Who Is Dane Whitman?
Revisit the comics history of Black Knight and his entire family legacy!
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Dane Whitman, AKA the Black Knight, has always cut out his own corner in the Marvel Universe. At times, he has even gone A-list. Whitman first joined the Avengers all the way back in 1967, and he was a prominent team member in the ‘80s and ‘90s too!
Dane’s heroic lineage starts with Sir Percy of Scandia, a knight who lived in Arthurian times. As established in BLACK KNIGHT (1955) #1, Sir Percy also wielded the cursed sword, the Ebony Blade. Centuries later, as seen in TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #52, Nathan Garrett assumed his ancestor’s identity to become a villainous Black Knight. At the time, Nathan’s nephew, Dane, was simply a scientist. But Dane’s life was forever changed when he claimed his birthright and the Ebony Blade itself. Now, through the power of Marvel Unlimited, we’re looking back at some of the key moments that define Black Knight’s history.
TAKING THE MANTLE
Within the pages of AVENGERS (1963) #47-48, Nathan met with Dane one last time before his death. Nathan renounced his life of crime and bequeathed the armor, the blade, and his title to Dane. Although the Avengers were skeptical at first, Black Knight’s heroism won them over and he became a valued member of the team.
Dane’s first stint as an Avenger didn’t make him famous, but it did win him the adulation and friendship of his new teammates. Black Knight subsequently joined the Defenders in their own title and he was well-liked there as well. However, tragedy struck in DEFENDERS (1972) #4 when the Enchantress turned Dane to stone for his defiance!
The Defenders’ desperate quest to free Dane from his stone body led to the Avengers–Defenders War, thanks to the trickery of Loki and Dormammu. Luckily, cooler heads and heroic teams prevailed over the villains.
LIVING IN THE PAST
In DEFENDERS (1972) #11, it was revealed that Dane’s spirit had been drawn back in time to inhabit the body of his ancestor, Eobar Garrington. When the Defenders went back in time to save Dane, he decided to remain in the 12th century instead. Dane found his destiny and calling in the past, and that’s why he stayed there until Eobar’s body was destroyed. Luckily, Eobar’s death somehow led Dane’s body in the present to be restored, also curing Black Knight of his curse.
Starting in AVENGERS (1963) #255-256, Dane rejoined Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the present for one of his longest stints on the team to date. He was even present during the infamous siege of Avengers Mansion by the Masters of Evil. Regardless, Black Knight was content with his life as a hero... until Namor thoughtlessly used the Ebony Blade to slay his horribly mutated wife, Marrina. The adverse effects on Black Knight were almost instantaneous. His body was transforming into the same metal as the Ebony Blade and he could barely move without an exoskeleton.
Despite his plight, Black Knight aided Thor and the Asgardians in their battle against Seth in THOR (1966) #396-400. Dane’s body finally succumbed to the curse, but just in time for Hogun the Grim to use Dane’s now-indestructible flesh to defeat Seth. In BLACK KNIGHT (1990), Sir Percy briefly took over Dane’s life in the present before departing and lifting the Ebony Blade’s curse once again.
During Dane’s third extended stint with the Avengers (from issues #355-375), he found himself romantically drawn to both the Eternal Sersi and the Inhuman princess Crystal. Dane may have held stronger feelings for Crystal, but he agreed to form a psychic link with Sersi to become her bonded "Gann Josin." At the time, Sersi’s mind was rapidly deteriorating, and the link was meant to help Sersi save her sanity.
Eventually, Sersi felt that she was too dangerous to remain in this world and she retreated to another dimension to heal. Dane accompanied Sersi, and they didn’t return for a long time.
THE SQUIRE WHO LOVED ME
Years later, in CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI-13, Dane met Faiza Hussain, a young physician who was unexpectedly chosen to wield the Excalibur sword during the events of SECRET INVASION. Dane was quite impressed with Faiza and he made her his squire. The two also developed romantic feelings for each other during MI-13’s subsequent adventures.
THE DARKEST KNIGHT
The first real signs of trouble came in ORIGINAL SINS (2014) #2, when Dane was nearly driven to kill a Savage Steel imposter. A historian named Rebecca Stevens warned Dane that he was once again under the influence of the Ebony Blade’s curse, but he couldn’t bring himself to let it go.
A short time later, in BLACK KNIGHT (2015), Dane really went off the deep end and seized control of Weirdworld while evading the Avengers Unity Squad. Rebecca was able to defuse the situation, even though Dane had come dangerously close to becoming a villain himself.
Unfortunately, the cruelest revelation came in KING IN BLACK: BLACK KNIGHT #1, when the symbiote god Knull forced Dane to contend with the real truth of the Ebony Blade. Dane and his family weren’t chosen because of their purity of heart. Instead, it was their capacity for violence and evil that linked their family line to the sword.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
More recently, in BLACK KNIGHT: CURSE OF THE EBONY BLADE (2021), Dane discovered that he had a daughter, Jackie “Jacks” Chopra, that he was previously unaware about after her mother died of terminal illness. While trying to form a relationship with Jackie, Dane was slain... and later resurrected by the Ebony Blade. Dane’s old foe, Modred the Mystic, attempted to use the Ebony Blade and other objects for his own purposes, and he even killed Jacks to do it.
Fortunately, Jacks’ familial link to the Ebony Blade allowed her to be resurrected as well. All things considered, Jacks took the revelation about her parentage well. Instead of rejecting Dane, she offered to share the role of the Black Knight in order to dilute the effects of the sword’s curse.
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