Update: Kit Harington as Dane Whitman didn't get much facetime in the first Eternals trailer recently released by Marvel Studios (much less as the Black Knight), but the character still seems poised to play a big role in the MCU moving forward.
The wielder of the cursed Ebony Blade is currently being redefined in the pages of Marvel Comics in the five-issue limited series Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade by writer Simon Spurrier and artist Sergio Dávila.
The publisher has released new first look pages from June 30's issue #4, along with the first full look at artist Stephanie Hans connecting variant covers.
According to Marvel, Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade follows Whitman who is "tackling the fascinating mythology behind the Black Knight in a conflict spanning mythical Camelot to modern-day NYC."
The full connected cover by Hans depicts that journey, starting with Whitman's descendent Sir Percy of Scandia, a contemporary of King Arthur, and then Whitman's uncle Nathan Garrett who preceded him as a villainous version of the Black Knight.
The final three-fifths of the image depicts Whitman's original costume, his well-loved 'leather jacket Avengers' look (the era in which his relationship with the Eternals Sersi is culled from), and his newest look.
"With new allies like Elsa Bloodstone and mysterious newcomer Jacks at his side, Dane is doing all he can to prevent the magical Ebony Blade from falling into his ancient foe Mordred’s hands," reads Marvel's description of the series. "But Dane’s struggle for control of his destiny will force him to confront the inner darkness that fuels his powers and before the dust settles, he’ll have to face hard truths about himself, the Ebony Blade, and the entire history of the Black Knight."
Check out the first look pages from Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #4 and more on the series below.
Original story follows
In recent years Marvel Comics has developed a fondness for exploring their pre-Captain America/Fantastic Four history and telling stories set centuries and even millenniums in the past, which often bear similarities to the present.(opens in new tab)
In the limited series Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade they aren't going as far back as the 1,000,000 B.C. Avengers (opens in new tab), but they are going back to the days of Camelot and for a meeting between Sir Percy of Scandia, the ancestor of current Black Knight Dane Whitman, and a young ... or at least younger Thor.
The scene, part of a first look at penciler Sergio Dávila and inker Sean Parsons' art from Curse of the Ebony Blade #3, along with fully colored pages by Arif Prianto from issue #2, is part of the series exploration into Dane Whitman's somewhat tortured role as a superhero.
"It's been the purest joy contributing to the wild and wonderful history of the Black Knight and his forebears," series writer Simon Spurrier tells Newsarama. "The great challenge - and, for me, one of our neatest solutions - lay in finding a way to encapsulate all the internal conflicts and complications the character has suffered over the years in one elegant place."
Marvel readers know Whitman faces an extremely painful dilemma. The Ebony Blade, which gives him his power, acts "like a sort of Reverse Mjolnir."
"It is at its mightiest - its most devastating - when wielded by someone in the grip of negative emotion," the writer continues. "Anger, pain, regret. Unworthy thoughts. So... should Dane lean into that unhealthy mindset, spiraling deeper into darkness and evil - all in the name of the greater good? Or should he let go of the Ebony Blade and take a shot at a healthy, happy life - albeit as a civilian? Even though being a hero is hardwired into his identity."
Spurrier says Whitman's situation is a tricky one.
"And of course, he's not the first Black Knight to contend with this dilemma," he says. "One of the greatest pleasures of this story has been delving back into the distant past to reimagine Arthur's Court at Camelot as a sort of medieval equivalent of the modern Marvel Universe's Manhattan: a place where wonders, wizards, and warriors were drawn to gather in all their teeming color and variety.
"The first Black Knight - Sir Percy of Scandia - was Camelot's dirty little secret. A man slowly succumbing to the berserker rages that are the Ebony Blade's legacy. A shadow tasked with defending the light.(opens in new tab)
"And you know who else was around, in those days? A certain young god - brash and untested - roving far from the Northlands with bands of loyal Viking worshippers. You can imagine he might pay an active interest if he learned this so-called City of Light - this wondrous Camelot - was defended by a man of shadow and evil...?"
So, yeah. It's Thor versus Black Knight on the blood-spattered drawbridge of ancient Camelot.
"It's gonna get ugly," Spurrier adds, belying the fact Dávila and Parsons' art is really pretty.
And speaking of the artist...
"Working on this series is very exciting," says Dávila. "With Simon's scripts, you never know what awaits you in this series. He always manages to surprise me with something else and being able to draw the scene of Thor's fight with the classic Black Knight ... has been a gift for me.
"I am a huge fan of Thor and drawing him facing off against Black Knight from the past in all his splendor, these two characters with their full powers has been a great experience for me. I have really enjoyed it."
Check out all the first look preview pages from Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #2 (opens in new tab) on sale April 21 and Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #3 (opens in new tab) on sale May 19.
And on the topic of the brash, Norse god, check out Newsarama's look at the best Thor stories of all time (opens in new tab).