Nathan Garrett is a genius scientist who uses the historically heroic Black Knight guise to become a professional criminal and espionage agent. After years of criminal activity, he realizes his misdeeds and passes on the mantle to a more worthy relative, his nephew.
London-born Nathan Garrett lacks the heroic nature of his ancestor Sir Percy of Scandia, AKA Black Knight of King Arthur’s Camelot court, but achieves international respect as a research scientist. Working at his alma mater, Oxford University, Garrett joins political leftists and eventually becomes a radical communist. At some point in his life, he agrees to spy for the People’s Republic of China.
After inheriting Garrett Castle, Sir Percy’s burial place, his ancestor’s spirit offered him a chance to become a modern-day Black Knight and crusade against evil. However, Garrett proved unworthy when he could not draw the enchanted Ebony Blade from its scabbard near Sir Percy’s tomb; Sir Percy rescinded his offer.
Afterward, Garrett relocates to the United States, where his sister’s family lives, and becomes a naturalized citizen. Garrett continues his scientific research there and eventually heads an espionage ring. When his plot to deliver American secrets to Chinese spies is uncovered by Hank Pym, AKA Giant-Man, he was charged with treason. Aware of Garrett’s distinguished career, the judge sets bail during his arraignment; to prevent Garrett from betraying them, his bail is secretly paid by Chinese agents. Garrett flees the country with a counterfeit passport, taking refuge in a Balkan kingdom where he rents a castle and plots revenge against Giant-Man.
Inspired by his previous encounter with Sir Percy’s ghost and the statue of a winged horse, Garrett claims his ancestor’s mantle, the Black Knight, and uses his scientific genius to create a criminal identity. Through genetic engineering, he granted the horse Elendil winged flight and creates a powerlance that houses numerous weapons, as well as many other technological wonders.
Nathan Garrett is a brilliant research scientist years ahead of his contemporaries, having made discoveries in multiple fields, including genetics and engineering. As the Black Knight, he uses advanced equipment and weaponry of his own design, including a lightweight full-body suit of electronically insulated steel-alloy chainmail capable of withstanding projectiles, including .45-caliber bullets fired at close range; however, it cannot protect him from a long fall. The suit’s helmet visor can emit a bright light to temporarily blind foes.
His primary weapon is an atomic-powered lance, which contains numerous weapons and technological devices, such as an acetylene-based heat beam that can melt a two-foot thick steel wall in seconds; an electro-magnetic concussive beam that can blast through a wall of cinderblocks in 4 seconds; an ionic energy blast that can disable electronics; and a .45-caliber machine gun. The range of the lance’s energy weapons is 50-100 feet.
The lance also contains a lasso, and two 50’ spools of thick conductive steel cable ending in bolo balls, which were launched via a linear accelerator or magnetic cannon to entrap targets. The lance can be equipped with super-heated metal “doughnuts” that enlarged when fired and drained electrical energy when attached to a target, and the lance’s hand-guard can be fired as a weapon, enlarging and becoming thin and razor-sharp once airborne.
The Knight can carry heavy weights on the end of his lance while flying, such as bags of gold or full-grown adults; but whether this was a feature of the lance or armor-enhanced strength remains unrevealed.
He also uses a paralyzer pistol that emits highly concentrated, fast-acting nerve gas that can render the average human unconscious for one hour in small doses, or when used in large amounts, can kill a target by paralyzing the respiratory system. He uses an itch-ray that causes severe pruritus and a disolvo-ray that can deteriorate metals and inorganic substances. Some equipment enlarges when used, including an expandable titanium-steel Wrapper that wrapped tentacles around opponents and an energy cannon that can level buildings.
His winged horse Elendil can fly at 50 mph. He occasionally hired underlings and dressed them in medieval garb.
Garrett as the Black Knight faces off with Spider-Man and is defeated by the wall crawler. He also goes up against the Avengers multiple times, sharing a row with Thor Odinson, AKA Thor, and losing his steed in the process. He also battles Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, and suffers mortal wounds from one of their fights, dying afterward.
Camelot Kin and Corrupt Allies
Garrett is distantly related to the original Black Knight, Sir Percy of Scandia. While Percy offers the Black Knight mantle to Garrett, he proves unworthy. He has an unidentified sister who is deceased; a nephew, Dane Whitman, AKA Black Knight, who he eventually passes the mantle to; and other knights of past eras all deceased: Sir Raston, Sir Eobar Garrington, Sir William, and Sir Henry. He is also shares ancestry to Sir Percy’s family, Sir Dandel, Lady Evaine, Lady Rosamund, Edward, and Geoffrey; as well as Dafydd ap Iowerth, Arthur Pendragon, Mordred the Evil, and Morgan le Fay.
Garrett joins the Masters of Evil led by Baron Heinrich Zemo, AKA Baron Zemo, and goes up against Spider-Man and the Avengers. Later, an image of his likeness is revived to join the Legion of the Unliving and used against the Avengers.
