partnering for Black Knight #1 is “Long Live the King” by Swedish Epic Metal band Sabaton. I actually saw Sabaton once and I gotta say, if you ever get the chance to see them live, do it. Their performance was… well.. epic.