Returning to the U.S., the Knight tested his skills in various crimes, including the robbery of an armored car witnessed by Giant-Man’s partner Janet Van Dyne, AKA the Wasp. Giant-Man and Wasp later confronted Garrett while he attempted to steal a state-of-the-art helicopter. Subduing Giant-Man with bolos and powerful cables, the Knight gloated and unleashed his itch-ray on his captive. Escaping by shrinking to ant size, Giant-Man reunited with the Wasp to battle the Knight. Unnerved after Giant-Man had seemingly vanished (via shrinking), the Knight fled on Elendil, vowing revenge for the humiliating defeat.
Garrett sought an alliance with criminal mastermind Baron Zemo, and his Masters of Evil and intended to prove his worthiness by kidnapping Princess Elena Stragosz of Ksavia, while she and her father, Archduke Emil Stragosz, were in New York City to attend a United Nations Security Council meeting. The Knight fought past Stragosz’s honor guard and Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, who attempted to stop the kidnapping, but Spider-Man was distracted when his high school classmate Sally Avril died in a car accident while attempting to photograph the event, allowing the Knight to escape. Garrett took Elena to the Chrysler Building, where dozens of medieval-clad minions protected them from authorities while he contacted Zemo to relay his success. The conversation was interrupted by Spider-Man who, still incensed over his friend’s death, threw aside the Knight’s lackeys and chased the Knight out of the building. Easily evading the Knight’s attacks, Spider-Man angrily beat him until Johnny Storm, AKA Human Torch, intervened. Zemo ordered the collapse of a nearby wall to distract the heroes while Knight was secretly removed. Despite his failure, Zemo allowed the Knight to join the Masters of Evil.
Soon, the Masters launched an attack on New York City, spraying the virtually insoluble Adhesive X on the populace in a ploy to lure the Avengers into a confrontation. They were defeated when Rick Jones’ Teen Brigade replaced Adhesive X with an antidote developed by Paste-Pot Pete, who hoped to earn parole with his cooperation, before a second application was applied. The Avengers stopped the Masters of Evil, with the Knight proving no match for the Asgardian thunder god Thor’s strength and speed. Although Thor enjoyed riding the captured Elendil, he believed the horse belonged with his master, so did not claim ownership. The masterless horse soon circled the state penitentiary where Garrett was held, and Garrett used equipment in the saddle to escape. Desiring revenge on the Avengers, the Knight attacked Stark Industries’ Long Island plant and held Tony Stark’s friend Harold “Happy” Hogan, AKA Happy Hogan, hostage to attract Stark’s bodyguard Iron Man (not knowing Stark was secretly Iron Man); the Knight was defeated and returned to prison.
In prison, the Knight and Bruno Horgan, AKA Melter, were allowed to wear their armor for a demonstration before an unidentified scientific delegation from Washington. But before the demonstration, Asgardian gods Amora, AKA Enchantress, and Skurge, AKA Executioner, freed them so the two could rejoin the Masters of Evil.
The subsequent battle with the Avengers resulted in Zemo’s apparent death, and the Masters, including the Knight, were returned to prison. Escaping again, the Knight was among many Super Villains manipulated by Dr. Victor von Doom, AKA Doctor Doom, via his Emotion Charger into attacking the Fantastic Four during the wedding of Reed and Sue Richards. The Knight battled wedding guest Warren Worthington III, AKA Angel, before Reed used a Sub-Atomic Time Displacer to return the Knight and other attackers to the past, leaving him with no memory of the event.
Taking over an abandoned castle that had been relocated to the Potomac River near Washington D.C., years earlier by an English baron who died before moving in, the Knight plotted revenge. Kidnapping Hogan again, who had been hospitalized in D.C., from critical injuries sustained during a battle between Iron Man and Boris Bullski, AKA Titanium Man, Garrett left clues leading Iron Man to the castle, where the Knight confronted him again. Using an ionic energy blast, the Knight disrupted Iron Man’s circuitry, unknowingly threatening Stark’s life, who was then dependent on the armor’s life support systems. Carrying the seemingly helpless Iron Man into the air with Elendil, the Knight intended to kill his foe by dropping him, but Iron Man grabbed the saddle’s stirrup and used his remaining strength to unhorse the Knight. Both men fell, with Iron Man landing safely in the river, but the Knight crashed into nearby trees. Mortally wounded, the Knight made his way to a nearby farmhouse and phoned his nephew, Dane Whitman. When his nephew arrived, Garrett told Whitman he regretted the choices he had made and asked that Whitman use his research for good instead of evil. Whitman agreed shortly before Garrett died.
Whitman inherited Garrett Castle and the Black Knight mantle, using both to become a hero, later joining the Avengers and subsequently receiving approval from the spirit of Sir Percy. Much of Garrett’s equipment and his horse Elendil (further mutated and renamed Hellhorse) were later appropriated by the villainous Bram Velsing, AKA Dreadknight.
Sometime later, a version of Garrett as the Black Knight was utilized by Nathaniel Richards, AKA Immortus, in his Legion of the Unliving in a plot against the Avengers’ West Coast branch. During the battle, the Knight fell to his apparent death from his horse while skirmishing with Hank Pym. Eric Williams, AKA Grim Reaper, later created his own Legion of the Unliving via an alliance with the demonic Great Old Ones, claiming to have used souls of deceased Avengers foes (including Garrett as Black Knight) to animate corpses in an attack upon the Avengers. Whether this was the true Garrett remains unrevealed.